Civil Service

Introduction

The civil service carries out the work of Government and delivers public services. Civil servants are the permanent staff of departments of state, but they may also work for other public bodies.

The Constitution of Ireland does not mention the civil service but it is vital to the functioning of the state.

The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour (pdf) says that the mission of the civil service is the achievement of an excellent service for the Government and the other institutions of State, as well as for the public as citizens and users of public services.

Recruitment to the civil and public service

The Public Appointments Service provides recruitment, assessment and selection services for the civil service. They also provide recruitment and consultancy services to local authorities, the Health Service Executive , An Garda Síochána and other public bodies.

The Commission for Public Service Appointments is a separate body. The Commission sets standards, which it publishes as codes of practice, for recruitment and selection to the civil service, An Garda Síochána and a number of public service bodies, including the Health Service Executive.

What does the civil service do?

The civil service has three main functions:
  • It advises the Government on the implementation of policy and is responsible for implementing agreed policy
  • It helps prepare and draft new legislation and
  • It helps the Government to run the country according to the legislation passed by the Oireachtas.

Each Department of State has a permanent staff consisting of administrative, professional, specialist and technical employees. The head civil servant of each Department is the Secretary General, who is recommended by the Minister for that Department and appointed for a period of 7 years by the Government.

Below the Secretary General, there are a number of Assistant Secretaries, who are each responsible for specific areas of work in the Department. Below the Assistant Secretaries, there are many officials at varying levels of senioritywho are graded according to their seniority.

Working for the civil service

The Public Appointments Service provides recruitment, assessment and selection services for the civil service. They also provide recruitment and consultancy services to local authorities, the Health Service Executive , An Garda Síochána and other public bodies. Civil and public service jobs are advertised on publicjobs.ie.

The Commission for Public Service Appointments sets standards, which it publishes as codes of practice, for recruitment and selection to the civil service, An Garda Síochána and a number of public service bodies, including the Health Service Executive.

Civil servants and public servants

Civil servants are the branch of the public service that works directly for the Government in government departments or in certain state agencies which carry out functions on behalf of the State, but which are independent of Government. For example, those who fall work in the Central Bank of Ireland and the Revenue Commissioners are civil servants of the State.

All civil servants are also public servants. However, the public service covers a much broader range of professions which are paid for by the State. This includes many teachers, doctors, nurses, gardaí and employees of other agencies that provide state services to the public.

Further information and contacts

Public Appointments Service

Chapter House
26-30 Abbey Street Upper
Dublin 1
Ireland

Tel: +353 1 858 7400
Locall: 1890 449 999
Fax: + 353 1 858 7500


Page edited: 11 March 2021