What we do
The Civil Service helps the government of the day develop and implement its policies as effectively as possible.
The Civil Service provides services directly to people all over the country, including:
- paying benefits and pensions
- running employment services
- running prisons
- issuing driving licences
We also have staff working on policy development and implementation, including analysts, project managers, lawyers and economists.
Who we are
We’re politically impartial and independent of government and work in central government departments, agencies, and non-departmental government bodies (NDPBs). The Civil Service does not include government ministers (who are politically appointed), members of the British Armed Forces, the police, officers of local government or NDPBs of the Houses of Parliament, employees of the National Health Service (NHS), or staff of the Royal Household.
We’re co-ordinated and managed by the Prime Minister, in his role as Minister for the Civil Service. The most senior civil servant in a department is a permanent secretary.
As we’re accountable to the public we need to meet the highest possible standards in all that we do. We aim to have:
- integrity - putting the obligations of public service above personal interests
- honesty - being truthful and open
- objectivity - basing advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence
- impartiality - acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving governments of different political parties equally well
In order to make best practice the standard we are currently undergoing a period of change. This will make our service more skilled, less bureaucratic and more unified.
Equality and diversity
We publish our equality and diversity statistics as part of Civil Service headline workforce information. Click here for more information about our equality and diversity policy and how we monitor equality and diversity.
To create a more skilled and unified organisation to transform services and achieve significant savings for the taxpayer, we are developing 10 specialist areas of expertise. These cross-government functions provide professional services and support to departments.
- corporate finance
- human resources
- internal audit
- project delivery
The Civil Service is made up of 25 professions. Each profession has developed its own competency framework, which supports the wider civil service framework.
The Civil Service is made up of a wide range of professional roles – from communicators and engineers, to procurement managers and lawyers. There are currently 25 recognised professions, each led by a head of profession:
- Corporate Finance Profession
- Government Communication Service
- Government Economic Service
- Government Finance Profession
- Government IT Profession
- Government Knowledge and Information Management Profession
- Government Legal Service
- Government Occupational Psychology Profession
- Government Operational Research Service
- Government Planning Inspectors
- Government Planning Profession
- Government Property Profession
- Government Security Profession
- Government Science and Engineering Profession
- Government Social Research Profession
- Government Statistical Service Profession
- Government Tax Profession
- Government Veterinary Profession
- Human Resources Profession
- Intelligence Analysis
- Internal Audit Profession
- Medical Profession
- Operational Delivery Profession
- Policy Profession
- Procurement Profession
- Project Delivery Profession
In most cases membership of professions is open to anyone working in government departments, agencies or non departmental public bodies. Some professions also permit membership to professionals outside of government, such as the wider public sector. In general they:
- provide a governance structure
- raise standards
- provide career development opportunities
- promote collaboration
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