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  Can a merit list be extended or used after expiry? 
If the merit pool has expired then it would not be consistent with the merit principles to make offers 
to candidates in that pool. Unless there is evidence of a written decision of an employment decision 
before the expiry of the pool, we are of the view that it would not be appropriate to make offers 
utilising that pool.
 
A suitable candidate may be engaged after expiry so long as there is evidence of the delegate having 
made a written decision to engage that person before the expiration of the Merit Pool (within 12 
months of the date the vacancy was notified in the Gazette). If a written decision to engage the 
person was made before this time then they will be able to engage them as an employee.
 
The exact point when a decision is made will depend on what is recorded in writing.  What needs to 
be recorded is a conclusion that a particular person is to be engaged or promoted.  Such a conclusion 
can be recorded before the person indicates their acceptance of an offer of employment.
 
  Can an agency use a non-APS agency merit list? 
The intelligence agencies (ASIO, ASIS, ASD) have provisions in their legislation allowing for employees 
to move from those agencies to the APS ‘as if’ they were moving under section 26 of the Public 
Service Act; however, those provisions do not affect the interpretation of section 9 of the Directions.  
Intelligence agency employees can move at level without a merit process, and an APS agency may 
use a merit list to identify a suitable candidate for such a move, but the intelligence agency may 
refuse a request for access to the list.
 
Section 31 of the Directions allows ongoing Parliamentary Service employees to be engaged as APS 
employees without a merit process, as long as it is at level.  This also does not affect the 
interpretation of section 9, so it does not allow the use of a Parliamentary Service merit list to engage 
or promote a person in the APS.  Again, an APS agency may seek to use a Parliamentary list to 
identify a candidate to engage at level.
 
  Can a graduate merit list be used to fill non-graduate positions? 
Whether a merit list can be used to fill jobs in other agencies will depend on the criteria at section 9 
of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016 being satisfied. 
 
The main concern would be how the ‘graduate’ vacancies were notified, if for instance the positions 
were notified as Graduate vacancies with the intent being that the successful applicants be engaged 
at the ‘Graduate APS’ training classification as set out in Schedule 2 of the Classification Rules, then 
the merit pool or list could not be used to engage at a substantive APS classification in Schedule 1 as 
it would not satisfy section 9(b) of the Directions, as it would not be at the same classification and 
arguably it would not comprise similar duties. 
 
If, however, the vacancy was notified at a substantive classification or in a substantive broadband it 
would be at the discretion of the agency to determine if the criteria at section 9 of the Directions are 
satisfied.
 
  What is a ‘similar location’? 
A ‘similar location’ is not defined and is largely at the discretion of the decision maker/delegate. 
However, we would advise agencies to consider whether relocation would be required to undertake 
the job if it were to be filled in the different locations. Importantly, you should consider whether 
advertising the vacancy as available in the different locations would attract a different field of 


applicants and the effect this would have on any resulting comparative assessment required by the 
principles of merit.
 
  Can an agency select lower-ranked candidates before higher-ranked ones? 
If it’s a ranked merit list, the list must be utilised in that order only.  
If it is a merit pool where candidates are grouped, the agency could select anyone in the highest 
category pool first. In this second instance, higher categories must be exhausted before moving to 
the next (i.e. you must exhaust a ‘highly suitable’ pool before moving to the ‘suitable’ pool).
 
  Who can be on a selection panel? 
For non-SES selection processes there are no requirements around the composition of the selection 
committee.  
 
If the agency head (or delegate) is confident that the chosen committee members will select the best 
candidate on the basis of merit, that will suffice.  If committee members are not APS employees, they 
need to be aware of the legislative framework governing recruitment and selection in the APS, in 
particular the APS Values and the need to avoid patronage and favouritism.
 
For SES selection panels, the Commissioner or his representative must be a full participant in the 
process.  For a person to act as the Commissioner’s representative they must meet the following 
criteria:
 
o  be an APS employee 
o  be from an agency outside the recruiting agency’ portfolio 
o  be a substantive classification above the vacancy being filled, and 
o  contribute to the gender balance of the panel. 
A person who does not meet those criteria may act as the representative if the Commissioner 
approves.