Crown servant

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In the United Kingdom, the phrases "Crown servant" or "Crown employee" are used to describe certain categories of public official of the Government of the United Kingdom. However, the term(s) are not consistently defined and can have different meanings in different contexts, the two most notable being in relation to employment rights and the Official Secrets Act.

Crown servants vs civil servants[edit]

There is no meaningful legal definition of a civil servant. The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 following the Tomlin Commission on the Civil Service unhelpfully refers to "the civil service of the State".

— John Alder, Constitutional and Administrative Law[1]

The terms civil servant and Crown servant can coincide, but are sometimes exclusive. It is suggested that the phrase "Civil servant" may include every person who serves the Crown, with the exception of members of the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the Ministers of the Crown and the judiciaries of the United Kingdom. However, members of the armed forces are nonetheless Crown servants.[1]

Employment rights[edit]

Crown employees (or servants[2]) serve "at the pleasure of the Crown", and do not therefore benefit from the protections normally available to employees by law.[3] However, the majority of these protections are applied to them by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. For the purposes of the Act, "crown employment" means employment "under or for the purposes of a government department or any officer or body exercising on behalf of the Crown functions conferred by an enactment", though members of the armed forces are excluded from this provision, and the government has the ability to exclude other Crown servants "for the purpose of safeguarding national security".[4]

Official Secrets Act 1989[edit]

Section 12(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 defines the expression "Crown servant" for the purposes of that Act. It now provides:

In this Act "Crown servant" means -

(a) a Minister of the Crown;
[(aa) a member of the Scottish Executive or a junior Scottish Minister;]
[(ab) the First Minister for Wales, a Welsh Minister appointed under section 48 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Counsel General to the Welsh Assembly Government or a Deputy Welsh Minister;]
(b) . . .
(c) any person employed in the civil service of the Crown, including Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service, Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service, the civil service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Court Service;
(d) any member of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown, including any person employed by an association established for the purposes of [Part XI of the Reserve Forces Act 1996];
(e) any constable and any other person employed or appointed in or for the purposes of any police force [(including the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve)][or of the Serious Organised Crime Agency];
(f) any person who is a member or employee of a prescribed body or a body of a prescribed class and either is prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph or belongs to a prescribed class of members or employees of any such body;
(g) any person who is the holder of a prescribed office or who is an employee of such a holder and either is prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph or belongs to a prescribed class of such employees.

Paragraph (aa) was inserted on 6 May 1999 by section 125 of, and paragraph 26(2) of the Schedule to, the Scotland Act 1998.

Paragraph (ab) was inserted by paragraph 34 of Schedule 10 to the Government of Wales Act 2006. This provision came into force immediately after "the 2007 election" by virtue of section 161(1) of that Act (subject to section 161(4) and (5), which provide that so far as it relates to functions of the Welsh Ministers, the First Minister, the Counsel General or the Assembly Commission, it came into force immediately after the end of "the initial period").

Paragraph (b) referred to a person appointed under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 (which related to the Northern Ireland Executive and other things). It was repealed on 2 December 1999[5] by sections 99 and 100(2) of, and paragraph 9 of Schedule 13 to, and Schedule 15 to, the Northern Ireland Act 1998, subject to savings in section 95 of that Act.

The words "Part IX of the Reserve Forces Act 1996" in paragraph (c) were substituted for the words "the Reserve Forces Act 1980" on 1 April 1997[6] by section 131(1) of, and paragraph 22 of Schedule 10 to, the Reserve Forces Act 1996, subject to section 72(5) of that Act.

The words in the first set of square brackets in paragraph (e) were substituted for the words "(including a police force within the meaning of the Police Act (Northern Ireland) 1970)" on 4 November 2001,[7] by section 74 of, and paragraph 9 of Schedule 6 to, the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.

The words in the second set of square brackets in that paragraph were substituted for the words "or of the National Criminal Intelligence Service or the National Crime Squad" on 1 April 2006[8] by section 59 of, and paragraph 58 of Schedule 4 to, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The words "or of the National Criminal Intelligence Service or the National Crime Squad" had been inserted on 1 April 1998,[9] by section 134(1) of, and paragraph 62 of Schedule 9 to the Police Act 1997.

"Prescribed", ss.12(1)(f) & (g)

This expression is defined by section 13(1) to mean prescribed by an order made by the Secretary of State. The procedure for making orders under the Act is provided by section 14. "Secretary of State" is defined by the Interpretation Act 1978 to mean one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State.

Prescribed classes of employees or members of prescribed bodies or classes of bodies, s. 12(1)(f)

The following have been prescribed for the purposes of section 12(1)(f):

Prescribed offices, s.12(1)(g)

The following offices are now prescribed for the purposes of section 12(1)(g):

Prescribed classes of employees of holders of prescribed offices, s. 12(1)(g)

The following classes of employees of holders of the prescribed offices above are now prescribed for the purposes of section 12(1)(g):

  • The officers of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration who are not otherwise Crown servants[26]
  • Officer of the Health Service Commissioner for England being an officer who is authorised by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration to perform any of his functions and who is not otherwise a Crown servant[27]
  • The staff of the Scottish Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration who are not otherwise Crown servants[28]
  • The officers of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration who are not otherwise Crown servants[29]
  • The officers of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who are not otherwise Crown servants[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alder, John (2013). Constitutional and Administrative Law. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 326–327. ISBN 9781137050007. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Halsbury suggests the two are interchangeable; "Crown employees". LexisNavigator. LexisNexis. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Carroll, Alex (2007). Constitutional and Administrative Law. Pearson Education. p. 267. ISBN 9781405812313. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England, volume 39: "Employment", paragraph 893
  5. ^ The Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Commencement No. 5) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/3209 (C.85)), article 2 and Schedule.
  6. ^ The Reserve Forces Act 1996 (Commencement No. 1) Order 1997 (S.I. 1997/305 (C.15)), article 2.
  7. ^ The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2001 (S.R. 2001/396 (C.19)), article 2 and Schedule.
  8. ^ The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Commencement No. 5 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions and Savings) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/378 (C.9)), article 4(1) and paragraph 10 of the Schedule
  9. ^ The Police Act 1997 (Commencement No. 5 and Transitional Provisions) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/354 (C.8)), article 2(2)(ay)
  10. ^ a b c d e The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 2 and Schedule 1
  11. ^ a b The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 2 and Schedule 1 (as amended by the Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) (Amendment) Order 1993 (S.I. 1993/847), article 2 and Schedule)
  12. ^ a b c d e f The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 2 and Schedule 1 (as amended by the Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) (Amendment) Order 2003 (S.I. 2003/1918), article 2(2) and Schedule 1)
  13. ^ a b c d The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 2 and Schedule 1 (as amended by the Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) (Amendment) Order 2007, article 2(4)
  14. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 2A (inserted by the Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) (Amendment) Order 2007, article 2(3)
  15. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 2A (inserted by the Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) (Amendment) Order 2007, article 2(3)
  16. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  17. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  18. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  19. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  20. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2 (as amended by the Scotland Act 1998 (Consequential Modifications) (No.1) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1042), article 3 and paragraph 18 of Schedule 1)
  21. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  22. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2 (as read with article 17(8) of the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Complaints of Maladministration) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1351) (in turn read with article 2(1) of the same))
  23. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  24. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2 (as amended by article 11(b) of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2004 (S.I. 2004/1823 (S.4))
  25. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the first column of Schedule 2
  26. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the second column of Schedule 2
  27. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the second column of Schedule 2 (as repealed in part by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2004 (S.I. 2004/1823 (S.4))), article 11(a), and by the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005 (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/362 (W.48)), article 3 and paragraph 1 of Schedule 2
  28. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the second column of Schedule 2 (as read with article 17(8) of the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Complaints of Maladministration) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1351) (in turn read with article 2(1) of the same))
  29. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the second column of Schedule 2
  30. ^ The Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/200), article 3 and the second column of Schedule 2 (as amended by article 11(c) of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2004 (S.I. 2004/1823 (S.4))