How is merit applied in the APS?

The following is based on extracts from 'Merit and its merits: Are we confusing the baby with the bathwater?' Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol 70, Issue 3, pages 318-326.

In the last few years, observers have commented that merit selection—which is seen as synonymous with an open competitive selection process—is time consuming, resource intensive and not necessarily delivering the right outcome.

These observers have highlighted agency practices which entrench traditions and culture rather than exploring merit-based best practice and new opportunities. Not surprisingly, the default position of some managers is to use known and established processes. These practices continue inefficient and ineffective processes based on outmoded understandings of industrial relations law. This tendency can be exacerbated in agencies where recruitment processes are decentralised and line managers are not aware of best practice or don't consider recruitment as a strategic investment.

Merit as a principle should not be watered down because the processes associated with it have distracted people. It is the process, that is no longer relevant or useful, not the principle.