Civil Service

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the Civil Service. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

03.02.2015Election 'purdah' or the pre-election period
The term 'purdah' has come into popular use across central and local government to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on the activity of civil servants are in place. The term 'pre-election period' is also used. The Government has recently announced that pre-election purdah before the next general election will begin on 30 March 2015, the same day as the dissolution of Parliament.
28.11.2014Background to the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
This brief note provides general background information about the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which was established in July 2014 by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
05.11.2014Civil Service statistics
This note sets out statistics on Civil Service employment.
03.11.2014Civil Service Recruitment: Heads of departments and Extended Ministerial Offices
This Note sets out the current rules for recruitment to the heads of department roles in the Civil Service and the rules on established Extended Ministerial Offices.
22.05.2014Pre-election contacts between civil servants and opposition parties
By convention, opposition parties are entitled to enter into confidential discussions with senior civil servants in the run-up to a general election. This note outlines the current arrangements and also provides a brief history of the convention.

Research Papers

25.02.2010Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill: Committee stage report
There were some significant amendments during the Committee Stage of this Bill. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was given control over setting Members' pay and pensions by amendments to the Parliamentary Standard Act 2009. There is to be a new Compliance Officer to investigate alleged misuse of Members' allowances; amendments would ensure that all MPs and peers would be liable to UK taxes; there would be a referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote by 31 October 2011; and a new requirement on Returning Officers to begin election counts four hours after a general election poll closes.
20.05.2003Whither the civil service?
Whither the civil service? . House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/49.

Select Committee Reports

06.07.2011Pre-appointment hearing for the post of Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
06.07.2011Remuneration of the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
16.11.2010Pre-appointment hearing for the dual post of First Civil Service Commissioner and Commissioner for Public...
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
26.07.2010Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments 2008-09.
Government response. Treasury report [Commons]
31.03.2010Leaks and Whistleblowing in Whitehall.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House believes that Adam Werritty breached Civil Service guidance on the conduct of Ministerial meetings for 16 months; notes that Ministers had over 1,500 meetings with corporate ...
That this House expresses serious concern over the Government's proposal to impose changes on MyCSP, the public sector organisation that administers Civil Service pension schemes, that ...
That this House recognises the important work of civil servants based in the Government Offices for the English Regions; regrets the closure of the remaining Government Offices by 31 ...
That this House notes that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is charged with paying and monitoring hon. Members' expenses; further notes that recent Freedom of ...
That this House notes with disapproval that the five members of the senior management team of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) all receive salaries higher than ...

Lords Library Notes

17.01.2011Debate on 20 January: Constitutional and Parliamentary Effect of Coalition Government
This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the debate on 20 January 2011: "To call attention to the constitutional and parliamentary effect of Coalition Government".


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses