Circular 2008/1 - Amendments to the Public Service Commissioner's Directions 1999 — Engagement of non-ongoing Senior Executive Service employees

Last updated: 03 Apr 2008

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The purpose of this circular is to advise agencies of a change that has been made to the Public Service Commissioner's Directions 1999 (the Directions).

2. The change clarifies the capacity of APS agencies to engage a Senior Executive Service (SES) employee on a non-ongoing basis for no more than 12 months without the employment opportunity needing to be notified.

3. This change to the Directions came into effect on 2 April 2008 (the date they were made). A copy of Public Service Commissioner's Amendment Directions 2008 (No.1) is attached to this circular. A consolidated version of the Directions, including this amendment, is available on the Australian Public Service Commission’s website.

Non-ongoing engagement

4. It is possible to engage non-ongoing (non-SES) APS employees for periods of no more than 12 months, without the employment opportunity being notified. This enables agencies to meet short term staffing requirements in a timely and efficient manner.

5. Clause 6.3 of the Directions sets minimum requirements applying to promotion and engagement as an SES employee. Because of the way in which this clause is drafted, there has been some ambiguity as to whether or not it is possible to similarly engage non-ongoing SES employees for periods of no more than 12 months without satisfying the normal minimum requirements set out in subclause 6.3(1).

Scope of the amendments

6. To remove any ambiguity, a new subclause 6.3(3) has been added to the Directions:

  1. A decision engaging a person as an SES employee also meets the minimum requirements if:
    1. the engagement of the SES employee is for a specified term of no more than 12 months; and
    2. the requirements of Chapter 4 have been satisfied.

7.; A non-ongoing engagement still requires the employment decision to have been based on merit (sections 10(1)(b) and 10(2) of the Public Service Act 1999 refer), including that there be an assessment made of the relative suitability of the candidates for the duties. It is recommended that agencies put in place arrangements, similar to those applying to their non-SES non-ongoing employment arrangements, whereby individuals can register their interest in being considered for short term, non-ongoing engagement at SES level. In this regard, agencies might also wish to consider using the Ready Now temporary employment register facility within the APSjobs website at http://www.apsjobs.gov.au/ApsRegisterHomePage.aspx?mn=ReadyNow which is specifically aimed at former APS employees.

Parliamentary Scrutiny

8. The amendments to the Directions are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, which means that a notice of disallowance may be given in either House of Parliament within 15 sitting days of tabling. Should such a notice or notices be given, the amendments to the Directions may be disallowed by resolution of either House. In the event of disallowance of the amendments, the Directions as they existed before the amendments were made would be revived from the date of disallowance. Further advice will be issued should disallowance occur.

Further advice

9. For further information on the matters raised in this circular, you may contact the Commission's Employment Policy Advice areas. It may be appropriate for more complex or sensitive queries to be dealt with in writing.

Georgia Tarjan
Group Manager
Policy Group

3 April 2008