Suspending open and fair competition in recruiting civil servants for Brexit is 'a worrying development', says FDA

1 February 2017
(For immediate release)

Responding to the Civil Service Commission's announcement that rules regarding recruitment of civil servants for Brexit are to be relaxed, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

"Brexit has been - and continues to be - one of the most polarising political events in recent times and it places an enormous challenge on both the Government and the civil service. There has rarely been a time when the requirement of the civil service to speak truth unto power has been needed more, yet the Commission is suspending the requirement for open and fair selection, one of the key principles that underpins a politically impartial civil service, for potentially large groups of staff being brought in to work on Brexit.

"In the wake of calls from some ex-Ministers to recruit 'cheerleader' civil servants to deliver Brexit, following the departure of Sir Ivan Rogers as the UK's Ambassador to the EU, suspending the requirement for open and fair selection to a larger group of staff - at a more senior level and for longer - is a worrying development.

"Whilst we recognise the need for investment in both the capacity and capability of the civil service to deliver Brexit, and that some of this may require staff to be recruited for a fixed period of time, we remain unconvinced that the requirement for open and fair selection is no longer necessary and are deeply concerned about the message this sends to civil servants and the public."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals at grade HEO and above. FDA membership includes more than 18,000 senior civil servants, diplomats, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across Government and the NHS.

2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk.

4. For further information contact:

  • Dave Penman, General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827.
  • Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07980 700747.