If you are unhappy with a decision made during a selection process, believe it 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.

Your request

Reviews are managed by the public body that carried out the selection process. You should contact the organisation directly for a review.

There are two stages in the review process, informal and formal. A request for a review will usually be handled informally at first. If you are still not satisfied, you can ask for a formal review.

However, sometimes you or the public body may want a formal review from the start. In these cases, both parties need to discuss and agree this.

When you ask for a review, you should say clearly how you believe the public body’s decision was wrong. Otherwise your request may be dismissed.

Informal review

You must ask for an informal review within five working days of being told of the original decision. If there has been an error, this will give the public body time to take corrective action without delaying the appointment.

However, the public body is not obliged to stop a selection process if it is asked for a review.

The informal stage often involves a telephone conversation or a meeting with someone linked to the selection process, usually someone in human resources. This will give you an opportunity to:

  • Say in greater detail why you believe the decision was incorrect
  • Talk about the procedures and the information that was assessed during the process
  • Consider if you still think the decision was incorrect, having been given more information

The reviewer will decide if the original decision was made correctly and if documented procedure was followed. The public body will then decide if any action needs to be taken.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the informal review, you can ask for a formal review. You must make this request within two working days of the outcome of the informal review.

Formal review

You must ask for a formal review within 10 working days of you being informed of the original decision. If you have already asked for an informal review, you must request a formal review within two working days of the outcome of the informal review.

The public body will appoint an independent reviewer – someone not linked to the selection process. They will examine the information available. They may also meet members of the selection board to discuss aspects of the process or the decision made.

The reviewer will decide if the original decision was made on the basis of correct information and if documented procedure was followed.

The decision will be outlined in writing and you should be given a copy. The public body will then decide if any action should be taken.

If an error is found, the original decision may be reversed.

Timeframes

The timeframes for asking a public body for a review are as follows:

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

If you make a complaint outside of these timeframes, you may be refused.