Talk:Civil Service (United Kingdom)

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Indian and British Civil Services[edit]

Rewrote india and british relationship. The Indian Civil Service actually predates the British one.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Roadrunner (talkcontribs) 22:41, 29 December 2002 (UTC)

Justification of page move[edit]

I have moved "British Civil Service" to "Civil service of the United Kingdom" for several reasons. Foremost, the "civil service" is not the name of a specific institution - but rather the beaurocracy of any number of governmental departments. For this reason it cannot be written as a proper noun (Civil Service). Secondly, the civil service of the UNITED KINGDOM is not limited to England, Wales and Scotland but equally operates within Northern Ireland - rendering "Britain" an incorrect and obsolete term for the mainland. Finally, "United Kingdom civil service" is not as clear as "Civil service of the United Kingdom" - the second is compliant with naming conventions on Wikipedia. --Oldak Quill 10:15, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The move from "British" to "United Kingdom" Civil Service is erroneous. There is in fact a separate Northern Ireland Civil Service, so British would be more accurate. The Departments in Northern Ireland are staffed by the NICS, although the Northern Ireland Office in London is part of the Home Civil Service.--George Burgess 20:00, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Future of this article[edit]

I have not been satisfied with this article, and have now put in a good deal of material seeking to improve it. I think it still needs better material on political independence (which has been a really central issue under Blair), Ponting and a Civil Service Act; something on the Whitley Council system and GCHQ; something on devolution; something on the break-up of centralised terms and conditions; and something on the new Professional Skills in Government programme. I shall aim to give this time in due course.

George Burgess is correct, by the way.

Mark O'Sullivan 10:34, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

I think it could be a useful addition to this article to have some mention of the growing number of UK public servants who are not classed as civil servants, if nothing else to make clear the distinction. The number of QUANGOs and NDPBs implementing government policy is considerable, and many of the staff could be mistakenly seen as civil servants. Indeed the article Public Service suggests the Civil Service page, which is erroneous in the case of the UK. It may also be a nice counterpoint to the introduction, showing how the proliferation of bodies which lead to the creation of the civil service has not been solved!
I could put some text together around this, unless you can think of a better solution? MrTrev 20:07, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Civil Service Code[edit]

"A new civil service code was launched on 6 August 2006" - How is it possible for a new code to have been launched (past tense)a month after the present date? Anyway. Can somebody confirm whether or not it will be launched on the 6th of August (i.e. tense error) or whether it in fact had been launched already and the date is wrong? --User:Capreolus 19:56, 3rd July 2006 (UTC)

I've corrected the date - it was launched in June. Could you add new talk sections to the end of pages as it's easier to pick up. MLA 06:03, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Reference link (20) invalid, could be replaced with: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/work/cscode/index.aspx

Grading[edit]

The grade comparators are good, but only Executive grades and above are listed, up to SCS. The AAs and AOs have been omitted altogether. Given the preponderance of these grades in, for instance, Executive Agencies, does anyone want to have a go? Wisdom of clowns 10:13, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I couldn't see any grading material. This is poor compared to the good information on both the police and the armed forces. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.0.57.14 (talk) 21:26, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I have a lot of information on the AA/A0 grades across the board. BTW - Where has the grade chart gone, and why was it removed? (Lundenwych - 7 August 2008 - 1837hrs)

This version [1] had the grading scheme. This edit [2] took it out. Rumping (talk) 14:03, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Could we add a column showing the old grades eg principal, assistant secretary? http://www.dasa.mod.uk/modintranet/UKDS/UKDS2009/c2/table225.html

Dubious writing[edit]

"Offices of state grew in England, and later the United Kingdom, piecemeal. Initially, as in other countries, they were little more than secretariats for their leaders, who held positions at court. In the 18th century, in response to the growth of the British Empire and economic changes, institutions such as the Office of Works and the Navy Board grew large. Each had its own system and staff were appointed by purchase or patronage. By the 19th century, it became increasingly clear that these arrangements were not working." I understand what this means, but it could be a lot better-written: for example, "institutions such as the Office of Works and the Navy Board grew large" seems both ugly and not very informative (how much bigger did they get and were they perceived as becoming so large as to be unwieldy?). The last sentence in particular raises questions: if it had become clear that appointments by purchase and patronage were "not working", how does the writer explain the growth of the British Empire? If the lack of a professionalised civil service was a genuine lack, shouldn't it have been perceived as an impediment to growth? In whose opinion was the existing system "not working", and why didn't they think it worked? Lexo (talk) 09:29, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Head of the Home Civil Service[edit]

At present the article says that the position of Head of the Home Civil Service has been combined with that of Secretary to the Cabinet since 1981, an assertion repeated on the Cabinet Secretary article. I've just been looking through the lists of heads of departments on pages 301 to 306 of 20th Century British Political Facts and this doesn't seem quite right. From 1919 to 1956 Fisher, Wilson, Hopkins and Bridges were Head of the HCS while also Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. Brook was Head from 1956 to 1963 while Secretary to the Treasury with Makins until 1959 and then with Lee from 1960 until 1962, when they were replaced by Helsby and W. Armstrong. In 1963 Helsby became Head of the Civil Service while Armstrong continued alone at the Treasury. In 1968 Armstrong became Head while also becoming Permanent Secretary at the Civil Service Department, and his successors Allen and Bancroft also filled both these roles. In 1981 the joint heads were Wass from the Treasury and R. Armstrong from the Cabinet Office. Wass retired in 1983 and the Cabinet Secretary has remained Head of the Home Civil Service since. Opera hat (talk) 23:58, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Margaret Thatcher's announcement in Parliament of the 1981 changes, including the early retirement of Sir Ian Bancroft and his replacement by Sir Robert Armstrong and Sir Douglas Wass as joint heads of the Home Civil Service is at Hansard here. Opera hat (talk) 23:42, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

infographic?[edit]

Hi, I’m Andrew Clark and I work at the Office for National Statistics in the UK.

We publish lots of infographics and I wonder if this one on UK civil service (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_number_of_civil_servants_employed_in_the_UK_in_2013_is_448,840.png) would be of interest for UK_civil_service

FYI, the full gallery, updated weekly, is here <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Content_created_by_the_Office_for_National_Statistics>

All the best

Andrew Clark (smanders1982) 10 Dec 2013

Smanders1982 (talk) 13:38, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Minor factual amends (COI advisement)[edit]

I'm aware I have a COI for updates to this article, as I work in the civil service. However, I've just made a few minor factual/neutral amends as allowed for in the Best practices for editors with close associations and, as advised in those guidelines, I'm also posting here to be up-front about it. I'm considering what other edits might be useful, but I will post here suggestions for anything substantial. Scrumph (talk) 15:37, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 5 December 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: MOVED. (non-admin closure) KSFTC 21:23, 31 December 2016 (UTC)



Her Majesty's Civil ServiceUK civil service – Please place your rationale for the proposed move here. Tony (talk) 04:21, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

The country is not identified (readers searching for the topic are expected to know that "her majesty" is the British queen?). The current title appears to result from a legalistic argument for monarchical identity, and sounds more like the title of a James Bond movie than what readers would type into their search box. I instinctively typed in "British civil service", and it was hard to find. I note that a UK civil servant—Andrew Clark—referred to it two threads above as "UK civil service". NB, I'd be fine with "British civil service" too—whichever is better for our readers. Tony (talk) 04:21, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

  • Support "United Kingdom civil service" "Civil service of the United Kingdom" The current title is clearly inappropriate - it is (a) not used by reliable sources, (b) archaic, (c) confusing to readers and (d) imprecise (it could mean the civil service of any monarchy, including any the 16 countries that have Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state). I'd prefer "UK" to be spelt out in full, though. --MrStoofer (talk) 09:04, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment Note that the term seems to be a proper noun, at least according to all the references on gov.uk and the related about page. I'd support either United Kingdom Civil Service or Civil Service (United Kingdom). Lugnuts Precious bodily fluids 15:07, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support move to "United Kingdom civil service" or "British civil service", per WP:COMMONNAME. Assuming only that HM refers to Queen Elizabeth II, she is the queen and head of state to 15 countries, the current title is presumptuous and clearly inappropriate for a WP article. -- Ohc ¡digame! 15:23, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
@Ohconfucius, do you have any evidence that this is the common name? The Queen is actually monarch of 16 realms (though of course you may have meant to say 15 'other' realms), however as a legacy of older, more imperial days, the other realms do not tend to use 'HM' abbreviations without qualification as it would have been confusing, HM Civil Service was the central civil service of the empire while colonial copies took different names to avoid confusion. Therefore for example we have the Public Service of Canada (previously known as the Civil Service of Canada) and the Australian Public Service (formally known as the Commonwealth Public Service). On the rare occasion that direct reference to Her Majesty is made in names of institutions of realms outside the United Kingdom it is done so with a qualifier, thus Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship (HMNZS), Her Majesty's Barbadian Ship (HMBS), Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship (HMPNGS), etc. If you are concerned that other non-Commonwealth monarchies use a HM abbreviation have no fear, other monarchies do not appear to have taken the same practice as is used in Britain: for example, in the Netherlands the civil service’s name translates as "General Administrative Service" (see more info here), similarly in Spain the name is "Administración General" (see official civil service website here). I tried to find the names of all the different monarchy's civil services but couldn't get them all, though at no point did any of the possible names I found for the various countries civil services ever invoke the monarchy, or any have any hints of royal invocation (and even if they had, as we don't even have articles for most of them it’s not a tremendous problem either). It seems that invoking royal authority in modern civil services is a distinctly British phenomenon. Ebonelm (talk) 23:35, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
There is no non-US entity named the Federal Bureau of Investigation, so you're not making a valid comparison. Hong Kong, India, etc., do in fact have each have a Civil Service (actually named that, not Public Service, etc.). This has nothing to do with ship naming conventions, nor with the abbreviation "HM". How similar governmental organisations are named in other languages like Spanish is irrelevant. Basically, your entire response to Ohconfucius seems to be a bunch of hand-waving.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:49, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
I've never mentioned the FBI in any of my comments so I'm not sure why you think I've a made a comparison? However as you have brought it up, there is no other organisation known as 'Her Majesty's Civil Service' so you've actually supported my rejection of this move. I am fully aware that Hong Kong and India have civil services, every country/territory does, I'm sure why you think I would be suprised by this fact? However neither Hong Kong or India are Commonwealth realms so I don't see what your point is re: the use of HM. In the colonial period the Hong Kong civil service was simply known as the 'Hong Kong Civil Service', while the Civil Services of India in colonial times were known as the Imperial Civil Service, again no use of 'HM'. I'm suprised you don't think references on how the term 'Her Majesty' is used in other Commonwealth realms is relevant given it has been incorrectly contented in the above that 'Her Majesty's Civil Service' could refer to the civil service in any of the Commonwealth realms. As I have demonstrated, only the United Kingdom uses Her Majesty in this way so there is no overlap. Ebonelm (talk) 15:16, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
I mis-scanned; it was Necrothesp who mentioned FBI. But it was side point (and you're both making the same overall argument); you can strike me mentioning it, and everything I said still stands. All civil services in Elizabeth II's realms are her majesty's civil services, capitalized according to preference and context. Whether the exact literal WP:OFFICIALNAME of one in particular happens to be Her Majesty's Civil Service is irrelevant because WP uses the WP:COMMONNAME not the official one, and I've already proven that the official one is almost never used, and demonstrated what the common one is. Don't care about the rest of this, as it is all moot. This is a not a debate forum for trivia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:53, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The correct term and the proper name. Does the proposer also think we should move Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, for instance, because they don't specify the country and (horror of horrors) suggest "monarchical identity"? How about Federal Bureau of Investigation? The USA isn't the only country to have a federal structure; are we expected to assume that it's an American agency? See how daft these arguments are? Given British civil service has been a redirect here since 2005, how on earth was it "hard to find"? Also note that it's a proper name, so should clearly be capitalised. The sentence: "The current title appears to result from a legalistic argument for monarchical identity, and sounds more like the title of a James Bond movie than what readers would type into their search box" suggests that the proposer is suggesting a move for POV anti-royalist reasons, which are not appropriate on Wikipedia. Your opinions don't change the facts. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:40, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
    I believe our readers-in-search would be happier with "Royal Navy (UK)", etc. Tony (talk) 09:12, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
    I really don't think so. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:01, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
    I do; "royal" only means "British royal" to British subjects (cf. List of current monarchies). Even most Americans know that the official name of Shell Oil is Royal Dutch Shell and that it does not refer to the British crown (despite also having corporate ties to the UK from a merger back when, which most people don't know).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:49, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
    The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are the only two services that are known all over the world just with the "Royal" prefix and no national identifier. All the other "Royal" forces use a national identifier as part of their English-language title. Are you really telling me that most Americans (or anyone else) wouldn't know that the RAF is British? I frankly don't believe you. Any more than British people not knowing that the FBI or CIA are American, also despite not having a national identifier. Not entirely sure what point you're making about Shell though (most British people, incidentally, wouldn't know it's called Royal Dutch Shell; it's just Shell to most people!). -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:29, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
    Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves. Only it doesn't any more. As to Shell, maybe most people are ignorant and only know about their petrol stations – a very small part of the corporation. -- Ohc ¡digame! 23:29, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) See my second-round response to Ebonelm above; you're making a WP:OFFICIALNAME trivia argument which is not relevant here because WP uses the WP:COMMONNAME. I've already demonstrated what that is, below.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:57, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose – The name of the organisation is the present title. "UK civil service" is an absurd journalistic shorthand construction that has no place in an encylopaedia. "United Kingdom civil service" is plain awkward and nigh non-existent. If an alternative WP:NDESC title is required, "British civil service" is the only acceptable one, using the proper adjective. However, generally speaking, I see no problem with the present title. I have no idea where "archaic" is coming from, and it is also the case that none of the Commonwealth realms have a civil service called "Her Majesty's Civil Service". Even if they did, this one would hold WP:PRIMARYTOPIC status. If WP:PRECISE is going to placed first, here, then "British civil service" is, I suppose, acceptable. RGloucester 16:27, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Alternative name proposal The "official" name of the UK government is Her Majesty's Government but we have the page at Government of the United Kingdom. So it seems to me that the right name for this article is Civil Service of the United Kingdom per WP:CONSISTENCY. Like the article at Government of the United Kingdom, it will refer to the "official" name in the lead. --MrStoofer (talk) 16:43, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Civil Service (United Kingdom) especially, as overwhelmingly the best supported by the sources (see later post below), and is WP:CONCISE without unnecessary abbreviation to "UK". However, any of the above would be OK, I think. Civil Service of the United Kingdom is more of a WP:NATURAL disambiguation and descriptive title, and more WP:CONSISTENT with at least some other articles, but is also disused in real-world publishing (see evidence below in separate post). United Kingdom Civil Service is actually quite poorly attested, though slightly shorter, and almost always given with a lower-case "civil service" (see evidence, below, again). "Her Majesty's Civil Service", which is also rare in print, could apply to any civil service in any jurisdiction for which Elizabeth II is the monarch (at least in the minds of readers not personally steeped in such nomenclature concerns). And we are not using that formulation for any other ministries, services, etc. that I know of (if we are, rename them, too). The "Her Majesty's Civil Service" version may be the WP:OFFICIALNAME but it badly fails the WP:COMMONNAME test (see evidence below). Regardless, a lot of redirects need to be created, because people will be looking for this article at all the names considered so far, among others. [Update: I did that already.]  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  17:51, 5 December 2016 (UTC). Updated: 07:03, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish, same question to you as I asked Ohc above, demonstrating exactly why Her Majesty's Civil Service exclusively refers to the United Kingdom and not the other Commonwealth realms. Ebonelm (talk) 10:26, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
I replied to your original response to Ohconfucius, which I did not think was on-point. You're mistaking my argument as depending on the point that '"Her Majesty's Civil Service" could apply to any civil service in any jurisdiction for which Elizabeth II is the monarch", when this is just a side observation, which could be deleted and my position would still stand (however, I've clarified it since your comment, and posted supporting research links below).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:49, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Wiki naming policy(WP:Article titles and WP:Official names), says that articles should be located at the most commonly used names i.e. Bill Clinton (not: William Jefferson Clinton), HM Treasury not (not: Her Majesty's Treasury) etc. In this case the common name is actually simply the "Civil Service", even the logo just shows the royal arms and the two words "Civil Service". However this is not possible as that page already exists as a general article about civil services, which is why I assume the official name was chosen instead. Anything else is just one of several unofficial alternatives which would only result in a number of page moves over the next couple of years as different people decide if UK or British is the right term as with other pages (such as British government departments). The current name has lasted over 9 years since 30-Oct-2007.
Secondly there are lots of redirects to this page including British civil service, Civil service of the United Kingdom, Home Civil Service, UK civil service and United Kingdom civil service which are the main alternatives so people can't get lost. Articles do not need the name of the country in their title, policy shows that the country's name would only be used to distinguish it from an identically named article in another country (such as here and here). In the case of the UK government article that's because its the common name as nobody calls it Her Majesty's Government except in official terms. In this case here we cannot use the common name "Civil Service" so the official name works just as well. This is the same with Her Majesty's Coastguard known simply as the Coastguard, Her Majesty's Naval Service, Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service, Her Majesty's Prison Service etc. etc. from the point of view of WP:CONSISTENCY the odd one out is the UK government article.
Additionally Ian Fleming novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service name is based on the official O.H.M.S. (On Her Majesty's Service) franking which was seen on all correspondence from the civil service at that time so his novel is more of a play on words, a homage as it were to the service, so I'm not surprised people think they are simpler. ThinkingTwice contribs | talk 20:01, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
Well look where Her Majesty's Government and Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition take you due to WP:PRIMARY... Ebonelm (talk) 10:26, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
So, what you're actually proposing is that every single agency in the world that doesn't have its country specified in its title should be renamed, no? Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, KGB, etc, etc, etc. Because if this is what you're proposing it should be a more general proposal than this one single agency. It would also be pointless. And if it isn't what you think we should do, then why are you singling out British agencies in this way? -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:07, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
I'd certainly support either United Kingdom Civil Service or Civil Service (United Kingdom).
GregKaye 18:33, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Sourcing to demonstrate the WP:COMMONNAME: Google News is actually pretty good for this kind of question.
    • "Her Majesty's Civil Service", yields only about 40 results in modern, mainstream news publications. Basically, no one calls it this, whether it's the WP:OFFICIALNAME or not, so it clearly fails WP:COMMONNAME.
    • "Civil Service" and "United Kingdom" separately, 12,000+ results, and most of them seem on-point, though some are for Canada, etc. [3] Lower-case is still frequent, but not when discussing more specific entities like the Civil Service Commission. I think we would capitalise it here, because we're talking about the governmental organisation as a specific unit, while many of the lower-cased press references are more broad, and seem to mean "government services in the UK, generally speaking".
    • "Civil Service" and "Great Britain" produces an additional 2,000+ results in the same vein [4].
    • "British civil service", 931 results, and almost never capitalized "British Civil Service" even in British publications [5].
    • "UK civil service", 975 results, and same lower-case pattern. [6].
    • "United Kingdom Civil Service", only 2 hits (one of which was actually for "the United Kingdom's Civil Service" [7].
    • "Civil Service of the UK", only 2 hits [8].
    • "Civil Service of the United Kingdom", only Wikipedia seems to want to use this exact phrase [9].
    • "Civil Service of Great Britain" just returns one hit [10].
    Follow the sources. "[C|c]ivil [S|s]ervice" by itself is clearly the common name (14,000+ news hits, minus some false positives, but probably still 10K+), and in this particular context (a specific governmental entity) we would give it as "Civil Service" (by contrast, use lower case in something like "the civil services of the UK, Canada, and India", or "he worked in various civil services in the UK"). But just "Civil Service" is ambiguous in a global encyclopedia, so we must disambiguate it, conventionally as Civil Service (United Kingdom). The runners up are British civil service and UK civil service with a bit short of 1,000 hits each, but WP wouldn't abbreviate down to "UK", and as RGloucester points out, these are journalistic short-hand phrases, not proper names (official or otherwise); this is why the sources don't capitalize them in this form. The rest of the alternatives are disused, including the present title.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:49, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
    @Tony1, MrStoofer, Lugnuts, Ohconfucius, RGloucester, Ebonelm, Necrothesp, ThinkingTwice, and GregKaye: pinging previous posters, since people tend not to come back to RMs.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:30, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
    Yeah, I'd seen SMcCandlish's recent post. It presents compelling evidence, in my view. Tony (talk) 14:51, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
    Thanks for the research, which I only suspected, but now seems proven. -- Ohc ¡digame! 23:29, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Move to Civil Service (United Kingdom) per SMcCandlish. Clearly the current term isn't used by anybody much at all, even the institution itself - [11], which is a big difference from for example the Prison Service, which does use "HM" - [12]. It does seem like "Civil Service" on its own is a widely used proper name, much more so than any other proprosal, so we should go with that, disambiguated, per SMcCandlish's evidence.  — Amakuru (talk) 10:58, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Move to Civil service of the United Kingdom. Given that there's apparently no one way this entity is called, other than just "Civil Service" which is ambiguous, a descriptive title will probably suit us better. This construction is also the most consistent with similar articles such as Government of the United Kingdom.--Cúchullain t/c 14:17, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Per the arguments above, which need not to be rehashed. This is a solution in search of a problem. Atchom (talk) 12:20, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

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