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Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010

Part 1: The Civil Service

5.Part 1 of the Act provides for:

  • A power for the Minister for the Civil Service to manage the civil service, and a parallel power for the Secretary of State in relation to the diplomatic service;

  • A requirement for a code of conduct for civil servants which specifically requires civil servants to carry out their duties in accordance with the core civil service values of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality;

  • The establishment of a Civil Service Commission with functions in relation to selections for appointments to the civil service and in relation to hearing complaints that the civil service and diplomatic service codes have been breached;

  • A requirement for appointments to the civil service to be made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition;

  • Requirements as to the appointments of Special Advisers. The appointments are to be exempt from the fair and open competition principle;

  • A requirement for a separate code of conduct for special advisers which provides that special advisers may not authorise the expenditure of public funds, exercise any power in relation to the management of any part of the civil service (except in relation to other special advisers) or otherwise exercise any statutory or prerogative power.

6.The new statutory Civil Service Commission will take on the functions of the existing Civil Service Commissioners. The Civil Service Commission will publish principles on the application of the fundamental requirement that selections for appointment are made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, and will investigate complaints under the code of conduct for civil servants. The First Civil Service Commissioner and the other Civil Service Commissioners will be the members of the new Civil Service Commission. Transitional arrangements will enable those serving as Civil Service Commissioners automatically to move across to the new commission when it becomes operational.

7.Whilst the Act removes the prerogative powers for the management of the Civil Service, the prerogative will be retained in relation to security vetting and the management of the parts of the Civil Service of the State (listed in section 1) which are not covered by the provisions in Part 1.

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