Ministerial responsibility is
associated with Parliamentary systems of government. Ministerial responsibility is the
convention that a minister is answerable to Parliament for the conduct and actions of his
or her ministry's personnel. Originally, the ministerial responsibility was quite strictly
imposed on a minister and resignation might be demanded even where the minister did not
have knowledge of improper or negligent acts or omissions by officials.
Responsible Government and
Ministerial Responsibility: Every Reform Is Its Own Problem -
The article defends the classical version of ministerial responsibility against recent
initiatives to implement a form of direct accountability for administrators. The pattern
of resignations indicates the importance of collective responsibility, as well as the
relative unimportance of ministerial misbehaviour.
The conclusion sets out the
negative implications for democratic government of substituting a kind of direct
"accountability" of officials, extracted in political forums, for the
responsibility of ministers. - S. L. Sutherland, Canadian Journal of Political Science /
Revue canadienne de science politique, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Mar., 1991) - jstor.org
A Critical evaluation of
Ministerial Responsibility in supervising Administrative decisions, M Kats.
With the proliferation of the bureaucracy, and the emerging importance of new
administrative review procedures, ministerial responsibility has been accused of being
left behind. The findings of several Senate Select Committees and Commissions, secondary
material in which ministerial responsibility is relevant today, and criticisms of its
strict hierarchy are no longer valid. Research has shown that
ministerial responsibility is able to incorporate other bodies of review, and thus allow
greater accountability to the public.
From Administrative State
to Ministerial System: The Quest for Accountability in Hong Kong - Kwok R.
This paper argues that in the deliberations on ministerialisation, the local discourse has
not sufficiently appreciated the complexities and uncertainties in both the theory and
practice of ministerial responsibility. It highlights the mistake of concentrating on
ministerial resignation as a mechanism for enforcing government accountability, and of
overlooking explanatory accountability as a core tenet of the doctrine of ministerial
responsibility. It argues for access to information legislation as a prerequisite for the
meaningful discharge of ministerial responsibility.
UK Ministerial Responsibility in 2002: The Tale of Two Resignations -
The resignations in 2002 of Stephen Byers and Estelle Morris (UK Secretaries of State for
Transport and Education respectively) suggest the need to review the constitutional and
political aspects of resignation.
Mechanisms of judicial accountability in British central government
M Flinders, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
The effectiveness of ministerial responsibility to Parliament as a sufficient check on the
actions of ministers and officials is widely doubted. The utility of judicial forms of
accountability and whether these mechanisms, to a greater or lesser extent, off-set the
deficiencies commonly associated with the convention of ministerial responsibility. The
final section concludes that judicial forms of accountability have not evolved to remedy
the shortcomings commonly identified with ministerial responsibility to Parliament.