A ministry is a governmental organisation, headed by a minister, that is meant to manage a specific sector of public administration. Governments may have differing numbers and types of ministries, but the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary notes that all states have (often under varying names) a Ministry of Interior, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Ministry of Defense (which may be divided into ministries for land, naval, and air forces), a Ministry of Justice and a Ministry of Finance. A Ministry of Education or similar is also commonly present.
Ministries are usually immediate subdivisions of the cabinet (the executive branch of the government), and subordinate to its chief executive who is called prime minister, chief minister, president, minister-president or (federal) chancellor.
During the 20th century, many countries increasingly tended to replace the term "ministry" with words such as "department", "office" or "state secretariat". In some countries, these terms may be used with specific meanings: for example, an office may be a subdivision of a department or ministry.
In Canada, five of the ten provincial governments use the term "ministry" to describe their departments (Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Alberta) but the other five, as well as the federal government, use the term "department". Despite the difference in nomenclature, both the provincial and federal governments use the term "minister" to describe the head of a ministry or department. The specific task assigned to a minister is referred to as his or her "portfolio".
In the United Kingdom, all government organisations that consist of civil servants, and which may or may not be headed by a government minister or secretary of state, are considered to be departments. Until 2018, the term "ministry" had been retained only for the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice. On 8 January 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the Department of Communities and Local Government would be renamed at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to emphasise her government's prioritising of housing policy.
Some countries, such as Australia, the United Kingdom Switzerland, the Philippines and the United States, do not use or no longer use the term "ministry" and instead call their main government bodies "departments".
New Zealand's state agencies include a large number of ministries and a smaller number of departments. Increasingly, state agencies are styled neither as ministries nor as departments. All New Zealand agencies are under the direction of one or more ministers or associate ministers, whether they are styled "ministries" or not. Each body also has an apolitical chief executive, and in ministries and departments these chief executives often have the title of Secretary.
However, in other countries such as Luxembourg a department is a subdivision of a ministry, usually led by a government member called a secretary of state who is subordinate to the minister.
In Lebanon, there are 21 ministries. Each ministry is led by a minister, and the Prime Minister is the 22nd minister of the Lebanese government.
In the European Union, departments are termed Directorate(s)-General with the civil servant in charge called a Director-General (in the European Commission, the political head of the department is one of the European Commissioners).
The government departments of the Soviet Union were named "People's Commissariats" between 1917 and 1946.
The term "ministry" has also been widely used in fiction, notably in satires and parodies.
Department may refer to:
Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibilityMinister
Minister may refer to:
Minister (Christianity), a Christian cleric
Minister (government), a member of government who heads a ministry (government department)
Shadow minister, a member of a Shadow Cabinet of the opposition
Minister (diplomacy), the rank of diplomat directly below ambassador
Ministerialis, a member of a noble class in the Holy Roman Empire
The Minister, a 2011 French-Belgian film directed by Pierre SchöllerMinister (government)
A minister is a politician who heads a government department, making and implementing decisions on policies in conjunction with the other ministers. In some jurisdictions the head of government is also a minister and is designated the ’prime minister’, ‘premier’, ’chief minister’, ’Chancellor’ or other title.
In Commonwealth realm jurisdictions which use the Westminster system of government, ministers are usually required to be members of one of the houses of Parliament or legislature, and are usually from the political party that controls a majority in the lower house of the legislature. In other jurisdictions — such as Belgium, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Slovenia — the holder of a cabinet-level post or other government official is not permitted to be a member of the legislature. Depending on the administrative arrangements in each jurisdiction, ministers are usually heads of a government department and members of the government's ministry, cabinet and perhaps of a committee of cabinet. Some ministers may be more senior than others, and some may hold the title ’assistant minister’ or ‘deputy minister’. Some jurisdictions, with a large number of ministers, may designate ministers to be either in the inner or outer ministry or cabinet.
In some jurisdictions — such as Hong Kong, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States — holders of an equivalent cabinet-level post are called secretaries (e.g., the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom, Secretary of State in the United States). Some holders of a cabinet-level post may have another title, such as ’Attorney-General’ or ’Postmaster-General’.Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l'Innovation, MESRI) is a ministry (government department) of France overseeing university-level education and research. The department has its head office in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. As of 2017 Frédérique Vidal is the minister of this department.
Common types of government ministers and ministries
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|Economics / Infrastructure|
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