The civil service of the Trinian Empire has traditionally been divided into departments for which the currently preferred official translation is "Ministry", although their Trinian designation does not translate very well. There are currently five Ministries. Each is the responsibility of a Minister, who is always a lord of one of the thirty-seven Houses (and thus an elected representative of that House's population). The Ministers are appointed by the Emperor. In their traditional order, the five ministries are the the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Charity, the Ministry of Prosperity, the Ministry of Peace, and the Ministry of Security.
The Ministries are extremely old, dating back to the earliest days of the Empire. Of course, their form has changed considerably over the years — at first, they were simply a small staff serving whichever lord had been delegated responsibility for advising the Emperor on a particular matter. In later years, the Ministries became quite powerful, and sometimes became heavily involved in politics — as their role grew, they came to be resented by the noble Houses, which saw the expansion of the imperial government as a threat to their own autonomy. For a brief while, the Ministries even had their own small armies. Later, the reforms of Emperor Lişelos brought an ethos of impartiality and professionalism.
Originally, there were only a small number of Ministries — for most of Trinia's history, seven or eight were considered sufficient for the country's needs. As the business of government became more complex and more varied, however, it was found that the Ministries became too large and unwieldy to be easily managed as single entities. In modern times, therefore, the Ministries are actually split into a number of largely autonomous subdivisions called Offices. At the same time as the Offices were created, the overall number of Ministries was reduced. As such, Trinia essentially has two levels of subdivision within its government — twenty-six Offices grouped under the overall banner of five Ministries.
The Ministry of Truth has a broad range of responsibility, covering three basic areas — it administers Trinia's educational and scientific establishment, it supports the legal system and law courts, and it supervises the collection, analysis, and distribution of government records and statistics.
The oldest of the five Ministries, the Ministry of Truth was originally established as overseers of Trinia's rudimentary legal system. In ancient times, justice was the domain of the Houses, but as time went on the lack of political impartiality came to be seen as a problem — as such, it was decided that the imperial throne would appoint magistrates to whom citizens could appeal when multiple Houses were involved. This was the beginning of the Ministry of Truth. Over the years, the role of the Ministry expanded, and it eventually became the central authority in matters of law, although the nobility remained outside its jurisdiction — see the Ministry of Security, below. (The system was not always neutral, however — control of the judiciary was a valuable prize, and nobles frequently vied to be appointed Minister, although this decreased considerably when the reforms of Emperor Lişelos established the principle of political neutrality in the Ministries.) All other roles currently performed by the Ministry of Truth arose from its original function, albeit usually by accident — its investigative activities and record-keeping in all parts of the country eventually led to it being delegated archival duties and census-taking, and since some of the first institutes of higher learning in Trinia were founded by the Ministry to teach law, it effectively developed the government's first educational policy. The Ministry law schools gradually evolved to teach other things ("because Ministry officials should be men of culture, not mere clerks"), and are retrospectively seen as some of the first universities in Trinia — as such, it was the natural Ministry to formulate fuller educational policies for the entire sector once it had been decided to do so.
The Ministry of Truth is divided into five Offices.
Responsible for the Trinian legal system, including the formulation of law, the operation of the court system, and the registration of law practitioners.
Responsible for the education system of Trinia, covering all ages and types. It directly administers those educational institutions which are state-owned, and regulates those which are not. It is responsible for setting curriculum standards and conducting standardised examinations.
Responsible for all scientific and technological research conducted in Trinia, either directly or in a supervisory role.
Responsible for maintaining information and data on many aspects of Trinia, particularly its government. It is tasked with conducting censuses and registering births and deaths, and also with administering the government's archives and libraries.
Responsible for matters relating to the preservation of Trinian history. This includes the maintenance of historic buildings and monuments, the operation of museums, and the collection of important art and historical items.
The Ministry of Charity is responsible for the Trinian healthcare system, for pensions and unemployment support, for labour relations, for arts and culture, and for environmental protection.
The Ministry of Charity is not as old as the other four Ministries, with many of its early functions having been undertaken directly by the Houses on behalf of their members. As the Houses gradually lost their monopoly on commerce in Trinia, however, their wealth became insufficient to fund everything that was expected of them, and the imperial government stepped in. Originally, the Ministry of Charity simply distributed funds to organisations deemed worthy of support — the hospitals, asylums, and orphanages run by the temples were the primary beneficiaries. In the modern era, a more comprehensive health system was possible, and the Ministry of Charity gradually began to undertake direct provision of healthcare alongside its funding role. The Ministry had also provided payments to war veterans and the families of those killed in service, and so as the concept of the welfare state emerged, things such as universal pensions and unemployment support were incorporated into the Ministry of Charity as well. Another aspect of the Ministy's work, the funding of public festivals and performances, eventually evolved into patronage of the arts and support for cultural initiatives. Finally, in today's Trinia, the Ministry has been given responsibility for environmental protection — this is perhaps outside the literal understanding of the word "charity", but does relate to the core function of healthcare and is undertaken as part of the public good.
The Ministry of Charity is divided into five Offices.
Responsible for management of the entire Trinian health system. It administers all of Trinia's hospitals and psychiatric institutions, registers all doctors and nurses, and promotes awareness of personal health issues in the community.
Responsible for the various support payments which the government makes to pensioners, to people who are unable to find work, and to people who suffer from debilitating illness.
Responsible for matters relating to employment and jobs. It is tasked with helping to reduce the rate of unemployment, both by finding ways to preserve jobs and by training unemployed workers for new jobs. By extension, it also deals with industrial and workplace disputes and with union matters.
Responsible for matters relating to environmental protection. It sets environmental standards which private companies are obliged to respect, and promotes energy efficiency, recycling, and minimalisation of waste.
Responsible for overseeing and implementing the government's policy regarding the arts, such as providing funding for museums, galleries, exhibitions, and performances. It also administers policy relating to traditional Trinian culture, such as managing cultural events and festivals, and is responsible for the protection of minority cultures and languages.
The Ministry of Prosperity is responsible for all matters relating to the Trinian economy and the government's finances. Among other things, It regulates and promotes economic activity and foreign trade, collects and manages tax revenue, and administers state-owned companies (such as Trinian Airlines).
Although the Ministry of Prosperity is not itself particularly old, it is descended from some of Trinia's earliest government agencies. When the Emperors began to shift from being mediators to being administrators, their very first responsibility was maintenance of highways which were essential for trade and commerce — this role marks the Ministry's ultimate point of origin, although it was to be some time before the Ministry proper was founded. Another forerunner to the modern Ministry was the office established to help the Emperor fulfill his role as adjudicator of trade and contract disputes between the Houses — as the Trinian economy became more complicated, this task had became more problematic, and required a full staff to deal with it. As non-House commercial interests began their rise, they also came to be regulated by the same officials by default. A third forerunner was then created when the imperial government finally acquired the right to levy direct taxes. Eventually, the extensive administrative reforms of Emperor Lişelos resulted in these functions, along with responsibility for things such as minting coins, being brought together under a single Ministry with general responsibility for finance and commerce.
The Ministry of Prosperity is divided into eight Offices.
Responsible for the overall direction of Trinia's policies for economic growth. It is charged with finding ways to promote development, generate wealth, and increase the overall performance of the Trinian economy.
Responsible for the collection of all taxes levied by the Trinian government, and also for maintaining the government's accounts. It is, in essence, the Trinian treasury department.
Responsible for overseeing and regulating commercial activity in Trinia. It maintains registers of incorporated companies, ensures compliance with rules regarding business practice and competition, and administers tarriff regimes for international trade.
Responsible for building and maintaining important components of Trinia's national infrastructure such as major roads, railways, ports, airports, hydro-electric dams, and power transmission lines.
Responsible for supervising and directing companies which are owned by the government. These companies function as commercial enterprises, with considerably less government input than they would receive as Offices, but are still required to follow directives of the Office of State-Owned Corporations. Companies include Trinian Airlines, Trinian National Television, and the Post Office.
Responsible for matters relating to industry and manufacturing in general. It attempts to facilitate the work of this sector, and maintains government regulations relating to it. Its role includes the energy sector, including electricity generation, although the state-owned power companies are also answerable to the Office of State-Owned Corporations.
Responsible for governmental policy regarding farming and commercial fishing, and also forestry. Its work covers both promoting growth in these sectors and maintaining a regulatory framework over them.
Responsible for directing the Bank of Trinia, the country's central reserve bank. In practice, the Bank of Trinia and the Office responsible for directing it are essentially the same thing — the Office exists primarily because the Bank of Trinia does not fit neatly under any of the other Offices.
The smallest of the five Ministries, the Ministry of Peace is responsible for Trinia's dealings with foreign countries. Its primary role is as Trinia's diplomatic service, but it is also responsible for matters relating to the movement of people across borders.
Originally, the Ministry of Peace had a subtantially different role — rather than being concerned with maintaining peace between Trinia and its neighbours, it was concerned with internal peace, mediating between different political interests (usually the Houses) in the name of harmony and national unity. The need for this mediation had been the primary reason why the Houses created and then respected the office which eventually evolved into the imperial throne, and so the task was considered highly important. Over time, the Emperor assembled staff to help resolve the more minor disputes between Houses, and this became the Ministry of Peace. The expansion of the Ministry's role to cover international relations was, as often the case with the Ministries, largely unplanned — because the Emperor's most skilled mediators and negotiators were part of the Ministry of Peace, they were called upon to give advice for his own efforts at negotiation, and over time, were often delegated authority to conduct minor negotiations themselves. As the prospect for open conflict between Houses became increasingly small, therefore, the Ministry of Peace found its role shifting from domestic affairs to international affairs.
The Ministry of Peace is divided into three Offices.
Responsible for Trinian foreign policy in general, formulating policy and conducting diplomatic relations with other countries. All Trinian diplomats overseas are part of this Office, as are those officials within Trinia who deal with foreign embassy staff and visiting dignitaries.
Responsible for the administration of immigration and citizenship policy. It handles applications from those wishing to come to Trinia, and applications for citizenship from those who have already lived in Trinia for the required time or who are entitled to Trinian citizenship by descent.
Responsible for anything relating to travel across Trinia's borders for matters other than immigration. This includes the issuing of passports to Trinian citizens, the issuing of visas to foreigners coming to Trinia, and the promotion of Trinia as a tourist destination.
The Ministry of Security is responsible for maintaining law and order. It is in charge of the Trinian Guard (police, border control, and prison system), and also has supervisory responsibility for civil defence, disaster response, the government's own security arrangements, and (for historical reasons) national parks.
Originally, the Ministry of Security was created to guard the Emperor and his staff (a role it still performs). The Trinian army of the time consisted of troops levied from the noble Houses, and many Emperors suspected that the ultimate loyalty of each unit still resided with its original masters. As such, an independent force under direct imperial control was considered necessary, and the Ministry of Security was established to fill this role. At times, the Ministry of Security actually became a formidable political tool, being used by the Emperors in their occasional struggles with the Houses — most Emperors chose to rely on politics and subtlety, but when force was called for, it was the Ministry of Security which provided it. Even when not being used politically, the Ministry held a certain power over the nobility — nobles were traditionally outside the jurisdiction of regular law, but were not protected from the Ministry of Security, and so the Ministry came to function as a police force within the aristocracy. Emperors traditionally kept themselves distant from politics, acting primarily through intermediaries, and the Ministry of Security therefore came to be seen as agents of the throne in a way that the other Ministries were not. Over the years, however, the importance of armed security in Trinian politics began to lessen, and the focus of the Ministry's work began to shift — due to its central position, it had been involved in the co-ordination of police forces since they had begun to form, and when it was finally decided to create a united national police service, the Ministry of Security was its natural overseer. Today, the Ministry of Security is largely focused on law enforcement, with its original security mission a secondary function.
The Ministry of Security is divided into five Offices.
Responsible for the Trinian Guard, which is the service responsible for all police work within Trinia and also for monitoring the borders, acting as a coast guard, administering the prison system, and performing certain emergency response functions.
Responsible for things such as disaster preparedness and warning systems, promoting awareness of emergency procedures and first aid, and maintaining governmental regulations for public and workplace safety in general.
Responsible for emergency response services in general. Many of these fall under the jurisdiction of the Trinian Guard, while others fall under the jurisdiction of local authorities — the Office of Emergencies manages co-operation between the two and regulates the latter.
Responsible for Trinia's system of national parks and reserves, most of which consist of large wilderness areas in the Trinian interior. These were originally established as private retreats and hunting grounds of the Emperor and the nobility, with ordinary citizens being kept out by guards and gamekeepers — this is the reason for both the name and the location of the Office of Exclusion.
Responsible for the government's arrangements for its own security. This covers the security of government buildings and facilities, the protection of specific individuals, computer security, and the protection of classified information. Its name comes derives from the need to check the identity and credentials of people being admitted into the Emperor's presence, the original task from which the entire Ministry of Security grew.