Civil Servant – Job Description

Civil servants work for the Home Civil Service – an organisation that is politically neutral and exists to support and advise whichever government is in power at the time while working to create and deliver public services and policies.

The Civil Service is a huge organisation – 170+ departments covering areas as diverse as finance and the law – so there are many jobs to choose from.

Generally speaking, jobs are split into three separate types.

– Administrative staff will keep records up to date, take minutes at meetings and answer the phone/deal with emails.

– Middle managers work as support staff with titles such as policy advisors, project leads or researchers. Their day-to-day tasks involve advising ministers and senior staff, researching and helping to formulate policy and writing and presenting reports. An in-depth knowledge of the area covered by the department they work in is a given.

– Senior civil servants oversee the running of their respective departments while working closely with ministers on the creation, formulation and implementation of policy.

Positions are mainly office-based and employees share common key attributes. Excellent time-management and organisational skills, tact, and a clear understanding of the need for confidentiality are all vital. Flexibility is also required – government policy, after all, can change overnight.

At lower levels, five or more GCSEs, including maths and English, are required. Applicants are normally asked to complete specific aptitude tests as well.

Higher up the chain, a relevant degree or work experience in a specific area are needed. The Civil Service Fast Stream is a program for graduates with at least a 2:2 degree. The scheme lasts four years and all applicants must take an entrance exam.

Browse our current vacancies in:

Government and Defense


Other recommended resources:

Civil Service
The Government resource offering news and information about the Civil Service in the UK, including a list of the many organisations civil servants can work for.

Civil Service Fast Stream
A fast track graduate training programme offering work experience and education across the many sectors of civil service.

Civil Service College
A training portal offering courses in all areas of civil service duty.

A members club offering discounts on an array of products and services, such as holidays and insurance, available for all those who work in civil service.

Women in Public Service Project
A support resource for women involved in civil service, promoting leadership and equality.

Simon Thompson

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