The Authority of the UK Government

The Authority of a State

The authority of any state is the body responsible for regulating and conducting affairs in the state. There are several factors that make an authority legitimate as they can also face opposition from the subordinates they rule over. Authority is responsible for maintaining law and order and also propel economic growth for the state. There are various forms of authority globally and differs according to the different state. Policies have been structured, and responsibilities shared to make an authority relevant to its citizens. The purpose of any government is to maintain social order and protect its citizens and property within the constitutional boundaries. An example of a state authority that has been in existence for decades now and still very stable is the UK government. The state serves as an example of the various factors that guarantee the authority of any country if any of the factors are adopted.

The UK Government Structure

The UK government is considered to be peculiar from other governments globally, as it has an unwritten constitution. The state has been too stable for too long a factor that has contributed to this. Even so, there is the separation of powers into various arms which, work together to achieve the main objectives. Separation of powers is essential for any country globally as this ensures that no specific division of the government has full control over the country and also to promote democracy (Factors of effective sovereignty). The United Kingdom is a democratic state that consists of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Three Branches of Power

The three branches of power include The Executive, The legislative and The Judiciary (Separation of powers in the UK). The political framework of the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. The executive comprises of the Crown and the Government, Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers. The Crown is the head of state while The Prime Minister is the Head of the government (Parliaments Authority). The prime minister should oversee the operation of the Civil Service and government agencies, appoint members of the government and also act as the principal government figure in the House of Commons. The executive formulates and executes the Government's policies. Members of a government are elected from Members in the House of Common or House of Lords.

The Legislative Branch

The legislative is headed by the Parliament which is composed of three parts. The Monarch, House of Lords and House of Commons. The Members of Parliament through the Prime Minister advice the Monarch. The House of Commons comprises of elected Members of parliament while the House of Lords has the Unelected hereditary peers appointed by the crown, Arch-Bishops, and Bishops of the Church of England. Parliament is responsible for creating and amending laws, scrutinizing the government and enabling the government to make financial orders. The Judiciary resolves matters of the law by developing the law through the judgments they make. Senior judges are appointed by the Crown and can only be dismissed by the Crown.

Sovereignty and Devolved Governments

The UK government is sovereign to all other government institutions including any judicial and executive bodies. The parliament decides on what the law is instead of the judiciary who only interpret the devolved system of government exists where Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been granted certain owners to make decisions for their areas. However, the UK parliament is still able to pass legislation for any part of the UK by dealing with devolved matters with the agreement of the devolved governments. The devolved states are headed by Secretaries of State. Laws go through several stages before being passed by Parliament which includes: Draft legislation and Acts of Parliament. The Parliament has over the years passed laws that limit the application of parliamentary sovereignty (Devolved government in the UK). Through acts such as The devolution of power to the Scottish parliament, Human Rights Act in 1998, The establishment of the supreme court which ends the House of Lords. The four major political parties in Britain include The Conservative party, The Labor party, Scottish National party and the Liberal Democrat Party.

Government Function and Public Perception

Most parts of England have two tiers of the Local government which are, county and councils and districts and the City Councils. For any government to be considered successful, it has to be able to hold free and fair elections as is the case in England. The Conservative and Labor party have dominated politics in the UK for years now. February 2016, a memorandum was held to decide on their membership in the European Union. Majority of the citizens were against it. They claimed the population of the immigrants in the country had increased and this had a negative impact on their economy. The referendum resulted in a 51.9% win.

Authority and Security

The ability to deal with cases against graft also shows the power of authority of the state. Corruption is not pervasive in Britain, but several high-profile cases have been recorded. An Anti-Bribery act was enforced in 2011 and has proved to be effective. Several arrests have been made such as that of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson who was accused of accepting millions of dollars to sell assets managed by the Republic of Ireland's National Asset Management Agency. Scandals involving lobbying of finances to the various parties have also been reported and dealt with.

Media Freedom and Citizen Confidence

The media in the UK is lively and competitive. Their freedom is legally protected. The instances in which the court has had to restrict the press have been minimal. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is state-owned. But editorially independent. Just like any other state-owned organization, this has not been exempted from scandals. Several employees have been convicted of sexual and verbal abuse in 2013. The government does not limit internet access. Showing the extent of democracy, the state is at.

Factors Affecting Authority

The confidence of the citizens in its government and acceptability is a major factor that contributes to a state having power. As John Locke puts it, a legitimate state is one which gives its citizens equal rights and does not subject any individual to the will of another. Authority is effective if it gets citizens to act on the reasons it generates. The Brexit movement in the UK is a clear indication of this. The citizens were in full support with the majority of the government to support its exit from the European Union. The population of immigrants was posing a threat to its economy. There was increased war against the Muslim immigrants, and action had to be taken. The parliament won the referendum led by Theresa May.

Government Transparency and Protection of Human Rights

A government that is open meaning it shares information encourages citizens' participation in making some of the policies, and equips them with the necessary tools to hold the government accountable will be accepted by the citizens. Any government that considers these factors its authority will be acknowledged by the subordinates who are the citizens. Such a government values the citizen's opinion on matters that affect the state and thus has set policies that guard and protect the rights of the citizens.

Security and the Rule of Law

Security is one of the primary aspects that will determine the authority of any state. How secure the citizens feel with the current government in authority will determine how activities will be conducted within the state (Four principles of a better public sector). Security in this term cuts across three major sectors which are: crime, terrorism and political unrest. A state that has political unrest will face rebellion from the citizens as coups will regularly be formed in an attempt to overthrow those in authority. A state that ensures its borders are secure does not suffer any external threats. A state should invest in its armed forces to keep the state secure otherwise it would be effortless for an invasion to happen and the state to be overthrown and taken over by foreigners.

The Role of the Criminal Justice System

A state that has an effective criminal justice system has a guarantee of its authority (Factors of the rule of law). An effective criminal justice system means that any cases brought to book involving high profile members of the society or ordinary civilians should be prosecuted accordingly. A fair justice system is one that will gain the favor of the majority in the society. They will be in full support of the authority in place. A fair justice system ensures that crimes such as corruption in the government offices are controlled, and this makes it possible for the government funds allocated to various government offices are used effectively and efficiently without wasting the taxpayer's money.

The Importance of Regulatory Systems

An authority system that effectively enforces its regulations both legal and administrative which are responsible for structuring the behavior within and outside the government has a guarantee for its authority. Such a government is not prone to influence from certain individuals who may want to make policies that only favor them and not the general public. A strong rule of law makes this possible. An effective regulatory system ensures that administrative proceedings are conducted timely without delays.

Protection of Human Rights

Protection of the human rights of citizens is one critical element for any state to be effectively functional. A state that protects its citizens through policies and written constitutional rights is guaranteed authority. Citizens want to be protected and to feel cared for and considered. A country that does not discriminate against its citizens is one that has the full support of its citizens. A country should grant its citizens the right to expression, life, security, and religion (Freedom in the World 2017). These rights will give the citizens an opportunity to participate in the activities of the state such as the formulation of policies and also criticizing the government when it is not performing as expected.


In conclusion, for any authority of any state to be legitimate or rather guaranteed, several factors have to be fulfilled. The citizens under the rule have to be considered as they have the power to rebel or to acknowledge the authority. The right factors observed encourage peace and economic growth in the respective states. Sharing of responsibilities among different arms of the government is essential for effective governance. Authority is important as it ensures order; therefore, a state cannot survive without any form of authority be it centralized or decentralized.

Work cited


‘Separation of Powers in the UK’ Law Teacher,2018   .

            Accessed 10 December 2018.

‘Factors of the Rule of Law' World Justice Project,

Accessed 10 December 2018

‘Factors of effective sovereignty’ Protesilaos Stavrou, 2014,

Accessed 10 December 2018

‘Parliamentsauthority’,,           Accessed 10 December 2018

‘Freedom in the World 2017’Freedom House    Accessed 10 December 2018

‘Constraints on Government Powers(Factor 1), World Justice Project    Accessed 10 December 2018

‘Government by design: Four principles for a better public sector’ McKinsey"Company 2018   Accessed 10 December 2018

‘Devolved government in the UK’ Directgov 2012

Accessed 10 December 2018

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