The Civil Service does the practical and administrative work of government. It is co-ordinated and managed by the Prime Minister, in their role as Minister for the Civil Service.
Around half of all civil servants provide services direct to the public, including:
- paying benefits and pensions
- running employment services
- staffing prisons
- issuing driving licences
The Civil Service is on GOV.UK.
Work for us
Find and apply for vacancies in departments, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies.
Work with us
Search Contracts Finder for any government contract over £10,000 and get details of all previous tenders.
Laws go through several stages before they are passed by Parliament. The House of Commons and the House of Lords work together to make them.
They can include:
White papers outline proposals for new laws. Green papers ask for public comments before the white paper is published.
Bills are proposals for new laws or changes to existing ones. Once agreed by Parliament, they have to be approved by the King before becoming law.
Acts of Parliament
These are bills which have been approved by the Commons, the Lords, and the King. The relevant government department is responsible for putting the act into practice.
Access to information
Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to ask any public sector organisation for all the recorded information it has on any subject. Anyone can make a request for information – known as a Freedom of Information (or FOI) request. There are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live.
How to make a freedom of information request
See FOI releases on GOV.UK
Government produces Official Statistics about most areas of public life. Statistics are used by people inside and outside government to make informed decisions and to measure the success of government policies and services. Find out about the legislation that governs the publication of UK national and Official Statistics.
See statistics publications on GOV.UK
The government publishes information about how government works to allow you to make politicians, public services and public organisations more accountable. We are committed to publishing information about:
- how much public money has been spent on what
- the job titles of senior civil servants and how much they are paid
- how the government is doing against its objectives
See transparency releases on GOV.UK
Putting data in people’s hands can help them have more of a say in the reform of public services. On data.gov.uk you can easily find, review and use information about our country and communities - for example, to develop web applications.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, devolved administrations are responsible for many domestic policy issues, and their Parliaments/Assemblies have law-making powers for those areas.
Areas the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for, include:
- the environment
Councils make and carry out decisions on local services. Many parts of England have 2 tiers of local government: county councils and district, borough or city councils.
In some parts of the country, there’s just one tier of local government providing all the functions, known as a ‘unitary authority’. This can be a city, borough or county council – or it may just be called ‘council’. As well as these, many areas also have parish or town councils.
Understand how your council works
Parliament is separate from government. Made up of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, its role is to:
- look at what the government is doing
- debate issues and pass new laws
- set taxes
Find out about how Parliament works
Read The Official Report at Hansard
History of government
Britain has one of the oldest governments in the world. Find out more about how it has worked and who has shaped it in the history section.
Read about past Prime Ministers, Chancellors and Foreign Secretaries in notable people. Learn more about historic government buildings on Whitehall and around the UK.
You can also find links to historical research, documents and records.