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Sharing merit lists

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What changes are being made?

Where an agency conducts a competitive selection process, a list of suitable candidates may be established. This is often referred to as a 'merit list'. From 1 December 2016, agencies will be able to use merit lists created by another agency to fill vacant positions in certain circumstances.

  • For vacancies at the Senior Executive Service level, agencies may draw on a merit list created by another agency, provided the merit list is still current and the vacancy meets all other relevant criteria.
  • For centrally-coordinated entry level programs, such as Indigenous Pathways, agencies may draw on a merit list created by the coordinating agency.
  • For all other vacancies, agencies may draw on a merit list on a case-by-case basis where there is agreement from the agency that notified the original vacancy, the agency with the subsequent vacancy, and the relevant candidate.

Merit lists allow subsequent vacancies to be filled provided the vacancy is 'similar'. A vacancy is similar where it is at the same classification, same category of employment (ongoing or non-ongoing), comprises similar duties and is in a similar location. To be similar, the vacancy must be either in the same agency or meet one of the above scenarios.

When accessing an existing merit list created by a different agency, agencies should be mindful to follow the order of the merit list. For example, where candidates are ranked on a merit list, they must be offered a role in that same order. Similarly, where candidates are rated as suitable or not suitable by selection committee in one agency, a different agency cannot change that rating.

What do agencies need to do?

Agencies will need to update their privacy policy by 1 December 2016. Candidates should be informed that, if they are placed on a merit list, they may be contacted by another agency looking to fill a vacant position.

Agency recruitment processes will need to be updated to allow candidates to 'opt-out' of consideration by another agency, in line with privacy obligations. Where agencies use online platforms, some systems changes may be required.

What transition arrangements need to be put in place?

Merit lists that were created before 1 December 2016, and are still current, may be shared with other agencies after 1 December.

Candidates will need to be informed that they may be contacted by another agency. Agencies may wish to inform candidates only where a particular merit list is likely to be shared with another agency.

What is the legislative basis?

  • Sections 9, 20(1) and 55 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016