Ceylon Civil Service

The Ceylon Civil Service, popularly known by its acronym CCS, originated as the elite civil service of the Government of Ceylon under British colonial rule in 1833 and carried on after independence, until May 1, 1963 when it was abolished and the much larger Ceylon Administrative Service (CAS) was created absorbing all executive management groups, was to be established with five grades. It was renamed following the declaration of the republic in 1972 as the Sri Lankan Administrative Service which is now the key administrative service of the Government.

At the early days the CCS was staffed by Europeans, members of the British Civil Service and only later were Ceylonese admitted. Only six to eight (or in some years only one) out of a very large number of applicants were selected by open competitive examination from graduates with first class honors, between the ages of 22 and 24. The selected were classed as cadets and trained on public administration. They would receive job experience with rotation, serving in the districts, in public corporations, ministries and being part of ministerial delegations traveling abroad. This ensured that the top non-elected government positions were held by the best available candidates. This was very important since the appointments were permanent. The officers of the CCS therefore commanded a high level of respect, a situation which has continued into the early 21st century.

When the CCS was abolished its officers were taken in to the Ceylon Administrative Service, the successor to the Ceylon Civil Service.


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