CHOOSING A CAREER / OCT. 08, 2014
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How to Become a Civil Service Administrative Officer in the UK

Do you enjoy working with people and helping them solve their problems? Do you like the stability and predictable career path that are common in government jobs? If so, perhaps you should consider a career as a civil service administrative officer.

What do civil service administrative officers do?

Civil service administrative officers work in government agencies to provide services to the public and to apply government policies and regulations. Some of those agencies include:

  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • Ministry of Justice
  • HM Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Home Office
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Department of Energy and Climate Change

Because government agencies can vary so much in purpose and function, daily responsibilities vary a lot, too. One civil service administrative officer may work face-to-face with customers, while another works behind the scenes, trying to find solutions to longer-term requests. Common responsibilities may include:

  • Interacting with customers in person, over the phone, or through email
  • Responding to customer requests for information or services
  • Taking and resolving customer complaints
  • Explaining government benefits, policies, etc.
  • Updating records
  • Conducting research to answer customers’ questions
  • Contacting customers to provide requested information or to find out whether their issues have been resolved
  • Completing administrative work like copying and filing
  • Making decisions about how to resolve customer cases
  • Referring complex cases to a civil service executive officer

Work Environment

  • Most civil service administrative officers work about 36 hours per week, following a typical Monday-Friday schedule. However, some agencies will have night and weekend shifts, and there are usually opportunities for part-time work and/or job sharing.
  • Most jobs are office-based, and those offices may or may not be open to the public.

 

Salary

 

Low end

 

Mid-range

 

High end

 

£15,000

 

£16,000

 

£20,000

Job Requirements

  • Excellent communication skills (both oral and written)
  • Time-management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Attention to detail
  • The willingness and ability to follow set procedures
  • Customer service skills
  • Ability to protect confidential information
  • Basic computer skills

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements vary widely by agency and by job. They’ll be described in detail on individual job adverts.

  • Many agencies will expect you to have five GCSEs (A-C).
  • Agencies may require that you have related work experience (a previous customer service job, for instance).
  • Some agencies administer aptitude testing to demonstrate your proficiency in certain skill sets.
  • You may also be evaluated for core competencies and values that demonstrate you’d be a good fit for a civil service job.

All civil service agencies have a nationality requirement.

  • All civil service jobs are open to British nationals.
  • Many are open to Commonwealth citizens.
  • Many are open to nationals of European Economic Area member states.

Training

  • You’d receive several weeks of in-depth training when you start, supplemented by guidance from more senior staff.
  • Civil service agencies are known for employee development, and you’d have continued training and development opportunities throughout your career.
  • You may have the opportunity to take nationally-recognized qualifications related to your specific job function, like Level 2/3 (NVQ) Certification/Diploma in Business and Administration.

Career Path

One thing many people like about working in civil service is the clear career path. Within the civil service career framework, it’s easy to see what opportunities you’re ready for now, what opportunities may be available down the line, and what you need to do to make yourself a top candidate.

Job Outlook

The civil service is one of the largest employers in Britain. The job outlook is – and is expected to continue to be – very good.

If you have a passion for helping people solve their problems and prefer a stable job in an office environment, a career as a civil service administrative officer may be just what you’re looking for.

Photo credit: iStock

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