The study of the core executive has been dominated by discussion of the Prime Ministers and Cabinet with only limited serious treatment paid to ministers. However, ministers and departments are crucial actors in the core executive. This article examines the multiple roles and varying impacts of ministers. More particularly, we initially develop a classification of ministerial roles, which builds upon, but develops, work by Headey, James and Norton. Subsequently, we use this classification to pose two key questions. Which roles do particular ministers stress? In what ways has the balance between these roles changed in the last twenty-five years?