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 (PDF, 16 pages, 269KB), 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.
Scheme No Sponsoring Department/s Name of Programme Target Group
1 DWP AO Social Mobility Apprenticeship Programme Long Term Unemployed Benefit Recipients
2 Cabinet Office / CSC Going Forward into Employment (1) Prison Leavers
3 Cabinet Office / CSC Going Forward into Employment (2) Service Leavers (RiSE) & Veterans
4 Cabinet Office / CSC Going Forward into Employment (3) Military Partners & Spouses
5 Department of Education (DfE) Care Leavers Young People who leave care
6 Public Health England (PHE) Apprentice/Work Trial Opportunities for Young Adults from Barnardo's. Vulnerable Young Adults
7 DEFRA Workfit Individuals with Down’s Symdrome
8 HMRC Movement to Work in HMRC Unemployed Benefit Recipients
9 Welsh Government Support for Care Leavers Care leavers
10 Companies House School Apprenticeship Programme Students who do not wish to attend university
11 Companies House Work Experience to Work Ready Unemployed Benefit Recipients
12 Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service Modern Apprentice Scheme Vulnerable young adults
13 HMRC Autism Spectrum Employment Neurodiverse
14 Public Health England (PHE) Workforce Individuals with Down’s Syndrome
15 Department of Education (DfE) Supported Internships Young People with complex Educational Needs
16 Cabinet Office / CSC Going Forward into Employment (4) Prison Leavers - probation
17 HMRC HMRC Springboard Alternative education provision students
18 DWP DWP Kickstart AO Social Mobility Scheme utilising Kickstart funding model
19 ONS Neuro Diversity Neurodiverse
20 DWP/GFiE (5) Homelessness Homeless individuals in NW (Pilot)
21 GFiE (6) Care Leavers Those of working age & under Local Authority care/support ready to engage in employment
22 DfE Traineeships 18-24 year olds, unemployed and who lack the experience to move into sustainable work or apprenticeships.
23 CSHR Kick Start (National) Programme to support the Kickstart scheme across government.
24 Scottish Government Fair Start Scotland Those of working age and could be long term unemployed or one of other key Social Mobility groups (i.e Care Leaver, Homeless, Prison Leavers etc)
25 CPS CPS Apprenticeships Improving Social Mobility for Young People
26 BEIS Social Mobility Apprenticeship Programme Unemployed people from low social mobility/socio economic backgrounds.
27 Ministry of Defence Autistic Hiring Programme Neurodiverse
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.
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