Civil Service Commission

Thursday 24 November 2016

Good morning and welcome to Day 4 of Open Week

The following question is from Lee at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. We answered this question yesterday but further to advice we received from the MOD, our revised response is below.

I am glad of this opportunity to ask some questions with regards to internal applications for recruitment within the Civil Service.

I currently work for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and have always been told that we are part of the Civil Service which is closely followed by “Sort of”, I am just coming to the end of my studies for a HND in computing and systems development and have been looking to the civil service for a more appropriate Land based roles in which to use my IT skills.

My question would be how do I access the civil service careers portal for internal applications as my line manager changes with each ship and their email address is required to create an account? and if you could clarify being

in the RFA am I actually a civil servant with the ability to change departments this way?

Dear Lee

Having answered your question yesterday, The Ministy Of Defence has since confirmed that members of the Royal Fleet Auxilliary are in fact civil servants.  The Civil Service Jobs portal is managed by Civil Service Resourcing (CSR) and access to it is also managed by CSR.  As you are having difficulty accessing the site on a consistent basis, we will pass on your query with a request for CSR to reply directly to you.  We wish you every success with your job search and hope that you find a role to suit your skills.

Best wishes

Andrew Flanagan
Civil Service Commissioner


We have just received the following Tweet from Bill:

If you are recruited as a CS, paid by a Dept as a CS and in the PCSPS as a CS, does the Civil Service Code apply to you?

Thank you for the Tweet Bill.

The Civil Service Code applies to all Civil Servants recruited through fair and open competition. The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 actually provides for up to four Codes, to take account of the devolved administrations and the different arrangements that apply to the Diplomatic Service. All Codes made under the 2010 Act must reflect the four core values of the Civil Service – Honesty, Integrity, Objectivity and Impartiality. See our website for further details:

Best wishes,

Andrew Flanagan
Civil Service Commissioner


We have just received this very interesting question from Jenny:


There has been a lot of media coverage about the Civil Service not being ready for Brexit and the need to recruit more civil servants in Brexit departments.  How will the Commission ensure that these people are recruited fairly?

Jenny, good afternoon and thank you so much for your question.

The legal requirement for selection of people for appointment as civil servants is that appointment should be on merit on the basis of a fair and open competition.  This legal requirement applies to the appointment of all civil servants including those to work on Brexit.

The Commission publishes its Recruitment Principles which sets out our interpretation of this legal requirement and in particular the definitions of “fair” “open” and “merit”.  The Commission has an ongoing compliance monitoring programme which assesses compliance with the legal requirement and we set out details of this on our website.

However, the Commission recognises that, in some circumstances, departments may need to make short term appointments to meet urgent business needs.  We therefore allow some appointments to be made without a fair and open competition and appointment on merit where we believe that this is justified by the needs of the Civil Service.  The Commission is clear that appointments by exception should be exceptional and we set time limits on the length of time and the circumstances in which such appointments may be made (please see the Recruitment Principles at Annex A –  Exceptions).   We collect data on Departments’ use of exceptions and carry out checks as part of our compliance monitoring programme.

Best wishes


Andrew Flanagan
Civil Service Commissioner


We have just received the following Tweet from Mark:

How far back can the Commission investigate breaches of the Civil Service Code?

Thank you for your Tweet Mark. The Commission is the appeals body for investigating complaints under the Civil Service Code, where the complaint has already been investigated by the Department, but the complainant remains unhappy with the outcome. Whilst the Commission does not stipulate time limits, we would expect a complaint to be referred to us for consideration within a reasonable period of time following the conclusion of the Department’s investigation. Likewise, if a civil servant wishes to raise concerns within their Department, this should be done as soon as possible. It is not always easy to consider concerns relating to events that have taken place some time previously. Also there is a legal requirement that somebody raining a concern under the Code is a civil servant. If a complainant has left the Civil Service and has therefore ceased to be a civil servant, it may not then be possible to consider the matter.

Best wishes,

Isabel Doverty
Civil Service Commissioner


The following question is from Lucy at the MOD:


Thank you for the opportunity to engage with you.

My concern is that Depts are not giving emphasis in their “onboarding” processes to instilling civil service values for new recruits. This is particularly acute when we recruit much needed new entrants with experience in the private sector into disciplines such as project management. There is a tendency for colleagues who have recently joined to identify themselves by their professional grouping and not at all as civil servants. A strong professional identity is to be welcomed but being a project manager (for example) in a Dept of State is not the same as being a project manager in a major construction or IT company. This perceived identity crisis seems to be prevalent at all grades. What can the Commission do to ensure Departments are imprinting Civil Service values and standards on new entrants, regardless of their grade and level of outside experience?

Dear Lucy

Many thanks for your question.

You raise some interesting points about the importance of instilling civil service values for new recruits.

The Civil Service Code sets out the core values of the Civil Service and gives illustrations of the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants. The Code is part of the contractual relationship between a civil servant and their employer (the Department) and it also explains the duties of departments to make civil servants aware of the Code and its values as well as considering concerns brought under the Code.

Everybody coming into the Civil Service, regardless of their grade or their profession is expected to abide by these very highest standards of ethical behaviour. Training on the Code and its values should be a part of the induction programme for every new civil servant and be provided by the department.

Recently, the Commission has been very pro-active in engaging departments to help them with the promotion of the Code. Last month a conference was held for Nominated Officers who are the officials in departments trained to assist those who wish to raise concerns under the Code. The First Civil Service Commissioner and the Chief Executive of the Civil Service spoke at this event. More such events are planned.

The Commission is also using the results of the annual people survey to identify those departments and agencies that are need of assistance in promoting the Code and its values and where possible we will undertake visits and host workshops to assist with this process.

The Commission takes very seriously the need for all parts of the civil service to promote the Code and we will continue to work with as many departments and agencies as possible to bring this about.

Best wishes


Isabel Doverty
Civil Service Commissioner



Monday 21 November 2016

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Wednesday 23 November 2016