Government of the Isle of Man: Wikis


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Isle of Man

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The Isle of Man Government (Manx: Reiltys Ellan Vannin) is the government of the Isle of Man. The formal head of the Isle of Man Government is the Lieutenant Governor, representing HM Queen Elizabeth II, Lord of Mann. The executive head is the Chief Minister.

Douglas, the largest town on the Isle of Man is its capital and seat of government, where the Government offices and the parliament chambers (Tynwald) are located.

The Civil Service has more than 2000 employees and the total number of public sector employees including the Civil Service, teachers, nurses, police, etc is about 9000 people. This is somewhat more than 10% of the population of the Island, and a full 23% of the working population. This does not include any military forces, as defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.


Government structure

The Government consists of nine departments, ten statutory boards and three offices all reporting to the Council of Ministers. The departments all report directly to the Council of Ministers.

Statutory boards and offices are listed below the department that they report via.

Current office holders

Statutory boards and offices

Brief history

Lieutenant Governor

Before modern times the government of the Isle of Man was in the hands of the Governor (or Lieutenant Governor), who was the representative of the Lord of Man, assisted by his Council, consisting of the other permanent officials (the Bishop, Archdeacon, Deemsters, Attorney General, etc.).[2] The Council evolved into the Legislative Council, the upper chamber of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man.

After the Revestment in 1765 the Lieutenant Governor and his officials were the agents of the British Government, and not democratically responsible to the Manx people. Conflict between the House of Keys (popularly elected after 1866) and the Lieutenant Governor came to a head during the tenure of Lord Raglan (1902-18).

Council of Ministers

After World War I the Lieutenant Governor gradually ceded control to Tynwald, a process guided by the reports of commissions and other bodies in 1911,[3] 1959[4] and 1969.[5] An Executive Council, chaired by him and including members of Tynwald, was established in 1949, and gradually thereafter became the effective government of the Island. Finance and the police came under local control between 1958 and 1976.[6] The Lieutenant Governor ceased to chair the Executive Council in 1980, being replaced by a chairman elected by Tynwald,[7], and the Council was reconstituted in 1985 to include the chairmen of the eight principal Boards[8]; in 1986 they were given the title 'Minister' and the chairman was styled 'Chief Minister'[9]. In 1990 the Council was renamed the 'Council of Ministers'.[10]


During the 19th century several bodies, which came to be known as 'Boards of Tynwald', were created to exercise functions under democratic control. These included the Board of Education (1872), Highway Board (1874), Asylums Board (1888), Government Property Trustees (1891) and Local Government Board (1894). However, although direct taxation was levied by Tynwald, the Boards' freedom of action before the 1960's was limited by the Lieutenant Governor's control of the Island's budget and his power to appoint certain of their members.

The structure of the Boards of Tynwald, along with other bodies variously called 'Statutory Boards' and 'Commercial Boards', became increasingly unwieldy after the 1950's, and was eventually reformed in the 1980's, when a system of 'ministerial government' was set up.[11].

The present Departments, created in 1985-87, are the successors of the former Boards of Tynwald, as follows:

  • Treasury (1985)
    • Finance Board (1961-1985)
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (1986)
    • Board of Agriculture (1914-46)
    • Fishery Conservators (1882-1927), Fisheries Board (1927-46)
    • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries (1946-86)
    • Trustees of the Common Lands (1866-1915), Common Lands Board (1915-50), Forestry, Mines and Lands Board (1950-86)
  • Department of Education (1987)
    • Board of Education (1872-99), Council of Education (1899-1946), Isle of Man Board of Education (1946-2009) (The Board continued in existence as a popularly elected body, but with reduced functions, after the Department of Education was created in 1987; it was not finally dissolved until June 2009.)
    • Isle of Man Central Education Authority (1920-23), Isle of Man Education Authority (1923-68)
  • Department of Health and Social Security (1986)
    • Asylums Board (1888-1932), Mental Hospital Board (1932-48), Isle of Man Health Services Board (1948-86)
    • Old Age Pensions and National Health Insurance Board (1920-39), Health Insurance and Pensions Board (1939-46), Isle of Man Board of Social Services (1946-70), Isle of Man Board of Social Security (1970-86)
  • Department of Transport (1986) (originally Department of Highways, Ports and Properties; renamed 1994)
    • Committee of Highways (1776-1874), Highway Board (1874-1946), Isle of Man Highway and Transport Board (1946-86)
    • Commissioners for Harbours (1771-1872), Isle of Man Harbour Commissioners (1872-1948), Isle of Man Harbour Board (1948-86)
    • Isle of Man Airports Board (1948-86)
    • Government Property Trustees (1891-1986)
  • Department of Home Affairs (1986)
    • Isle of Man Police Board (1962-81), Home Affairs Board (1981-86)
    • Isle of Man Broadcasting Commission (1965-81)
    • Civil Defence Commission (1955-81)
  • Department of Trade and Industry (1986) (originally Department of Industry; renamed 1996)
    • Industry Board (1981-86)
  • Department of Local Government and the Environment (1986)
    • Local Government Board (1894-1946), Isle of Man Local Government Board (1946-86)
  • Department of Tourism and Leisure (1986) (originally Department of Tourism and Transport; renamed 1994)
    • Advertising Committee (1897-1904), Board of Advertising (1904-31), Isle of Man Publicity Board (1931-52), Isle of Man Tourist Board (1952-86)
    • Manx Electric Railway Board (1957-82), Isle of Man Passenger Transport Board (1982-86)

On 1st February 2010 the Chief Minister announced[12] a restructuring of the Departments, to be in place by 1st April 2010 if approved by Tynwald. Under these proposals the Departments will be as follows:

  • Treasury
  • Department of Community, Culture and Leisure
  • Department of Economic Development
  • Department of Education and Children
  • Department of the Environment
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Infrastructure
  • Department of Social Care

On 15th February 2010 the Chief Minister announced[13] revised proposals for the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure and a new Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (in place of the Department of the Environment). The revised proposals were approved by Tynwald on 19th February 2010.

Statutory Boards

As noted above, a number of 'Statutory Boards' and 'Commercial Boards' were created at various times. Some were subsumed in the Departments in 1985-1987, but others continued as separate Statutory Boards after 1987:

  • Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (1998)
    • Consumer Council (1972-1981), Board of Consumer Affairs (1981-1998)
  • Financial Supervision Commission (1982)
  • Insurance and Pensions Authority (1996)
    • Insurance Authority (1986-1996)
  • Isle of Man Post Office (1993)
    • Isle of Man Post Office Authority (1972-1993)
  • Isle of Man Water Authority (1985)
    • Isle of Man Water Board (1946-1972), Isle of Man Water Authority (1972-1974), Isle of Man Water and Gas Authority (1974-1985)
    • Isle of Man Gas Authority (1972-1974)
  • Manx Electricity Authority (1983)
    • Isle of Man Electricity Board (1932-1984)
  • Communications Commission (1989)
    • Telecommunications Commission (1985-1989)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry for the Isle of Man, 1792
  3. ^ Report of the Departmental Committee on the Constitution etc. of the Isle of Man, 1911, Cd.5950 (the 'MacDonnell Report')
  4. ^ Report of the Commission on the Isle of Man Constitution, 1959 (the MacDermott Report')
  5. ^ Report of the Joint Working Party on the Constitutional Relationship between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom, 1969 (the 'Stonham Report')
  6. ^ Finance Act 1958, Finance Act 1962, Police (Isle of Man) Act 1962, Governor's Financial and Judicial Functions (Transfer) Act 1976: Statutes of the Isle of Man
  7. ^ Constitution (Executive Council) (Amendment) Act 1980
  8. ^ Constitution (Executive Council) Act 1984
  9. ^ Constitution (Executive Council) (Amendment) Act 1986
  10. ^ Council of Ministers Act 1990
  11. ^ Gumbley, K F W (1988), "Government Departments and Statutory Boards", Manx Law Bulletin 10: 61-73 
  12. ^ "Proposed Government restructure puts greater focus on the economy". Retrieved 2 Feb 2010. 
  13. ^ "Government restructuring: agricultural community concerns". Retrieved 24 Feb 2010. 

Coordinates: 54°09′06.6″N 4°28′48.6″W / 54.151833°N 4.480167°W / 54.151833; -4.480167

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