Working for the Civil Service

Where will a career in the Civil Service take you?

A career in the Civil Service offers you:

  • the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives in the UK
  • learning on the job and good career development opportunities
  • flexible working hours and comprehensive benefits

Where will a career in the Civil Service take you?

Apply to join the Civil Service

The different routes into the Civil Service include:

Diversity and inclusion

The Civil Service is committed to improving the delivery of public services for everyone in society. Respecting and valuing differences will help to ensure that our policies and services reflect the needs and experiences of the people we serve.

The Civil Service needs a workforce with the very best possible mix of existing and future talent.

Civil Service - Diversity and inclusion

Graduate entry

The Civil Service Fast Stream is our graduate entry scheme.

It offers talented graduates an accelerated route to leadership in the Civil Service. This short video gives more information about the Civil Service and the type of applicants the Fast Stream is looking for.

Civil Service Fast Stream - Make a difference!

You can find out more about the sort of work you’ll be doing on the scheme on the Fast Stream blog, including interviews with some of our current Fast Streamers.

Our values

The Civil Service Code sets out our core values and the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants.

Civil Service talent management

Developing civil servants’ skills to their highest potential is crucial to the future of the Civil Service.

We want leaders who demonstrate the qualities of the Leadership Statement and are inspiring, confident and empowering leaders. We want to build a robust succession pipeline to train the leaders of the future.

Good talent management leads to greater efficiency. It delivers a diverse and inclusive organisation in which the best people thrive, whoever they are. It is a key leadership issue and a critical part of any senior role

Lord Browne, Talent Management Review.

Developing your team: Talent Toolkit

Talent management is a critical part of a line manager’s role. It’s important line managers regularly include all their staff in discussions about their development, aspirations and performance. This will support the right people into the right roles, and will give them access to the right exposure, stretch and development to reach their potential.

The Civil Service Learning Talent Toolkit gives practical guidance and tips for managers to help them more effectively develop their staff.

The Civil Service High Potential Stream

The Civil Service High Potential Stream is a corporate talent pool managed across the Service with the aim of creating a succession pipeline of exceptional leaders for the future top roles.

Candidates for the scheme are individuals who are identified as consistently and significantly outperforming their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances.

They role model behaviours that reflect their organisation’s culture and values, and they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers.

The High Potential Scheme is made up of the following development schemes:

Future Leaders Scheme for high potential managers (Civil Service grades 7 and 6)

The Future Leaders Scheme (FLS) is a cross-government scheme for talented and high-potential Grades 6 and 7, who have the potential to reach the senior civil service in 3 years.

The emphasis of the FLS will be on development through practical experience underpinned by formal learning through a series of core modules.

Senior Leaders Scheme for high potential deputy directors (Civil Service SCS pay band 1)

The Senior Leaders Scheme (SLS) is a cross-government scheme for high potential deputy directors (pay band 1), providing learning and leadership development for individuals through taught workshops, corporate challenges, exposure to different sectors, building a leadership network, and access to executive coaches.

The SLS aims to accelerate the development of the pipeline of future leaders for key director roles to generate a stronger corporate succession plan.

Why talent matters: John Manzoni

High Potential Development Scheme for high potential directors (Civil Service SCS pay band 2)

The High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS) is a cross-government scheme for high potential directors (pay band 2), which aims to accelerate the development of those with the greatest potential to progress to director general, and potentially beyond that to permanent secretary.

This 1-year programme focuses on building participants’ leadership capability. The content of the scheme is reviewed for each cohort, with an element of co-design with participants, so addressing the collective development requirements of the group.

Participants on each of these schemes will typically take part in the following activities:

  • initial assessment for development
  • short, formal development modules, on visible leadership, delivery leadership and innovation and partnership working
  • an evaluation day
  • working with a senior coach or mentor
  • stretch assignments and corporate challenges
  • quarterly masterclasses the Civil Service Learning common curriculum
  • secondments with an emphasis on building commercial, innovative, and collaborative leadership skill sets.

In addition to these the HPDS scheme also includes:

  • psychometric assessment
  • development workshops
  • leadership workshops
  • senior leadership group engagement
  • capability workshops

To find out more about high potential streams in your organisation, please look on your departmental intranet. There is more information on Civil Service Learning(password protected).

Schemes for colleagues below Grade 7

  • departmental and professional talent programmes – speak to your HR business partner to find out more
  • graduate and in-service Fast Stream programmes
  • Civil Service Fast Track Apprentices
  • Positive Action Pathway