Civil Service Commission

Civil Service Recruitment

In upholding the requirement in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act that selection for recruitment to the Civil Service must be on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, the Commission considers itself to be a guardian of principles and not of processes.

The Commission’s Recruitment Principles are the key source document to which departments and agencies must refer for the Commissioners’ interpretation of the statutory requirement of appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. The Recruitment Principles also outline the circumstances in which appointments may be made as exceptions to the merit requirement.

The Recruitment Principles are high level, focused and accessible. They make it clear that in developing and applying recruitment processes that best meet their business needs, departments and agencies must operate in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and must test their own practices against them.

Civil Service Commissioners chair selection panels for all external recruitment competitions at Senior Civil Service pay band 2 (Directors), pay band 3 (Director General) and Permanent Secretary levels. An external competition is one that is advertised outside the Civil Service and candidates who are not existing civil servants may apply.

Commissioners also chair internal competitions at SCS pay band 3 and Permanent Secretary level under the terms of the Senior Appointments Protocol, agreed with the Head of the Civil Service. An internal competition is one advertised across the Civil Service, but which is not open to applicants who are not existing civil servants.

On this website we report the outcomes of competitions chaired by Commissioners.

The Civil Service Commissioners only chair open recruitment competitions for the most senior posts in the Civil Service. The Commission has a compliance and capability monitoring programme to provide assurance that selection for appointment to the Civil Service at other levels meets the statutory requirement.