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What is the Senior Civil Service?

What is the Senior Civil Service?

The Purpose of Introducing the Senior Civil Service (SCS)

  • The SCS system was introduced to build a competent government by utilizing deputy minister or director general level civil servants, who play a key role in deciding and managing major government policies, as the right men in the right place across the whole government while expanding openness and competitiveness and enhancing performance accountability.
  • The SCS system was first introduced in the United States pursuant to the Civil Service Reform Act in 1978, followed by the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other OECD government innovation leaders; Korea implemented the SCS on July 1, 2006.

Key Features of the Senior Civil Service

  • The Senior Civil Service consists of civil servants at the director general level or higher at administrative agencies.
    • About 1,500 civil servants in general service, extraordinary civil service and special service become members of the senior civil service
    • Some high-ranking civil servants, such as deputy governor and deputy superintendent of education who are appointed a state civil servant in a local government agency, are also included in the senior civil service.
  • The personnel management of the senior civil service focuses more on the job, rather than the grade.
    • The personnel management of the SCS is conducted according to the jobs and positions after eliminating Grades 1 - 3 from the grade scheme. Accordingly, it is now possible to appoint a qualified person from a wide personnel pool regardless of the grade. In addition, senior civil servants are paid based on the work and performance rather than their grades and seniority. In other words, remuneration is paid differently according to the importance and difficulty of the job and performance.
  • Openness of high-ranking positions is enhanced and competitiveness is facilitated
    • In addition to the Open Competitive Position System, which entails competition with the private sector, Recruitment through Job Posting, which entails competition with civil servants of other ministries and agencies, was introduced and is in operation.
    • Ministries and agencies manage open competitive positions or positions recruited through job posting within the range of 30% of the SCS positions.
    • In the case of positions recruited through job posting, the ministers of each ministry/agency can select a suitable person from the entire pool of the senior civil service regardless of their affiliation.
    • For a senior civil servant assigned to a ministry/agency, the competent minister shall conduct personnel and service management
    • The Ministry of Personnel Management plays a role in managing excessive staffing and reconciling interests between ministries/agencies.
  • Senior civil servants' performance is systematically managed and their competency development is enhanced.
    • An assessment system, including a performance contract, is being implemented -- performance goals and evaluation standards are discussed with superiors to conclude a performance contract and the degree of goal achievements is evaluated. In addition, becoming a senior civil servant requires completion of a Candidate Development Program and Competency Assessment. The candidate development program is operated for director-level civil servants in the form of case-based, real-life education on the core competencies that a senior civil servant must have before joining the SCS.
  • The accountability of civil servants in high-ranking positions is enhanced while maintaining the foundation of the career civil service system.
    • The principle of meritocracy and political neutrality are guaranteed for the personnel matters of the senior civil service; the retirement age and status guarantee systems are also maintained.
    • However, a senior civil servant with significantly lower performance and abilities shall be subject to strict personnel management measures through objective and fair judgment.
  • [Qualification Screening Requirements]
    • When having received the lowest work performance rating for a total of two years or more
    • When not having been appointed to any position for a total of one year without justifiable reason
    • When having received the lowest work performance rating for at least one year and not having been appointed to any position for at least six months without justifiable reason
    • When not having completed learning and development programs or not having performed research projects (in the case of those who are qualified on condition)

Recruitment Methods by SCS Position

고위공무원단 직위별 충원 방식