HC Deb 18 July 2000 vol 354 c155W
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what criteria are used to distinguish between a special adviser and Civil Service appointment; and who approves an increase in numbers in either category. [128806]

Marjorie Mowlam

Recruitment into the Home Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Order in Council. Appointments are made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition unless covered by one of the exemptions set out in the Civil Service Order in Council. Special Adviser appointments are one such exemption.

With the exception of the most senior (SASC) posts, Ministers and office holders in charge of Departments determine the number of permanent Civil Service posts within their organisation. All appointments to the SASC group are approved by the Prime Minister.

Under the terms of the Ministerial Code, the Prime Minister approves the appointment of Special Advisers.