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The Commission for Public Service Appointments strives to safeguard the integrity of the recruitment, selection and appointment of people to publicly funded positions and to engender widespread confidence in the ability of those appointed to contribute to the delivery of first-rate public services.

It oversees recruitment and selection to positions across a wide range of Public Bodies, including appointments up to the rank of Inspector in An Garda Síochána.  In carrying out this oversight function the Commission seeks to ensure that those appointment processes exemplify the principles of probity, merit, transparency, impartiality, consistency and fairness.  The Commission is firmly of the view that these core principles are not mere ends in themselves but the means to achieving the greater goal of attracting and selecting the strongest possible candidates for positions thus facilitating the delivery of efficient and effective services.

The Commission publishes Codes of Practice which prescribe recruitment and selection standards that Public Bodies within its remit are required to meet.  It examines complaints from individuals who believe that a public body has failed to adhere to the standards prescribed in the Codes.  As part of its oversight function the Commission also carries out audits of appointment process conducted by those Public Bodies to determine whether the public body has adequate safeguards in place to ensure that candidates are recruited and selected in a fair and objective fashion and that there is no scope for patronage.

On the basis that its last audit of appointment processes within An Garda Síochána dated back some 4 years, the Commission decided that it was now time that it looked again at the manner in which these processes take place and that it reviewed the effectiveness of the safeguards employed to support the selection of candidates on merit.