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What Is The Relationship Between Ministers And Civil Servants?

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Richard Marsden Profile
Richard Marsden answered
The ideal relationship between ministers and civil servants is that civil servants brief ministers impartially and objectively. Ministers listen carefully to what their civil servants have to say and make decisions on the basis of this advice. Civil servants expect the minister in charge of their department to fight for funds during the annual spending round and to defend the actions of their department when faced up to the media and the general public. Ministers expect to be kept informed of what is happening in their department. Also, they expect civil servants to implement decisions with which they disagree. Although ministers are members of certain political parties, they can never expect civil servants to undertake party political matters. Similarly, civil servants are asked to never act in a partisan manner.

The special relationship between the elected and non-elected officials of government is amusingly illustrated in the popular TV comedy sitcom, Yes Minister and its spin off, Yes Prime Minister.
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Karl Sagan answered

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