civil service

(redirected from National civil service)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.

civil service,

entire body of those employed in the civil administration as distinct from the military and excluding elected officials. The term was used in designating the British administration of India, and its first application elsewhere was in 1854 in England. Modern civil service personnel are usually chosen by examination and promoted on the basis of merit ratings. In democratic nations recruitment and advancement procedures are designed to divorce the civil service from political patronage.


General Development

The use of competitive examinations to select civil officials was begun in China during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), and expanded to include all important positions during the Sung dynasty (960–1279; see Chinese examination systemChinese examination system,
civil service recruitment method and educational system employed from the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220) until it was abolished by the Ch'ing dowager empress Tz'u Hsi in 1905 under pressure from leading Chinese intellectuals.
..... Click the link for more information.
). In the West, however, selection of civil administrators and staff on the basis of merit examinations is a late development. Despite important contributions to administrative structure and procedure, the Roman Empire seems to have recruited and promoted officials largely on the basis of custom and the judgement of superiors.

The establishment of the modern civil service is closely associated with the decline of feudalism and the growth of national autocratic states. In Prussia, as early as the mid-17th cent., Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg, created an efficient civil administration staffed by civil servants chosen on a competitive basis. In France similar reforms preceded the Revolution, and they were the basis for the Napoleonic reforms that transformed the royal service into the civil service. Development of a professional civil service came several decades later in Great Britain and the United States.

In the United States

Owing doubtless in part to the spoils system so strongly established in the Jacksonian era, the United States lagged far behind other nations in standards of civil service competence and probity. Agitation for reform began shortly after the Civil War. In 1871, Congress authorized the President to prescribe regulations for admission to public service and to appoint the Civil Service Commission, which lasted only a few years. The scandals of President Grant's administration lent weight to the arguments of reformers George W. Curtis, Dorman B. EatonEaton, Dorman Bridgman,
1823–99, American reformer, b. Hardwick, Vt. He was a law partner of William Kent in New York City. His major interests were reform in municipal administration and abolition of the spoils system in national politics.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and Carl SchurzSchurz, Carl
, 1829–1906, American political leader, b. Germany. He studied at the Univ. of Bonn and participated in the revolutionary uprisings of 1848–49 in Germany.
..... Click the link for more information.
. President Hayes favored reform and began to use competitive examinations as a basis for appointment to office.

The assassination of President Garfield in 1881 by a disappointed office seeker precipitated the passage of the Pendleton Act in 1883, reestablishing the Civil Service Commission after a nine-year lapse. The commission draws up the rules governing examinations for those positions that Congress places in the classified civil service. All Presidents since Cleveland have expanded the classified list, and the great majority of federal employees during peacetime are now classified. In 1939 the merit system was extended to sections of state administration receiving federal grants. The Hatch Act of 1940 forbade campaign contributions by officeholders, with the intention of divorcing the civil service from politics. A 1993 revision of the act allows most civil servants to engage in political activity on their own time.

Appointive power is shared by the President, who appoints the heads of all government departments and may remove his appointees at will; by Congress, which controls its own employees; and by the Civil Service Commission and departmental-appointing officers, in whose charge are vacancies in the classified service. Important changes were made in the structure of the U.S. civil service as a result of the reports issued (1949, 1955) by the two commissions known as the Hoover Commission. The organization of the government bureaucracy was streamlined by the creation of the General Services Administration, combining the operations and activities of some 60 government agencies.

In Other Countries

Of the world's civil services, the most outstanding on several counts is still the British, extremely powerful because of its permanency, its extensive grants of power from Parliament, and its reputation for absolute honesty, although it is criticized for a lack of flexibility and for class exclusiveness in its upper ranges. A Civil Service Commission and the beginnings of a system of competitive examinations were established in Great Britain in 1855, and the influential Whitley Councils, representing both government employees and administrators in questions dealing with service conditions, were set up after World War II. British civil servants are strictly excluded from politics. In Communist nations, on the other hand, the official party and the civil service have tended to interpenetrate. The secretariat of the League of Nations and of the United Nations are possible precursors of an international civil service.


See W. A. Robson, The Civil Service in Britain and France (1956); P. Van Riper, History of the United States Civil Service (1958); E. A. Kracke, The Civil Service in Britain and France (1968); F. C. Mosher, Democracy and the Public Service (1968); A. Gartner et al., ed., Public Service Employment (1973).

civil service

the service responsible for the public administration of the government of a country. It excludes the legislative, judicial, and military branches. Members of the civil service have no official political allegiance and are not generally affected by changes of governments
References in periodicals archive ?
According to the regression results, personal attributes such as age, education level and recruitment type among those who passed the national civil service examinations did not affect levels of perceived efficiency increase.
At the same time, the international civil service has not been immune to the criticisms leveled at national civil services.
Although the national civil service exam is more difficult than the provincial, I wanted to accumulate experience for other provincial exams," the Global Times quoted one candidate Liu Yue as saying.
He said that the report stated that the higher committee for implementation of the economic reform program was divide into three sub-committees for the economic affair, indentifying posts in the national civil service and implementation of the social support package, adding that the three sub-committees have begun work and adopted a host of policies and procedure related to funding, freedom of dealing in foreign currency for the expatriates, solving the issues of wheat, electricity power, unity of the state's general budget, reviewing posts , service conditions, incentives and extending direct social support to 350,000 families in October and November and to 450,000 needy families in next December, besides enabling 1.
The House of Representatives passed a bill at a plenary session on Thursday to reform the national civil service by creating a new office to manage the personnel affairs of senior ministry officials.
Although the Interim National Constitution and the Constitution of Southern Sudan specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion for candidates for the National Civil Service, the selection process favored party members and friends of the NCP," said the report.
SIR - Tomorrow there will be a national Civil Service strike for the first time in over a decade.
The Staff Regulation group, whose members are primarily national budget experts rather than representatives of national civil service departments, challenges the way the Commission presents the trend in Community civil servants' pay scales.
spe" of department of youth the national civil service.
8 (SUNA) - The National Civil Service Recruitment Commission has announced recruitment of 950 graduates of the faculties of medicine and dentistry to work at hospitals of the federal Ministry of Health.
The bill is designed to revise the national civil service law.
That model inspired the current European Civil Service Staff Regulations and many delegations are alarmed by the fact that putting it in question in favour of the British and Scandinavian models, together with their Dutch and Irish variants, risks being misconstrued by the members of their own national civil service and interpreted by the civil service unions as a trial balloon seeking to disrupt the administrations of the Member States.

Encyclopedia browser ?
Full browser ?