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Role details

Civil Service Commissioner

Application deadline 18 September 2023


Civil Service Commission
Sponsor department
Cabinet Office
Public Administration
Communication, Human Resources, Casework and Complaints Handling
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
£400 per day
Length of term
five years
Application deadline
7pm on 18 September 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    31 July 2023

  2. Application deadline

    7pm on 18 September 2023

  3. Sifting date

    11 October 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    30 October 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


 The Civil Service Commission regulates recruitment to the Civil Service by providing assurance that an appointment is made on the basis of merit after a fair and open competition.
The Commissioners that we are recruiting for chair recruitment competitions for the most senior-level appointments in the Civil Service, and audit other recruitment campaigns. The Commissioners also promote the Civil Service values of Honesty, Integrity, Objectivity and Impartiality and hears complaints under the Civil Service Code.
Civil Service Commissioners were first appointed in 1855 following the Northcote -Trevelyan report, which identified patronage as one of the main reasons for the inefficiency of the mid-19th century Civil Service. Since 2010, the Commission has existed as an independent executive Non-Departmental Public Body with its powers and responsibilities set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.
The Civil Service Commission is a high profile public body whose work can attract considerable public and media interest. It is independent of the Government and of the Civil Service.

Introduction from the Chair

Message from the First Civil Service Commissioner, Rt Hon Baroness Gisela Stuart of Edgbaston:
I am delighted that you want to know more about appointments to the Civil Service Commission. The present Commission is made up of individuals from the public, private and third sectors and from across the United Kingdom. 
We are seeking to appoint two to four new Commissioners. The current Commissioners have a mix of private and public sector experience to maintain a balance in the skills and experience of Commissioners.
I would also like to encourage applications from across the regions of Great Britain, and in particular from Wales, to better reflect and support the Government’s levelling up agenda and diversity in the Civil Service.
Why would you want to be a Commissioner? First, you will be motivated by the importance of preserving the highest standards of conduct in public life and by playing a role in promoting and upholding the enduring Civil Service values of honesty, integrity, objectivity and impartiality.  
Secondly, you will be strongly committed to the principle of appointment on merit to the Civil Service and, as chair of appointment panels, your priority will be to help get the best people into the top Civil Service jobs.
Thirdly, you will be interested in what makes good regulation and how a regulator (which is, in effect, what the Civil Service Commission is) can act as a spur to improving practice and influencing change in Government Departments and agencies.
I have greatly valued the broad range of expertise that the current Commissioners bring to our Board and want to preserve the diversity and depth of expertise in the new appointments we make. Thank you for taking the time to consider contributing to our work.  
The closing date for applications is 11 September 2023 at 7pm.

Role description

Civil Service Commissioners:
  • chair recruitment competitions for the most senior-level appointments in the Civil Service;
  • support Government Departments in promoting the Civil Service values of impartiality, objectivity, honesty and integrity;
  • provide advice and challenge on how the wider system could be strengthened to reinforce the Civil Service values;
  • adjudicate on complaints (in relation to recruitment and breaches of the Civil Service Code);
  • set standards for recruitment into the Civil Service.
The Commissioners form the Board of the Civil Service Commission (chaired by the First Commissioner) and bring an independent perspective to ensure a high performing Civil Service which is well placed to meet the challenges of the future.
Further information about the Commission’s work can be found at 

Person specification

Essential criteria

The successful candidates will have: 
  • Recognition of the challenges facing the country and the Civil Service’s role in addressing these challenges and efficiently delivering demonstrable improvements to the lives of citizens; 
  • Appreciation of the skills required in the Civil Service to address such challenges, both generally and those specific to the wide variety of departmental and professional contexts in which competitions will take place; 
  • Understanding of the importance of effective leadership, and the ability to work with vacancy holders to interpret what leadership capability is required for the given context and how to assess for that leadership capability; 
  • The ability to command trust at the highest levels, demonstrating commitment to ethical standards and good governance, including fairness of process and outcomes while acting independently; 
  • Strong skills in judgement, based on the ability to assimilate a range of evidence and perspectives; 
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to work well within a diverse team of influential people; 
  • Commitment to learn from and continuously improve the processes they are involved in; 
  • Appreciation of the legislative, constitutional and public policy context of the role. 

Desirable criteria

In addition, they will also need to demonstrate at least one of the following: 
  • An understanding of Wales;
  • Commercial expertise, gained at senior levels in large and complex organisations; 
  • Strong leadership skills, with a particular focus on leading innovation and transformational change, improving delivery and maximising benefits from technology and data; 
  • Experience of recruitment and/or HR issues at a senior level in the private, public or voluntary sectors; 
  • Substantial experience in regulation, particularly in supporting ethical standards and good governance; 
  • Evidence of supporting diversity and inclusion, including diversity of thought, experience and background;
  • A commitment to broadening expertise and opening opportunities to people outside of London.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • a supporting statement
  • equality information
  • information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues

We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.

Overview of the application process

This is an open competition and any suitably skilled and experienced individual may apply. In line with the legal requirements, Commissioners are recruited on merit following a fair and open competition, following the principles set out in the Commission’s Recruitment Principles, which apply to recruitment to the Civil Service. 
Closing date
The closing date for applications is September 11 at 7pm
It is envisaged that the interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place in London at the end of October.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The panel will be chaired by Gisela Stuart, First Civil Service Commissioner. 
 It will also include:
  • Darren Tierney, Director General of the Propriety and Constitution Group
  • Independent Panel member: Rachael Cunningham, Executive Director of Finance & Corporate Services at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru​/ Natural Resources Wales
  • Independent Panel member: Chris Townsend KBE, Senior Partner, KPMG

Eligibility criteria

You should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

Because of our role in upholding the Civil Service values, Civil Service Commissioners are required to be - and be seen to be - independent, objective and free from political or other influence. Applicants will therefore need to declare any possible conflict of interest that they may have as a result of their own or a close family member’s interests (some examples are illustrated in the Code of Practice at Appendix D) and any political activity they have been involved in during the past ten years.


Under the terms of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, the European Assembly Elections Act 1978, the Scottish Parliament (Disqualification) Order 2003 and the National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2003, MPs, MSPs and members of the National Assembly for Wales are disqualified from holding the office of Civil Service Commissioner.

Serving civil servants will not be appointed as a Commissioner.

When you apply you should declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact 

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life. These are:
  1. Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.
For Civil Service Commissioners the Code of Conduct is attached to page for information. 

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

You will share responsibility with the other Commissioners for the discharge of the functions laid on you by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The work you carry out as a Commissioner will be for you to determine in consultation with the First Commissioner and the Secretariat of the Civil Service Commission. 
You will not become a member of the Civil Service. Commissioners are subject to the Civil Service Commissioners’ Code of Practice, which sets out the role and responsibilities of the Commissioners and standards of conduct they will observe while undertaking their business (see Appendix). 
You will be appointed by HM The King for a five-year non-renewable term of office.
Time Commitment
Commissioners are expected to commit at least 40 days a year to Commission business, including chairing competitions and attending Board and other meetings. The workload is likely to average about 4-8 days a month, although some periods may be busier.
The majority of Commissioners’ work has historically been done in central London but Commissioners are required to travel to and from Government Departments throughout the UK, for the purposes of recruitment competitions and other work. 

Appointment and tenure of office

You will be appointed by HM The King for a five-year non-renewable term of office.

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Commissioners will be paid a daily rate of £400.
You will, in addition, be eligible for the reimbursement of any reasonable expenses you may incur as a result of your duties as a Commissioner.

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon termination because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the  public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at If you feel this competition has not been conducted fairly, openly and with selection decisions taken solely on merit and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact the Chief Executive of the Commission at the following email address:
They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

Data protection

We are committed to respecting your privacy and safety in collecting and processing your personal data. For further information see:
The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Contact details

For information on the recruitment process or about adjustments for applicants with disabilities, please contact providing a summary of the nature of your enquiry and your contact details, including a telephone number.  A member of the secretariat will contact you at the earliest opportunity. 

If you feel this competition has not been conducted fairly, openly and with selection decisions taken solely on merit and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact the Chief Executive of the Commission at the following email address:

If you are considering an application and would like to talk to the First Civil Service Commissioner about the role, you can request to schedule a call with or