Hello Mr. PB
A family member has alerted me to your posts and as your observations are not correct, it’s only fair that I correct them for you.
I joined the civil service on 17th May 1976 with 4 GCE “O” levels (I subsequently gained a fifth) which allowed me to join as a Clerical Assistant - the most junior rank - for which 3 O levels were required. (Sadly, no “special pass” for me to avoid entry requirements as you suggested in another of your posts). In order to be eligible for promotion to Clerical Officer I was required to pass a civil service exam and, having done so at the first attempt, was promoted to CO in late 1977. For advancement to Executive Officer a further “EO” exam pass was required (it isn’t these days) in an exam that was close in nature and content to an “A” level. Having passed this exam, also at the first attempt, I was promoted to Executive Officer in December 1983 and to Higher Executive Officer in 1986, the same year that I gained my HNC with Distinction in Public Administration. Further promotions followed and by December 1998 I was a Senior Executive Officer in the Chief Secretary’s Office - today called Cabinet Office - where I undertook two separate job roles in my time there.
By this stage recruitment to CEO posts had matured and involved an “Assessment Centre” as well as formal interview. The Assessment Centre included such elements as psychometric testing, critical problem solving and an interview with an HR psychologist. It was being subject to that regime that preceded my appointment to CEO of the Department of Home Affairs in 2001, being the first of my two CEO posts, and it was a very similar process in 2003 when I joined DHSS, just after completing all my assignments within the UK Civil Service Top Management Programme. I remained with DHSS/Department of Health for 11 years until my retirement on 31 March 2014 after a 38 year career.
So... no “special pass”, no “exam failed more than once”, just the exams/qualifications asked for by the organisation. And, not least, the pleasure of working with some great people.
I’m happy to put the record straight, as you’ve taken such a keen interest.