Civil Service Commission

Exceptions

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.

Exception 2/ Life Chances Programmes

The Commission accredits and champions government employment initiatives through a specific Exception in its Recruitment Principles – Exception 2 : Support for government employment programmes.  This Exception is designed to allow schemes which provide fixed term appointments within the Civil Service for individuals whose circumstances and previous life chances make it difficult for them to compete for appointments on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, without further work experience and/or training opportunities. Under Exception 2, departments may appoint individuals temporarily for up to 2 years.  Any proposal to extend an appointment beyond 2 years requires the permission of the Commission.

The Commission currently accredits five (5) programmes:

Name of Programme Sponsoring Department Who is it helping?
AO Social Mobility Apprenticeship Programme Department for Work and Pensions  Unemployed Benefit Recipients
Going Forward into Employment

– Phase 1

Cabinet Office/ Department for Work and Pensions/ Ministry of Justice Ex offenders
Going Forward into Employment

– Phase 2

Cabinet Office Ex-military personnel
Care Leavers Programme Department for Education Young People who leave Care
Apprentice and Work Trial Opportunities for Young Adults from Barnardo’s Public Health England Vulnerable Young Adults

Supporting initiatives to boost the employability of individuals with limited life chances is one of the Commission’s strategic priorities for 2019. If you wish to gain accreditation for your programme, please complete the Exception 2 form.

Individuals appointed under Exception 2 at AA, AO or EO level may be made permanent under Exception 10 of the Recruitment Principles after 12 months of their original appointment. Decisions on permanency must be made on the basis of a fair and merit based process, approved by the Commission in advance and subject to its audit.