UK Government Business Departments

The structure of the UK Government business departments that work with UK Businesses is complex and multi-faceted. As a business owner, you will deal with government departments regularly, so understanding the structure of the department involved is important and useful.

This article attempts to explain and simplify the departments that can help you and your business.

Structure of UK Government Departments

The UK Government is divided up into Departments. These departments ensure rules of law and policy are put into place throughout the UK.

An example of a government department is the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

As a side note. BEIS was created through joining the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). This shows that not all departments are perpetual and even the larger ones can change shape and name.

Types of UK Government Department

A top-level department can be classified into ministerial, non-ministerial, or an agency or public body.

Put simply:

  • A ministerial department. These are the main departments and will have an MP responsible and accountable for that departments running. For example, the Department of Work and Transport, which is managed by the Secretary of State for Transport. There are currently 23 ministerial departments as of 2022.
  • A non-ministerial department. These are run by civil servants, much like businesses and are regulatory in nature. You will see a lot of these departments mentioned on this website. Examples are the Food Standards Agency, OFSTED and The Charity Commission.
  • Agencies and other public bodies. These are not really departments, but areas of executive specialism, advice, and services. For example, prison management, and specific areas of law. These can be managed by parent departments. There are over 400 other agencies and public bodies.

To add a bit of confusion, within top level departments, there can also be departments that are classified into non-ministerial or executive or executive non-departmental.

For example, below is a small section of the departments in the BEIS:

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – BEIS (Top Level Ministerial Department)

Non-ministerial departments under BEIS

Competition and Markets Authority, HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey

Executive agencies under BEIS

Companies House, Insolvency Service, Intellectual Property Office, Met Office, UK Space Agency

Executive non-departmental public bodies under BEIS

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, British Hallmarking Council, Civil Nuclear Police Authority

UK Government Business Departments

The main top-level departments that are key to understanding more about if you are running a UK Business are:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This department manages business, industrial strategy, science, research, energy, and climate change and is one of the main tier one departments of the UK Government.

Companies House and the Intellectual Property Office fall under the BEIC remit.

Department for Work and Pensions

This department manages all work-related policies, and manages the HSE, the Pensions Ombudsman and the Pensions Regulator.

HM Treasury Department

Deals with all public finances and taxation as well as central government fiscal policies. Agencies within the treasury include HMRC, the Royal Mint, the Office for Budget Responsibility and UK Debt Management.

UK Goverment Business Departments and Innovation

The UK Government recently produced the business technology innovation in government survey which shows the extent and range of technical business innovation activity across the whole of government.

More Information on UK Goverment Business Departments

There is more information on the UK Government Departments, bodies and agencies throughout this website, with more details being added all the time.