Letter: Old-fashioned civil servants

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From Mr Fergus Allen

Sir: The critics of the Government's plan to privatise the agency that recruits civil servants are expressing themselves in the language of yesterday's people - moderate, informed, rational, principled, even ethical. This will get them nowhere. It is clear that the career civil servant, committed to public service, is an anachronism. Impartial public service is a concept to be praised from the platform but laughed at in the cocktail bar.

Dame Gillian Brown (Letters, 2 March) asks why the Recruitment and Assessment Services agency should be dismantled when the Government has made no specific criticism of it. After 17 years she should know the answer. The agency, staffed by civil servants, provides a service which could seemingly be replicated by a private operator, who would aim to make a profit from it by cutting corners.

Yours faithfully,

Fergus Allen

Streatley, Berkshire

The writer was the first Civil Service Commissioner (1974-81).

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