• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is the Role of Interest Groups in Contemporary British Politics?

Extracts from this document...


What is the Role of Interest Groups in Contemporary British Politics? An interest group is an organized group of individuals, trade unions and consumer groups which have shared interests and/or attitudes which articulate their demands or 'Organisations which have some autonomy from government or political parties and try to influence public policy. They presuppose formal organisation and thus can be distinguished from acts of participation by individuals.' (Hague and Harrow, Comparative Government and Politics 5th edition, publisher Palgrave). Examples of interest groups could be the NSPCC, RSPCA or The National Union for Students. In reality there are two types of interest groups, one which does have a large influence on The Government in its policy making and one which does not have as large impact on the decisions in government. The first of the above are called protectional or sectional pressure groups. These represent specific groups of people with entry barriers and include organisations such as the NUT, Institute of Directors and the Confederation of British Industry. The second type of group is called promotional or cause pressure groups. These groups try to promote certain ideas in society to do with ecology, welfare and equality, for example the RSPCA, Amnesty International and the NSPCC. I will now explain the role of these groups in contemporary British government. Firstly promotional groups are groups of people who do not have a few ideas towards government policy but they are more interested in one sole idea, they also 'Seek to endeavour to promote a particular cause, and for this reason are sometimes called cause groups. ...read more.


(http:historylearningsite.co.uk/pressure_groups.htm.) An extremely useful example of an outsider group is that of the Irish Republican Army of whom the government flatly refused to cooperate with them because they were seen as a terribly violent organisation of which could have been of immense threat to the government and the people of Britain itself, so thought it was of too much risk to cooperate. In reality these types of organisations do not have any real impact on policy making so they try to get their point across by other means whether violent or non-violent. On the other hand however the interest groups which do have an effect on the government do so with large respect, of which I now will discus in the below. There are a few general rules that determine which of those above is in or out in terms of the policy decision making. The protectional groups in the main tend to have two types of groups within itself; the first has a large voice due to a number of substantial, practical reasons. It is called an insider group (also some promotional groups), 'They have strong links with decision makers and are regularly consulted. They are groups that the government - local or national - considers to be legitimate and are, therefore, given access to decision makers.' (http:historylearningsite.co.uk/pressure_groups.htm.) A good example of this in Britain is: 'Since most policies relating to civil liberties and political rights are developed by the Home Office, a group such as Liberty (formerly the National Council for Civil Liberties) ...read more.


In Britain and in all states an interest group activity 'Tends to centre on the bureaucracy as the key institution in the process of policy formulation. Access via this channel is largely confined to major economic and functional groups, such as large corporations and trade unions.' (Heywood 1997). This is probably most evident when in the 1980's the National Union of Teachers consulted with the government over changes to the education system. Also on that issue the 'Influence of the defence industry on the Ministry of Defence is profound,' (Weir & Beetham 1999), further enhancing the point that governmental organisations do need expertise help in even sensitive issues like these ones. In conclusion I think that it is fair to say that pressure groups do have an impact on the policy decision making in the British government. However I think that from my research there are really three groups of which I interest groups can be categorised in to. Firstly there are two groups of which have an effect on the policy making; these are the promotional insider groups and protectional groups. This is because of their ability to share their expertise with the government to ensure the correct outcome is reached. Secondly there are the promotional outsider groups who do not have any effect but set about to portray their message in which way possible. So my final conclusions are that without interest groups I do not feel that there could be a way to reach the desired outcome for the government, the organisation involved and the people of the British state. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Assess the Impact of the First World War on British Politics by 1918.

    Lloyd George was now a 'Prime Minister without a party' and 'prisoner of the Tories'.

  2. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    considerations are more important, including the fairness of the outcome for minor parties, the need for Madisonian checks to party government, and the representation of minority social groups. For critics of plurality systems, the moral case for reform is based traditionally on the 'unfairness' to minor parties who achieve a

  1. How has the role and impact of military rulers and civilian politicians differed in ...

    Bhutto was quite a popular leader. One of the biggest achievement that Bhutto got and that was a serious demand of Pakistan was the release of 93,000 solders by India. A summit was held in Simla in which the two countries agreed on the release of POWs.

  2. Tiananmen Square

    Sources F and G also correspond with what the picture is showing us, students in Tiananmen Square. All these similarities in the different sources can lead to only one conclusion, the demonstration in Tiananmen Square happened, and it involved students.

  1. Pressure Groups

    They try and achieve what they protest for and try and make that one issue accountable and recognised by government. What methods do pressure groups employ to influence the political process? One method for insiders influence the political process is by 'lobbying'.


    Due to the interests only relating to a small portion of society, membership within this type of group is usually restricted to whatever that professional body is such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. They also have a tendency to get as many individuals as possible to join their group.

  1. What is Politics

    Many of these interests are economic and financial. People want a job with good pay, a comfortable house, holidays and so on. They want a good education for their children, health care and security against poverty. Miners want a prosperous coal industry. Publishers want people to buy lots of books.

  2. Ben Hanson - Politics - Mr

    and three of which are given to the next largest party (the liberal democrats.) These days are used by the discretion of the opposition party in question. At the end of each business day (10pm) there is a half an hour adjournment period where by convention, backbenchers raise topics and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work