The UK Civil Service

Facts, Analysis and Comment.


This area of the website contains various interesting, amusing and/or thought provoking material that hasn't got an obvious home elsewhere in the website.

You might like to begin by reading some Useful Quotations before turning to ....


This Section contains various tongue-in-cheek advice about working in the UK Civil Service. But don't forget that many a true word is said in jest ...

Let's begin with a number of lessons in speaking and writing the civil servants' language: Mandarin.
It is no accident that Whitehall officials are known as Mandarins. Their language is often as hard to understand as anything spoken in Beijing. These first 9 lessons, mainly written by David Fuhr and Martin Jones, will provide you with the basic language that you need to get by and survive in Whitehall.

Lessons 1 & 2: Basic Vocabulary: What your Bosses Really Mean - and ...

the Whitehall Clock and Calendar

Lesson 3: Basic Vocabulary: Policy Development

Lessons 4 & 5: Communicating with Ministers' Offices - and ...

Management Speak

Lessons 6 & 7: How to Write Government Documents - The Title & The Foreword

Lesson 8: How to Write Government Documents - The Text

Lesson 9: Understanding Drafting Meetings

Lesson 10 is a Masterclass by Lord Butler.

Lesson 11 provides sage advice from Sir Humphrey Appleby on how to survive Ministers' attempts at Civil Service Reform.

Role Models

Click here to read about some interesting and influential civil servants.


Other Bits and Pieces

The Civil Service Rifles in the Great War

A note explaining the background to the death of Dr David Kelly.

Rebuilding Trust - a 2007 article by ex-Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson, and readers' generally critical comments.


Martin Stanley