If you think the selection process was unfair and in breach of the Code of Practice, you can complain under Section 8 of the relevant code.

Making a complaint

If it is found to have been unfair, the decision will not be reversed. However, changes may be made to the process to ensure future appointments are fair, consistent and transparent.

Complaints are initially examined by the public body that carried out the selection process. It will review the process to see if it was in keeping with the Code of Practice.

You should send your complaint in writing to the public body’s human resources unit within a reasonable timeframe.

There are two stages in the complaint process – informal and formal.

A complaint will usually be handled informally at first. If you are still not satisfied, you can make a formal complaint.

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

When you make a complaint, you should say clearly how you believe the appointment process was unfair and the part or parts of the code you believe were breached. Otherwise, your complaint may be dismissed.

Informal complaint

You should make your complaint to the human resources unit within a reasonable timeframe.

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 think the selection process was unfair and list the part or parts of the Codes of Practice you believe were breached
  • Talk about the procedures and the assessment process that led to the public body’s decision
  • Consider if you still think there was a breach of the codes, having been given more information

The reviewer will make an initial decision about the fairness of the process and if there was a breach of the Code of Practice.

The public body will then decide if any action should be taken. If you are not happy with the outcome of the informal complaint, you can make a formal complaint.

Formal complaint

You must make a formal complaint within two working days of the outcome of the informal complaint. Make your complaint to the human resources unit.

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 selection or the assessment process.

The reviewer will decide if the selection process was fair or in breach of the codes. If the process is found to be unfair, they may recommend changes to future processes. The public body will then decide if any action should be taken.

You should be told the result of the formal complaint within 25 working days. The public body should keep you informed of any delays.

If you are not happy with the outcome, you can appeal it to us – the Commission.

Appeal

You must appeal within 10 working days of the outcome of the formal complaint.

When we get your appeal, we will examine the information. We will decide if the selection process was fair and in keeping with the Code of Practice. If there was an error, we will recommend or direct the public body to change future selection processes.

Our decision can be challenged only through judicial review.