About the programme
Effectiveness in a changing and challenging world underpinned by the core values of impartiality, integrity, honesty and objectivity are generally regarded as the hallmarks of a modern public service. It is often the responsibility of a Public Service Commission to be the guardian of these principles and, in particular, to ensure that appointments are made solely on merit following fair and open competition.
It is now more than 150 years since the publication of the Northcote /Trevelyan Report which established the basic principle of appointment on merit to the UK Civil Service – a principle that still applies today – and led, in 1855, to the appointment of the first Civil Service Commissioners to oversee recruitment. In the years since then the Commissioners have regularly modified their approach in response to institutional change. Their role was also significantly expanded in 1996 with the introduction of a Civil Service Code which formalised the Civil Service values and gave a role to the Commission in dealing with concerns from civil servants in relation to the Code.
Alongside these developments a Committee on Standards in Public Life was set up by the Government in 1994, and a year later the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments was established. There has also been a vigorous debate on the need for a Civil Service law in the UK, and legislation was finally introduced in November 2010.
Our study programme, which is held in London, uses the experience in the UK and internationally to focus on:
- The differing roles and functions of Civil and Public Service Commissions
- Measures to provide public confidence in the work of Civil and Public Service Commissions
- Civil Service reform and improving its effectiveness
- The need for and content of legislation covering the civil and public service.
In previous years our participants have discussed these issues directly with, among others, the First Civil Service Commissioner, the Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration and Cabinet Office officials responsible for Civil Service reform and efficiency. The practical issues surrounding the recruitment, selection, appointment and development of civil and public servants will be covered, as will the main themes being addressed in the UK Government’s programme of reforming and modernising the UK Civil Service. The relationship between Public Service Commissions and Ministries and Government Agencies will be explored.
Who is it for?
The programme is designed to meet the needs of Public Service Commissioners and their senior staff; Parliamentarians and others involved in the preparation or implementation of a Civil Service law; and senior policy-makers and managers concerned with improving Civil Service efficiency and effectiveness.
How participants will benefit
The programme will:
- Enable you to consider in depth the role of Public Service Commissioners, study the evolution of that role in the UK, and discuss topical issues facing Commissioners today
- Give you an opportunity to explore the work of Commissions, Ministries and Agencies in the civil and public service appointment process
- Provide a forum for you to review approaches to drafting and implementing a Civil Service law
- Enable you to study the UK approach to modernising the civil and public services and improving their effectiveness
- Encourage you to share your own experiences, review your own challenges, and prepare an action plan to meet those challenges.
“Facilitators were knowledgeable, focussed and well-prepared. The knowledge and experience I have gained will definitely help the PSC to focus on core issues and delegate more powers to Ministries and other relevant levels in the public/civil service.”
Mr Eddie S Amkongo
Public Service Commission of Namibia