Sir David Normington's letter to The Times on Permanent Secretary recruitment (18 January 2013)
David Normington, the First Civil Service Commissioner, has written The Times in reply to a letter fom Lord Jenkin of Roding.
Lord Jenkin describes his role in picking the Permanent Secretary to head the Department of Trade when he was the Secretary of State in the 1980’s. Lord Jenkin asks what is different about appointing Permanent Secretaries now.
As David Normington explains, the difference is that Permanent Secretary appointments are now routinely opened up to external competition, so that candidates fom outside the Civil Service can apply. The competitions are subject to the legal requirement that recruitment into the Civil Service must be on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.