FDA responds to the Civil Service Commission’s relaxation of civil service recruitment rules for Brexit

The FDA has responded in a press release to the Civil Service Commission's announcement of special arrangements to temporarily recruit staff to tackle the challenge of Brexit, which relax the rules regarding civil service recruitment and suspend the requirement for open and fair competition.

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."

Following the distribution of the press release, Dave Penman's comments were included in reports from the Independent, Civil Service World and Public Sector Executive.