90 Credit Diploma in Uniformed Public Services – Unit 1: Assignment 1
The government has many different levels which have a direct or indirect impact on people’s lives. Each level contains a variety of different organisations which help to keep the country running smoothly and efficiently.
Local – They manage local resources to benefit local communities which are usually carried out by the local council.
Regional – They manage and distribute resources over a larger geographical area. There are associated issues of independence and self-determination, for example regional assemblies or parliaments.
Multi-Regional – This includes several different geographical regions sharing common interests or are in conflict about shared resources, for example an issue which affects several local councils or counties.
Central/National – Issues which affect an entire nation such as changes in law and policy or taxation, for example new laws made in parliament.
A government in which the power is in the hands of a monarch who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary right; the monarch may be either a sole absolute ruler or a sovereign - such as a king, queen or prince - with constitutionally limited authority. The current reigning monarch in the UK is Queen Elizabeth the II.
The Queen personifies the state. In law, she is head of the executive, an integral part of the legislature, head of the judiciary, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the crown and the ‘supreme government’ of the established Church of England. The Queen acts on the advice of her ministers because the process of devolution has reduced her power. Still, the Queen takes part in some important acts of government. These include summoning, dissolving Parliament and giving Royal Assent to Bills passed by Parliament. The Queen also formally appoints many important office holders.
There are two areas which the Queen personally exercises. First, the monarch has the power to appoint the Prime Minister. The monarch invites the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons to form a new government after a general election has been held. (There is a possibility of a hung parliament – a parliament where no single party has overall majority seats. If this happens, the monarch would play a decisive role in determining the nature of the government.
Second, the monarch has the power to dissolve parliament which could lead to the monarch’s personal involvement in politics. For example, if a newly formed minority group wished to call a general election in attempt to strengthen its position, the monarch could decide not to dissolve parliament and invite the leader of another party to form a coalition government.
House of Commons
The UK public elects 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. Each MP represents a constituency. A range of people with different political views and interests are represented in the House of Commons. This enables the House to ensure decisions are well debated by a variety of people holding different views. The importance of parties is emphasised in the seating arrangement in the House of Commons chamber. Government ministers occupy the front benches on one side of the House. They face the frontbench team of the opposition party/parties on the other side. The seating arrangements serve to favour a two party system and a confrontational style of party debate.
After each general election, a new parliament begins. This new parliament can last to up to five years. Each parliament is divided into sessions, with each parliamentary session normally lasting about a year. At the start of each session, the Queen’s Speech is delivered. This speech is written by the Prime Minister and outlines the legislative proposals which the government intends to put before parliament during the year ahead. The weekly business of the House is arranged by the government and opposition chief whips (Whips are MPs or Lords appointed by each party in Parliament to help organise their party's contribution to parliamentary business. One of their responsibilities is making sure the maximum number of their party members vote, and vote the way their party wants). The speaker is informed about which leading MPs from each party would like to address the House during debates. Other matters may also be agreed through the usual channels. The business for the week ahead is announced by the leader of the House. The leader of House also arranges the Commons’ programme for the parliamentary season.
The proceedings in the chamber of House of Commons are chaired by the Speaker. Speakers are not permitted to speak on behalf of their constituents in the Commons and they do not take part in debate. It is the Speaker’s job to see that the rules of the House are followed. They have the power to withdraw remarks made in ‘unparliamentarily language’. If these instructions are ignored, MPs can be suspended from the House. In the event of serious disorder, the Speaker can suspend the entire proceedings.
The House of Commo...