Today’s civil service shares features with the civil service of a century ago, and yet there have been profound changes. Whether these changes are interpreted as undermining the Whitehall model, adapting it to the new demands of civil and political society, or ‘hollowingout’ the central state, they have had a practical impact on the working lives of individual civil servants. The principles of civil service recruitment, which are integral to the Whitehall model, derive from the Northcote Trevelyan Report of 1854. This report recommended selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition in ‘literary’ examinations, followed.
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