IFG - Short tenure of a junior minister makes preparation vital

9 Dec 2019 02:41 PM

They may not be household names, but there are over 60 junior ministers who work in government, responsible for overseeing large parts of the public sector from the NHS to the police.

Published by the Institute for Government, Becoming a Junior Minister offers advice on how MPs new to these important roles can make the most of their time in office. And they may not have long to do so – between 1997 and 2015, the average tenure of ministers was just 21 months. 

All new ministers will want to hit the ground running, whether they are appointed after an election or a reshuffle. But taking up one of these roles can be bewildering, and ministers are expected to get up to speed with the role very quickly.

Those who come in with no government experience at all, as opposed to moving from another ministerial role, may find the learning curve particularly steep. Understanding how to approach the role, even if the policy content is unknown, will be key.

The paper offers four ways for new junior ministers to succeed, from running a private office to identifying specific priorities they want to achieve.

Tim Durrant, Institute for Government associate director, said:

“Whatever the outcome of the election, we are likely to see a new set of junior ministers – but they may not be in the job long. To make the most of their time in office, they will need to focus on a limited number of priorities and build strong relationships with their colleagues.”

Notes to editors

  1. Full report can be found on our website. 
  2. The Institute for Government is an independent think tank that works to make government more effective.
  3. For more information, including data to reproduce any charts, please contact press@instituteforgovernment.org.uk / 0785 031 3791.

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