The British Senior Civil Service

Charlotte Dargie and Rachel Locke

in Bureaucratic Elites in Western European States

Published in print December 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294467
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600067 | DOI:
 The British Senior Civil Service

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The aim is to describe the current senior civil service in Britain; in order to do this, recent changes instigated by the Thatcher and Major governments have to be addressed. To explain these developments, four analytical themes are used that run through the different reforms of the senior civil service that are to be discussed. These themes are managerialism (private‐sector management styles in the civil service), marketization (introducing markets into civil service operations), agencification (‘hiving off’ civil service functions to separate agencies), and politicization (breaking down the barriers between political and non‐partisan tasks in government). The introduction to the chapter characterizes these four themes. The second section defines the British senior civil service, and further sections assess change through various aspects of the senior civil service: recruitment and promotion; mobility; sociological characteristics of senior officials; and the relationship with the political machinery of government.

Keywords: agencification; Britain; change; civil service; managerialism; marketization; mobility; politicisation; promotion; recruitment; reform; relationship with government; senior civil service; senior officials; sociological characteristics of senior officials

Chapter.  11133 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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