What does the Civil Service do?
Working in the Civil Service means you work for a government department either as part of central government in London or within a regional office. This can be everything and anything from working directly for a Cabinet Minister to providing admin support in a local Magistrates Court or Job Centre to working for the Forestry Commission in the middle of Scotland. You can even work for the Civil Service overseas, for instance as a Visa Officer in a Consulate or Embassy.
There are 22 civil service offices located within Government departments at Whitehall, and a further 66 executive organisations around the country whose aims are to serve Britain's population with a very wide range of public services.
USEFUL WEBSITES :
If you're looking for general information on local government and public sector jobs, click HERE.
Or to see the extraordinary range of jobs within the Civil Service jobs, see the Civil Service jobs website HERE.
Civil Service jobs in Northern Ireland, see HERE
Civil Service Fast Stream webpage HERE
TSR Discussion about jobs in the Public Sector (including applying to the Civil Service Fast Stream) HERE
Summer Diversity Internship Programme (Fast Stream) HERE
Economics students Summer government placements HERE
Jobs at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office HERE
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Professionals graduate recruitment HERE
University of Kent Careers Service 'Jobs in the Public Sector' advice HERE
University of St Andrews Careers advice re. the Civil Service HERE
Why should I apply for a career in the Civil Service?
A career in the Civil Service offers an extensive range of opportunities for ambitious, talented individuals. You can achieve promotion rapidly, moving between Departments or work areas. Knowing that you are ensuring the effective maintenance of key public services can give immense job satisfaction. It also offers considerable job security and a relatively generous pension.
Training and Applicants
To be eligible for the civil service you must have British nationality, or dual nationality being one part British. 75% of available roles are open to citizens of the Commonwealth or the EEA. Some jobs will also require security clearance - which ranges from basic background checks to counter-terrorism clearance and developed vetting clearance.
Different jobs will require different qualifications - again, you will need to check this against the particular vacancy that you are applying for. For the Fast Stream you will need a minimum 2:2 degree or equivalent from a recognised university. Should you apply, you undergo one of the most rigorous assessments in the country, success in which will lead to an appointment within the Civil Service. See here for further details on the Fast Stream.
There is an "in-service" Fast Stream programme for existing permanent civil servants. This allows the service to recruit potential talent from within its own ranks. The process is significantly different in the earlier stages and much more straight-forward. Each department will have its own internal processes for selecting candidates that it feels have the potential to succeed on the Fast Stream, upon which they will recommend individuals for the final Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC). Cabinet Office will sift those applications and forward those successful to the FSAC. Everyone who joins the Fast Stream has to do an FSAC - which lasts a whole day. (Sometimes longer). Some posts - such as Parliamentary Clerks, Government Economic Service and the Diplomatic Service have further assessments that follow this.
Applicants should have excellent team working and communication skills.
What opportunities are available within the sector?
Not including consultants and agency workers, there are just under 500,000 civil servants across the country and beyond. There are opportunities available for both school leavers and for graduates alike. These range from back office administrators all the way through to working in policy development in Whitehall to working in an embassy in the middle of a war zone. There are also specialist posts for scientists, economists, statisticians, engineers, health workers and more.
There are several routes of entry. The most well-known among university students is the Fast Stream, an accelerated development scheme designed for graduates. However, in many national and regional jobs newspapers you are likely to find vacancies from organisations that form part of the civil service.
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