The Cabinet Office is a department of His Majesty's Government responsible for supporting the
prime minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. Under those systems, a prime minister is n ...
and Cabinet. It is composed of various units that support Cabinet committees and which co-ordinate the delivery of government objectives via other departments. As of December 2021, it has over 10,200 staff, most of whom are
civil servants The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leaders ...
, some of whom work in
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. It is the main thoroughfare running south from Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Squa ...
. Staff working in the Prime Minister's Office are part of the Cabinet Office.


The Cabinet Office's core functions are: * Supporting collective government, helping to ensure the effective development, coordination and implementation of policy; * Supporting the National Security Council and the Joint Intelligence Organisation, coordinating the government's response to crises and managing the UK's cyber security; * Promoting efficiency and reform across government through innovation, transparency, better procurement and project management, by transforming the delivery of services, and improving the capability of the Civil Service; * Political and constitutional reform. The Cabinet Office has responsibility for the following at a UK national level: * the Home Civil Service * the Boundary Commissions * the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority * the Government
Commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and ...
Function and the Government Commercial Organisation. * the Government digital, data and technology (DDaT) function through the Government Digital Service UK Government ''Procurement Policy Notes'' are issued in the name of the Cabinet Office, although in the past they were issued by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS). The CCS Helpdesk continues to act as the contact point for any queries.


The department was formed in December 1916 from the secretariat of the
Committee of Imperial Defence The Committee of Imperial Defence was an important ''ad hoc'' part of the Government of the United Kingdom and the British Empire from just after the Second Boer War until the start of the Second World War. It was responsible for research, and so ...
under Sir Maurice Hankey, the first Cabinet Secretary. Traditionally the most important part of the Cabinet Office's role was facilitating collective decision-making by the Cabinet, through running and supporting Cabinet-level committees. This is still its principal role, but since the absorption of some of the functions of the Civil Service Department in 1981 the Cabinet Office has also helped to ensure that a wide range of Ministerial priorities are taken forward across Whitehall. It also contains miscellaneous units that do not sit well in other departments. For example: * The Historical Section was founded in 1906 as part of the Committee for Imperial Defence and is concerned with Official Histories. * The Joint Intelligence Committee was founded in 1936 and transferred to the department in 1957. It deals with intelligence assessments and directing the national intelligence organisations of the UK. * The Ceremonial Branch was founded in 1937 and transferred to the department in 1981. It was originally concerned with all ceremonial functions of state, but today it handles honours and appointments. In modern times the Cabinet Office often takes on responsibility for areas of policy which are the priority of the Government of the time. The units that administer these areas migrate in and out of the Cabinet Office as government priorities (and governments) change.

Ministers and civil servants

The Cabinet Office Ministers are as follows: The Cabinet Office senior civil servants are as follows: The Cabinet Office also supports the work of: * The
Leader of the House of Commons The leader of the House of Commons is a minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom whose main role is organising government business in the House of Commons. The leader is generally a member or attendee of the cabinet of the ...
* The Leader of the House of Lords * The Whips Office The Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Cabinet Office supports the work of ministers.


Cabinet committees have two key purposes: * To relieve the burden on the Cabinet by dealing with business that does not need to be discussed at full Cabinet. Appeals to the Cabinet should be infrequent, and Ministers chairing Cabinet Committees should exercise discretion in advising the prime minister whether to allow them. * To support the principle of collective responsibility by ensuring that, even though a question may never reach the Cabinet itself, it will be fully considered. In this way, the final judgement is sufficiently authoritative that Government as a whole can be expected to accept responsibility for it. In this sense, Cabinet Committee decisions have the same authority as Cabinet decisions.


The main building of the Cabinet Office is at 70
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. It is the main thoroughfare running south from Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Squa ...
, adjacent to
Downing Street Downing Street is a street in Westminster in London that houses the official residences and offices of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Situated off Whitehall, it is long, and a few minutes' walk f ...
. The building connects three historically distinct properties, as well as the remains of Henry VIII's 1530
tennis court A tennis court is the venue where the sport of tennis is played. It is a firm rectangular surface with a low net stretched across the centre. The same surface can be used to play both Types of tennis match, doubles and singles matches. A variet ...
s, part of the
Palace of Whitehall The Palace of Whitehall (also spelt White Hall) at Westminster was the main residence of the English monarchs from 1530 until 1698, when most of its structures, except notably Inigo Jones's Banqueting House of 1622, were destroyed by fire. ...
, which can be seen within the building. The Whitehall frontage was designed by Sir John Soane and completed by Sir Charles Barry between 1845 and 1847 as the Treasury Buildings. Immediately to the west Dorset House (1700) connects the front of the building to William Kent's Treasury (1733–36), which faces out onto Horse Guards Parade. The latter is built over the site of the Cockpit, used for cock fighting in the Tudor period, and subsequently as a
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The perfor ...
. In the early 1960s the buildings were restored and many of the Tudor remains were exposed and repaired. Significant renovations between 2010 and 2016 converted many of the floors to open plan and created new office space. The Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms are located on this site. The department occupies other buildings in Whitehall and the surrounding area, including part of 1 Horse Guards, as well as sites in other parts of the country.

See also

* British Civil Service * Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms * Prime Minister's Strategy Unit * Social Exclusion Task Force * United Kingdom budget


External links

* {{Authority control
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and ...
1916 establishments in the United Kingdom