A civil service commission is a government agency that is constituted by legislature to regulate the employment and working conditions of civil servants, oversee hiring and promotions, and promote the values of the public service. Its role is roughly analogous to that of the human resources department in corporations. Civil service commissions are often independent from elected politicians.
In Fiji for example, the PSC reviews government statutory powers to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in meeting public sector management objectives. It also acts as the human relations department, or central personnel authority, for the citizens' interactions with the government.
The origin of the public service commission in many jurisdictions was the White Paper Colonial 197 issued in 1950, which set out measures which were proposed to improve the quality and efficiency of the Colonial Service of the British administration. The setting up of public service commissions was proposed in its paragraph 21(xi) which mentioned that:
Public Service Commissions should be established in the Colonies. Subject to the general overriding powers of the Secretary of State, the selection and appointment of candidates in the Colonies to posts in the local service will lie with the Governor of the Colony. It is desirable that the Governor should be advised in these matters by a Public Service Commission appointed by him and so composed as to command the confidence of the Service and the public;
such Commissions should be established in the Colonies to advise the Governor on the selection and appointment of candidates to posts in the local service, and should be so composed as to command the confidence of the Service and the public.