Recruitment Complaints

The Commission can hear complaints from anyone who believes a department has breached the requirements of the Recruitment Principles.

In the first instance, the matter should be raised with the department concerned. If the person who raises the concern is not satisfied with the department's response, they may bring their complaint to the Commission.

The Commission will not consider appeals from people who simply want their application for a post to be re-considered. The Commissioners cannot ‘replay’ competitions and judge how individuals fared against the criteria for a post in competition with others. The Commission is principles-based and we do not prescribe how panels score candidates. We cannot consider complaints solely based on scores awarded at either sift or interview.

Before contacting the Commission with your complaint, please consider the flowchart below:

  • Was the competition open to applicants outside of the Civil Service?

  • If No - The Commission can only hear recruitment complaints regarding external competitions. If the competition was internal, the Commission cannot deal with your complaint with the exception of campaigns chaired by our Commissioners or First Civil Service Commissioner.
  • If yes - Have you raised the complaint with the Department that is running the competition?
  • If no - Please contact the relevant department regarding your complaint prior to contacting the Commission.
  • If yes - If you have noted an acknowledgement from the Department within two weeks of contact or you are not satisfied with the response you have received, please contact the Commission with all relevant documentation and correspondence with the department.
For full details please see our Guide
The Commission publishes a guide that outlines its approach to handling a complaint under the Recruitment Principles. The guide to bringing a complaint to the Civil Service Commission (PDF, 10 pages, 276KB) explains what you should do, how we decide whether to accept your request for a complaint investigation, and how we will go about our investigation.

The Commission can only accept complaints about external competitions. Internal competitions including promotion are outside of our remit (unless they are chaired by one of our Commissioners).

Civil Service Commission
Room G8
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ

Phone: 020 7271 0831

You may also find it beneficial to look at the Outcome of Recruitment Complaints brought to the Commission to get an understanding on the types of complaints we investigate.

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