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Public administration

When referring here to ‘public administration’ this means the activities of the many public bodies and public offices concerned with applying and enforcing the law or tasked with particular functions under the law. Put another way, public administration is all about the day to day running of government and the rest of the public sector in the UK in accordance with all applicable laws.

You can find a broad overview of some the main bodies responsible for public administration in Wales on the devolved public bodies page.

There are a number of elements to public administration, including:

  • Implementing government policy
  • Implementing legislation
  • Applying legislation
  • Enforcing legislation
  • Providing regulatory guidance and performing regulatory functions
  • Taking decisions or making determinations in accordance with the law
  • The audit of public expenditure – to read more information on public audit in Wales visit the public audit topic page.

See Introduction to administrative law for an overview of the rules which the courts have developed for ensuring that public administration is carried out in a lawful manner.

The public audit function and the principles of administrative law provide important checks and balances on the power of the executive in the UK constitution. For an explanation of ‘the executive’ visit the three branches of government page.

In order to increase accountability and transparency, the UK also has laws on freedom of information.

Published on
10 March 2021
Last updated
05 October 2021