What are the departments of governments

Ministerial bureaucracy

1. Concept and statistics

The ministerial bureaucracy (Mb) comprises the public administration employees in the federal and state ministries and their diverse functions. The federal personnel statistics show 24,290 employees in the field of "political leadership". For the state area, a number of 50,178 employees is given in this field (reference date June 30, 2010). With regard to the central functions of the Mb. In the → political system, however, only the civil servants and employees employed in the higher service in the ministries can be included in the group of ministerial bureaucrats and the other members of the upper, middle and simple service can be understood as their auxiliary staff. These ministerial bureaucrats are, figuratively speaking, the link between political leadership and administration.

2. Construction

The organization in the ministries is based on the traditional rules of the bureaucracy, as classically defined by M. Weber, division of labor and hierarchical. The communication runs formally via the official channel up or down and is regulated by a strict system of signing rights through to the color of the paraphs. As a member of the government, the minister is not only the parliamentary decision-maker and person responsible for the ministry, but is also the head of the ministry as the employer and head of department. However, due to his legal position and in particular his recruitment pattern, he does not belong to the Mb., But to the group of professional politicians.

A small group of loyal and trusted officials work for the minister in the ministerial office as personal advisers and the like, who change when he leaves. The internal management of the ministries is carried out by one or more state secretaries who have often made a career as permanent state secretaries in the ministry, in contrast to the newer institution of parliamentary state secretaries, which belong to the group of politicians and the mb. Of the individual houses more or less are successfully affiliated. The middle management level in the ministries is made up of the heads of departments and sub-departments, who primarily exercise coordination functions. Department heads or sub-department heads such as state secretaries are "political officials" who have the special trust of the government or its minister. Political officials can therefore easily be given temporary retirement if this trust is lost. This regulation makes sense in the parliamentary system of government, but repeatedly meets with incomprehension among the tax-paying public.

The basic units of the ministries, at the same time their actual work units, are the highly specialized units, in large ministries such as the Federal Ministry of the Interior up to 100 in number. In the presentations, the head of the unit is the central figure, who in turn is assisted by the speakers and clerks. The units and the subdivisions and departments that summarize them usually oversee a section of the ministries' area of ​​responsibility, but all ministries also have central and staff units such as budget, central and organizational units. The organizational diagram is the most important tool for public and academic understanding of the structure and functioning of the Mb.

3. Tasks

Traditionally, the administrations with the Mb.n at the top are primarily responsible for the implementation and execution of laws in social reality. But even classic executive tasks in today's industrial society contain only a very small part of pure executive functions, but require the technical expertise and political decision-making competence of the ministerial bureaucrats, e.g. B. in the approval of highway construction. The internal administrative tasks also include the control and management of subordinate administrative units. Since, according to the → Basic Law, law enforcement is largely the responsibility of the federal states through a tiered administrative structure, these executive tasks are typical for the Mb.n at the federal state level.

In the federal government and thus also for its Mb.n, however, the legislative functions dominate. Today more than ever, the laws to be consulted and ratified by parliament (→ legislation) are based on drafts by the government and thus on submissions from the ministries. The first priority of the functions of the Federal Government Agency is therefore the development of programs, i. H. the drafting of laws, ordinances and administrative regulations. In the case of state laws and planning activities, the Mb.n of the states also have extensive quasi-legislative tasks. The drafting of bills and the enforcement of passed laws suggest, at least in the classic ministries of the interior, the foreign affairs and the judiciary, but also the cult and instruction for the civil servants of the higher service, the legal education (so-called legal monopoly), which is still too little by considering applicants from other courses, e. B. economics and social sciences, is supplemented.

In addition to the program and enforcement functions, there are extensive coordination functions of the Mb. Its members at federal or state level have to coordinate with each other and between the federal government and the states in the system of cooperative federalism (→ federal state). This takes place in numerous formal bodies such as the ministerial conferences and the Federal Council, but even more so in an informal network of ministerial officials entrusted with the same and similar functions. The administrative scientist F. Wagner coined the descriptive term of the horizontal and vertical "professional brotherhoods".

4. Ruling functions between society and politics

Due to these diverse functions, the Mb.n have a key position in the consensus-building and conflict management system of the FRG. Compared to parliament and party headquarters, they have the most sophisticated and competent apparatus for obtaining complex information and observing social reality. The communication of the wishes and demands of social groups to the government and parliament as well as, conversely, the communications of political decision-makers to interest groups essentially go through the relevant organs of the Mb.n. Organized social interests benefit from the fact that they are largely reflected in the division of labor between and within the ministries and thus have institutionalized contacts. There are symbiotic relationships between individual administrative units and their association clientele in terms of mutual information procurement, common interests in increasing the political weight of their area and even the exchange of personnel. While the classic MB., As embodied by the civil servants of the Prussian reforms of the early 19th century, saw itself as an independent state superordinate to the → society, today's MB has largely integrated and acted in the pluralistic society as their interpreter in the political decision-making process.

In addition to the integration of state and society, the Mb. Also embodies the mixing of the areas of politics and administration. Traditionally, the Mb. Is understood as an auxiliary body of the political leadership, works on this through draft laws and executes their legislative decisions. But today the political decisions are often made in the ministries. For example, the parliamentary decision-makers are not provided with a whole range of social information and alternative legal texts, but only with a self-contained legislative program. In this way, the ministerial bureaucrats relieve the overburdened parliamentary decision-making process, but also endanger its basic democratic principles of publicity and responsibility.

This increase in political power in the Mb. Has produced a new type of civil servant. The "classic officials" were averse to any party politics and saw themselves as a neutral and continuity-ensuring executive body of the changing political decision-makers. There are still ministerial officials who deny the basic political aspect of their work and prefer a purely factual, legal or other subject-specific orientation. In contrast, many ministerial officials today consciously act largely as "political officials": They are more problem-oriented than rule-oriented and do not shy away from political shaping functions. Behind this increase in importance of the Mb.n there are no individual and collective presumptions of power on the part of their personnel, but more in-depth social and political change processes.

Source: Andersen, Uwe / Wichard Woyke (ed.): Concise dictionary of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. 7th, updated Aufl. Heidelberg: Springer VS 2013. Author of the article: Stefan Machura