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Department of Premier and Cabinet

State Service Vacancy Control

State Service Vacancy Control provides a mechanism for “Identified employees” to be referred and suitability assessed for “eligible vacancies” prior to vacancies being filled through external advertising processes.

An “eligible vacancy” is defined as all vacancies for permanent appointment and fixed term vacancies of more than 12 months that are required to be advertised in the Gazette under Employment Direction No 1. The Director, SSMO has discretion to extend the definition of “eligible vacancy” to include other vacancies to assist in the re-allocation of duties to “Identified employees”.

Eligible vacancies do not include positions or occupational groups which have been approved by the Director, SSMO as being exempt from vacancy control processes.

Heads of Agencies must ensure that all vacancies are advertised for permanent appointment unless there is genuine justifiable reason to fill the vacancy for a specified period.

If an agency is unable to fill an eligible vacancy by an “Identified employee” from within their agency the vacancy must only be filled in accordance with the provisions of State Service Vacancy Control and Employment Direction No 1.

Unless otherwise agreed by the Director, SSMO, all agencies are to nominate Senior Human Resource employees who have a thorough knowledge of MPSS and State Service employment practices to be agency Vacancy Control Representatives. The role of agency Vacancy Control Representatives is to be the conduit between their agency, and other agencies in relation to State Service Vacancy Control and redeployment matters.

A list of all “eligible vacancies” that are submitted by agencies through the jobs website will be forwarded to agency Vacancy Control Representatives before the vacancy is advertised. Vacancy Control Representatives are to review the list of “eligible vacancies” and advise the agency in which the vacancy has occurred if an “Identified employee” will be referred for suitability assessment. The aim of the process is for suitability assessments and position filling to be undertaken in the shortest possible timeframe.

Transfers between agencies at level

Where both Heads of Agencies agree, an employee may be transferred from one agency to a vacancy in another agency at their substantive level, on either a fixed term or ongoing basis, without the need for exemption from State Service Vacancy Control.

However, the receiving Head of Agency must ensure that there is no Identified employee in their agency that should otherwise have been transferred to that vacancy, in accordance with their own Internal Establishment Management Processes.

Exemptions from State Service Vacancy Control

The Director, SSMO may exempt vacancies from Vacancy Control. Agencies can request exemption by written request from at least the agency Human Resources Manager or equivalent advising that exceptional and/or special circumstances exist in relation to specified position/s or occupational group/s such as:

  • specialist skills, qualifications or award requirements are required to undertake the duties;
  • unforeseen urgency in filling position/s due to legislative or service delivery requirements;
  • organisation restructure which may potentially result in a new “Identified employee” or if an existing “Identified employee” was transferred to the vacancy;
  • no existing “Identified employees” in the State Service would have the knowledge, skills, experience or qualifications to undertake the duties; and/or
  • any other exceptional and/or special circumstance.

Any existing occupational group from State Service Vacancy Control will remain in place unless approval is withdrawn by the Director, SSMO.

Suitability Assessment

Suitability assessment is an objective evaluation of a referred “Identified employee” of the knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications against the selection criteria for the duties that are to be performed. The referred employee does not need to satisfy all the criteria to be considered as suitable for the position.  Suitability is assessed on whether the employee has the potential to undertake the duties or can develop into the role with appropriate training and support within a reasonable timeframe.

In conducting the suitability assessment other factors that may be taken into account are: the employee’s capacity to physically work at the work location, hours of work or work pattern (where flexible work arrangements has been considered and determined as not viable), any specified travel or any approved pre-employment or essential qualifications, or any other reasonable matter approved by the Manager, Human Resources in which the vacancy exists.

Referral Process

Effective case management is an essential component of the suitability assessment process.  Before referring an “Identified employee”, Case Managers are to have, as far as reasonably practicable, a good understanding of the requirements of the position.  The Case Manager is to undertake an initial assessment as to whether:

  • the employee can meet any essential qualifications required for the position;
  • the employee has the potential to undertake the duties of the position having regard to the employee’s skill set or transferrable skills; and
  • any other relevant factors need to be considered, for example work location and working arrangements.

The Case Manager is to discuss the referral with the employee and take into consideration any other factors prior to formally referring the employee for suitability assessment.

A formal referral is to be made by the employee’s Case Manager to the vacancy control representative in the vacancy agency with details of:

  • the Identified employee’s name and contact details;
  • the vacancy for which the employee is being referred; and
  • a current copy of the employee’s resume.

Employees may need to provide information specifically addressing the selection criteria in the following circumstances:

  • the suitability assessment panel consider that the employee’s resume does not provide a sufficient level of detail in respect to the requirements of the position;
  • more than one person has been referred to the vacancy and the panel considers that such information may be beneficial in assisting with the assessment; or
  • the referred employee chooses to provide such information.

If a referred employee is requested to provide additional information, brief dot points addressing the selection criteria should be sufficient.

Employee Participation

Employees who are referred for suitability assessment are expected to actively and positively participate in the process by:

  • ensuring that their resume is current and accurately reflects their knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications;
  • providing any other requested and appropriate documentation;
  • attending the suitability assessment meeting; and
  • participating in training and development.

Employees may request that their Case Manager accompanies them to the suitability assessment in a support role.

Suitability Assessment Panel

At a minimum, suitability assessment panels are to consist of the direct manager or supervisor of the vacancy and an appropriate representative of the HR Branch or a person in the agency in which the vacancy exists that has a good understanding of the suitability assessment process in the context of MPSS.  Consideration must also be given to any conflicts of interest. 

Where a panel member (including the direct manager or supervisor) considers that a conflict of interest exists or could be perceived to exist, they are to discuss the conflict of interest with the HR Manager and if appropriate put in place procedures to avoid or manage the conflict.

The role of the suitability assessment panel is to make a recommendation to the Head of Agency (or delegate) as to whether the referred employee is suitable to be assigned or transferred to the position. 

In conducting the suitability assessment the panel is to assess the employee’s capability to perform the duties of the position, as outlined above, using only:

  • the employee’s resume or other documentation;
  • the employee’s responses at a face to face meeting;
  • any information provided by appropriately nominated and contacted referees; and
  • where deemed appropriate for a suitability assessment, any other assessment of skills and ability directly relevant to the role.

At least one referee report should be obtained where the panel has assessed the employee as unsuitable, to support the panel’s assessment.

Desktop assessments may only be conducted when the panel is confident that there is sufficient information to make an informed decision.

Suitability Assessment Recommendation and Approval

The suitability assessment panel is to make a recommendation to the Head of Agency (or delegate) as to whether the referred employee is suitable for the position. The Head of Agency (or delegate) is to consider the panel’s recommendation and other relevant factors.

The approved suitability assessment report is to be forwarded to the referred employee’s Case Manager who is to advise the referred employee of the outcome of the assessment. The referred employee may request and be provided with a copy of the suitability assessment report.

Multiple Referrals and Review provisions

Where more than one employee has been referred to the same vacancy, the suitability assessment panel is to complete a separate suitability assessment report for each referred employee. Where more than one employee is assessed as suitable for the vacancy, the suitability assessment panel is to rank the employees in order of the most suitable and justify the reasons for their decision.

If more than one employee is referred to a permanent vacancy and an employee has been found suitable, the selection of that person will be subject to review in accordance with the provisions of Section 50(1)(a) of the Act and the other referred employees are to be notified of this.

Trial Placements

Where the suitability assessment panel and/or the Head of Agency (or delegate) in the vacancy agency has sound reason, the employee may be transferred to the agency for a trial period of three months, in accordance with Section 41(2) of the Act. A development plan must be put in place by the vacancy agency, in consultation with the employee and their Case Manager, prior to the employee commencing employment. 

The development plan must specify the areas for development which directly relate to the position, the selection criteria as specified in the statement of duties and as identified in the Suitability Assessment Report. The employee is to be provided with appropriate induction, training and development, support and regular feedback throughout the trial period. A formal written assessment is to be undertaken at regular intervals throughout the trial period such as:

  • 2 weeks after commencement
  • 6 weeks after commencement
  • 10 weeks after commencement

If within a reasonable period of time, the employee is not meeting the required standard of performance, consultation is to occur with the employee’s originating agency Case Manager. The purpose of the consultation is to discuss any other action that needs to be taken.

The trial period cannot be brought to an end earlier than specified, or extended without the agreement of the vacancy agency, employee’s originating Head of Agency (or delegate) and the employee.

At the conclusion of the trial period the employee is to be transferred to the vacancy agency unless the employee’s originating Head of Agency (or delegate) is satisfied that there are justifiable reasons not to continue with the transfer. Any dispute regarding the arrangement is to be negotiated between the agencies.

Training and Development Funding

Where an employee is assessed as suitable for transfer or suitable for transfer for a trial period, and training and development is identified which is outside that which would normally be provided for a newly recruited employee, the referring agency is to provide agreed funding to the vacancy agency.

The amount of agreed funding is to be negotiated between the agencies up to a maximum of $5 000. In negotiating the funding the vacancy agency is to specify the type of training and development that is required, how and when the training will be delivered, and the specific costs associated with providing the training.

Voluntary Transfers

Where an “Identified employee” is assessed as suitable for duties in another agency the employee is to be transferred to that agency in accordance with the provisions of Section 41 of the Act providing the employee agrees to the transfer.

In accordance with Section 41(1) of the State Service Act 2000 the transfer is to be at a salary level not higher than the salary level of the employee before the transfer. Employees may be transferred to a position under a different award or agreement where the employee’s salary does not align exactly to a salary level within that award or agreement. In such cases the employee is to be transferred to a “similar salary level” as determined by the Director, SSMO.

Employees may agree to being assigned duties at a lower classification level as provided by Section 38(2)(a) of the Act and subject to the salary maintenance provisions specified in this document.

The receiving Head of Agency is to arrange for a transfer agreement to be prepared in accordance with the provisions of either Section 41(1) or Section 41(2) of the Act depending on whether or not the transfer is to be for a specified period. 

Unless otherwise agreed between all parties, the transfer is to take effect within 21 calendar days from the date the employee was notified that they were suitable for the duties.

If the transfer is for a specified period, the employee will return to their originating agency on the completion of the transfer unless all parties agree otherwise.

Compulsory Transfer

If an “Identified employee” is assessed as suitable for duties in another agency but the employee does not agree to a voluntary transfer in accordance with Section 41 of the Act, the Director SSMO, under delegation from the Head of the State Service, may in accordance with Section 42 of the Act, compulsorily transfer the employee from one agency to another to duties having a similar salary level.

In considering whether an employee is to be compulsory transferred the Director, SSMO will:

  • assess whether the employee can reasonably be required to perform the duties having regard to their knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience; and
  • consider any concerns that the employee, transferring agency and receiving agency, may have in respect to being compulsorily transferred.