The Commission recognises that in some circumstances it may be right to allow appointments to be made outside of the principle of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. Any such exception should not undermine this fundamental principle.

Such appointments by exception are usually short-term; for example secondments which promote the exchange of ideas and experience.

Under the Recruitment Principles, departments may in most cases apply the exceptions themselves. The Commission’s approval is, however, required for appointments by exception at SCS Payband two and above and in some circumstances for those at less senior levels. A list of exceptions at and above Payband two level can be found here.

In rare cases departments and agencies may need to request that an appointment made as an exception to the Recruitment Principles be extended for a limited period beyond the initial term.  The Commission will only consider such a request if the appointing department or agency provides a strong business case.  When submitting a business case to the Commission, departments and agencies should use one of the Exception Forms and include all relevant information.

Exception 2/ Life Chances Programmes

The Commission accredits and champions government employment initiatives through a specific Exception in its Recruitment Principles – Exception 2 : Support for government employment programmes.  This Exception is designed to allow schemes which provide fixed term appointments within the Civil Service for individuals whose circumstances and previous life chances make it difficult for them to compete for appointments on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, without further work experience and/or training opportunities. Under Exception 2, departments may appoint individuals temporarily for up to 2 years.  Any proposal to extend an appointment beyond 2 years requires the permission of the Commission.
Name of Programme Who is it helping? Sponsoring Department
AO Social Mobility Apprenticeship Programme Unemployed Benefit Recipients Department for Work and Pensions
Apprentice and Work Trial Opportunities for Young Adults from Barnardo’s Vulnerable Young Adults Public Health England
Autism Spectrum Employment at HM Revenue and Customs Supporting individuals with autism HM Revenue & Customs
Care Leavers Programme Young People who leave Care Department for Education
Going Forward into Employment Ex-military personnel Cabinet Office
Going Forward into Employment Prison Leavers Cabinet Office/ Department for Work and Pensions/ Ministry of Justice
Going Forward into Employment Partners/spouses of ex-military personnel Cabinet Office
Modern Apprentice Programme Vulnerable Young Adults Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Movement to Work 18-30 year olds, who are in receipt of unemployment benefits HM Revenue and Customs
Resettlement Internships Supporting Employment (RISE) Service Leavers HM Revenue and Customs
School Apprenticeship Programme Students who do not wish to attend university Companies House
Support for Care Leavers Care leavers Welsh Government
Work Experience to Work Ready Unemployed Benefit Recipients Companies House
WorkFit Individuals with Down’s Syndrome Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Workforce Individuals with Down's Syndrome Public Health England
Supported Internships Young people leaving education Department for Education
Going Forward into Employment Prison Leavers on licence / Community Sentances Cabinet Office
Supporting initiatives to boost the employability of individuals with limited life chances is one of the Commission’s strategic priorities for 2019. If you wish to gain accreditation for your programme, please complete the Exception 2 form.
HM Government logo