Commissioners’ Mark of Excellence 2023

The Commissioner’s mark of excellence aims to showcase innovation and commitment to recruit outstanding candidates across all grades into the Civil Service. 

The core function of the Commission is to ensure that recruitment is based on merit in a fair and open manner. 

This year the award will focus on rewarding innovative recruitment efforts by departments and organisations to bring in, induct and retain outstanding external candidates for public sector positions. This is in line with efforts to make all senior vacancies in the civil service, external by default, and broaden the skills and experiences available within the Civil Service.

The Commission - working with the Chief People Officer -  will also look to commend efforts to help civil servants get external experience in the private sector; move between local and national authorities; and move between the four nations of the civil service. 

How to Apply

If you are working in a department and organisations that are audited by the Civil Service Commission, you can apply using the form here

The award will be judged by a panel, led by Baroness (Gisela) Stuart , made up of  an independent Commissioner and the Chief People Officer of the Civil Service. 


This year, we will look to commend work that attempts to fulfil the Commission’s objective of competitions based on merit, advertising vacancies that are ‘External by Default’ to widen the pool of applicants, and finding outstanding candidates for recruitment competitions. 

The Mark of Excellence will be given to the department/s or organisation/s that have demonstrated consistent excellent practice in promoting a career in the Civil Service and widening opportunities to external candidates: 

External by default and accessibility : The department or organisation has started new initiatives/or additional effort to bring in exceptional talent from outside the current pool of the Civil Service, by:

  • Advertising vacancies externally by default and supporting candidates to make strong applications and prepare for Civil Service interviews
  • Tailoring induction processes for external candidates
  • Making efforts to retain excellent external candidates
  • Creating an advertising strategy to encourage external applications and other initiatives, improving wording of job descriptions, or new outreach programmes


Encourage porosity and upskilling members of the civil service by allowing and encouraging them to do external secondments and then return to the Civil Service, to reduce reliance on external consultants. Particular recognition will be given to efforts made to:

  • Transfer talent between national and local positions in the Civil Service
  • Transfer of talent between the four nations of the United Kingdom. 

Please note that you do not have to fulfil all criteria, but provide examples of where some of the criteria is met.

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