Civil Service Commission

Prime Minister to be given choice of appointable candidates in Head of Department competitions (15 October 2014)

The Civil Service Commission has announced that, in future, for Head of Department appointments the Prime Minister (or in the case of the Permanent Secretaries in the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, the First Minister) will be given a choice of candidates assessed as appointable by an independent panel chaired by the First Civil Service Commissioner.

Currently the Commission’s rules allow for a panel to recommend only one candidate to the Prime Minister which he must either accept or reject. The Commission has now agreed a change – for Head of Department posts – under which the Prime Minister will receive an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of those candidates judged appointable by the panel, from which he will make the final selection. The Prime Minister must make his decision only from those candidates and, as the law requires, on merit.

This change will only apply to Head of Department appointments, currently approximately 25 posts.
The Commission is consulting the Prime Minister on this change which will take effect from 1st December. The Commission’s Recruitment Principles will be updated to reflect this change and the revised version will be published shortly.

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