Civil Service Commission


The Commission recognises that in some circumstances it may be right to allow appointments to be made outside of the principle of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. Any such exception should not undermine this fundamental principle.

Such appointments by exception are usually short-term; for example secondments which promote the exchange of ideas and experience.

Under the Recruitment Principles, departments may in most cases apply the exceptions themselves. The Commission’s approval is, however, required for appointments by exception at SCS Payband two and above and in some circumstances for those at less senior levels.

In rare cases departments and agencies may need to request that an appointment made as an exception to the Recruitment Principles be extended for a limited period beyond the initial term.  The Commission will only consider such a request if the appointing department or agency provides a strong business case.  When submitting a business case to the Commission, departments and agencies should use one of the Exception Forms and include all relevant information.

The Commission has published an Exceptions Review based on a study of the use of exceptions in the Civil Service in 2014-15 and 2015-16.