The Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 provides the regulatory framework for fair, transparent and merit-based recruitment and selection in the Irish public service. It replaced the Civil Service Commissioners Act 1954 and abolished the Civil Service Commission.

The Act sets out the rules for recruitment and obliges public bodies to uphold the Codes of Practice when making an appointment. If an appointment is required to be made under the Act, a selection process must be carried out. That process must:

  • Be fair, transparent and merit-based
  • Adhere to the Codes of Practice
  • Contain the review and appeal mechanisms set out in the Codes of Practice
  • Be carried out by a body that has been given a recruitment licence – if the appointment is being made through external recruitment

When does it apply?

The Act applies to the civil and public service positions listed below.

  • The Civil Service
  • An Garda Síochána – to sergeant and inspector level
  • Local authority positions to which the Local Authorities Act 1926 applies, such as technical and professional posts
  • The HSE
  • Public bodies where the appointment must be made under the Act

The Act does not apply to 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 unestablished positions made in the public interest
  • Positions designated as scheduled occupations under the Act, such as service officers, watchmen and cleaners

Your obligations under the Act

If an appointment is to be made under the Act, there must be a selection process that:

  • Is fair, transparent and merit-based
  • Adheres to the Codes of Practice
  • Contains the review and appeal mechanisms set out in the Codes of Practice
  • Is carried out by a body that has been given a recruitment licence – if the appointment is being made through external recruitment

How can I check if the Act applies to a position?

You can find out if an appointment is subject to the Act by checking the public body’s governing legislation at www.irishstatutebook.ie.

If it says appointments are to be made under the Act or that employees will be civil servants, they are subject to our Codes of Practice and oversight.

If the public body was set up before 2004, it may say appointments must be in line with the Civil Service Act 1956. These appointments are also subject to our codes and oversight.

However, if the legislation does not say appointments are to be made under the Act or that the employees are civil servants, they do not fall under our codes and oversight.

In some cases, the legislation of a public body may specify that some appointments are subject to the Act, while others are not. Contact us if you are not sure.