What Is Individual Ministerial Responsibility?


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Richard Marsden answered
Individual ministerial responsibility is normally understood as the individual responsibility of ministers for their work of their departments. They are answerable to Parliament for all their departments' activities. They bear the consequences for any failure in administration, any injustice to an individual or any aspect of policy which is criticised in Parliament, whether personally responsible or not.

The doctrine can be split up into two parts: role and personal responsibility. Role responsibility involves the minister being accountable for policy leadership in their departments, piloting legislation through its various stages and representing departmental interests in Cabinet along with pressure groups and departmental clients. On occasions, ministers are forced to resign as a result of not fulfilling one of these responsibilities fully. Also, ministers take the blame for mistakes made by others in the department. Personal responsibility simply means that ministers are responsible for their own actions, which can also lead to resignations if things go wrong.

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