The phrases "government agency" or "administrative agency" generally refer to one of the autonomous agencies of the United States government that operate independently of the President. The term may also be used for similar bodies in other countries.
An "executive branch agency" is one that is under the authority of a president or prime minister. These include the departments and agencies of the federal government, as well as those of most states and provinces. They are distinguished from independent agencies which are not part of the executive branch but serve as arms of the legislative branch (Congress) or judicial branch (courts).
Many government offices are referred to as "bureaus." A bureau is a division of an organization responsible for some activity or function. For example, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice that is responsible for enforcing federal laws regarding alcohol, tobacco products, and firearms. There are several other divisions within the Department of Justice that deal with different areas of law enforcement.
A government office that does not fall into one of these categories is called a "unit" of the government. For example, the Congressional Budget Office is a unit of Congress that provides estimates of the budgetary effects of proposed legislation.
Inside the United States In addition, the majority of the 50 states in the United States have established equivalent government bodies. The phrases "government agency" or "administrative agency" generally refer to one of the autonomous agencies of the United States government that operate independently of the President.
The word "non-profit" is not commonly used to describe an entity formed under the powers of a local government authority. Legislation or executive power can be used to create agencies. Government agencies' autonomy, independence, and accountability also vary greatly.
Independent agencies of the federal government of the United States are those that exist outside of the federal executive departments (those headed by a Cabinet secretary) and the Executive Office of the President. Independent agencies are defined in the Federal Advisory Committee Act as agencies that are not assigned within the Department of Justice or another cabinet-level department. Instead, they are subject to the oversight of elected officials who may either promote them to greater importance or reduce their influence.
Some examples of independent agencies are the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates securities markets; the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates environmental protection issues; and the National Labor Relations Board, which sets labor policy for employers and employees. Other examples include the Social Security Administration, which manages federal retirement programs; the Medicare Service, which provides health insurance benefits to Americans over 65 years old; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which enforces federal laws regarding firearms ownership and use.
While most independent agencies were established by Congress, some existed as fiefs within larger governments before being given legal status. For example, the Interstate Commerce Commission was created in 1887 to regulate railroads that at the time were becoming a major mode of transportation. These early agencies were given limited power and weren't considered true institutions of government until the 1930s when they began to be included in the annual budget estimates presented to Congress by the president.
A government or state agency, often referred to as an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent entity inside the government machinery that is in charge of the monitoring and administration of specified activities, such as administration. Legislation or executive power can be used to create agencies. Agencies can also be created by dissolution; that is, by removing their directors or executives.
Government organizations include administrative departments, independent agencies, authority's, commissions, councils, committees, etc. which are all controlled by the government. These groups may be within ministries or attached to other governments bodies such as the European Union (EU). Some are dependent upon funding for their existence while others have independent sources of revenue. They can work on policy development, implementation, and evaluation.
In British English, these groups are usually called offices while in American English, they are usually called departments. Both terms are used interchangeably here.
These groups can be divided into two broad categories: those that are permanent and those that are not. Those that are not temporary include ministries, offices of ministers, agencies under direct supervision of ministers, and authorities granted specific powers by parliament. Ministries are the departments of a government ministry. Each country has one or more ministries depending on its size and structure. In larger countries with complex systems of government, several ministries may be required to cover everything from foreign affairs to health to education to finance.