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The Exception Process

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Inclusion, Life Chances, Social mobility

A woman writes on a whiteboard: "Story #2: Graduate, Educated (check mark)"

Civil Service Recruitment

The Civil Service Commission is responsible for regulating Civil Service employment. Under current legislation to be a civil servant, you must be employed on merit following a fair and open competition.

As a champion for government recruitment, the Commission aims to help people overcome some of the recruitment barriers the Civil Service currently has in place. This allows for an alternative route to employment for individuals whose circumstances, previous life chances, or social status make it difficult for them to compete for appointments on merit, on the basis of fair and open competition.

To support this aim, the Commission accredits and champions government employment initiatives through a specific exception in its ‘Recruitment Principles 2018’: Exception 2 ‘Support for government employment programmes’.

The purpose of Exception 2 is to remove barriers to employment, helping to tackle social issues and supporting an individual appointed to the Civil Service reach their full potential.

It allows fixed-term appointments to be made for up to a maximum of 24 months. After 12 months, there is an option to make an individual permanent by using another exception (Exception 10) if candidates meet the required performance standards, providing longevity in employment.

How to recruit using the exception process

Going Forward into Employment engage with departments across government to establish roles for ex-offenders, veterans and spouses of veterans at Administrative Assistant, Administrative Officer and Executive Officer grades.

The team then engage with HM Prisons or the Career Transition Partnership (veterans/spouses) to identify suitable candidates. Candidates are required to submit their CV, an expression of interest or personal statement. This is a more simplistic route that avoids individuals from these groups having to undergo recruitment and selection on merit, on the basis of fair and open competition.

The department will decide who they would like to invite for an informal conversation. This conversation may include questions around experience in the workplace, or the reason for applying. The department will then make a decision on whom they would like to offer the role to, if at all. When an offer is made to an individual, the department can begin the on-boarding process and complete the necessary government checks.

We are already improving the quality of life for individuals from disadvantaged or challenging backgrounds, which aligns with the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and supports the aim to become the most inclusive employer in the UK. The Commission strongly supports this work and wants to help the Civil Service make the best use of talent that exists in all parts of society, including, for example, people with convictions, military veterans, and their spouses.

There are a number of government departments leading the way to support particular groups via employment programmes. A list of all departments the Commission currently accredits under Exception 2 of the Recruitment Principles 2018 can be found on the Commissions website, with other useful information on life chances and Exception 2 .

How can you get involved?

As the scheme continues to expand, we are always looking for new support, and sponsors to help secure roles, which can be offered as new opportunities of employment. If you want to find out more about us and what we are doing, please visit our Twitter page @CS_GFIE or e-mail us at

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