The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory, with full internal self-government. The UK is responsible for foreign affairs, retaining the power “to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory”.
Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II is the head of state. Executive authority is exercised on the monarch’s behalf by the Governor, who in turn appoints the Chief Executive (head of the Civil Service) on the advice of the eight elected members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
Decision-making is primarily managed through two key bodies – the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly. Each MLA has a portfolio of responsibilities they are accountable for, similar to the ministerial system in the UK. There is also a Corporate Management Team, chaired by the Chief Executive and comprising the leaders of each Civil Service Directorate.
The Falkland Islands Government’s (FIG) operates against the background of ‘The Islands Plan’. The Plan has been established to encapsulate the high-level strategic aspirations agreed as being key to progressing the sustainable, economic, social and political development of the Falkland Islands for the benefit of all its residents. Elected Members’ top priorities under the adopted Plan for 2018-2022 are:
- Self-determination and good governance
- Public diplomacy and international relations
- Community and culture
- Population and workforce
- Economic development
- Education and training
- Public Safety and security
- Health and community wellbeing
- Transport and communications
Government departments in the Islands mirror the entire range of UK civil service departments and also those services which are often provided by local government and other NGOs.
The business of Government itself is delivered by a core professional Public Service of about 600 permanent and temporary employees (of which around approximately 100 are officers on contract from outside of the Falkland Islands, having been recruited from locations such as the UK and elsewhere in the world).