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Australian Public Service Commissioner's Role in SES Selection Exercises - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Australian Public Service Commissioner's role in SES selection exercises?

The Australian Public Service Commissioner's role in SES selection matters is to ensure that agencies follow and apply open and transparent merit-based selection exercises.

The Commissioner is to be invited to participate in selection exercises for all SES Band 3 vacancies. Generally, the Commissioner does not participate in selection processes for SES Band 1 or SES Band 2 vacancies.

A representative of the Commissioner must be a member of all SES selection committees in which the Commissioner does not participate personally.

Why is there an Australian Public Service Commissioner's representative?

Section 21 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016 (the Directions) provides that, for SES engagement or promotion decisions:

  • The Commissioner, or a representative of the Commissioner was a full participant in the selection process; and
  • if a
    representative of the Commissioner participated in the selection process - the
    representative certified that the selection process complied with the Public
    Service Act 1999
    (PS Act) and the Directions.

Does the Australian Public Service Commissioner need to certify the selection process when he is on the selection panel?

No. If the Commissioner is a member of the selection committee, his signature on the selection report will stand as certification that the process complied with the PS Act and the Directions.

Can agencies choose a representative from another agency but within the same portfolio?

No, the representative must be from outside the portfolio in which the vacancy exists.

The representative is expected to be fully independent and impartial. They must be at a higher substantive level than the vacancy and from an agency in a different portfolio. It is desirable to have gender balance on the committee.

Can the Australian Public Service Commission provide agencies with a list of names for the Commissioner's representative?

No. It is the responsibility of the agency to identify a suitable person to represent the Commissioner.

It is preferred that agencies nominate a different representative on each of their SES selection committees. This approach will help to ensure the independence of the representative and allow more senior managers the opportunity to gain experience in SES selection processes.

How can agencies find suitable individuals to represent the Australian Public Service Commissioner on SES selection committees?

Agencies may wish to use the Australian Government Directory to search for appropriate individuals.

What are the agency's responsibilities to the Australian Public Service Commissioner's representative?

Agencies should ensure that the representative is:

  • appointed before the first meeting of the selection committee;
  • provided with the necessary information to undertake their role effectively; and
  • included in all aspects of the selection process.

Can the representative provide a referee report for a candidate?

The representative is expected to be independent and impartial. On this basis, unless it is unavoidable, it is preferable that the representative is not a referee for any applicant/s. Where it is unavoidable, the representative should provide a written report, signed and dated, before accessing information on the other candidates.

What happens if the Australian Public Service Commissioner's representative will not provide the required certification due to concerns about the selection process?

If there are any concerns which the representative is unable to resolve within the selection committee, the representative should contact the Australian Public Service Commission at staffingpolicy [at] apsc.gov.au or (02)6202 3857.