Participating on independent selection advisory and promotion review committees

Back to question list

Members and potential members of an independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) or promotion review committee (PRC)

Why be a member of an ISAC or a PRC?

Committee members play an important part in:

  • ensuring the integrity of the APS
  • supporting the future capability and capacity of our public service.

Our recruitment and promotion decisions today affect our leadership cadre tomorrow.

'Who' is promoted sends a direct message about what skills, attributes and behaviours are recognised and rewarded.

Committee members receive valuable experience and skills in merit-based decision-making and administrative review.

Training is provided by the Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner.

What is my role as a committee member?

As a promotion review committee (PRC) or independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) member you are performing a statutory function on behalf of the Merit Protection Commissioner.

Your primary role is assessing the relative merit of the parties.

In an ISAC this is the selection process, and in a PRC, this is the review process.

Relative merit means comparing the work-related qualities of applicants and making an assessment of who is the most suitable to successfully perform the duties of the job.

ISACs assess the relative merits of all the applicants (the parties) for the role(s).

PRCs assess which party is most suitable to be promoted to a particular position. The parties to a PRC are the:

  • review applicants and
  • person(s) who have been nominally promoted.

Members must comply with Instructions issued by the Merit Protection Commissioner. ISAC and PRC instructions are available. There is also an ISAC Guide.

How does procedural fairness apply in these assessments?

Procedural fairness in ISACs and PRCs is ensured by training committee members and providing applicants an opportunity to comment.

Committee members are trained and must sign:

  • declarations of impartiality and
  • declarations of non-disclosure of information.

Applicants and promotees:

  • are given an opportunity to comment on adverse information - for example a negative referee report
  • can provide a statement in support of their case.

This information is made available to the committee to consider and make a decision.

How are impartiality and conflicts of interest managed?

Declaration of impartiality

This declaration establishes if a member of the promotion review (PRC) or independent selection advisory (ISAC) committee has a relationship with a party which calls into question their capacity to make an impartial decision.

Declaration of non-disclosure

This declaration formally acknowledges the requirement to maintain confidentiality about the information before the promotion review (PRC) or independent selection advisory (ISAC) committee.

What makes a good committee member, and how to apply?

The Merit Protection Commissioner is interested in people who are:

  • fair and professional
  • committed to ethical employment decision-making.

You must have a good understanding of how to apply:

  • evidence based employment decisions
  • procedural fairness.

It helps if you also understand better practice staff selection and have been exposed to a range of innovative staff selection approaches.

If you are a current APS employee and this sounds like you, forward an expression of interest for the promotion review committee (PRC) and/or the independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) register.

Your application consists of one referee report and the completed proforma. You can send it via email to Your agency will need to agree to you participating in a committee.

Tell me more about the register?

The promotion review committee (PRC) and/or independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) register allows the Merit Protection Commissioner to have a pool of experienced people available. The actual composition of any committee depends on the:

  • nature of the jobs that have attracted review applications or are to be filled
  • timing of the promotion review or selection process—the committees are demand driven
  • availability of members.

A pool of trained and experienced people from a variety of backgrounds and agencies ensures quality, professional outcomes.

APS employees included on the register should have the support of their line manager to perform this role.

If nominated to serve on a committee, the employee must be made available. This is subject to the operational efficiency of their agency.

The Merit Protection Commissioner must be satisfied that the employee nominated has the skills and personal qualities necessary to undertake their role independently and impartially (Regulations 4.3 and 5.11).

Are there other things I should know about being on a committee?

Things to know about being on a promotion review (PRC) or independent selection advisory (ISAC) committee:

  • while serving as a committee member, your salary is paid by your agency and you are 'on duty' for leave and other purposes.
  • ISACs are usually convened in the capital city where the job is located—video conferencing is an option.
  • PRCs are usually convened in the capital city where the job is located but the committee members do not need to be in one location. A PRC assessment can be made on the papers without interview.
  • there is no set time for committee involvement—it depends upon the type and size of the exercise.
  • personal information forwarded in your application is subject to privacy requirements. More detail about privacy collection notices for ISAC and PRC nominees is available.
  • there is no guarantee that you will be asked to participate in a committee.

I want more information

More information about promotion review committees (PRCs) is available.

More information about independent selection advisory committees (ISACs) is also available.

You can also contact:

For ISACs—the Business Manager, Australian Public Service Commission Sydney

                    Tel: (02) 8239 5317 or by email at

For PRCs—the Review Team, Australian Public Service Commission Sydney

                   Tel: (02) 8239 5330 or by email at