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A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the
machinery of government The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and processes of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...
that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an
administration Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; ...
. There is a notable variety of agency types. Although usage differs, a government agency is normally distinct both from a department or ministry, and other types of public body established by
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...

government
. The functions of an agency are normally executive in character since different types of organizations (''such as commissions'') are most often constituted in an advisory role—this distinction is often blurred in practice however, it is not allowed. A government agency may be established by either a national government or a state government within a federal system. ''The term is not normally used for an organization created by the powers of a local government body''. Agencies can be established by legislation or by executive powers. The autonomy, independence, and accountability of government agencies also vary widely.


History

Early examples of organizations that would now be termed a government agency include the British
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
, responsible for ships and supplies, which was established in 1546 by King Henry VIII and the British Commissioners of Bankruptcy established in 1570. From 1933, the
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
saw growth in US federal agencies, the " alphabet agencies" as they were used to deliver new programs created by legislation, such as the
Federal Emergency Relief Administration The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) was a program established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, building on the Hoover administration's Emergency Relief and Construction Act. It was replaced in 1935 by the Works Progress Admin ...
. From the 1980s, as part of
New Public Management New Public Management (NPM) is an approach to running public service organizations that is used in government and public service institutions and agencies, at both sub-national and national levels. The term was first introduced by academics in the ...
, several countries including Australia and the United Kingdom developed the use of agencies to improve efficiency in public services.


Australia


Canada


France

Administrative law in France refers to ''autorité administrative indépendante'' (AAI) or Independent Administrative Authorities. They tend to be prominent in the following areas of public policy; * Economic and financial regulation * Information and communication * Defence of citizens' rights Independent Administrative Authorities in France may not be instructed or ordered to take specific actions by the government.


Germany


Greece

The
General Secretariat for Macedonia and Thrace The Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace ( el, Υπουργείο Μακεδονίας και Θράκης, ΥΜΑΘ) is a former ministry of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in South ...
(
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
: Γενική Γραμματεία Μακεδονίας-Θράκης), previously
Ministry for Macedonia and Thrace The Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace ( el, Υπουργείο Μακεδονίας και Θράκης, ΥΜΑΘ) is a former ministry of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in South ...
(
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
: Υπουργείο Μακεδονίας-Θράκης) is a government agency of the
Hellenic Republic Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one ...
that is responsible for the Greek regions of
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
and
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
.


Iceland


India

The term ''agency'' in India has several meanings; for example,the Cabinet and the parliament
Secretariat Secretariat may refer to: * Secretariat (administrative office) The secretariat of an organization is the department that fulfils its central administrative or general secretary duties. The term is especially associated with government ...
describes itselfCabinet Secretariat, Government of India a

accessed June 30, 2006
as a "''nodal agency'' for coordination amongst the ministries of the Govt. of India". Most notably as an international feature, what appear to be independent agencies (''or apex agencies'') include some that have active roles for Ministers: such as, the National Security Council (India), National Security Council, the
Indian Council of Agricultural Research Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, ...
, and the Planning Commission, which is chaired
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ''ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) ...
by the Prime Minister.


Russian Federation

Russia has had many government agencies throughout its history. The
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a Federation, federal union of multiple national Republics of ...

USSR
had the secretive
KGB The KGB ( rus, links=no, Комитет государственной безопасности (КГБ), a=ru-KGB.ogg, p=kəmʲɪˈtʲet ɡəsʊˈdarstvʲɪn(ː)əj bʲɪzɐˈpasnəsʲtʲɪ, Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti), translated ...
. Today, Russian government agencies such as the FSB, FSO, and the
GRU The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, abbreviated G.R.U., rus, Гла́вное разведывательное управле́ние Генера́льного шта́ба Воо ...
use
Spetsnaz Spetsnaz ( rus, спецназ, p=spʲɪtsˈnas; abbreviation for or 'Special Purpose Military Units') is a Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic languages, East Slavic language native to Russia in Easter ...
or other masked operators for any missions. Other organizations include
Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin ( rus, Московский Кремль, r=Moskovskiy Kreml, p=mɐˈskofskʲɪj krʲemlʲ), or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow founded by Russian ruling dynasty of Rurikids. It is the bes ...

Kremlin
and presidential security.


Sweden

The Government agencies in Sweden are
State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
controlled organizations who act independently to carry out the policies of the
Government of Sweden A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive Executive may refer to: Role, ...
. The Ministries are relatively small and merely policy-making organizations, allowed to control agencies by policy decisions but not by direct orders. This means that while the agencies are subject to decisions made by the Government, Ministers are explicitly prohibited (so-called ban on ''
ministerstyre Ministerial rule ( sv, ministerstyre) is the informal term for when a public authority in Sweden — including the Riksdag, or a decision-making body of a Municipalities of Sweden, municipality — tries to influence how an administrative authority ...
'') from interfering with the day-to-day operation in an agency or the outcome in individual cases as well. In addition to the State and its agencies, there are also local government agencies, which are extensions of
municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
and
county council A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Pub ...
s.


United Kingdom

Agencies in the United Kingdom are either
executive agencies An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate, to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government The Government of the United Kingdom, dom ...
answerable to
government ministers A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assemb ...
or
non-departmental public bodiesIn the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to public sector organisations that have a role in the pro ...
answerable directly to one of the
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

parliament
s or devolved assemblies of the United Kingdom. They are also commonly known as
Quango The term quango or QUANGO (less often QuANGO or QANGO) is a (normally pejorative) description of an organisation to which a government has devolution, devolved power, but which is still partly controlled and/or financed by government bodies. The t ...
s. Agencies can be created by enabling legislation by the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
,
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; Scots language, Scots: ''Scots Pairlament'') is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyro ...

Scottish Parliament
or the
National Assembly for Wales The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...

National Assembly for Wales
. Agencies in England usually answer to Westminster or the British Government. In Scotland, they usually answer to the
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
or the Scottish Parliament and in Wales to the National Assembly for Wales. Some have remits that cover the entire UK and these organizations are funded by and answer to the British Government.


United States

The
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...
and
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

President of the United States
delegate specific authority to government agencies to
regulate Regulate may refer to: * Regulation * ''Regulate...G Funk Era'', an album from rapper Warren G ** Regulate (song), title song from the album See also

* * * Regulator (disambiguation) * Regulation (disambiguation) {{Disambiguation ...

regulate
the complex facets of the modern
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...

American
federal state A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism Federalism is a mixed or compou ...
. Also, most of the 50
U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the . Due to this shared sovereignty, are both of t ...
s have created similar government agencies. Each of the 50 states' governments is similar to the national government with all but one having a bicameral legislature. The term "government agency" or "administrative agency" usually applies to one of the
independent agencies of the United States government Independent agencies of the Federal government of the United States, United States federal government are List of federal agencies in the United States, agencies that exist outside the United States federal executive departments, federal executive ...
, which exercise some degree of independence from the President's control. Although the heads of independent agencies are often appointed by the government, they can usually be removed only for cause. The heads of independent agencies work together in groups, such as a commission, board or council. Independent agencies often function as miniature versions of the tripartite federal government with the authority to legislate (through the issuing, or "promulgation" of
regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interaction, interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infras ...

regulation
s), to
adjudicate Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants, to come to a decision which determines rights and ...
disputes, and to
enforce Enforcement is the process of ensuring compliance with laws, regulations, rules, standards, or social norms. Enforcement may also refer to: * Law enforcement, a system organized to enforce the law * Enforcement of foreign judgments, the recognit ...
agency regulations (through enforcement personnel). Examples of independent agencies include the
Federal Communications Commission The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jurisdictions. I ...
(FCC),
Federal Reserve Board The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, commonly known as the Federal Reserve Board, is the main governing body of the Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve System. It is charged with overseeing the Federal Reserve Banks and with helping i ...
,
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a large independent agency of the United States federal government, created in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Great Crash ...
(SEC), the
National Labor Relations Board The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent agency of the federal government of the United States with responsibilities for enforcing U.S. labor law in relation to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices. Under the N ...

National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB) and the
Federal Trade Commission The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promot ...

Federal Trade Commission
(FTC). A broader definition of the term "government agency" also means the
United States federal executive departments The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of peop ...
that includes the President's cabinet-level departments, and their sub-units. Examples of these agencies include the
Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a government department in some countries that typically oversees the production of fuel and electricity; in the United States, however, it manages nuclear weapons development and conducts energy-relate ...
(DOE) and the
Internal Revenue Service The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue service A revenue service, revenue agency or taxation authority is a government agency responsible for the intake of government revenue, including taxes and sometimes non-tax revenue. ...
(IRS), which is a bureau of the
Department of the Treasury Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
. Most federal agencies are created by Congress through
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
s called "
enabling act An enabling act is a piece of legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statute, statutory or administrative law is enacte ...
s" which define the scope of an agency's authority. Because the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
does not expressly mention federal agencies (as it does the three branches), some commentators have called agencies the "headless fourth branch" of the federal government. However, most independent agencies are technically part of the executive branch, with a few located in the legislative branch of government. By enacting the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946, Congress established some means to oversee government agency action. The APA established uniform
administrative law Administrative law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by ...
procedures for a federal agency's promulgation of rules and adjudication of claims. The APA also sets forth the process for
judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, ...
of agency action.


See also

* Classification of the Functions of Government *
Government-owned corporation A state-owned enterprise (SOE) or government-owned enterprise (GOE) is a business enterprise Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simp ...
*
Regulatory agency A regulatory agency or regulatory body, is a government authority that is responsible for exercising autonomous dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. ...
*
Statutory authority A statutory authority is a body set up by law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influe ...
*
Statutory corporation A statutory corporation is a statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gatherin ...


References


Further reading

*
Machinery of Government Reform: Principles and Practice
' in "The Organisation of Central Government Departments: A History 1964–1992", ESRC Whitehall Programme at
Nuffield College Nuffield College () is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (as of 31 July 2019) , budget = £2.1 ...

Nuffield College
, University of Oxford. (accessed October 16, 2018)


External links


Encyclopedic Dictionary of Public Administration, Agency
{{Authority control