Understanding the Civil Service

This website provides a thorough introduction to the duties, responsibilities and working practices of Whitehall officials. It also contains detailed information about civil service numbers, pay, pensions etc. as well as a detailed history of civil service reform and a great deal of advice for new recruits. Other sections focus on specific subjects such as policy making, Special Advisers and Ministerial Directions.

Scroll down this page to access all areas of the site. There is also a comprehensive online library. And you might like to use this search facility:-

Those interested in other aspects of government might like to investigate other Understanding Government websites which look at policy making, 'speaking truth to power', and regulation.

Sir Kim Darroch

Let us, for a few days, recall this tribute from the Head of the Foreign Office;

Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job. I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the Embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself. You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service.

I want to stress my deep appreciation for all you have done over the last four decades. In a series of demanding roles – including National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative to the European Union – you have loyally served the government of the day without fear or favour. We have been lucky to have you as a friend and colleague. You are the best of us.

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