Department of Health and Social Security, 1968-1988
Department of Social Security, 1988-2001
Ministry of Health, 1919-1968
Ministry of National Insurance, 1944-1953
Ministry of Pensions, 1916-1953
Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, 1953-1966
Ministry of Social Security, 1966-1968
Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
from 1977 Department of Health and Social Security
Administrative / biographical background:
Following the report of the Committee on the Home Civil Service (Fulton Committee), the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) was created in November 1968. It was formed by the merger of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Security under a Secretary of State for Social Services. The Secretary of State was assisted by two ministers of state responsible for health and social security respectively; in 1976 a Minister of Social Security of Cabinet rank was appointed within the department.
Responsibility for a number of functions was transferred both into and out of DHSS during the twenty years of its existence. In April 1969 health and welfare functions relating to Wales were transferred to the Welsh Office. In May 1970 the Secretary of State for Social Services was given ministerial responsibility for the newly-created Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.
In January 1971 the child care functions of the Home Office in England, with the exception of adoption and juvenile delinquency and juvenile courts, passed to DHSS; responsibility for adoption was transferred in April 1973. In April 1971 responsibility for mentally handicapped children and junior training centres was passed to the Department of Education and Science.
During the 1970s and 1980s a substantial amount of legislation was passed which affected DHSS: this included the creation of the Occupational Pensions Board, and the major reorganisation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1973-1974. In March 1977 responsibility for proprietary medicines was transferred from the Department of Industry, and in the same year further legislation was passed on the NHS.
In April 1979, following the Public Health Laboratory Service Act, responsibility for the Microbiological Research Establishment at Porton Down was transferred from the Secretary of State for Defence to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Services; it was subsequently renamed the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research. In February 1981 the Secretary of State for Social Services was given the new function of coordinating the government's response to solvent abuse problems in England.
In 1978, a Central Management Services Branch was established to advise both the department and the NHS on means of improving efficiency. In 1980, the control of the administration of the supplementary benefits system and the provision of reception and resettlement centres passed to DHSS on the abolition of the Supplementary Benefits Commission.
In July 1988 the DHSS was administratively divided into its two traditional broad functions, and separate Departments of Health and Social Security were formed.
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