Get to know… Civil Service START, the network for new civil servants

Written by George Osborne and Emily Mayhew on 3 November 2017 in Opinion

Civil Service START is a new cross-Government network for civil servants in the first five years of their careers. Run by and for new starters, the network aims to help new colleagues connect with peers and discover the wide range of work that goes on across the civil service.

Civil Service START members at an event at the Ministry of Defence

How did the network get started?

Civil Service START was created in December 2015 by a small group of new civil servants, with the aim of bringing new colleagues across Whitehall together through informal and exciting learning and development events. Since then it has grown a diverse membership of over 700 officials across more than 15 departments and agencies.

Why was Civil Service START created?

It was created in response to two issues: firstly, civil servants who don’t join as part of a large cohort often have fewer opportunities to build valuable networks; and secondly, departmental learning and development can often be siloed to specific policy areas or skills. We want to tackle both issues through inclusive events that help officials build connections and 'see the bigger picture.'

What kind of events does Civil Service START put on?

We try to introduce different policy areas, people, and ideas. Past events have included a trip 'Inside City Hall' to learn about the workings of the Greater London Authority, an introduction to private office with a panel of top private secretaries, and most recently a Ministry of Defence Crisis Management workshop which saw attendees taking on Cabinet roles and leading mock press conferences.

We have a packed November schedule of exciting events too, including:

Friday 03 November – CS START: Demystifying DfT

Friday 17 November – CS START: Parliament Day

Thursday 30 November – CS START: The (second) Christmas Quiz!

You can register for all of these events on our event page

Who runs it, and who can join?

The network is run by a committee of new civil servants from different departments, grades, and backgrounds, supported by volunteers across Whitehall. Events are open to anyone working for a central department or affiliated agency and in the first 5 years of their civil service career, including interns and apprentices.

How can you get involved?

Sign up to the mailing list:

See what events are coming up:

Follow us on Twitter: @CSSTARTnetwork

We're always on the looking for keen volunteers and people with big ideas. If you'd like to partner with us for an event, or have suggestions for a future event, you can email our team at

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George Osborne and Emily Mayhew
About the author

George Osborne is a civil servant in the Treasury and Emily Mayhew is a civil servant in the Department for Communities and Local Government. Both are members of the CS Start committee

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