The Personalisation of Appointments

  • Patrick Diamond


The principle of appointment on merit is at the core of the Whitehall paradigm. Merit-based appointment was intended to attract the ‘brightest and the best’ into the British civil service. Following the Northcote-Trevelyan reforms of 1854, officials no longer depended on ministerial patronage. There is evidence the Northcote-Trevelyan settlement is now being undermined. In the Anglophone democracies, Ministers are intervening to influence the appointment of civil servants. In the UK, both Cameron and May sought a formal role in the appointment of permanent secretaries. The evidence is officials who lose the confidence of Ministers are likely to be removed. As a consequence, civil service careers are more fluid; officials are dependent on ministerial patronage as never before.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and International RelationsQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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