As the Commission for Public Service Appointments, we are the principal regulator of recruitment and selection in the Irish public service. The Commission was set up on 19 October 2004 under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

The Commission’s members are:

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

As the Commission for Public Service Appointments, we are the principal regulator of recruitment and selection in the Irish public service.

Our role is to ensure that appointments made to publicly funded positions are fair, transparent and merit-based.

In our Codes of Practice, we set out the key recruitment principles and standards for an appointment.

We also have an oversight role – ensuring public bodies adhere to these standards.

Our key responsibilities include:

  • Setting out and promoting good recruitment practice
  • Publishing Codes of Practice
  • Issuing recruitment licences
  • Outlining how to review and appeal if you are unhappy with an appointment
  • Examining complaints about alleged breaches of the codes
  • Ensuring codes are upheld
  • Auditing recruitment and selection at public bodies
  • Helping and guiding public bodies

A fair selection process is one that determines the best candidate for a job based on their ability to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the role. It is one that adheres to the principles of:

  • Probity
  • Consistency
  • Transparency
  • Merit

A fair selection process also uses the standards in our Codes of Practice so that the principles listed above are applied. The standards relate to:

  • Planning a selection process 
  • Job and person specifications
  • How to attract candidates
  • Assessment mechanisms
  • Selection boards
  • Eligibility checks
  • Communication
  • Feedback
  • Requests for reviews and complaints
  • Training
  • Management systems and quality assurance
  • Documentation
  • Confidentiality

See our guide to the Code of Practice here for more information on these standards and the selection process.

We are responsible for establishing the principles for making an appointment. These are set out in our Codes of Practice. The codes also outline the standards that should be adhered to at each stage of a selection process.

The codes set out the review and appeal mechanisms open to candidates when they are unhappy with a selection process. They also outline what is expected from candidates in an appointment process as well as explaining our audit function. 

We have five Codes of Practice

  1. Code of Practice for Appointment to Positions in the Civil Service and Public Service
  2. Code of Practice for Emergency Short-Term Appointments to Positions in the Health Service Executive
  3. Code of Practice for Appointment of Persons with Disabilities to Positions in the Civil Service and Certain Public Bodies
  4. Code of Practice for Atypical Appointments to Positions in the Civil Service and Certain Public Bodies
  5. Code of Practice for Appointment to Positions where the Garda Commissioner has Statutory Responsibilities

Yes, if you are unhappy after a selection process, the Codes of Practice outline the review and appeal mechanisms open to you. You can either request a review of the decision under section 7 or make a complaint under section 8.

If you are unhappy after a selection process and you believe a decision was made on incorrect information or that documented procedure was not followed, you can ask for a review under section 7 of the relevant code.

The decision may be reversed if it is found to have been incorrect.

You can read more about the review process here.

Alternatively, if you think the selection process was unfair and in breach of the Codes of Practice, you can make a complaint under section 8 of the relevant code.

If the selection process is found to have been unfair, the decision will not be reversed. However, changes may be made to the process to ensure a breach does not happen again. 

You can read more about the complaints process here.

You must choose between a review of the decision (under section 7) and a complaint (under section 8).

If you have already asked for a review, you cannot then make a complaint. We will accept a complaint only in exceptional circumstances.

You must be careful when deciding which mechanism is most appropriate.

See the table below to help you choose the right option. 

When should I request a review of the decision (section 7)

When should I make a complaint (section 8)

  • If you are unhappy with the marks you received

  • If you believe the selection process was unfair

  • If you believe your experience and qualifications were not taken into account 

  • If you can identify one or more breaches in the Codes of Practice

  • If you believe the selection board did not follow the process outlined 

  • If you believe the process did not treat candidates consistently or transparently

  • If you believe the marks you received were based on incorrect information

  • If you are looking for changes to the selection process for the future

  • If you are seeking a reversal of the final decision

  • If you are not seeking a reversal of the final decision

 

You can read more here about the complaint process.

You can complain about selection processes for appointments under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

You can complain about appointments to:

  • The Civil Service
  • Some positions in An Garda Síochána  –  at sergeant and inspector level
  • Positions to which the Local Authorities Act 1926 applies, such as technical and professional posts
  • The HSE
  • Some public bodies, where the selection must be made under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004

You cannot complain about appointments to:

  • The private sector
  • Public bodies where the selection does not need to be made under the Act
  • Positions set up under the Constitution
  • Office-holder positions, such as Ministers of Government and of State, Attorney General and Ombudsman
  • Presidential and government roles
  • Officer of the Houses of the Oireachtas
  • Special adviser
  • Some unestablishedpositions made in the public interest
  • Positions designated as scheduled occupations under the Act, such as service officers, watchmen and cleaners

If you are unhappy after a selection process, you can either ask for a review of a decision under section 7 or make a complaint about the process under section 8.

You should contact the public body’s human resources unit for a review or to make a complaint.

In either case, you should clearly outline the reasons for your request, which should be made within the following timeframes:

Requesting a review of the decision (section 7)

  • You must ask for an informal review within five working days of receiving the selection decision.
  • You must ask for a formal review within two working days of the informal review decision, or 10 working days of being told of the selection decision. 
  • The public body should give you the formal review decision within 25 working days of receiving your request. 

Making a complaint (section 8)

  • You must make an informal complaint within a reasonable timeframe, which is decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must make a formal complaint within two working days of being told of the informal decision.
  • The public body should give you the formal complaint decision within 25 working days of receiving your request. 
  • You must make an appeal to us at the Commission within 10 working days of the outcome of the formal complaint.

 

A breach in the Code of Practice is when the selection process has not been carried out under the principles of:

  • Probity
  • Consistency
  • Best Practice
  • Transparency
  • Merit

And it did not adhere to the standards in the Codes of Practice.

See our guide to the Code of Practice for more information on these standards and the selection process.

We do not have a direct role in recruitment or selection processes. These responsibilities lie with the public body concerned. We have a role only in setting the standards and ensuring the codes are upheld.

In many cases, recruitment to the civil and public service is carried out by the Public Appointments Service

Sometimes, however, a public body may be given a licence to carry out its own recruitment.