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Recruitment in the ACT Public Service

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    RECRUITMENT IN THE ACT PUBLIC

    SERVICE

Industrial Relations and Public Sector

    Management Group

    CHIEF MINISTER’S DEPARTMENT

    October 2005

    RECRUITMENT IN THE ACT PUBLIC SERVICE

Context

    Recruiting people with right skill set to the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) is essential to delivering high quality and responsive services to the ACT community and serving the government of the day.

    The ACTPS is a unique organisation with interesting and diverse work opportunities and competitive remuneration and conditions. One of the most unique elements of the Service is that as the ACT is a relatively small geographical area; staff are able to see real and immediate outcomes from their work with the benefits being delivered direct to the ACT community.

Purpose

    The primary purpose of the ACTPS recruitment package is to support

    ACTPS agencies in managing recruitment activity. The document provides general information on the legislative employment framework of the ACTPS and suggests best practice models and practical tips for agency recruitment activity.

    In recognition of the diverse occupational grouping and some variations in the legislative employment framework of the ACTPS, this document does not prescribe mandatory processes, unless references are to legislative requirements.

    While many of the procedures are similar, the ACTPS recruitment package does not deal with the Executive employment legislative framework or recruitment. For information on Executive recruitment, please contact staff of Executive employment and Policy on (02)6207 7844.

    How to use the recruitment package

    As ACTPS agencies are responsible for recruitment, ACTPS agencies should utilise this document to update agency based recruitment policies and practices.

    ACTPS employees may use this resource to assist them with recruitment activity but must ensure that processes comply with the legislative employment framework relevant to their agency. This can be achieved by referencing agency based policies or seeking advice from the relevant agency human resources area (HR area).

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Structure of the recruitment package

    The ACTPS recruitment package is comprised of three parts:

    Part One: Recruitment Framework in the ACT Public Service

    This Part provides information on the establishment of the

    ACTPS and the legislative employment framework. The

    Part focuses on essential recruitment principles and

    contains contacts for further information.

    Part Two: Best Practice Recruitment

    This Part details key policy and procedural issues and the

    recruitment methodology, such as attraction, assessment

    and selection, and also includes hints and tips to assist in

    managing these processes.

    Part Three: Attachments

Helpful hint

    This document uses hyperlinks to assist you to view referenced material quickly; (a hyperlink looks like this: hyperlink). If you are viewing this

    document in hardcopy form there is a list of references at Attachment L.

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS Part One: Recruitment Framework in the ACT Public Service

    Legislative Employment Framework................................................................... 1 Employment Framework Hierarchy .................................................................... 2 Principles Of Recruitment .................................................................................... 3 Further Information ............................................................................................... 6 Part Two: Best Practice Recruitment Introduction .......................................................................................................... 7 Key Recruitment Issues And Players ................................................................... 8 Aim Of The Recruitment And Selection Process ............................................. 13 Stage One: Need To Recruit? ........................................................................... 14 Stage Two: Define .............................................................................................. 19 Stage Three: Attraction ..................................................................................... 36 Stage Four: Assessment ..................................................................................... 42 Stage Five: Selection ......................................................................................... 44 Stage Six: Awareness - Appeals And Record Keeping .................................. 50 Stage Seven: Pre-Employment Checks ........................................................... 52 Part Three: Attachments

    A: Legislative Employment Framework ............................................................ 56 B: Recruitment And Selection Flowchart ......................................................... 61 C: Checklist For Recruitment And Selection Process ...................................... 62 D: Position Description Template 1 ................................................................... 65 E: Position Description Template 2 .................................................................... 68 F: Sample Behavioural Questions ..................................................................... 70

G: Use Of Psychological And Aptitude Testing In The Act Public Service .... 88

    H: Guide For Pre-Employment Checking Procedure ..................................... 91

    I: Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Recruitment ........................................ 94

    J: Unlawful Discrimination .................................................................................. 96

    K: ACTPS Employment Framework for People with a Disability ..................... 101

     I: References ..................................................................................................... 100

    PART ONE:

    RECRUITMENT FRAMEWORK IN THE

    ACT PUBLIC SERVICE

    This Part provides information on the legislative employment framework of the ACT Public Service, essential recruitment principles and contact details for further information.

Legislative Employment Framework

    1. On 1 July 1994, the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (ACT) (the

    PSM Act) was passed to introduce a legislative employment framework for the new ACTPS.

    2. The main elements of the ACTPS employment legislative framework include:

Public Sector Management Act 1994 and Management Standards

    (PDF file);

     Agency Certified Agreements; and

    o Template Agreement comprising Part 1: Common Core

    Conditions and Part 2: Agency specific conditions;

    o Non Template Agreements (occupational specific agreements); Awards.

    3. The Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) requires that all ACT legislation, including the PSM Act, must be interpreted consistently with human rights as far as possible. Relevant human rights include recognition and equality before the law, protection of the family, privacy, and taking part in public life (having equal access to appointment in the public service).

    4. Other laws such as those dealing with discrimination, occupational health and safety, workers compensation and privacy also regulate aspects of the employment framework.

    Public Sector Management Act and Management Standards

    5. The Public Sector Management Act 1994 (the PSM Act) establishes the

    ACTPS and sets out general provisions (e.g. values and principles) and primary employment issues including categories of employment, promotion, transfer, appeal and review mechanisms and discipline.

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6. The PSM Act is supported by the Public Sector Management Standards

    (PDF file) (subordinate law). The Standards must be consistent with the

    Act. If any inconsistency arises, the PSM Act prevails.

    Agency Certified Agreements

    7. Certified Agreements are made under the Commonwealth Workplace

    Relations Act 1996 (the WR Act). While ACTPS certified agreements are

    agency based, government policy requires that agencies adopt a

    centrally negotiated template agreement as part of their agency

    agreement. The template agreement includes a set of core conditions

    for staff in the administrative, professional, technical, general service

    officer and ambulance classifications, which forms Part One of the

    agency Certified Agreement. Part Two of the agency agreement

    includes agency specific conditions.

    8. Occupational specific agreements, which cover nurses, doctors,

    teachers and fire-fighters are not required by government policy to

    incorporate the template into their agency agreement but may adopt

    all or part of the template agreement.

    9. Any Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) are also made under

    the Commonwealth WR Act.

    Awards

    10. Awards are made under the WR Act. Under that Act, awards can only

    contain specified allowable matters and are limited to minimum

    entitlements.

    Employment Framework Hierarchy

    11. The PSM Act and Management Standards (PDF file) are subordinate to

    Certified Agreements and Awards. This is because Certified

    Agreements and Awards are Commonwealth laws, which override

    inconsistent ACT laws.

    12. The following diagram represents a basic view of the employment

    framework.

    Certified Agreements (including Australian Workplace Agreements)

    Awards

    Public Sector Management Act 1994

     Management

    Standards

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    13. The framework can be complicated and often requires that all of the above sources are consulted. Some examples of how to apply the framework are included at Attachment A to better clarify how the

    employment framework hierarchy operates. As noted above awards are limited to minimum entitlements on a small number of allowable matters. If a condition is listed in the award but more generous entitlements are available under the PSM Act, the more generous provisions in the PSM Act apply. Awards are not intended to reduce more beneficial entitlements.

    Principles of Recruitment

    14. Good government requires a public service which is highly competent and responsive, politically impartial, and has high standards of integrity to meet the needs of the ACT community.

    15. The recruitment principles underpin good government, with the fundamental principle that selection is made on merit and based upon fair and open competition without bias or prejudice. The principles of merit, equity and diversity and procedural fairness are integral to recruitment processes in the ACTPS. Further information and practical

    illustrations about these principles are included in Part 2 of this document on Best Practice Recruitment.

    Merit

    17. Merit is the foundation for employment in ACTPS. Section 65 of the PSM Act provides:

    the selection of a person……is made on the basis of an

    assessment of the relative efficiency of the several applicants

    having regard to the nature of the duties to be performed and

    the abilities, qualifications, experience, personal qualities and

    potential for development of the several applicants that are

    relevant to the performance of the relevant duties as the case

    may be.

    18. Applying the merit principle is important to ensuring that the best available person for the job is selected based on individual merit and regardless of any attribute (e.g. sex, parent or carer status, pregnancy, relationship status, age etc) that constitutes unlawful discrimination under the ACT Discrimination Act 1991 (See Attachment J). Secondly,

    to ensure selection is transparent and can be justified, conflicts of interest must be avoided (i.e. where the applicant is a friend or relative). See further Paragraph 47.

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    19. Merit requires:

    i. job opportunities are publicised so that there is a reasonable

    opportunity for members of the community to apply for the

    position;

    ii. selection is fair and objective at each stage so that there is no

    patronage, favouritism or unjustified discrimination in the decision

    making process. Fairness underpins a selection process; iii. that those appointed have the necessary skills and

    competencies for the position;

    iv. we choose the best candidate for the job;

    v. we can demonstrate that we have applied the recruitment

    principles by taking these steps, and therefore can justify the

    recruitment decision.

    20. Merit also recognises special programs and provisions which may be implemented to ensure that particular groups are encouraged to apply as set out in section 65(3) of the PSM Act. Section 27 of the

    ACT Discrimination Act recognises the need for lawful special measures that ensure members of relevant classes of people, such as people with a disability, have equal opportunities with other people or have access to facilities, services or opportunities to meet their special needs (this approach is sometimes called an „affirmative action program‟).

    21. The ACTPS Employment Framework for People with a Disability targets the recruitment, employment, training and support, promotion and retention of people with a disability within the ACTPS. The Framework is a whole of government strategy encompassing all ACTPS agencies. The Disability Framework is available at the PSM website. For more

    information about the recruitment of people with a disability see Attachment K.

    22. The draft Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy targets the recruitment, employment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at all levels in the ACT Public Service. The draft Strategy is available from the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the Chief Minister‟s Department. For contact details and recruitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identified positions, see Attachment I.

    23. Other processes in the legislative frameworks may modify how merit principle operates however no provisions should reduce the general principles of merit, opportunity and fairness. For example, some agency certified agreements include a provision that allows for promotion to a position after a person has occupied that position for 12 months but only where an initial merit process was undertaken for

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the person to occupy that position in the first place.

Equity and Diversity

    24. Equity and diversity in recruitment ensures everyone is given equal opportunity to compete with others for positions, and not be denied employment opportunities because of discrimination based on any of the attributes (such as age, pregnancy, race, sex, status as a parent or carer etc) under the ACT Discrimination Act (see Attachment J). This

    may require special measures in response to individual differences to ensure that persons with any of those attributes have equal opportunity with other persons.

    25. Recruitment must be fair and transparent, and allow persons to equally compete for positions. In this sense, equity does not mean all people are treated the same. Equity is about a fair go for all. Diversity is about recognising and embracing differences to create an inclusive workplace environment that uses and values the talents, abilities and contributions of all people. Further information about equity and diversity can be found in the Equity and Diversity Toolkit available at the: PSM Website

Fairness

    26. Applicants have a right to fair and unbiased consideration of their application. Certain selection decisions may also be subject to an

    internal review based on the processes leading to the decision under agency certified agreements (template agreement of core

    conditions). A lack of fairness would be an influencing factor in determination of internal review.

    27. For further information see Fairness in Part 2 of this document.

Efficiency

    28. All elements of the recruitment process should be carried out in a timely manner supported by clear procedures and processes. Efficiency does not mean a speedy process that compromises consistent, appropriate unbiased and merit based assessment.

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