WHITEHALL: Top civil service posts vacant

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Six high-ranking civil service posts were left vacant last year because departments were unable to find suitable candidates to fill them. An annex to last week's review body report on "senior salaries" says that, following open competition for 67 senior Whitehall vacancies in the year to June 1996, no appointment was made in six cases "either because there was no appropriate candidate or because suitable candidates had declined offers".

The Civil Service Commissioners told the review body that increased pay flexibility had helped recruitment generally, but "it was still difficult to attract top quality candidates ... in particular from the private sector." In the most senior ranks, women still found it difficult to break through Whitehall's glass ceiling. For vacancies in the top three grades: "women represented 13 per cent of applicants, 8 per cent of those short-listed for interview, and 10 per cent of those successful".

Nineteenth Report on Senior Salaries. Review Body on Senior Salaries. Volume 1 Cm3540. HMSO, pounds 7.20.