Public sector administration

The public sector comprises central government, including non-departmental public bodies, regional and devolved government, e.g. the Scottish Government, and local government.


There is a wide range of roles in this sector, with positions in corporate services such as HR and finance or in operational delivery, providing services direct to the public. 

Both central and local government operate management programmes, the Civil Service Fast Stream and the National Graduate Development Programme, allowing graduates to fast-track their careers. The National Health Service (NHS), a major employer, also operates a graduate management programme. These programmes are open to graduates from any discipline, although there are also some specialist schemes requiring particular expertise. There are also many general entry positions. 



Follow the links below for profiles of common occupations in this sector: 


Useful resources 

GOV.UK - provides information on a wide range of topics including central and local government, with guides on how government operates and a directory of local councils and central government. 


Prospects public services and administration - information and advice from Prospects about working in the public sector, and vacancies. 

 Watch this recording of a session delivered by one of our graduates:

Policy and Research careers: Scottish Government Development Programme    (University of Edinburgh login required)

Central government 

Civil Service - main careers site of the Civil Service. From this site you can access information about the Civil Service including recruitment information for undergraduates and graduates. 

There is a special site for the Fast Stream. The security services, MI5 and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6), have their own separate recruitment websites. 


Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Blogs - blogs from a range of employees, including a new entrant, giving a feel for what working at the FCDO job involves. 

Northern Ireland Civil Service - the recruitment site of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has a useful careers guide with details of the varied jobs on offer. 

Scottish Government - the website has details of the work of the various departments and also advertises vacancies. 

Public Sector Employment Statistics (Scotland) produced by the Scottish Government, providing useful statistics and labour market information. The quarterly reports may be downloaded. 

Welsh Assembly - the site has details of industrial and summer placements in addition to the work of the Welsh Assembly. 

Working 4 an MP - this site has been set up to provide information for the staff of MPs at Westminster and in the constituencies. The site has useful information for people who want to get into this field of work and includes information on finding jobs and internships, as well as advertising job vacancies. Also includes vacancies for organisations connected to Westminster and Whitehall such as consultancies and charities. 


Local government 

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) - is the representative voice of Scottish local government and also acts as the employers’ association on behalf of all Scottish councils. The website has a list of all councils in Scotland. 

Local Government Association/Workforce - this section of the LGA website is useful for information on pay, pensions and other employment issues relevant to local government employees. 

Local Government Guardian - specialist section of Society Guardian with news and issues specific to local government. 

National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) - a two year graduate programme which provides management training in local government in England and Wales. This website has all the necessary information about the programme. 

SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Managers) - the representative body for chief executives and senior managers working in the public sector. The Society promotes public sector management excellence and provides professional development for its Members who come from all areas of the public sector. An interesting site for those who aspire to senior levels, particularly for keeping up with local government news. 



Vacancy sources 

NB vacancies may also be listed in many of the sites above. 

MyCareerHub is exclusively for current students and graduates of the University of Edinburgh. It can be used to: 

  • search for jobs and events, such as recruitment fairs 

  • find out about employers 

Jobs Go Public - searchable database of jobs in the public sector. 

Local Government Jobs - job site of 'Local Government Careers', with a searchable database of vacancies throughout the UK. 

MyJobScotland - website advertising local government jobs across all Scottish Local Authorities. Register to receive job alerts. 

Political Jobs - advertises jobs in the USA, UK, Europe and Canada. For some jobs you need to pay a fee before you can view the vacancies. 

Public Appointments - provides details of vacancies in England and for public bodies that operate throughout the UK. 

NHS Administration 

NHS Graduates - comprehensive information about working for the NHS (England & Wales), details about the programme and the different roles within it, how to apply, and the timetable for the recruitment process. 

British Association of Medical Managers - support medical managers with situations in the workplace, providing guidance through often complex changes that are going on within the NHS. 

Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) - the largest UK professional body for managers working in health. There is information about how to get started in a management career and details of available qualifications. 

Vacancy sources 

NB vacancies may also be listed in many of the sites above. 

Healthcare Jobs - A searchable database of jobs in healthcare, UK-wide. 

Health Service Journal (HSJ) - is an online resource for anyone interested in health policy and management issues. The site also advertises vacancies. 

Health Careers - this part of the NHS website has lots of detailed information about the many careers on offer in the NHS in England and Wales. You will also find details of how to apply, qualifications required, vacancies and much more. 

NHS Scotland Jobs - a searchable database of vacancies in NHS Scotland. 

Scottish Health on the Web (SHOW) - is online health information provided by NHS Scotland. The site includes listings of health boards, health councils, trusts and links to vacancies. 

Related Links