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Civil Service

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to reduce the number of civil service posts for which passing the civil service examination is a key requirement; and if he will make a statement. [114280]

There is no single "Civil Service exam". With the exception of the Fast Stream, and recruitment to the most senior posts, recruitment to the Civil Service is the responsibility of individual government departments and agencies. In general their systems are based on the competences their businesses require, and their recruitment processes are determined by the needs of the post. Departments are free to choose the selection methods that best demonstrate the competences and skills they are seeking. These can include a variety of tests and exercises, interviews or assessment centres.My own Department recruits for the graduate Fast Stream Programme on behalf of Departments and reports annually to Parliament with details of the scheme, including numbers of applicants and successes at each selection stage. The tests, exercises and interviews are designed and validated with the aim of achieving the best possible prediction of suitability for, and success in, the job. The recruitment process for all jobs in the Civil Service must be consistent with the principle of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code.