PRESS NOTICE 21 July 2021

Civil Service Commission – annual report and accounts 2020 - 2021

The independent Civil Service Commission, which regulates Civil Service appointments to provide assurance that they are made on merit after fair and open competition, published its annual report for 2020 – 21 today.

The annual report contains a range of statistics and information about the Commission’s work including:

  • 60,487 people were recruited to the Civil Service through open and fair competition this year, up 53% on the previous year.
  • Commissioners chaired 163 competitions at senior levels this year, comparable with 161 in the previous year.
  • Black and minority ethnic candidates made up 23% of people recruited (SCS Pay band 2 and below) in 2020 – 2021, up from 19% in the previous year.
  • where declared 8% of people recruited reported having a disability, up from 6% in the previous year.
  • 121 Code appeals received this year. 
  • The Commission accredited 25 ‘Life Chance’ schemes to support individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds into Civil Service roles.

Ian Watmore, First Civil Service Commissioner, said:

“This is my final report as First Commissioner. Looking back, since the current Commission came together in 2016/17, the UK has faced unprecedented challenges – whether from Brexit and COVID-19, socio-economic tensions, security concerns or the increasing pace of science and technology – and it has been ever more dependent on its Civil Service to respond. 

“The Commission has played an important part in that response, acting as a flexible and pragmatic regulator, supporting the priorities of the government of the day, and working with Parliament to deliver the spirit of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.  It does that by relentlessly doing the day job well - setting Recruitment Principles, leading and auditing recruitments, promoting the Civil Service Code, seriously investigating appeals and complaints, being flexible when we can and standing up to abuses when we must. 

“And, as its ‘regulator’, we will continue to challenge the Civil Service strategically, to retain relevance and to be representative of the society it serves. 

“As First Commissioner, I am personally most proud of what we have been able to do to develop accreditation schemes to enable people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to become civil servants, providing them with life chances, improving the diversity and lived experience of the Civil Service, and supporting government priorities such as reducing reoffending or supporting veterans. From a standing start, and overcoming all the obstacles that inevitably cropped up, the Civil Service now has a sustainable model for recruiting individuals who previously were not accessible to them – ex-offenders, military veterans, care leavers, people with Down’s syndrome, and many others.

“It has been an honour to lead the Commission through this period. As the UK begins its recovery from this unique period in history, I believe its role providing public assurance on the integrity of Civil Service appointments, as well as offering challenge and support to the Civil Service, is as important today as it has ever been.”

Download the 2020 – 2021 annual report 

Watch our short videos

Notes to Editors

  1. Media enquiries about the work of the Commission should go to Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740 627. 
  2. More information about the work of the Commission is available on its website www.civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk
  3. You can also follow the Commission on twitter @CivServComm
  4. The Civil Service Commission was established as a statutory body in November 2010 under the provisions of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The Commission is independent of Ministers and the Civil Service. It is responsible for upholding the requirement that recruitment to the Civil Service is on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. 
  5. The Commission comprises senior figures from the private, public and third sectors. Civil Service Commissioners are appointed by the Crown for five-year non-renewable terms of office. The Cabinet Office is currently recruiting new Commissioners following an open competition.
  6. Ian Watmore’s 5-year term as First Civil Service Commissioner ends in September. The Cabinet Office will be advertising the First Commissioner post in due course. 

Civil Service Commissioner Jane Burgess has recorded a very short zoom presentation on how ministers can and should be involved in recruitment to the Civil Service, in line with the Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

“I hope this helps to explain how ministers can be involved in a fair, open and merit-based process under the Recruitment Principles.”

“It’s really important to find out whether the minister wishes to take an interest in the appointment at the outset so that the minister can be involved properly and there is sufficient time allowed for that during the process.”

Watch Jane's short presentation below:

On 15th January the Commission held an online session with over 100 recruitment managers and team leaders across the Civil Service on working with the Recruitment Principles.

The Commission's Recruitment Principles document is the key source for departments and agencies making appointments. They set out the Commission's interpretation of the statutory requirement of appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. 

The Principles also outline the circumstances in which appointments may be made as exceptions to the merit requirement.

The Principles are intentionally high level. It is for departments and agencies to develop and apply recruitment processes that best meet their business needs, while following the Principles.

The online session included a short presentation from Commissioners Jane Burgess and Rosie Glazebrook, followed by Q and A. 

Jane Burgess said: ‘I’d really like to thank all those who attended; it was great to have over 100 participants. We want to demystify the role of the Commission and help Civil Service recruiting managers and team leaders feel more confident about developing innovative campaigns that maintain the important principle of appointment on merit after a fair and open competition.“

Rosie Glazebrook said: “There were some great questions from participants. I hope everyone who attended found the session useful and informative. We’ll be running another session later this year but in the meantime our staff are always happy to help with any queries about working with the Principles.”

If you would like to know more about the Recruitment Principles or you are interested in attending a future event, please email us:  info@csc.gov.uk

Please watch the full recording of the event below:



The Corporate Services team held an online training session on 19th January for all staff on the use of social media. Like all civil servants, Commission staff are expected to adhere to a code which mirrors the Civil Service Code – both online and offline (for further information on Commission guidance visit the links below).

Maggie O’Boyle press officer for the Civil Service Commission opened the session with some guidance around using social media in a professional capacity, highlighting that social media is like any public forum and the same considerations apply as would to writing something or speaking, even in a personal capacity outside of work.

In the training session; Ben Fritter, Nicola Carpenter and Richard Webb took the team through the Civil Service Guidance, while also highlighting key messages and concerns around cyber security and the use of social media.

Pete Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Commission, said:


"It is important every member of staff understands what is expected of them and to recognise that even where your account says things like ‘tweeting in a personal capacity’, it does not absolve you of the requirement to follow the Code. The Code values of honesty, impartiality, integrity and objectivity apply online and offline."

For further information about the session, please visit the links below. 

Download the Commission Slides: 

Click Here to be redirected to Social Media presentation.

Link to guidance: 

https://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/01b_Code-of-Practice-for-Staff.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-service-code/the-civil-service-code

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-media-guidance-for-civil-servants/social-media-guidance-for-civil-servants 

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