Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
bodies in the machinery of governments that manage a specific sector of public administration." Энциклопедический словарь Брокгауза и Ефрона", т. XIX (1896): Мекенен — Мифу-Баня, "Министерства", с. 351—357 :s:ru:ЭСБЕ/Министерства These types of organizations are usually led by a politician who is a member of a cabinet—a body of high-ranking government officials—who may use a title such as minister,
secretary A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busines ...
, or commissioner, and are typically staffed with members of a non-political
civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadersh ...
, who manage its operations; they may also oversee other
government agencies A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and processe ...
and organizations as part of a political portfolio. Governments may have differing numbers and types of ministries and departments. In some countries, these terms may be used with specific meanings: for example, an office may be a subdivision of a department or ministry.



The federal
Government of Canada The Government of Canada (french: gouvernement du Canada) is the body responsible for the federal administration of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces a ...
uses the term ''department'' to refer to its first-level executive bodies.


Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocea ...

, first-level subdivisions are known as provinces and territories. Five of the ten
provincial Provincial may refer to: Government & Administration * Provincial capitals, an administrative sub-national capital of a country * Provincial city (disambiguation) * Provincial minister (disambiguation) * Provincial Secretary, a position in Canadi ...
governments use the term ''ministry'' to describe their departments (
Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capital = Toronto , larges ...
Quebec ) , image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = Quebec French, French , capital = Quebec City , CapCoord = , l ...
Saskatchewan ("Strength from Many Peoples") , image_map = Saskatchewan in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Regina , largest_city ...
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British Co ...
, and
Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Edmonton , largest_city = Calga ...
) but the other five, as well as the three territorial governments, use the term ''department''. Despite the difference in nomenclature, both the provincial and federal governments use the term "minister" to describe the head of a ministry or department. The specific task assigned to a minister is referred to as his or her "portfolio".

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, all government organisations that consist of civil servants, and which may or non-ministerial government department, may not be headed by a government minister or Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state, are considered to be Departments of the United Kingdom Government, departments. Until 2018, the term "ministry" had been retained only for the Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom), Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom), Ministry of Justice. On 8 January 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the Department of Communities and Local Government would be renamed at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to emphasise her government's prioritising of housing policy.

Other countries

Some countries, such as Federal administration of Switzerland, Switzerland, the Government of the Philippines, Philippines and the United States federal executive departments, United States, do not use or no longer use the term "ministry" and instead call their main government bodies "departments". However, in other countries such as Luxembourg a department is a subdivision of a ministry, usually led by a government member called a secretary of state who is subordinate to the minister. In Government of Australia#Departments, Australia at the federal level, and also at the state level, the term ''Ministry'' refers to the ministerial office held by a member of Cabinet of Australia, Cabinet, the executive, which is then responsible for one or more ''departments'', the top division of the public service. The collection of departments responsible to a ministerial office and hence the minister, is referred to as the minister's "portfolio". New Zealand's state agencies include many ministries and a smaller number of departments. Increasingly, state agencies are styled neither as ministries nor as departments. All New Zealand agencies are under the direction of one or more ministers or associate ministers, whether they are styled ''ministries'' or not. Each body also has an apolitical chief executive, and in ministries and departments these chief executives often have the title of Secretary. In Hong Kong, the term ''bureau'' is used, and departments are subordinate to the bureaus. In Mexico, ministries are referred to as ''secretariats''. In 1999, the ministries of the federal government of Belgium became known as ''federal public service'', the exception being the Ministry of Defense which kept the original designation. In Taiwan, Republic of China, ''ministry'' is used. In China, People's Republic of China, ''ministry'' is used. The organization of the Portuguese government implemented in 2015, ceased to expressly foresee the existence of ministries, with the portfolios of the ministers being referred as "governative areas". While some governative areas continue to be structured as traditional ministries (Finance, Defense, Foreign Affairs, etc.), other governative areas received a more flexible organization. In Nigeria each ministry is led by a minister who is not a member of the National Assembly (Nigeria), Nigerian legislature (due to the separation of powers) and is responsible to the popularly elected President of Nigeria, president. In Lebanon, there are 21 ministries. Each ministry is led by a minister, and the Prime Minister is the 22nd minister of the Lebanese government. In the European Union, the equivalent organisation to a national government department is termed Directorate-General, ''directorate-general'' with the civil servant in charge called a Director-General, director-general (in the European Commission, the political head of the department is one of the European Commissioners). The Government of the Soviet Union, government departments of the Soviet Union were termed ''people's commissariats'' between 1917 and 1946.

In popular culture

The term ''ministry'' has also been widely used in fiction, notably in satires and parodies.

Books and films

* The Ministry of Magic is the governing body of the wizarding world of the United Kingdom and Ireland in the Harry Potter series (not a department of the British Government responsible for magical affairs). It is led by a Minister for Magic. * In the ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' novel there are four Ministries in charge of Airstrip One (formerly the United Kingdom), : the Ministry of Truth (education, culture and propaganda), the Ministry of Love (the interior), the Ministry of Plenty (economic affairs) and the Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four#Ministry_of_Peace, Ministry of Peace (war and foreign affairs) . * The Ministry of Information Retrieval features in the film ''Brazil (1985 film), Brazil''. * The Ministry of Social Coherence appears in an Estonian comedy ''Riigimehed'' (Statesmen).


* In ''Yes Minister'' the Department of Administrative Affairs (DAA) is responsible for the administration of other government departments and the British Civil Service. This ministry had a number of other responsibilities, including National Health Service administration, local government, organising state visits by foreign leaders, enforcing European regulations, the arts and telecommunications. *''The Thick of It'' is set at the fictional Department of Social Affairs, later called the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. * The Ministry of Silly Walks is the subject of a sketch in ''Monty Python's Flying Circus''. * The Spanish television show ''El ministerio del tiempo'' follows the exploits of an investigative team in the fictional Ministry of Time, which deals with incidents caused by time travel that can cause changes to the present day

See also

* Cabinet (government) * Ministry (collective executive) * Individual ministerial responsibility * Housing authority * Ministry of Social Security


External links

* {{Authority control Ministries, * Public administration