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University 18 Yrs + | The Core Executive

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The Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office has traditionally been the central co-ordinating body of the Cabinet System.

It was set up by Lloyd George when he became Prime minister in 1916 in order to streamline the implementation of the decisions of the War Cabinet.

Its role then developed during the 20th century into pushing Cabinet decisions down through the Whitehall machinery, pulling together issues that need to go up to Cabinet for decision, and generally sorting out problems caused by disagreements between Government Departments.

The Cabinet Secretary

The Cabinet Secretary was also the Head of the Civil Service and because of his central role in the system (there has not yet been a female cabinet secretary) was sometimes the most powerful person in the core executive after the Prime Minister.

In 2011, the role was split up so that the Cabinet Secretary works more directly to the PM, a Permanent Secretary runs the Cabinet Office, which has taken on a bigger role in looking for cost cutting across government, and a separate Head of the Civil Service has a more clearly managerial role.