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What does a Cabinet Secretary do?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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The duties of cabinet secretaries in many countries include administrative roles to support the elected leaders of each nation. In some regions, cabinet secretaries may also oversee civil servants, probe leaks within the government, or handle any national crisis. In the United States, a cabinet secretary is appointed by the president to head each federal division of the government, except for the Department of Justice, which is overseen by an attorney general.

Leaders of some state departments are also referred to as cabinet secretaries. Secretaries of departments such as health, environmental protection, and commerce may provide information to state governors about each division to help him or her set goals for the state. The cabinet secretary might offer guidance on state policies and also communicates with other divisions within the governor’s office.

In Great Britain, the cabinet secretary is responsible for the office that supports the prime minister. The secretary handles all administrative duties and usually serves as the head of the civil service department, which supervises every civil service employee in the country. Additionally, the cabinet secretary administers the code that may investigate elected ministers if a leak in sensitive information occurs. This duty commonly gives the cabinet secretary a degree of power over elected officials because he or she might also enforce disciplinary measures.

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The Japanese government employs a chief cabinet secretary appointed by the minister of state. The person holding this title supervises cabinet secretariats and their employees in each division of government. Three deputy chief secretaries assist the chief and perform necessary duties in his or her absence. One deputy chief is responsible for handling any life-threatening crisis or emergency. In this role, the secretary may not hold any other job without permission of the prime minister.

India’s secretary of the cabinet is considered the highest-ranking civil servant in the country. He or she serves the council of ministers by coordinating all administrative matters of the states. The secretary seeks solutions if problems between the states and national government arise. The secretary usually monitors all administrative acts in each department and supplies information to the council of ministers to help them make decisions.

Australia’s cabinet secretary arranges ceremonial events and is charged with hospitality for foreign visitors, in addition to routine administrative tasks. He or she may advise the prime minister of maintenance or renovations necessary at the official’s residence. The cabinet secretary of Australia also ensures that good working relations exist among all government agencies, and that communication is open.

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