Meaning of CABINET in English


In Britain, the Cabinet is a committee responsible for deciding government policy and for coordinating the work of government departments . It consists of about 20 ministers chosen by the Prime Minister and meets for a few hours each week at Downing Street . Its members are bound by oath not to talk about the meetings. Reports are sent to government departments but these give only summaries of the topics discussed and decisions taken. They do not mention who agreed or disagreed. The principle of collective responsibility means that the Cabinet acts unanimously (= all together), even if some ministers do not agree. When a policy has been decided, each minister is expected to support it publicly or resign. In recent years, prime ministers have changed the members of their Cabinet quite often in Cabinet reshuffles . Some members are dropped, new ones are brought in, and the rest are given new departmental responsibilities.

The leader of the main opposition party forms a shadow cabinet of shadow ministers , each with their own area of responsibility, so that there is a team ready to take over immediately if the party in power should be defeated.

Committees are appointed by the Cabinet to examine issues in more detail than the Cabinet has time for. Members of these committees are not necessarily politicians. The Cabinet Office led by the Secretary to the Cabinet, the most senior civil servant in Britain, prepares agendas for Cabinet meetings and committees.

In the US the Cabinet consists of the heads of the 15 departments that make up the executive branch of the federal government . Each president appoints the department heads, called secretaries , from his or her own party, and they advise him or her on policy. Since the Cabinet was not established by the Constitution , the President can add, remove or combine departments as he or she wishes, and can decide when to ask the Cabinet for advice, and whether or not to follow it.

State governments are usually organized in a similar way to the national government, and most have a cabinet.

Oxford guide to British and American culture English vocabulary.      Руководство по британской и американской культуре, Оксфордский английский словарь.