Civil Service manager

Programme manager, senior executive officer

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Civil Service managers work in government departments, managing teams that establish policies and provide public services.

Salary range: £35,500 to £68,500

How to become a Civil Service manager

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • a graduate training scheme


You may be able to start in the Civil Service, for example, as a higher executive officer. You could then apply for a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream scheme, which can eventually lead into a management career.

Each department sets its own entry requirements, which often includes a university qualification. As an existing employee, you may be able to apply without a degree, though this varies between departments.

After completing the scheme and gaining experience, you could move into a management role as vacancies become available.

Direct application

You’ll be expected to have relevant management experience to apply directly for jobs.

You’ll also need technical skills relevant to the department you wish to join. For example, as a human resources (HR) manager, you’ll need experience of using HR information systems, or project management skills for project management roles.

You’ll be assessed on your skills, knowledge and behaviours that fit in with the values of the Civil Service, as part of the application process.

Other routes

If you’re a graduate, postgraduate or in your final year of university, you can apply for a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream scheme, which can prepare you for a career in leadership and management. Competition for places is very strong, so a degree with a higher grade and work experience will help you.

Your degree can be in any subject, though some Civil Service departments may prefer a degree in a subject that is relevant to their work, for example economics for the Treasury.

After completing the scheme, you’ll be offered a role within a department. You would usually start as an executive officer or higher executive officer before you can move into a management job.

More information

Career tips

The Summer Diversity Internship Programme and Early Diversity Internship Programme help graduates and undergraduates from ethnic minorities and under-represented backgrounds to find out what it’s like to work in the Civil Service.

Further information

You can get more details about working in management from Civil Service Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • business management skills
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your department and may include:

  • leading a team to develop policies, products and services
  • prioritising work and planning resources
  • making sure projects are completed on time and on budget
  • managing relationships with other departments and partner organisations
  • making sure policies meet legal guidelines
  • drafting briefings for senior colleagues and ministers
  • managing contracts
  • overseeing communications sent out by the department
  • mentoring and developing staff

Working environment

You could work in an office.

You may need to wear smart business dress.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress through the senior Civil Service management structure, becoming deputy director or director of a department. You could also become a senior policy adviser or permanent secretary, setting departmental strategy and supporting government ministers.

You could use your management skills and experience to work for other public sector organisations or move into the private sector.

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