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Merit-based selection processes

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What changes are being made?

The duplication in minimum requirements for merit-based selection has been removed from the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016.

The legislative requirement that engagement and promotion decisions be based on merit, as set out in the Public Service Act 1999, has not changed.

In addition to those requirements, selection processes must meet the requirements of section 19 of the Directions and, where necessary, be notified in the Public Service Gazette.

Agencies are still required to uphold the APS Employment Principles, including the prohibition against discrimination, patronage and favouritism, and the APS Values, including transparency of decision-making and acting with integrity.

Restrictions on the re-engagement of redundancy benefit recipients continue to apply. These restrictions are found in section 48 of the Directions.

Some employment decisions do not require a full merit selection process. Subdivision C of Part 3 of the Directions sets out certain circumstances where an employee may be engaged without a full process.

What do agencies need to do?

Agencies should review internal employment policies and procedures to remove unnecessary prescription from engagement and promotion activities. Over time, recruitment practices in the APS have become unnecessarily complicated.

What transition arrangements need to be put in place?

Selection processes underway as at 1 December 2016 can continue until they are completed.

The reduced obligations to notify employment decisions from 1 December 2016 apply to employment decisions that are made after the commencement of the new Directions.

What is the legislative basis?

  • Section 10A of the Public Service Act 1999
  • Part 3 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016
Last reviewed: 
16 May 2018