Thursday, 5 July 2012

Questions (118)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

118 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No 436 of the 26 June 2012, if personnel records in his Department are computerised; if a date of birth is a field on this system; if his Department conducts equality monitoring of competitions to ensure no unlawful discrimination such as ageism occurs; and if so, if the selection process used to select staff members to Brussels has been the subject to an equality audit; if he will detail both the weight that applied to the various short listing criteria; the way the marks were awarded for items; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32823/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

My Department, in common with most areas of the Civil Service, maintains personnel records of staff in an electronic format on the civil service wide system called HRMS. The date of birth of staff is, of course, held on the HRMS. My Department also maintains a hard copy personnel file in respect of every staff member.

My Department is committed to policies conducive to promoting equal opportunities for all its staff regardless of their age. My Department conducted this selection process in an open fashion, first seeking preliminary expressions of interest for relevant staff and then subsequently inviting those staff to submit formal applications. The age of applicants had no relevance to the selection process: an applicant's age was neither sought from staff on submitting an application, nor established in the processing of their application, nor included in the information provided to the selection board, nor were the members of the selection board otherwise advised of or instructed to take the age of applicants into account. Indeed, to have done so would have been inappropriate and not in keeping with promoting equal opportunities for all eligible staff. I can confirm that an equality audit was not carried out in regards to the selection process under question, nor is one considered necessary.

In respect of the CO and EO grades where short-listing was conducted, experienced more senior staff reviewed all applications received, awarded marks based on each criterion and a total mark per applicant was therefore available. Given the number of postings to be made, an appropriate number of applicants were called to the next phase in the process. The weights applicable to the relevant criteria are as follows;

Clerical Officer

Executive Officer

Quality of Application

40

Quality of Application

40

Supervisor’s assessment

40

Supervisor’s assessment

40

Relevant experience and overall suitability assessed relative to the job/personal requirements set out for the post

100

Judgement/decision-making skills

40

Ability to work as part of a team

40

Communication skills

40

Ability to work on own initiative

40

Ability to work on own initiative and show commitment

40

Communication skills

40

Relevant experience and overall suitability assessed relative to the job/personal requirements set out for the post

100

The Deputy should be aware that the selection process was not a competitive promotion process, rather it was an assignment of staff, within their own grade, to a particular area of work. Given that this particular assignment was to a post outside the jurisdiction, the opportunity was opened up to all eligible staff in each grade to express an interest. More generally, if the Deputy is aware of any staff member who has a grievance about this process, those concerns might more appropriately be brought to the attention of my Department's HR Division.