Cabinet Committees

Cabinet committees are sub-committees of the full cabinet, which consider particular aspects of government policy. They have been used in greater numbers since 1945, their benefit being that the cabinet works more quickly and efficiently in smaller groups composed of relevant ministers. Senior officials and junior ministers may also be members of cabinet committees, which have, over time, spawned a range of sub-committees and more informal ministerial groups. Cabinet committees are where the real business of government is done.

Cameron set up ten full cabinet committees in May 2010. In theory, the most important of these was the coalition committee, whose role was to manage the Coalition by providing a forum for reviewing and resolving disputes between its partners.

Under May since 2016, the number of cabinet committees has been halved from ten to five, and when subcommittees and task forces are taken into account, the number has fallen from 31 to 21, although the number of committees chaired by May has remained almost the same, at 10 compared with Cameron’s 11. The key current cabinet committees reflect May’s policy priorities. They include Brexit and international trade, the economy and industrial strategy, social reform and economic affairs (airports).