Last updated - 1st February 2010
The 1990s saw a number of changes to the structure and workings of the Civil Service as part of the ‘Next Steps’ process, where much of the executive work of Government was devolved to agencies focused on operational delivery.
By 1996, 125 government agencies had been established, from very large organisations like the Benefits Agency with over 60,000 staff through to the Government Car and Despatch Agency with fewer than 200.
These changes slowly led to a break-up of the old unified Civil Service. This process was hastened after 1994 when departments were increasingly given delegated authority over pay, grading and recruitment and more and more commonly, departments introduced performance-related pay. The principles of Northcote-Trevelyan were not forgotten though: open competition for posts and promotions became the norm and the recruitment of external candidates was strongly encouraged, particularly to fill senior vacancies.