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The myth that the UK has a civil service like the IAS

At Horasis someone (I forget who) said to me that the IAS is modelled on the British civil service. I recall someone saying something on these lines to me many years ago as well.

Well, that is pure nonsense.

The fact is that the top civil service in the UK is not recruited by the political leadership from the open market as in Australia but is still recruited pretty openly FOR EACH POST.

There is no tenured civil service in the UK. It is broadly similar to the New Zealand model, where a public service commission gets involved in recruiting people to INDIVIDUAL POSTS at the senior levels. There is no tenured service from which people are automatically selected to become secretaries, as is the case with the IAS.

For the majority of posts up to and including SCS pay band 1 level, departments and agencies are free to conduct open competitions without direct Commissioner involvement. In doing so, the Orders in Council require them to adhere to the Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles (which replaced the Recruitment Code with effect from 1 April 2009). Recruitment at these levels is also subject to an audit regime which the Commissioners undertake on an annual basis.

The Commissioners are directly involved when a vacancy within the top pay bands of the Civil Service—SCS pay band 2, SCS pay band 3 and Permanent Secretary (a total of around 600 posts)—is subject to open competition. We may also chair the recruitment boards for some other posts by agreement [Source]

And the senior officials are paid very well.

I have not had time to explore how they are dismissed, but I suspect there is a system of accountability built into the service.

While the UK public service system is not as efficient as the Australian one, it is close enough.

And MILES APART from the archaic and inefficient system in India.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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