Appointments to the highest grades in the civil service: Drawing the curtain open

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The appointments process to the higher civil service is important but little information about it is in the public domain. This article provides such information, using material gathered from a series of interviews with senior civil servants. Part one offers an authorized account of the procedures for senior appointments. The second part makes use of information I gathered from officials closely involved in the procedures, to piece together what actually occurs, in a still highly secretive area of Whitehall proceedings and highlights the disparity between‘official theory’and actual practice. The article concludes by suggesting that a dominant Prime Minister has the potential to use a system, originally fashioned by Whitehall, for Whitehall, for political purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-677
Number of pages21
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996


  • Civil Service
  • Top Appointments
  • Whitehall


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