The Commission Recognises that in some circumstances it may be right to allow appointments to be made outside of the principle of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. Any such exception should not undermine this fundamental principle.
Such appointments by exception are usually short-term; for example secondments which promote the exchange of ideas and experience.
Under the Recruitment Principles, departments may in most cases apply the exceptions themselves. The Commission's approval is, however, required for appointments by exception at SCS Payband two and above, and in some circumstances for those at less senior levels.
In rare cases departments and agencies may need to request that an appointment made as an exception to the Recruitment Principles be extended for a limited time period beyond the initial term. The Commission will only consider such a request if the appointing department or agency provides a strong business case. When submitting a business case to the Commission, departments and agencies should use one of the Exception Forms and include all relevant information.
The Commission has published an Exceptions Review based on a study of the use of exceptions in the Civil Service in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Exception 2/Life Chances Programmes

The Commission accredits and champions government employment initiatives through a specific Exception in its Recruitment Principles - Exception 2: Support for government employment programmes. This Exception is designed to allow schemes which provide fixed term appointments within the Civil Service for individuals whose circumstances and previous life chances make it difficult for them to compete for appointments on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, without further work experience and/or training opportunities. Under Exception 2, departments may appoint individuals temporarily for up to 2 years. Any proposal to extend an appointment beyond 2 years requires the permission of the Commission.
Sponsoring Department Name of Programme Who is it helping?
Department for Work and Pensions AO Social Mobility Apprenticeship Programme Unemployed Benefit Recipients
Cabinet Office/ Department for Work and Pensions/ Ministry of Justice Going Forward into Employment Ex offenders
Cabinet Office Going Forward into Employment Ex-military personnel
Department for Education Care Leavers Programme Young People who leave Care
Public Health England Apprentice and Work Trial Opportunities for Young Adults from Barnardo’s Vulnerable Young Adults
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs WorkFit Individuals with Down’s Syndrome
HM Revenue and Customs Resettlement Internships Supporting Employment (RISE) Service Leavers
HM Revenue and Customs Movement to Work 18-30 year olds, who are in receipt of unemployment benefits
Welsh Government Support for Care Leavers Care leavers
Companies House School Apprenticeship Programme Students who do not wish to attend university
Companies House Work Experience to Work Ready Unemployed Benefit Recipients
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service Modern Apprentice Programme Vulnerable Young Adults

Exceptions at and above PB2

Exceptions at and above the Payband 2 level require the prior approval of the Commission. We capture all the details of Exceptions approved by the Commission at or above the Payband 2 threshold (or equivalent) 
Please click here to view all exceptions at and above PB2
HM Government logo