Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Civil Service

Civil Service. One of the three great branches of the public service of the State, the others being the Army and the Navy. It includes the executive departments of the Treasury, Home Office, Foreign Office, Colonial Office, Local Government Board, Board of Trade, etc., the great revenue departments of the Customs, Inland Revenue, and Post Office, the administration of Law and Justice, Education, Science and Art, and the Diplomatic and Consular services. The expenditure of each Civil Department is estimated yearly, and voted by Parliament as the Civil Service Estimates. An account of the actual disbursements, audited by the Exchequer and Audit Department, is embodied in the Appropriation Account for the year, and presented with the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report thereon, to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons. The gross total of the Civil Service Estimates for 1891-92 was £28,263,926, divided into classes, the principal of which are Public Works and Buildings, Salaries and Expenses, Law and Justice, Education, Science and Art, and the Revenue Departments. It will be interesting to observe that the gross total of the Estimates for the Army and Navy for the same year was £35,600,127.

Prior to 1855, appointments to the Civil Service were made by patronage. From 1855 to 1870 nomination was required, but candidates were also obliged to pass a qualifying examination applied by the Civil Service Commissioners, an independent body created for this purpose. In 1870 the system of open competition was established and introduced into the majority of public departments, and, in accordance with this principle, various schemes of examination and pay have been in operation. The first, in 1870. was the division of clerical appointments into Classes I. and II., partially superseded in 1876 by the Playfair scheme, which was itself afterwards abolished by successive Orders in Council. The clerical establishments are now divided into two classes, the Upper or First Division, and the Second Division. Examinations for appointments to the Upper Division, after being suspended for five years, were resumed in November, 1891, and will probably be continued at regular intervals, though vacancies occurring in the higher establishments of some departments are being filled by clerks of the Second Division. The examination is of a high educational character; the limits of age for competitors are 22 and 24; the commencing salaries vary in the different departments from £100 to £200, with promotion to higher appointments carrying maximum salaries reaching to £1,000. The examination for Second Division clerkships, though of a simpler educational character, is a searching one, and the competition for these appointments being very keen renders a high standard of proficiency necessary to candidates. The limits of age are 17 and 20; the commencing salary is now uniformly £70, rising by annual increments to £350, with exceptional promotion to the Upper Division. The hours of attendance for both classes are seven, usually from 10 to 5. Competitive examinations are also held for appointments as assistants of Excise, out-door officers of Customs, male telegraph learners, temporary boy clerks and copyists, as well as for some appointments for which previous professional or technical training is required. Printed regulations for the foregoing as well as for most other examinations are obtainable from the Secretary, Civil Service Commission, Cannon Row, S.W. Females, selected by open competition, are employed in the Post Office as clerks, sorters, and telegraphists. Female telegraph learners and sorters commence respectively at ten and twelve shillings per week; female clerks at £65 per annum. The female clerical staff at the General Post Office, London, now numbers over 900, but no other department as yet admits female clerks. Female type-writers are employed in some departments, but the appointments are not open to competition. By a decision of the Postmaster-General in November, 1891, vacancies among the rural and provincial town postmen, and among the auxiliary postmen in London, are in future to be offered in the first place to Army Reserve men and discharged soldiers.

Appointments abroad, open to competition, include the India Civil Service, India Forest Service, Student Interpreterships in China, Turkey, etc., Eastern Cadetships, and Engineer Studentships in the Royal Navy. The principal appointments for which nomination is still required, followed by limited competition, are British Museum assistants, clerks in the Foreign Office, House of Commons and House of Lords, and cadets in the Royal Irish Constabulary. Civil Service Examinations are announced by advertisement in some of the principal newspapers; they are held in London, and, for some classes of appointments, in Edinburgh, Dublin. Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, etc., as well. After passing an examination, certificates of age, health, and character are in all cases required. All permanent Civil Servants are entitled to pensions, which are governed chiefly by the Superannuation Acts of 1859 and 1887, and the Pensions Commutation Act of 1871. After ten years' service a pension of ten-sixtieths of the annual salary is granted, and for each additional year an additional sixtieth, with the limit of a total of forty-sixtieths.