Civil Service Commission


The Commission’s overall objective is to ensure that departments’ and agencies’ recruitment systems are designed and operated in accordance with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 and the Recruitment Principles.

The Commission, or its representatives, may examine any part of departments’ and agencies’ recruitment systems, if necessary down to the details of an individual competition, to ensure that they are compliant with the Act and the Recruitment Principles. Compliance monitoring is undertaken on behalf of the Commission by our contractor KPMG.

The approach to recruitment compliance monitoring emphasises the responsibility of departments and agencies for ensuring the Commission’s requirements are met. The key stages are:

Stage 1: Self-Assessment

Departments and agencies complete an annual self-assessment of their compliance with the Recruitment Principles, including a description of the recruitment controls and checks they have in place. The self-assessment should also incorporate an action plan outlining areas for development where they have been identified.

This assessment includes factual information on the number of appointments made. Departments and agencies may highlight examples of innovative approaches to recruitment which have been successfully employed. The self-assessment is supported by an example of a real competition and underpinned by a compliance statement signed by the department’s Permanent Secretary or agency’s Chief Executive.

Stage 2: Risk analysis

The self-assessment and the example of a competition are reviewed on a risk basis by the Commission’s representatives, who assess the evidence and award a high, medium or low marking to indicate the level of risk.

Stage 3: On-site visits

Over 20 on-site visits to departments and agencies are conducted by the Commission. Not only do they monitor compliance but they also note good practice with the aim of producing a guide for wider distribution. The Commission wants to ensure that eventually all departments and agencies are visited over a 3 to 4 year period. Organisations that have been initially assessed as high risk are always visited.

The Commission will usually begin an on-site with a discussion with the HR Director and/or nominated senior HR colleagues involved in the department or agency’s recruitment policies and practices.
The Commission examines documentation on recruitment, including individual campaigns and reports on internal monitoring exercises. The Commission will also view records of any external appointments made outside the normal requirement of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. At the end of the visit, the Commission highlights the key findings and states its assessment of the overall level of risk.