Civil Service Commission – annual report and accounts 2019 - 2020

PRESS NOTICE 20 July 2020

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 2019 – 20 today. 

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

- 39,654 people were recruited to the Civil Service through open and fair competition this year, down 21.5% on the previous year 

- Commissioners chaired 161 competitions at senior levels this year, down from 197 in the previous year. 

- Black and minority ethnic candidates made up 19% of people recruited (SCS Pay band 2 and below) in 2019 – 2020, down from 20% in the previous year 

- where declared 6% of people recruited reported having a disability. 

- 97 Code appeals received this year. 

Ian Watmore, First Civil Service Commissioner, said: 

“The scale of the challenge faced by the government and the Civil Service in dealing with the global Covid-19 pandemic has never been seen in peacetime. Civil servants across the country are playing their part, actively serving the government to deliver its priorities and support citizens and businesses through this time of crisis. Website http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk 

“As the regulator, the Commission responded to help departments to continue to recruit and deploy front line staff quickly in line with the Recruitment Principles, producing guidance for Departments to answer emerging recruitment questions and approving significant appointments by Exceptions within hours where necessary. 

“This year there has been fewer recruitment competitions chaired by Civil Service Commissioners for posts at senior levels (161 in 19-20 compared to 197 in the previous year). This is likely to be a consequence of both the December 2019 election, when appointments tend to slow, and a return to more usual levels of recruitment following EU exit. There were 7,146 applicants for those 161 posts, demonstrating that working in the Civil Service continues to be a highly attractive career. 

“And while the data shows some improvement this year in the proportion of some diverse groups from application to interview to being found appointable by the panel, there are still questions around why the progress of all candidates is not proportionally similar. Supporting departments to improve the diversity of their staff is one of the Commission’s strategic objectives. It’s clear that departments need to do more, especially in the planning stages of each recruitment campaign, to ensure they are going to reach and attract a strong and diverse field of candidates for each role.” 

Download the Commission’s annual report

Watch our short videos 

Notes to Editors 

1. Media enquiries about the work of the Commission should go to 

Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740 627. 

2. More information about the work of the Commission is available on its website www.civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk 

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 and the Cabinet Office are currently recruiting five new Commissioners. 


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