I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 39 together.
Recruitment to and promotion within the Civil Service is governed by the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act, 2004 and by the Civil Service Regulation Acts, 1956-2005. The 2004 Act established the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) and the Public Appointments Service (PAS). The CPSA is the regulator of public service recruitment in Ireland and the PAS provides a centralised recruitment, assessment and selection body for the Civil Service.
The CPSA has developed codes of practice to apply to open recruitment and internal promotion competitions. The codes cover the areas of probity, selection on the basis of merit, equity and fairness, protection of the public interest, implementation of best practice and good governance.
Departments and Offices may also apply to the CPSA for a recruitment licence under which they may conduct open recruitment competitions in compliance with the Codes.
Not all positions in the Civil Service are filled by open recruitment. Posts in the Civil Service are filled in a variety of ways including open recruitment, promotion, transfer or redeployment.
Recruitment and selection competitions in the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission are covered by the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 except where they are specifically excluded. The same procedures applying to recruitment processes in Departments and Offices also apply in the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission for the positions covered by the 2004 Act. Such competitions are conducted in accordance with the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) Guidelines on Recruitment, and are subject to audit by the CPSA.
Section 7(i) (d) of the 2004 Act excludes appointment to the position of an officer in the House of the Oireachtas from the provisions of the Act. Under the Staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas Act 1959 there are six officers of the House positions – Clerk and Clerk-Assistant of each House, Superintendent and Captain of the Guard. However, the termination of that exclusion is under active consideration at present.
I am assuming that where the Deputy asks about direct appointments by Government he is referring to posts filled subsequent to a competition run by the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC). The posts in question are civil service posts at Secretary General, Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary and equivalent levels. Since early 2007 the policy has been that open recruitment competitions are held for Assistant Secretary, Deputy Secretary and equivalent posts and more recently this policy has been extended to all Secretary General posts.