The Cabinet Manual – Draft

A guide to laws, conventions, and rules on the operation of government

December 2010

Making government work better


The way in which government operates is a vital part of the United Kingdom‟s (UK) democracy, but it can be complex for those involved in, and for those outside of, government. The Cabinet Manual is intended to be of use to both audiences: it is primarily written to provide a guide for members of Cabinet, other ministers and Civil Servants, but it will also serve to bring greater transparency about the mechanisms of government, and to inform the public whom the Government serves.

Before the last election, the previous Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, asked that I lead work to produce a Cabinet Manual. I published a draft chapter on elections and government formation when I gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee in February 2010, and that draft chapter helped as a guide through the process of supporting the formation of a new government after the General Election.

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, and Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, have endorsed the idea of the Cabinet Manual and agreed that this draft should now be published for comment. The three-month period allowed for comments will also provide an opportunity for Parliament to scrutinise the draft.

Following consideration of any comments, I expect to invite Cabinet to endorse a revised version of the Cabinet Manual in the spring of 2011.