The Differences Between Public & Civil Service


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Understanding and making clearer The Differences Between Public & Civil Service


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The Differences Between Public & Civil Service:

Dr. Oyewole O. Sarumi LMS Consulting, Lagos. Email: [email protected] The Differences Between Public & Civil Service


 INTRODUCTION: S ocial sciences have bequeathed to humanity the institution of government. Before the emergence of government and governance, social interactions and behaviour were not regulated. Man was lawless and naturally barbaric. Everyone did things the way they pleased him or her. In short, humans behaved like animals. Anarchy was the order of the day. It was a state of survival of the fittest and high level degree of oppression. But thank God government emerged to regulate behaviour, human activities and social interactions.


Perhaps, this is why some of us in the social sciences believe that our chosen field of study has contributed more than any other field in the world because without an enabling environment propelled by government and governance, there would have been no such great inventions in the fields of engineering, medicine, architecture, etc. In a micro dimension therefore, if there are no regulations, rules and laws generally, the public service in fact would have not been in existence let alone functional. It is in this direction that some scholars see the public service to be synonymous with bureaucracy because bureaucracy itself is characterized by fixed rules, discipline and proper conduct .


INTRODUCTION 2 For the public service to achieve its aims there is the need for a set of rules and code of conduct to be put in place so that services can be delivered effectively and efficiently. It is in this direction that the government came up with such guidelines as the Public Service Rules, Code of Conduct for public office holders, Code of Ethic in Government business, financial regulations, financial memorandum, etc. This paper therefore, is concerned with public service rules and code of conduct for public servants of the federation of Nigeria, of which you are an integral part of. The paper did not create additional rules and provisions, but rather highlighted some of the provisions of the  current Public Service Rules published by the Federal Government of Nigeria, and the Code of Conduct for Public Officers enshrined in the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).


PUBLIC SERVICE RULES: Public service rules refer to a set of laws guiding the conduct of public servants for the effective and efficient performance of their jobs. Included in the public service rules are conditions of service for public servants ( Okonkwo , 2008).  The Public Service Rules in Nigeria have undergone many changes in nomenclature right from the colonial days to the present day. It started as  General Orders (G.Os ) instituted by the colonial masters. Before independence, the G.Os served as guide for all government employees in Government Departments and Agencies. Immediately after independence, the name changed again to  Civil Service Rules , and later to the present title of  Public Service Rules  (Mustapha, 2008).


The present title is adopted to make the rules have general application to all manner of government employees in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). You may wish to know that the  public service  is generic and broader in nature than  civil service  which is restricted to personnel of core government ministries only. Thus, all civil servants are public servants but not all public servants are civil servants. In effect, the public service rules refer to a code of regulations which provide for basic rules, regulations and procedures that are germane for carrying out the business of government geared towards efficient service delivery. Consequently, it is expected that every public servant should strictly comply with the provisions of the Rules.  The overall aim of the public service rules is to ensure good conduct, loyalty, honesty, courtesy, hard work and ethical principles.

Public Service Rules :

Public Service Rules It cover a wide range of issues relating to: 1. Appointment and leaving the service – Types of appointment; appointment to senior posts, Secret society prohibition, etc 2. Rules for appointment on probation: – period of probation (2 years before confirmation) 3. Rules for appointment on contract:- conditions for contract; duration of appointment, etc. 4. Transfer and secondments:  procedures for transfer and secondments 5. Acting Appointment:- only when necessary


2 6. Leaving the Service:- retirement in public interest, termination during probation, resignation, etc. 7. Allowances: – various types 8. Annual Performance Evaluation Report and Certificates of Service 9. Compensation for injuries:- workmen compensation Act, etc 10. Compensation and Insurance:- loss of property, loss of private property, life assurance, etc. 11. Courses of instructions within and outside Nigeria 12. Discipline:- (a) Misconduct (b) Serious misconduct (c) Conduct prejudicial to the security of the State.


3 13. Emoluments and Increment:- payment of salaries; increment, etc. 14. Examination in law and official publications: combined confirmation/promotion examination, compulsory examination for executive officers, etc. 15. Inventions and Award Committee: functions, procedure, etc. 16. Leave: types, date, etc. 17. Medical and Dental Procedures: medical treatment, etc. 18. Petitions and Appeals 19. Promotions 20 Reward for outstanding works.

The Differences: between Civil and Public Servants:

The Differences: between Civil and Public Servants Civil service is an organ in the executive arm of government, primarily responsible for the execution of government policies and program. Civil service is divided into departments, these departments are called ministries and these ministries are headed by ministers. CIVIL SERVANTS are SIMPLY THOSE WORKING FOR the GOVT, UNDER THESE MINISTRIES. Simply put, civil servants are government workers, at federal, state or local govt. levels. Please note that civil service doesn't include the following.....police, armed forces, public corporation and government owned establishment.....BUT AN INCLUSION OF THESE BODIES (just mentioned) TO the CIVIL SERVICE IS WHAT'S CALLED "PUBLIC SERVICE". What makes it "public" is that these set of people also work for government (like civil servants) but render direct services to the people on behalf of the government.


  LAWS GUIDING PUBLIC CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES IN NIGERIA Section  318 (1)  provides that civil service in Nigeria means  service of the federation in a civil capacity as staff of the  government  assigned with the  responsibility for any business of the government. [Section 318 (1) interpretation section]   Public service means the service of the federation  or state in any capacity in respect of  the government.  

Examples of employees under civil service includes;:

Examples of employees under civil service includes; Employees that are staffs of the president or governor , Employer that are  staffs of  the  vice president or deputy governor Employees that are staffs of  a ministry or department of the government  in the federal, state or local government level .     

Examples of public service employees are as follows;  :

Examples of public service employees are as follows;   Clerk or other staff of the national assembly or of each  house of the national  assembly Member of the staff of the various courts  of  the state or federation  Member or staff or any commission or  authority established for the federation by this constitution or by an act of the national  assembly Staff   of any educational institution established  by the  government   Staff   or officers of the armed forces, Nigeria police force or other government security agencies public services  is a  governmental body which provides the public with essential goods  or services such as electric power, water, waste disposal etc. Civil service covers the employees  of both the state and federal government whose , service are not  fund generation or profit making  oriented , but totally depends on the government for its existence.

Significance Differences: PS & CS:

Significance Differences: PS & CS The achievements of  the civil  services  are not measured  in monetary terms The public service  achievements are measured in monetary terms  In civil services, its  employees are  permanent staffs or officers of the government, no matter the change of the political office holders In public service, the  change of  government can  affect its employees and deny  them of their employment


In the public service the educational qualification for its employees is  at least a degree in public administration, to  enable  them acquire the  necessary skills to serve in that capacity. In the civil services,  the are  4  services  class, with its own educational degree. They are as follows ; Ordinary service: they  have “first  school leaving certificate” as their qualification Intermediate service: they work  with school leaving certificate  and must have competed a vocational training Higher   intermediate service: they work with  university  entrance i.e. O level or A  level qualification Higher service: here their  educational   qualifications a university  degree


Civil   servant are usually  accountable to the ministry they work  under While public  service on the  other hand, are directly accountable to the government  Civil services  is made up of employees  who  are  usually experts or professionals in their fields On the other hand, public services  is based on works that  are executor in nature A civil servant can work in a public services company but A public servant cannot work under the civil  service  sector **Seen at


Another differentiating  factor, is  that while the civil  servants are usually attached to the government, The public servants  renders  services to  the public directly  **Seen at


In   civil services,  the  working hours of its employees are  stipulated and timed. The normal  work hour, is from 8.00am to  4.00pm (Except overtime or for other special reasons) In the  public service, there is no time specifications, rather the  employees  run shifts.   In civil  service , during  holidays    e.g.   public   holidays , their  employee are allowed the free day out of work, But   in the public service, they do not  observe public  holidays or any other holiday because the nature of their  job requires them to constantly be at  their work posts for the  welfare of the public. In the civil service, at the  probationary period  between the time of employment  and confirmation of employment which lasts for 2 years. In public service the probationary period varies from  6 months to  2 years.


In  the  civil service their primary source of funds is the government. In  some  course the civil  services  in discharging  its obligations may  realized  funds their  from which their account to the  government.  The government  appropriate  this  funds  and  given a share  of it to the civil service by way of annual  budget. On the  other hand  the public services obtains it  revenue by way of  tax system in other wards the government tax masses obtained revenue from  natural resources  which it uses in carrying out its functions  


The  civil service is  headed by the  director general. The director general is directly accountable to the public while in the public services it is  headed by  the   governor   at the state level  and the president at the federal level The civil service is made up governmental  ministries and departments while public services is  made up of  civil service and other agencies corporations for instance Police, Armed Forces, Teachers etc.   


The public service compasses both civil servants and those working in parastatals , agencies and corporation. The civil service is manned by civil servants while the public service is manned by public servants The public  service enjoy  better working  conditions of service than  the civil servant  in the civil service as  revenue   accrued   to it  is unlimited unlike the civil  service   The civil service is controlled by the civil commission while the public service is controlled by the board of directors The civil service commission controls the civil service by investigation either upon complaint or upon its own motion concerning  any matter touching on the administration of the  civil service system. **Source from

Attributions :

Attributions Okonkwo , J.K.J. Public Services Rules and Code Of Conduct For Public Servants. A paper presented to the newly employed staff of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana , (2009 – date), on the occasion of the induction programme organised by the Polytechnic, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at the Polytechnic auditorium. Culled from Laws Guiding Public Civil Service Employees In Nigeria Culled from http://

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