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Sep 2013

Sri Lanka Administrative Service

Laksiri's picture

The Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) is the key administrative service of the Government of Sri Lanka, with civil servants working for both in the Central Government as well as in the provincial councils. It was formed as the Ceylon Administrative Service (CAS) in 1963 as the successor to the Ceylon Civil Service which was abolished on May 1, 1963. It is the senior of the public services.

Based on the British Civil Service the SLAS is the permanent bureaucracy that helps the elected officials on day-to-day functions of government. They are selected, promoted by the Public Service Commission. But top positions in the government such as Permanent Secretaries are appointed by the President, in theory on the recommendations of the Public Service Commission.

A Permanent Secretary is the top bureaucrat of the government ministry and is responsible for the day-to-day functions of the ministry where as in theory the minister is responsible only for drafting policy. The head of the SLAS is the Secretary to the President.

Grading schemes

The grading schemes used in the SLAS. Until 2005 a broader terms officers are classed in to SLAS class 1 officers, SLAS class 2 grade 1, SLAS class 2 grade 2. All grades from SLAS class 1 and above (see table) are part of the "Senior officers ". The Cabinet Secretary was the traditional head of the Civil Service during the time of the old Ceylon Civil Service, but in years after the establishment of the SLAS the Presidents Secretary is the de-facto head of the SLAS.

After 1st of January Year 2005 Sri Lanka Administrative service introduced four grades,such as:

  • Special Grade offices (present cader is 200)
  • Class I officers (present cader is 507)
  • Class II officers (present cader is 639)
  • Class III officers (present cader is 1059)

Below the "Senior officers "(Special Grade offices, Class I officers and ), each individual department can put in place its own grading.

The traditional titles for each grade of the civil service are as follows:

Traditional Title

Alternative Title Grade
Secretary to the President Cabinet Secretary Special Grade offices
Permanent Secretary Chief Secretary Special Grade officers
Additional Secretary Commissioner-General, Director-General Special Grade officers
Senior Assistant Secretary Commissioner, Director Class I officers
Assistant Secretary Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Director Class II officers
Titles vary widely Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Director Class II officers

*The post of Deputy Secretary is only used in the Ministry of Finance is ranked just below the post of Permanent Secretary.