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Isle of Man Government facts for kids

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Isle of Man
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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the Isle of Man

  • Government
  • Council of Ministers
  • Chief Minister: Hon. Allan Bell MHK
  • Minister for the Treasury: Hon. Eddie Teare MHK
  • Minister for Economic Development: Hon. John Shimmin MHK
  • Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture: Hon. Phil Gawne MHK
  • Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure: Hon. Tim Crookall MHK
  • Minister for Education and Children: Hon. Peter Karran MHK
  • Minister for Health: Hon. David Anderson MHK
  • Minister for Home Affairs: Hon. Juan Watterson MHK
  • Minister for Infrastructure: Hon. David Cretney MHK
  • Minister for Social Care: Hon. Chris Robertshaw MHK
  • Chief Secretary: Will Greenhow

  • Keys Constituencies
  • Local Government
  • Political parties
  • Elections

  • Officials of State
  • Parish Captains

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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 to which they report.

  • Council of Ministers
    • The Personnel Office
      • Civil Service Commission
      • Whitley Council (for manual workers)
    • Chief Secretary's Office
    • Attorney General's Chambers
  • Departments
    • Treasury
      • Financial Supervision Commission
      • Insurance and Pensions Authority
      • General Registry
    • Department of Home Affairs
      • Communications Commission
    • Department of Health
    • Department of Education and Children
    • Department of Economic Development
      • Office of Fair Trading
      • Isle of Man Post Office
      • Isle of Man Water and Sewerage Authority
      • Manx Electricity Authority
    • Department of Community, Culture and Leisure
    • Department of Infrastructure
    • Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture
    • Department of Social Care
  • Non-departmental bodies
    • Manx National Heritage is a non-departmental organization, run by trustees appointed by Tynwald.
    • The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is an independent body, originally created in 1960 as the Isle of Man Gaming Board, with members appointed by the Council of Ministers.
    • The Isle of Man Data Protection Supervisor is responsible for the administration of data protection in the Isle of Man.


  • Treasury - Hon Anne Craine MHK
  • Department of Home Affairs - Hon Adrian Earnshaw MHK
  • Department of Health - Hon David Anderson MHK
  • Department of Education and Children - Hon Eddie Teare MHK
  • Department of Economic Development - Hon Allan Bell MHK
  • Department of Community, Culture and Leisure - Hon David Cretney MHK
  • Department of Infrastructure - Hon Phil Gawne MHK
  • Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture - Hon John Shimmin MHK
  • Department of Social Care - Hon Martyn Quayle MHK

Statutory Boards

  • Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading
    • Chairman: Bill Henderson MHK
    • Chief Executive: Nick Black
  • Financial Supervision Commission
    • Chairman: Rosemary Penn
    • Chief Executive: John Aspden
  • Insurance and Pensions Authority
    • Chairman: vacant
    • Chief Executive: David Vick
  • Isle of Man Post Office
    • Chairman: Alan Crowe MLC
    • Chief Executive: Bill Collister
  • Isle of Man Water and Sewerage Authority
    • Chairman: Tim Crookall MHK
    • Chief Executive: Patrick Heaton Armstrong
  • Manx Electricity Authority
    • Chairman: Quintin Gill MHK
    • Chief Executive: Ashton Lewis
  • Communications Commission
    • Chairman: Adrian Earnshaw MHK (Minister of Home Affairs ex-officio)
    • Director: Anthony Hewitt

Other Boards and Offices of Government

  • General Registry
    • Chief Registrar: Stephen Cregeen
  • Civil Service Commission
    • Chairman: John Houghton MHK
    • Chief Officer: Brenda Skillicorn
  • Manx Museum and National Trust (commonly called Manx National Heritage)
    • Chairman: Martin Moore
    • Director: Edmund Southworth
  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
    • Chairman: Jane O'Rourke

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 representated the Lord of Man, assisted by his Council, consisting of the other permanent officials (the Bishop, Archdeacon, Deemsters, Attorney General, etc.). The Council became the Legislative Council, the upper chamber of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man.

After the Revestment (when the rights of the Lord of Man were "placed in" or "vested" in the King of Great Britain) 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 when Lord Raglan was Lieutenant Governor between 1902 and 1918.

Council of Ministers

After World War I the Lieutenant Governor gradually gave up control to Tynwald, a process guided by the reports of commissions and other bodies in 1911, 1959 and 1969. 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. The Lieutenant Governor stopped chairing the Executive Council in 1980, and was replaced by a chairman elected by Tynwald, and the Council was reconstituted in 1985 to include the chairmen of the eight principal Boards; in 1986 they were given the title 'Minister' and the chairman was styled 'Chief Minister'. In 1990 the Council was renamed the 'Council of Ministers'.


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 1960s 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 1950s, and was eventually reformed in the 1980s, when a system of 'ministerial government' was set up.

Until 1 April 2010 the Departments were as follows. Created in 1985-87, they were the successors of the former Boards of Tynwald.

  • 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)

The structure and functions of the Departments were re-organised with effect from 1 April 2010. The existing Departments, except the Treasury and the Departments of Education and Home Affairs, were dissolved, and the Department of Education was renamed "the Department of Education and Children". The Departments and their functions are now as follows:

  • Treasury
    • taxation, internal audit, currency, census, elections
  • Department of Community, Culture and Leisure
    • passenger transport, culture, sport and recreation
  • Department of Economic Development
    • tourism, employment, merchant shipping, civil aviation, trade, industry, intellectual property, companies, information technology, e-business, financial services
  • Department of Education and Children
    • education
  • Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture
    • agriculture, fisheries, animal health and welfare, plant health, food safety, burial and cremation, water pollution, environmental health, medicinal products
  • Department of Health
    • health services
  • Department of Home Affairs
    • police, fire services, prisons, probation, emergency planning, civil defence
  • Department of Infrastructure
    • local government, road traffic, highways, harbours, airports, health and safety at work, planning and conservation, building control, waste disposal, public utilities, mines and minerals, licensing and registration of vehicles
  • Department of Social Care
    • social services, social security, mental health, social housing

Statutory Boards

As noted above, a number of 'Statutory Boards' and 'Commercial Boards' were created at various times. Some were taken over by 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 and Sewerage Authority (2010)
    • 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 Water Authority (1985–2010)
    • 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)
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