The Department must, accordingly, provide to its political chief all relevant information so that he may be able to defend the actions of his Department on the floor of the legislature and on the public platform. It involves that the work of the Department should be so conducted and its policy so framed that it should be capable of “articulate rational defence.” The second function of a Department is the drawing up of its policy. Policy is, in fact, formulated by the cabinet. But all details for the working out of policy so formulated and all routine business connected therewith are left to various departments of the government. Very often the Department may itself devise proposals within the framework of the policy of the government. Such proposals may either be the outcome of the Department’s own administrative experience or may be the result of the directions given to it by the political chief.
Whatever be their origin, the Department prepares the draft of the scheme, works out its details, and consults the interests likely to be affected by it. If the scheme of the policy cannot be carried out within the framework of the existing law, then, it passes into the stage of proposals for a bill. After it has been approved by the cabinet, it is drafted as a bill to be laid before the legislature. The bill is sponsored and piloted by the Minister in charge of the Department to which it relates and it is his responsibility to see it through. The members of the Civil Service have to remain in attendance in the legislature to assist the Minister with information and advice, whenever he is under fire in the House.
Most modem statutes are “Skeleton” legislations. Legislatures legislate in general terms, empowering the Departments to work out the detailed regulations necessary to give effect to the statutes. The Department will, probably, concurrently with its preparation of the bill, work out regulations and subordinate acts of legislation and shortly after the bill becomes law, will issue them as drafted by the Law Department. In the application of the rules and regulations to specific cases the Minister or a member of the Civil Service may assume a quasi-judicial role and decide disputes accordingly. This is the third function of a Department. Finally, the function of the Department is to implement policy. When policy has been determined, presented and sanctioned, it becomes the duty of permanent officials of the Department to see that it is faithfully carried out by the field officers appointed at different levels. The Department directs, instructs, supervises and controls, whereas the field officers obey, implement, and report, if necessary, accompanied by suggestions.
It is for the Department to accept those suggestions or not. The actual authority flows from the Department, and the actual impact of the officials of the Department is always considerable.