The Commission held its first online event on Wednesday 22nd July where we set out to Demystify the Civil Service Code. During this event the Chief Executive of the Civil Service Commission was joined by two Civil Service Commissioner's and two members of the Commission's secretariat, to talk in depth about the Civil Service Code. The session covers:

- An introduction to the Commission

- The Civil Service Code, what it is, and who it applies to

- Raising a concern under the Code - Outcomes of cases investigated by the Commission

- Maintaining the balance between policy and impartiality - Audience Q & A

Please find the full recording of the event through the link below:

“One of the things I really enjoy as a Commissioner overseeing appointments processes is the huge diversity of roles and responsibilities in the Civil Service. The new Covid-19 response campaign HereForYou really highlights that.” Isabel Doverty, Civil Service Commissioner HereForYou really highlights that.”

Isabel Doverty, Civil Service Commissioner

From sourcing and procurement and to prisons and mental health support, the campaign showcases the work of the Civil Service in supporting the Government to deliver for citizens.

The Commission regulates recruitment to the Civil Service to provide assurance that civil servants are selected on merit on the basis of fair and open competition and to help safeguard an impartial Civil Service.

“As someone whose career has been largely in the private sector, I was surprised just how many different types of jobs there are in the Civil Service. When I am chairing panels for senior appointments, I’m often struck by how exciting and challenging some of these roles are. Departments are always keen to attract a wider field of candidates from different backgrounds or with new experience, and I hope the #HereForYou campaign makes people think about whether the Civil Service is somewhere they might want to put their skills and experience to use.”

To find out about vacancies in the Civil Service

You can follow the Commission on twitter @CivServComm

Watch our short videos about the role of the Commission

This week, the Commission held another open event in Horseguards Road on ‘Demystifying the Civil Service Code’.

Two Commissioners – Sarah Laessig and Jane Burgess, and members of the Commission secretariat were on hand to talk about the Code and the Commission’s role in hearing appeals from civil servants.

Jane Burgess said:

“The core values – impartiality, honesty, objectivity and integrity – should run through every civil servant. They are an important part of serving the government of the day, of whatever political colour.

As well as testing these values at interview when people join the senior Civil Service, we play a role in promoting the Code and hearing appeals from civil servants of all grades who are unhappy with their own Department’s response. I was really encouraged by the level of understanding and knowledge during the discussion at our event and would like to thank all of those who took part on Friday. We will be running more open events so keep an eye on our website and sign up."

If you were unable to attend the event, but are interested in learning about the Code, you can watch the event here.

You can also look at Code appeals decisions by the Commission.

Follow the Commission on twitter @CivServComm.

Last week, the Civil Service Commission hosted two students for work experience. Both students, Shuayb Alom and Ikram Miah, are currently in the sixth form at Oaks Park High School, Ilford.

The Commission organised a week-long programme of events including visits to the Government Digital Service and Parliament, as well as meeting our Commissioners. They were also given the chance to practice future interview skills in a mock panel and hear about the types of roles and opportunities open to them should they wish to pursue a career in the Civil Service.

From left to right: Shuayb Alom and Ikram Miah

Shuayb said:

'What I found most enjoyable during my time with the Commission was getting to know the team and talking to the Commissioners. I had the opportunity to take part in a mock interview which was really helpful, and I learnt lots about the Civil Service and the work that people do.’

Ikram said:

'I really enjoyed developing my knowledge and understanding of the Civil Service. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, and I was impressed at how diverse it was. I most enjoyed the mock interview which helped my confidence, and hearing from the Commissioners about their careers and getting advice about my own.'

Pete Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Commission said:

My team really enjoyed hosting Shuayb and Ikram. As well as a good thing to do for young peoples’ CVs, work experience is a good way for us to highlight the wide variety of roles available in the Civil Service. Shuyab and Ikram were a credit to their school and we wish them well with their future careers.'

If you would like to find out more about Civil Service roles go to:

At our open events the most popular part of the session is undoubtedly when Commissioners talk about their top tips when applying for a post in the senior Civil Service.

Here a quick round up from our recent open events:

Jane Burgess

“First off, do what is set out in the pack. Contact the vacancy holder and find out about the role. It’s a chance to see if it’s a role you really want, and to talk about the context and ask questions of someone in the team already. Take that opportunity if you think you might want the job. Secondly, make sure you complete the diversity monitoring form. You can always say ‘prefer not to say’. It’s a really important tool for the Civil Service and the Commission to monitor candidates’ progress throughout the process."

Isabel Doverty

“If you get to the interview stage, well done…but please don’t forget that the panel interview is only one part of the whole process. While a three or four person panel interview can sound pretty daunting, the Commissioner and other panel members are only there to make the right decision. They aren’t trying to catch you out; they genuinely want to hear and see more about you.”

Natalie Campbell

“The key to a good interview is preparation, preparation, preparation. There’s no point winging it. Candidates need to show they have researched the Department and the job area. Prepare some examples that you can use to illustrate your experience. Look hard at the essential criteria and identify any gaps there are in your own skills or experience. How might you address them? Most candidates don’t tick every box…so demonstrate that you have thought about any gaps.”

Jan Cameron

"For every interview, it’s important to do some planning in advance and really think carefully about the evidence you can describe against all the essential components of the role.  As well as examples of things that have gone well and that you are proud of, it is also really helpful to think about things that haven’t gone according to plan.  How did you respond? What could you have done differently? What did you learn?  The panel like to see you are self-aware and focused on your own personal development as well as that of others."

We will be holding more open events with Commissioners in 2020. Keep an eye on our website or email to express your interest.

If interested in attending future sessions please email

The Commission hosted an event this week for recruiters and headhunting firms who work with government departments, aimed at increasing understanding of its work and championing diversity in senior recruitment to the Civil Service.

Melanie Dawes, the Civil Service diversity and inclusion champion, and Richard Heaton, the Civil Service race equality champion, joined Commissioners Natalie Campbell and Joe Montgomery along with Joanne Abeyie from Blue Moon Recruitment (an inclusive executive search consultancy) for a lively and informative panel discussion on recruiting and growing diverse talent in the senior levels of the Civil service.

"I’d like to thank all those who came along on Thursday evening. As the regulator chairing almost 200 competitions at senior levels across government each year, we’re keen to share our experience and hear from others about what really good diverse recruitment practice looks like in the Civil Service.
Executive search has a major role in helping departments find and attract talented candidates from a wider range of backgrounds. We want to play our part, working with search firms employed by departments, to help the Civil Service achieve its aim to be the UK’s most inclusive employer, with a workforce that reflects the whole of British Society.”

Natalie Campbell, Civil Service Commissioner
Panel Chair, Natalie Campbell, with Richard Heaton, Joanna Abeyie and Joe Montgomery

If you would like to know more about our role or this event please contact

Watch a short video about the Commission’s role in recruitment

You can follow the Commission on twitter @CivServComm

Anjalina and Gurnek at the Civil Service Commission

In July, the Commission welcomed three sixth formers from Oaks Park High School in Ilford for work experience. Aarti Soba, Strategy Officer at the Commission arranged a programme of events and meetings to introduce Anjalina Seehra, Gurnek Virk and Zayaan Khan, all aged 17, to the work of the Commission and the other independent offices the team supports. Anjalina Seehra said the work experience helped bust a few myths about the Civil Service for her:

The Commission, (understandably) isn’t just filled with middle aged white men like the stereotypes of the government sector. Instead what I found was a group of diverse, hardworking individuals, who socialise and who I could realistically look up to.
 The CSC is super important. The recruitment process has to be fair, open and merit based, and the CSC make sure this happens. That means that everyone has the right to apply to become a civil servant no matter the ethnicity, background or sexuality. This, in our very fast developing world, is crucial. Also, by attending Civil Service Live I have been exposed to all of the different sectors that take part in maintaining government policies and that keep the country together. CS Live was an amazing opportunity to get an insight into the trade unions as well as sneaking out loads of freebies.

Anjalina Seehra, Work Experience Student

Gurnek Virk felt he gained some useful career advice from his meetings with the senior team:

Ian Watmore, the First Civil Service Commissioner, taught me a valuable lesson while talking me through his career journey - that evidence is very important and is better than conceptualised ideas and is the basis of everything. I also met with Pete Lawrence, Senior Civil Servant, who helped changed my perspective – that interviews aren’t as daunting as I thought and that the panellists are only trying to get the best out of me. Lastly, I met with Peter Riddell, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, he broadened my knowledge about Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev, and he also gave me a further insight into various leaders he has been acquainted with in his previous career as a journalist

Gurnek Virk, Work Experience Student

I felt nervous that I would find the environment intimidating, as I had assumed the government sector to be quite a serious and inaccessible field, this was immediately resolved by the office’s warm atmosphere and welcoming staff.”
On Thursday, we went to the Parliament to sit in the House of Lords with Baroness Angela Browning and have a discussion about our future interests and any advice she had for us at this stage of our life. This was a great session as it showed us we should do what we love and pick up different experiences as it can greatly assist us for our future jobs or roles.
Also, I have to mention that meeting with some of the Senior Civil Servants and Commissioners such as Ian Watmore, Rosie Glazebrook, Peter Riddell and having a discussion about their careers was also quite fascinating as it demonstrated how careers can change and fluctuate, which can be a big part of your future.
I recommend this work experience placement to anyone who is considering looking around different places for their future, as it is a great insight into how different departments in the government function and to see whether this sector would be suitable for you, or not. It has been incredibly helpful in showing a genuine experience of working in this field and has reaffirmed my interest in joining a department similar to this after university.

Zayann Khan, Work Experience Student

The Commission team thoroughly enjoyed hosting these bright and engaged young people and would like to wish them well for their future careers.

"Life Chances Schemes are good for diversity of the Civil Service and for communities"

Ian Watmore, First Civil Service Commissioner

The independent Civil Service Commission, which regulates Civil Service appointments to provide assurance that they are made on merit after fair and open competition, published its annual report for 2018-19 today and highlighted its work supporting Life Chances schemes in Civil Service recruitment.

The annual report contains a range of statistics and information about the Commission's work including:

  • 50,552 people were recruited to the Civil Service through open and fair competition this year, up 25% from 2017-18
  • Commissioners chaired 197 competitions at senior levels, 17% more than the previous year
  • Where declared, BAME candidates made up 20% of people recruited in 2018-19
  • Where declared, 6% of people recruited reported having a disability

"I am incredibly proud that in 2018 the Civil Service Commission shared a national Civil Service innovation award for our Life Chances programme relating to the direct employment of ex-offenders into the Civil Service.

As one of the Commission's four strategic priorities, last April we revised our Recruitment Principles to enable and encourage Departmental Life Chances schemes designed to boost the employability and skills of disadvantaged groups such as military veterans, ex-offenders and care leavers.

Offering roles to people like ex-offeners who otherwise would not have applied to the Civil Service, let alone secured a role, is clearly good for those individuals, good for communities who are protected from the risk of reoffending and it is good for the Civil Service which gets committed and talented employees, with a different set of experiences, thus improving public services and being more representative of the society they serve.

We also made a number of changes to improve diversity in recruitment and help the Civil Service obtain the skills needed in these testing times as well as auditing recruitment across 71 Departments for open and merit-based processes for appointment.

We will continue to be innovative across a range of challenges in 2019, whether in educating departments and improving their regulatory compliance; helping departments to improve diversity in areas such as ethnicity, disability and social mobility; promoting civil servants' understanding of the Civil Service Code and values; and continuing to take their complaints seriously when they see breaches.

I am grateful to my colleagues for their continued hard work this year, enabling the Commission to play its part in helping maintain an efficient, effective and impartial civil service, with the necessary skills to deliver the agenda of the government of the day. "

Ian Watmore, First Civil Service Commissioner

Download the Commission's annual report

Notes to Editors

  1. Media enquiries about the work of the Commission should go to Maggie O'Boyle on 07880740627
  2. More information about the work of the Commission is available on its website
  3. You can also follow the Commission on twitter @CivServComm
  4. The Civil Service Commission was established as a statutory body in November 2010 under the provisions of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The Commission is independent of Ministers and the Civil Service. It is responsible for upholding the requirement that recruitment to the Civil Service is on merit on the basis of fair and open competition
  5. The Commission comprises senior figures from the private, public and third sectors. Civil Service Commissioners are appointed by the Crown for five-year non-renewable terms of office.

The Commission has produced three short, informative films below. These will help you to better understand what the Commission is, what the Recruitment Principles are and how the Civil Service Code works. Scroll down to view!

Civil Service Commission: An Introduction

Civil Service Commission: An Introduction

Civil Service Commission: The Recruitment Principles

Civil Service Commission: Recruitment Principles

Civil Service Commission: The Code

Civil Service Commission: Code
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