As Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, I have responsibility under the Public Service Management Acts for recruitment to the Civil Service and this includes the fixing of eligibility criteria for competitions for recruitment to the civil service.
As the Deputy will be aware, appointments to the civil service are by way of open competition and the Public Appointments Service (PAS), that operates under licence from the Commission for Public Service Appointments, is the principal recruiter for the civil service.
The eligibility criteria for the grade of Executive Officer is not restricted to a requirement to have attained an appropriate standard in the Leaving Certificate. Rather the current educational criteria for an Executive Office at the time of application is to:
(i) have obtained a minimum Level 7 NFQ qualification; or
(ii) have obtained in the Established Leaving Certificate Examination a minimum of Grade D (or post 2017 Leaving Certificate O6 grade) at Ordinary level in Mathematics and Irish or English, having obtained a minimum of Grade C (or post 2017 Leaving Certificate H4 grade) in at least five subjects at Higher level; or hold a qualification, that in the opinion of the Public Appointments Service, is of a standard in terms of both level and volume of learning that is of at least an equivalent or higher standard; or
(iii) have completed and passed all examinations in Year 1 of a three or four-year programme leading to a minimum Level 7 NFQ qualification; or
(iv) be serving as a Civil Servant with at least two years’ service and have obtained at least five subjects in the Established Leaving Certificate Examination (including Mathematics and Irish or English), three of which should be minimum Grade C (or post 2017 Leaving Certificate H4 grade) at Higher level, the others should be at a minimum Grade D (or post 2017 Leaving Certificate O6 grade) at Ordinary level; or have passed an examination(s) which would be acceptable to the Public Appointments Service as being of at least an equivalent standard to the Established Leaving Certificate.
The grade of Clerical Officer or Temporary Clerical Officer is the traditional entry grade for those interested in a career in the civil service for which there is no Leaving Certificate requirement. Rather, the present criteria is that candidates should have a “good general level of education” being equivalent to Intermediate/Junior Certificate standard as well as the demonstrable capability, requisite knowledge, skills and competencies to carry out the role of Clerical Officer.
The eligibility criteria and competencies for all civil service grades are kept under review. There is a balance to be struck between civil service grades in terms of respective educational qualifications and role-specific competencies. I am not considering any changes at this time in relation to the eligibility criteria for the grade of Executive Officer.
It is the responsibility of each candidate, at the time of making an application to PAS, to satisfy themselves that they meet the eligibility criteria for a specific post and to make appropriate enquiries should they be unsure. Applications are accepted by the Public Appointments Service and civil service employers in good faith based on the eligibility self-declaration made by candidates when applying for a competition.
Should a candidate successfully progress to a later phase of a competition process, additional clearance checks are completed at that time, which include a review of a candidate’s declared service, qualifications, etc. to ensure the eligibility criteria are met. Should it be identified that the candidate does not meet the eligibility criteria, they will be removed from participating any further in a competition.