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33 2004

Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004

PART 3

Public Appointments Service

Establishment of Public Appointments Service.

33.— There is established with effect from the establishment day a body to be known in the Irish language as An tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí and in the English language as the Public Appointments Service.

Functions of Public Appointments Service.

34.— (1) The functions of the Public Appointments Service are as follows:

(a) to act as the centralised recruitment, assessment and selection body for the Civil Service and to provide a similar service, where requested, to the local authorities and health boards, the Garda Síochána and any other public service body;

(b) to ensure that standards of probity, merit, equity and fairness, consistent with the codes of practice set down by the Commission are followed in the public interest in the recruitment, assessment and selection of persons for appointments in the Civil Service and other public service bodies;

(c) to carry out all the procedures necessary to undertake the recruitment, assessment and selection of suitable candidates for appointment;

(d) to undertake such other selection competitions, including promotion competitions under section 57

(i) in respect of the Civil Service, at the request of the Minister for Finance, or any other office holder concerned,

(ii) in respect of local authorities, at the request of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government or the office holder concerned,

(iii) in respect of Health Boards, at the request of the Minister for Health and Children or the office holder concerned,

(iv) in respect of vocational education committees, at the request of the Minister for Education and Science or the office holder concerned,

(v) in respect of the Garda Síochána, at the request of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform or of the office holder concerned, and

(vi) in respect of any other public service body, at the request of the Minister or the office holder concerned;

(e) to determine having due regard to relevant criteria, such as the requirements of the position concerned—

(i) the criteria for selection, and

(ii) the form of selection process to be adopted,

subject to the codes of practice issued by the Commission and to matters relating to formulation of policy for recruitment and promotion—

(I) by the Minister under section 58 (1),

(II) by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government under section 58 (2),

(III) by the Minister for Health and Children under section 58 (3),

(IV) by the Minister for Education and Science under section 58 (4), or

(V) by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform under section 58 (5);

(f) to provide advice and expert services, including research and development, to the Civil Service and other public service bodies on recruitment, assessment and selection and related matters;

(g) without prejudice to the granting of a licence under section 43 (1)(b) to any office holder, to exercise the functions which, immediately before the commencement of this provision, were exercisable by the Local Appointments Commissioners in respect of any recruitment and selection;

(h) except where section 7 (1) applies, to undertake such other competitions, examinations, interviews and tests, which are not otherwise provided for by paragraphs (a) to (g), as the Government may from time to time direct;

(i) to inform itself of best practice in relation to all recruitment, assessment and selection matters, and, on the basis of this information, to provide advice to the Civil Service and public service bodies;

(j) subject to the public interest, to make its expertise in recruitment and selection services otherwise available on such terms and conditions as it deems appropriate.

(2) Subject to this Act, the Public Appointments Service is independent in the exercise of its functions.

(3) The Minister may, after consulting the Commission, by order—

(a) confer on the Public Appointments Service such additional functions relating to recruitment, assessment and selection and connected with the functions conferred on the Service by subsection (1) or an order made under this subsection, as the Minister considers appropriate,

(b) make such provision as he or she considers necessary or expedient in relation to matters ancillary to or arising out of the conferral on the Public Appointments Service of functions so conferred.

(4) The Minister may by order amend or revoke an order under this section, including an order under this subsection.

(5) Every order made by the Minister under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the order is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which the House has sat after the order is laid before it, the order shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Statement of strategy of Public Appointments Service.

35.— Within 6 months after the establishment day, the Chief Executive of the Service shall prepare and submit to the Minister a statement of strategy for the purposes of paragraph (b) of section 4(1) of the Public Service Management Act 1997 and, for that purpose, subparagraph (i) of that paragraph shall be read as if it referred to a period ending within 6 months after the establishment of the Public Appointments Service.

Board of Public Appointments Service.

36.— (1) There is established a board of the Public Appointments Service, in this Act referred to as the “Board” which consists of—

(a) a chairperson,

(b) the Chief Executive of the Service, and

(c) 7 ordinary members.

(2) The chairperson and the ordinary members of the Board shall be appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the Minister for Health and Children and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

(3) The Board has the following functions:

(a) to represent the interests of the public service and ensure that all appropriate service standards are being achieved;

(b) to consider and approve plans and strategic objectives put forward by the Chief Executive of the Service;

(c) to monitor and advise the Public Appointments Service in the performance of its functions;

(d) to ensure that appropriate review procedures are developed and implemented by the Public Appointments Service in relation to recruitment and promotion competitions, having regard to any relevant codes of practice issued by the Commission;

(e) to publish the annual report of the Public Appointments Service;

(f) where relevant, to give effect to the exercise of a ministerial function to which section 58 relates or to which that section refers;

(g) to give directions to the Chief Executive of the Service in respect of functions of the Public Appointments Service which it regards as necessary.

(4) Subject to this Act, the Board shall determine its own procedures.

Appointment and terms of office of members of Board.

37.— (1) This section applies to a Board member other than the Chief Executive of the Service.

(2) In appointing persons as members of the Board, the Minister—

(a) shall ensure that—

(i) at least 2 of them have either or both civil service and other public service experience and knowledge which the Minister considers relevant, and

(ii) at least 2 of them have expertise in human resource management, customer service and recruitment outside the public service which the Minister considers relevant,

(b) otherwise shall have regard to such experience and knowledge of the person that the Minister, after consultation with the other Ministers referred to in section 58 considers necessary or appropriate to enable the Board to carry out its functions,

(c) shall have regard to the desirability of an appropriate gender balance as the Minister may determine from time to time.

(3) A person appointed a Board member shall be appointed for a period of not more than 3 years.

(4) Each Board member shall be paid such remuneration (if any) and allowances for expenses incurred by him or her (if any) as the Minister may determine.

(5) A person appointed a Board member may be re-appointed to a second or subsequent term as a Board member.

(6) A Board member may resign by letter addressed to the Minister and the resignation shall take effect from the date specified in the letter or upon receipt of it by the Minister, whichever is the later.

(7) A Board member may at any time be removed by the Minister if, in the Minister's opinion, the member has become incapable of performing his or her functions, or has committed stated misbehaviour, or his or her removal appears to the Minister to be necessary for the effective performance by the Board of its functions.

(8) A Board member shall be disqualified from holding office and shall cease to be a member of the Board if he or she is adjudged bankrupt or makes a composition or arrangement with creditors or is sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction to a term of imprisonment or penal servitude.

(9) Notice of every appointment of a person to be a Board member or as a Board member and every resignation or removal from office as a Board member shall be published as soon as practicable in Iris Oifigiúil. However, failure to so publish shall not affect any appointment.

Board members and involvement in political matters, etc.

38.— (1) Where a member of the Board—

(a) is nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann,

(b) is nominated to stand as a candidate for election as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or to the European Parliament,

(c) is regarded, pursuant to Part XIII of the Second Schedule to the European Parliament Elections Act 1997 , as having been elected to the European Parliament to fill a vacancy, or

(d) is or becomes a member of a local authority,

he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Board.

(2) A person who is, for the time being, entitled under the Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein or who is a member of the European Parliament shall, while he or she is so entitled or is such a member, be disqualified from becoming a member of the Board or a member of the staff of the Public Appointments Service.

(3) A member of the Board shall be subject to the same restrictions as apply generally to established civil servants above the grade of clerical officer, or its equivalent, in respect of not identifying himself or herself actively or publicly with political matters.

Chief Executive of Service.

39.— (1) There shall be a chief executive officer of the Public Appointments Service who shall be known and is referred to in this Act as the “Chief Executive of the Service”.

(2) The Chief Executive of the Service shall be appointed by the Minister.

(3) The Chief Executive of the Service shall hold office upon and subject to such terms and conditions (including terms and conditions relating to remuneration and allowances for expenses) as determined by the Minister.

(4) The person who, immediately before the establishment day for the Public Appointments Service, was the chief executive officer in the offices of the Civil Service Commissioners and the Local Appointments Commissioners shall, if willing, be appointed as the first Chief Executive of the Service.

Functions of Chief Executive of Service.

40.— (1) The Chief Executive of the Service shall—

(a) manage and control generally the staff, administration and business of the Public Appointments Service, and

(b) perform such other functions that are conferred on him or her by or under this Act or as may be determined by the Board.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Chief Executive of the Service shall—

(a) be the recruitment licence holder for the Public Appointments Service,

(b) be responsible to the Board for the performance of his or her functions and the implementation of the Public Appointments Service's policies,

(c) draw up the strategic plan for the Public Appointments Service for consideration and approval by the Board before submitting it to the Minister,

(d) be the accounting officer for the appropriation accounts of the Public Appointments Service for the purposes of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Acts 1866 and 1921 and the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993 ,

(e) provide the Board with such information (including financial information) in relation to the performance of his or her functions as the Board may from time to time require,

(f) report periodically to the Board and, from time to time, advise the board on relevant issues,

(g) carry out his or her functions as the Head of the Scheduled Office under the Public Service Management Act 1997 (as amended by Part 1 of Schedule 2),

(h) undertake such other functions of the Public Appointments Service as may be determined by the Board,

(i) in respect of arrangements for competitions for the following posts being organised by the Public Appointments Service, to consult with the Secretary General of the Department of the State as indicated:

(i) city manager or county manager — the Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government,

(ii) chief executive officer of a health board — the Secretary General of the Department of Health and Children, and

(iii) chief executive officer of a vocational education committee — the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science.

(3) Such of the functions of the Chief Executive of the Service as may from time to time be specified by him or her may, with the consent of the Board, be performed by such member of the staff of the Public Appointments Service as may be authorised by the Chief Executive.

(4) The functions of the Chief Executive of the Service may be performed during his or her absence or when the position of Chief Executive is vacant by such member of the staff of the Public Appointments Service as may from time to time be designated for that purpose by the Board.

Attendance of Chief Executive of Service before Oireachtas Committee.

41.— (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Chief Executive of the Ser vice shall at the request in writing of an Oireachtas Committee attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Public Appointments Service, as may be required by such Committee.

(2) In this section “Oireachtas Committee” means a Committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas (other than the Committee on Members' Interests of Dáil Éireann or the Committee on Members' Interests of Seanad Éireann) or a subcommittee of a Committee as appointed.

Staff of Public Appointments Service.

42.— (1) The Minister shall appoint such and so many persons to be members of the staff of the Public Appointments Service as the Minister from time to time thinks proper.

(2) The grades of the staff of the Public Appointments Service and the members of staff in each grade shall be determined by the Board with the consent of the Minister.

(3) The members of the staff of the Public Appointments Service, including the Chief Executive of the Service, are civil servants of the State.