APS agency heads and APS statutory office holders
In February 2008, the Australian Government introduced a policy implementing transparent and merit-based assessment in the selection of most Australian Public Service (APS) agency heads and other statutory offices working in, or in conjunction with, agencies which operate under the Public Service Act 1999.
The arrangements also ensure that existing office holders are given sufficient notice as to whether or not they will be reappointed and that vacancies will be advertised well in advance of them falling due.
The merit selection processes are outlined in Merit and Transparency: Merit-based selection of APS agency heads and APS statutory office holders.
The Merit and Transparency policy and guidelines apply only to APS agencies that operate under the Public Service Act 1999. All current and future APS agency head roles, full-time APS statutory offices and APS statutory offices where there are both full time and part time offices with the same title, are covered by the policy.
Reintegration of statutory office holders into the APS
Upon the cessation of leave without pay, where a person resumes duties as an ongoing APS employee following a period as a statutory office holder in an APS agency, the usual expectation is that the employee would return to their agency at the end of the statutory appointment at their substantive APS classification.
In some circumstances, however, there is scope for an agency head, when filling a vacancy in their agency, to consider whether the performance of a person in a statutory office warrants special consideration. With the agreement of the APS Commissioner, the agency head may consider it appropriate to promote the person without the employment opportunity having been advertised and without a competitive selection process. There would, of course, need to be a genuine requirement to fill the job at the higher APS classification. There should be no expectation that this provision will be routinely used for APS employees resuming duty after a statutory appointment – the normal promotion requirements should continue to be followed unless there is clear-cut justification for it to be waived under this provision. There are also a number of requirements that must be met, set out below:
The agreement in writing of the Public Service Commissioner will be required before an agency head can proceed with a promotion in this situation. In seeking the Commissioner's agreement, Agency Heads will need to indicate that they are satisfied in regard to the following matters (and provide details to the Commissioner on each of them):
- the employee was granted leave without pay as an APS ongoing employee for appointment to a statutory office that is part of, or operated within, an APS Agency; and
- the employee's appointment to the statutory office has not expired, or expired no more than 3 months before the decision to assign duties; and
- the statutory office is of a kind that requires the Commissioner, or a representative of the APS Commissioner, to be a participant in the selection process for the office; and
- the duties to which the employee is to be assigned are at an APS classification that is equivalent to, or lower than, the duties of the statutory office; and
- the employee has the necessary work-related qualities to perform duties at the APS classification to which the employee is to be assigned.
In considering requests under this provision, the Commissioner may also take into account the duration of the statutory appointment, the selection process that resulted in the statutory appointment and any other relevant matter.
This provision will only apply in relation to statutory offices covered by the merit-based selection policy which requires the involvement of the APS Commissioner (or his representative) in the assessment of applicants for vacancies in those statutory offices.
Advice on this issue is available on the APSC website under Circular 2009/3 - Reintegration of statutory office holders into the APS, or Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016.
APS employees who take up full-time statutory appointment
Generally, APS employees who take up a full-time statutory appointment would apply to their agency head for leave without pay. Leave without pay is not mandatory and the discretion to grant it rests with the relevant agency head. Alternatively, the employee might resign from the APS.