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Myths busted around recruitment principles

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Did you know that when recruiting permanently into the Civil Service we must comply with the Civil Service Recruitment Principles? But what does that really mean?

Well, those of us who attended an insightful Awareness Session delivered by Giulia Poli from the Civil Service Commission at the Department for International Development (DFID) on the 4 September 2019 are now fully 'in the know' with regards to our obligations when recruiting into the Civil Service.

In the spirit of cross-government working we opened up this learning opportunity through the CS Local Scotland recruitment and redeployment network. Having enough interest to run two sessions, with representation from DFID, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Prison Service, HM Revenue & Customs, Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Giulia explained that it is a requirement of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act that selection for recruitment to the Civil Service must be on merit, on the basis of fair and open competition. The Commission are the guardian of these principles, holding government departments to account through regular audit.

Jan Cameron, Chair of the Commission’s Compliance Group, has said:

By taking our auditing in-house and our team visiting each organisation in person, it is much easier for us to identify organisations who need additional help or advice or would benefit from further training. There are some key lessons for all departments and agencies to continue to focus on – for example, the importance of keeping good records, following the advertised process and ensuring that appointments made by exception comply with the recruitment principles. As well as highlighting avoidable breaches and common mistakes, we saw some examples of excellent recruitment practices and we are considering how we can share this good practice more widely”.

This was a great networking opportunity to learn together, make introductions and some attendees have already reached out and are making plans to catch up, network and share best practice.

Nadia Bailey of Social Security Scottish Government said "My colleagues and I found the session with Civil Service Commission really informative. It was great to learn more about the commission and clear up some of the myths around the recruitment principles. The facilitator was really knowledgeable and was happy for us to test lots of different scenarios. Highly recommend attending one of these learning sessions".

May Gibb of the Department for Work and Pensions said "It was really good, the opportunity to learn and meet other Civil Service colleagues at the same time is always welcome”.   

If you’d like to know more please contact Wendy Brooks or Karen Doyle who will be happy to share their experience of the day.

For further information on the Civil Service Recruitment Principles please contact the CS Commission.


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