Recruitment, including independent selection advisory committees (ISAC)
Important steps in establishing an ISAC
Partnering and preparation is the basis for establishing a successful independent selection advisory committee (ISAC).
A sound understanding of the requirements of the role delivers tailored, quality outcome.
The tried and tested approach to project management is:
Planning: sound needs analysis and planningPLUSImplementation: ongoing project management and reporting throughout the exerciseDelivers: quality, timely selection outcomes.QUALITY IN = QUALITY OUT
Independent selection advisory committees (ISACs) can be used for selection processes of any size.
ISACs are especially useful for large or sensitive processes, particularly where good workplace relations are at risk if the process is not seen to be independent and impartial.
|Agency focus...||ISACs help:|
|Small agencies and specialised roles with a small pool of candidates|
|For large bulk rounds, ISACS also…|
This diagram demonstrates an approach used in a bulk round selection exercise with an APS agency.
QA = quality assurance
There are 2 important outcomes.
The primary outcome is the delivery of high quality, technically competent and role-ready staff in a timely manner.
Secondary outcomes include:
- an open, transparent process for staff selection
- a cost-effective approach that allows the database to be re-used in the future and further reduce costs
- the enhancement of an agency's position as a professional, innovative organisation.
Independent selection advisory committees (ISACs) are provided on a cost-recovered basis.
They result in savings for agencies by ensuring:
- the selection of quality, role-ready candidates
- efficient and timely outcomes
- transparency throughout the process.
Costs for bulk rounds can be further reduced where a data base of questions are either re-used or refreshed for later use.
The opportunity cost for agency staff is an additional benefit. The agency has the benefit of expert APS recruitment and selection services, while agency staff can focus on core business.
Best practice selection training is included for agency staff involved.
As this is a statutory function, procurement arrangements are necessary (exemption 2 from Division 2 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules).
Agencies can direct source this service from the Merit Protection Commissioner.
Other questions and where can I get more information
An independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) must (Regulation 4.4 and 4.5):
- follow the Merit Protection Commissioner's binding Instructions
- apply procedural fairness
- conduct its processes as quickly as possible while properly considering the claims of the candidates
- respect privacy.
Other available information on ISACs include:
- an ISAC brochure
- ISAC FAQs for agencies
- detailed instructions in the ISAC policy and procedures
- an ISAC guide.
For further information about an independent selection advisory committee (ISAC), including questions about running a recruitment exercise as an ISAC, contact the Merit Protection Commissioner Business manager:
Tel: (02) 8239 5317
What is an ISAC and how do they work?
An independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) is an alternative to traditional internal recruitment approaches, which:
- is an independent 3-person committee established by the Merit Protection Commissioner on a fee-for-service basis (Public Service Regulations, Part 4)
- conducts APS merit-based staff selection
- assesses a candidate's suitability for APS 1–6 level vacancies.
An ISAC guarantees promotions are non-reviewable if the ISAC's recommendations are accepted.
An independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) aligns the business requirements of agencies with a tailored selection exercise. The ISAC then assures and reinforces the integrity of that outcome with staff.
Agencies use ISACs, for a range of benefits, including:
- having merit-based recruitment solutions that are streamlined, cost-effective and timely
- maintaining good workplace relations through transparent, independent, impartial selection processes
- delivering cost-savings for agencies by staff placements not subject to promotion reviews
- relying on flexible process that accommodates multiple selection methodologies
- creating merit pools of preferred candidates ranked by relative suitability
- enabling agencies to make staff placements for similar job vacancies over a 12 month period
- gaining expert knowledge in best practice staff selection.
The Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner undertakes the recruitment and selection process.
- applies Commissioner's standards on good practice selection processes
- understands and signs declarations of member impartiality
- has APS recruitment expertise and credibility.
This means, the applicant can be confident:
- about the process and outcome
- that merit has been applied.
The Merit Protection Commissioner establishes the Committee. If the agency accepts the recommendations, there is no right to review of a promotion decision.
If the agency does not accept a recommendation or departs from it, any subsequent promotions are open to review.
There are 3 members (Regulation 4.3):
- a convenor nominated by the Merit Protection Commissioner
- the requesting agency's nominee
- an APS employee approved by the Merit Protection Commissioner.
The independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) works in partnership with the agency.
However, the committee operates under the powers of the Merit Protection Commissioner (Regulation 4.2), not the agency.
- signs a declaration of impartiality
- determines candidate assessment processes and evidence
- forms an independent judgement about candidates and cannot be directed.
The convenor has had special training in merit-based staff selection. The other 2 members also receive best-practice selection training.
The independent selection advisory committee's (ISAC) main roles are to:
- establish, in consultation with the agency, the best selection methodology to assess candidates
- conduct a staff selection exercise by, for example:
- assessing candidates
- preparing reports
- making recommendations to the agency on the relative suitability of candidates
- assess the claims of all job candidates—both internal and external to the APS.
The ISAC considers the skills and attributes of candidates relative to the skills and attributes required to successfully perform the duties of the job vacancy.
Independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) recommendations may result in the:
- promotion or movement of candidates within the APS or
- engagement of candidates from outside the APS.
The ISAC recommendations are not binding on agencies. If the recommendations are not accepted, subsequent promotion decisions are generally subject to promotion review (Regulation 5.2).
The agency head may write to the Merit Protection Commissioner where a breach of the Code of Conduct has been proven or an essential qualification has been lost and a candidate is no longer considered suitable for promotion.
Where this occurs after recommendations are made, the Merit Protection Commissioner considers their impact on a recommendation. The agency head may then move to the next suitable candidate and will still be following the recommendations of the ISAC. Therefore the subsequent promotions are not subject to promotion review.