CIVIL SERVICE, that branch of the pub lic service which includes all executive offices not connected with the army or navy. The term is not applied to the direct representatives of the people, as the President of the United States or the governor of a State. Owing to the complexity of modern government and the variety of its functions, the civil service has become very complex, and the problem of its effective administration a difficult one.
In Great Britain the service comprises vari ous departments, such as the home office, the foreign office, the war office, admiralty, post of fice, customs, excise, etc. Formerly, appointments to the civil service in Great Britain were the gift of the executive government, and were ob tained by influence, while the bestowal of them was used as a means of gaining parliamentary support on behalf of the government. Those appointed were not generally called upon to show whether they were competent or not. In 1855 examinations were instituted to test the efficiency of all candidates for subordinate posts; but for some time candidates were spe cially nominated for those posts. As more than one might be nominated for a post, com petition was gradually introduced, and in 1870, It was directed that appointments in the civil service should (with certain exceptions) be filled by open competition, as was already the case with appointments in the Indian civil serv ice. The appointments to what are known as clerkships in the civil service are divided into two classes or divisions, with different age lim its and salaries. In the higher division, while the examinations are more severe, the salaries are much better; the two divisions are kept quite distinct; and it is rare for a person to be promoted from the lower to the higher. For a number of appointments open to com petition special qualifications , scientific or nical, are necessary, while there is also a spe cial limit of age. A large number of subordi nate appointments in the postal and telegraph service, the excise, etc., are on a different foot
ing from the clerkships just mentioned and are not so well paid. All persons who have served in an established capacity in the permanent civil service are given a pension, varying with the length of service, at the time of retirement. The total expenditure of the civil service of Great Britain is about $90,000,000.
In the United States the Constitution pro vides that the President, °with the advice and consent of the Senate,' shall appoint all officers of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by the Constitution. This gives the chief executive power to choose the heads of departments, as well as their sub ordinates. In the separate States the appoint ive power of the chief executive is much more limited. The heads of the State depart ments such as the attorney-general and comp troller, etc., are elected by the people, and usu ally have the constitutional right to select most of their own subordinates. The governor therefore appoints only his own secretaries, etc., members of commissions, heads of bu reaus and the like. With the development of party government in the United States, the pat ronage placed in the hands of elected officers through their power of appointment has led to the giving of offices as a reward for party serv ice (the spoils system) and to considerable inefficiency and unnecessary expense in public administration. A reform is being brought about by the appointment of officials according to merit in public examinations. (See Qvu. SERVIC.E REFORM ) . On 30 June 1915 the civil service positions under the Federal govern ment numbered 454,116, of which 9,692 were appointed by the President. To these may be added 28,605 positions under the civil govern ment of the Panama Canal Zone, making a total of 482,721 positions in the government service.