At the head of each Department is the Secretary who occupies a position of very high responsibility and importance. The Secretary is the key-man in the Department who helps his political chief so that the Department works efficiently and in conformity with the policy of the government.
The Secretaries have, in most cases, been so long attached to their respective Departments that they acquire complete grasp of affairs within their own spheres and provide a permanent brains trust to the Ministers, who are amateurs in the art of administration.
Then, there are in the Department, possibly a Joint Secretary, a Deputy Secretary, and an Under-Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, Superintendents, and many others who do merely secretarial work of a purely routine I character and transmit the orders and instructions to field offices for implementation. The I civil servants, in brief, keep the wheels of the governmental machine going and act as agents for the fulfillment of the policy of the party in office.
Their rigid neutrality and rigorous impartiality in the political issues is the first code of their official conduct and they serve with equal fidelity, whatever be the complexion of the government.
All civil servants owe a temporary allegiance to the party in power and its programme, no matter what their bias or personal conviction. “The first thing,” observes Viscount Attlee, “a Minister finds on entering office is that he can depend absolutely on the loyally of its staff and, on leaving office, he will seldom be able to say what the private political views are even of those with whom he has worked most closely.