The Foreign Office’s remarkable reputation was not merely that it was a Rolls-Royce institution, but that it was the Rolls-Royce institution of another Rolls-Royce institution: the British public service (“Austerity drive take tol on Foreign Office ”, ReportDecember 29). Unfortunately, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), like the rest of the civil service, fails to persuade the smartest graduates to pursue government careers.
The civil service only appoints in the final year of university, at that point many ambitious students have already accepted offers after second-year internships. Even if applicants choose to wait for the civil service, they are likely to be deterred by job insecurity, mediocre pay, opaque career advancement and possible blame for policy failures.
Ministers should carefully consider whether their reforms inadvertently throw up both the wheat and the chaff.
Third year LLB candidate
London School of Economics, UK