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Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Commissioners for Public Service Appointments?
What does the Commission for Public Service Appointments do?
Can I make a complaint about an appointment process?
What are the Section 7 review procedures?
What are the Section 8 review procedures?
What is an office holder?
What is a licence holder?
How do I apply for a job in the Civil or Public Service?
Does the Commission for Public Service Appointments carry out recruitment?
Is the Commission for Public Service Appointments the same as the Civil Service Commission?

Who are the Commissioners for Public Service Appointments?

The Commission consists of ex-officio members (Commissioners) as follows:

  • Mr. Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman
  • Mr Seán Ó Fearghail TD, Ceann Comhairle
  • Mr Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Mr Martin Fraser, Secretary General to the Government
  • Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson of the Standards in Public Office Commission

 

For more information see Members of the Commission.

What does the Commission for Public Service Appointments do?

The Commission establishes standards of probity, merit, equity and fairness to be observed in the appointment of persons to positions in the public bodies subject to its remit.

The Commission discharges its responsibilities by:

  • Publishing and maintaining Codes of Practice which set out the standards to be observed in relation to appointments in the public service
  • Auditing and evaluating recruitment policies and practices to safeguard these standards and to establish whether or not its Codes of Practice are being observed
  • Granting recruitment licences and revoking same where necessary
  • Issuing instructions and advices to licence holders
  • Establishing and setting down appropriate review/complaints procedures
  • Publishing a list of approved private sector recruitment agencies
  • Reporting to the Oireachtas and the government, and providing information to ministers on the operation of recruitment and selection processes
  • Carrying out its powers and duties under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

 

The Commission has responsibility for the protection of the public interest in relation to recruitment and selection matters and uses its audit function to ensure that those operating its Codes are at all times committed to the principles set out in them. The Commission contributes to the development of an effective and impartial public service by carrying out the duties imposed on it by the Act. It provides an assurance to the public that appointments are made on merit. This means that office holders select, from those candidates available, the best person for the job for the purpose of ensuring, as far as reasonably possible, that the duties of the job will be carried out effectively.

Can I make a complaint about an appointment process?

Yes. The Commission has set down procedures to address complaints and candidates’ requests for review in relation to an appointment process. The Commission has established these procedures, set out in its Codes of Practice, to ensure that reviews of public appointment and selection processes are conducted fairly.

The review procedures apply to the appointment processes for all positions in the Health Service Executive and in the Health Information and Quality Authority, almost all positions in the Civil Service, many positions in An Garda Síochána, senior management and professional posts in local authorities and senior management posts in vocational education committees.

Many issues can be resolved without resorting to the formal review procedures and the Commission encourages individuals and recruiting bodies to make every effort to discuss and resolve concerns on an informal basis.

You may request a review of an appointment process if:
• You are unhappy with an action or decision in relation to your application but do not believe there has been a breach of the Code of Practice (Section 7 Review Procedures)
or
• You believe an aspect of the process breached the Commission’s Code of Practice (Section 8 Review Procedures).

 

Please note that reviews under Section 7 and Section 8 are two distinct procedures and are mutually exclusive.

The Commission has no direct involvement in the investigation of complaints made under Section 7.

For more information see below and also Sections 7 and 8 of the relevant Code of Practice.

What are the Section 7 review procedures?

To request an informal review, you must write to the recruiting body within 5 working days of receiving notification of the decision on your application. The recruiting body will carry out the informal review without delay. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you may resort to the formal procedures set out below within 2 working days of receiving notification of the outcome of the informal review.

Formal review

To request a formal review, you must write to the recruiting body, detailing your concerns and setting out the aspects of the action or decision that you wish to have reviewed. You must submit your request within 10 working days of receiving notification of the decision on your application. This time limit is reduced to 4 working days if the decision relates to an interim stage (e.g. shortlisting, preliminary interview) of a selection process. Requests for formal review should be addressed to the office holder in the recruiting body, i.e. the head of the organisation carrying out the recruitment.

The recruiting body will confirm, within 3 working days, that it has received your request. A person in the recruiting body who was not directly associated with the decision or action in question will conduct the review and is known as the initial reviewer. You will receive a written report on the outcome of the review within 20 working days. If a decision cannot be made within this timeframe, the initial reviewer will keep you informed of the status of the review and the reasons for the delay.

If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can write to the recruiting body and request that your case be re-examined. This written request must be made within 7 working days of receiving the initial reviewer’s report.

The recruiting body will confirm, within 3 working days, that it has received your request. A decision arbitrator (a senior person appointed by the recruiting body who was unconnected with the selection process in question) will consider whether the initial review has been carried out in line with proper procedures by examining all the written information available in respect of the matter. Where necessary he or she will also conduct interviews. The decision arbitrator can change or accept the decision of the initial reviewer. You will receive a written report on the outcome of the re-examination within 10 working days. The decision of the decision arbitrator is final.

What are the Section 8 review procedures?

Section 8 review procedures apply in cases where a person, who may or may not be a candidate, believes that an appointment process has breached the Commission’s Code of Practice and wishes to have it investigated.

Informal review

When a recruiting body receives an allegation of a breach of the Code of Practice, the Commission recommends that it discuss the matter with the complainant to try to resolve it informally. The informal review must be carried out by the recruiting body without delay.

If you are dissatisfied following informal discussions, you may resort to the formal procedures within 2 working days of receiving notification of the outcome of the informal review.

Formal review

You must write to the recruiting body providing details of the breach of the Code and enclosing any relevant documentation that might support your allegation. Requests for formal review should be addressed to the office holder in the recruiting body, i.e. the head of the organisation carrying out the recruitment.

The recruiting body will confirm, within 3 working days, that it has received your request. You will receive a written report on the outcome of the review within 20 working days. If a decision cannot be made within this timeframe, the reviewer will keep you informed of the status of the review and the reasons for the delay.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of this review, you may refer the matter to the Commission for Public Service Appointments in the form of an appeal of the review of the office holder. You must write to the Commission within 10 working days of receiving the report of the office holder’s review. Your submission should provide details of the alleged breach of the Code, the grounds of the appeal and all relevant supporting documentation.

The Commission will confirm, within 3 working days, that it has received your request. You will receive a written report on the outcome of the appeal within 25 working days. If a decision cannot be made within this timeframe, the Commission will keep you informed of the status of the appeal and the reasons for the delay. The decision of the Commission is final.

What is an Office Holder?

An Office Holder is the head of a department/office/body.

What is a Licence Holder?

A Licence Holder is a person to whom a recruitment licence has been granted.

How do I apply for a job in the Civil or Public Service?

Jobs in the Civil and Public Service are advertised widely. Public bodies under the remit of the Commission must have a recruitment licence issued by the Commission in order to carry out open or external recruitment. See list of public bodies that hold a recruitment licence issued by the Commission.

Does the Commission for Public Service Appointments carry out recruitment?

No. The Commission’s role is to regulate recruitment to public sector organisations and to ensure that appointments are made on merit.

For more information see Role of the Commission.

See also the list of organisations holding a recruitment licence issued by the Commission.

Is the Commission for Public Service Appointments the same as the Civil Service Commission?

No. The Civil Service Commission was dissolved in 2004. Two new bodies were established:

  • The Commission for Public Service Appointments
  • The Public Appointments Service.