The indivisibility and mutual dependence of Minsters and civil servants mean that officials must also work within the laws, conventions and rules summarised in:
Civil servants are employed by the Crown under the Royal Prerogative and powers delegated under the Prerogative and under various Acts, regulations, instructions etc. The most important of these are:
- the Civil Service Order in Council 1991,
- the Civil Service (Management Functions) Act 1992,
- the Civil Service Order in Council 1995, and
- the Civil Service Management Code (which includes the Civil Service Code).
Further information about the Orders in Council etc. may be obtained from the Government's official civil service website.
There is good general guidance in "Propriety and Audit in the Public Sector" published by the NAO-chaired Public Audit Forum in August 2001.
Lady Hale's 2017 speech The UK Constitution on the Move includes a very nice summary of the UK constitution, although she doesn't touch on the role of the Civil Service.
Detailed guidance is available in the following documents, all on the Cabinet Office or Treasury web sites.
- Civil Service Management Code:- addressed to central government departments and agencies and setting out the terms and conditions on which civil servants are to be employed
- Standards of Propriety:- also addressed to central government departments and agencies, this document covers subjects such as the requirement of staff to seek permission before accepting outside hospitality, and the sale of surplus property to civil servants.
- Guidance for Civil Servants: an interesting and readable two volume Directory of Civil Service Guidance
- Regularity and Propriety is a handbook written mainly for Accounting Officers but offering a readable summary of what is and is not "proper" behaviour in the stewardship of public funds
- The Accounting Officer's Survival Guide is intended to help new accounting officers understand their personal responsibilities and to help established accounting officers resolve problems arising.
- Government Accounting
- DAO letters: (Dear Accounting Officer letters)
- Procurement Guidance
- The Sharman Report: "The Review of Audit and Accountability for Central Government, February 2001.