All employment decisions must be based on merit.

The Victorian Public Sector Commissioner has published binding standards and non-binding guidelines to be followed throughout the recruitment, selection and appointment process.

2.1 Recruitment, Selection and Appointment Process

The VPS is a major employer and exercises a significant leadership role within the broader public sector. Recruiting the right people is integral to ensuring the maintenance of the Public Sector Values. The process followed to recruit executives therefore needs to demonstrate a fair and consistent approach. This means proper thought, planning, and a rigorous assessment should be undertaken, balanced against the public sector Employment Principles.

The public sector Employment Principles are outlined in section 8 of the PAA and are binding on all public sector bodies. They require public sector body Heads to establish employment processes that ensure:

  1. employment decisions are based on merit
  2. public sector employees are treated fairly and reasonably
  3. equal employment opportunity is provided
  4. human rights as set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities are upheld
  5. public sector employees have a reasonable avenue of redress against unfair or unreasonable treatment
  6. in the case of the public service bodies, the development of a career public service is fostered.

2.1.1. How Do I Recruit for an Executive Position?

Each public sector body should have in place policies and guidelines for recruiting, selecting, and appointing people. A generic recruitment, selection and appointment process is outlined in appendix A. Reference should also be made to the VPSC’s publication Merit in Employment guidelines.

2.1.2 Pre-employment screening

Inadequate pre-employment screening processes have been identified by the Independent Broad based Anti-corruption Commission as a significant risk to the integrity of the Victorian public sector. VPS employers are expected to ensure appropriate pre-employment misconduct screening processes are used when recruiting executives. The VPS Pre-employment Screening Policy, released by VPSC in October 2018, is mandatory for VPS employers.

2.1.3. Who has the Authority to Make an Appointment?

Appointments of executives in the public service are approved by the relevant employer being the applicable Public Service Body Head or, in the case of a public service body Head, the Premier.

2.1.4 Classification of executive roles

Senior Executive Service (SES) roles are classified under the VPS Executive Classification Framework (Framework).The Framework provides clarity on the expectations of executives at different levels. It sets a consistent and transparent assessment methodology for classifying public service executive positions into one of three bands, using tailored work value assessments.

On an ongoing basis, the VPSC will provide overarching guidance, advice and support to VPS organisations on the Executive Classification Framework. The methodology for classifying executive positions is designed for use ‘in-house’ by organisations, with the VPSC providing central advice and support. The VPSC can provide training and ad hoc assessments on a fee for service basis.

Executives should contact their HR unit for further information on implementation of the Framework in their department or agency. HR units can contact the VPSC via email at

2.2 Can Applicants Seek a Review of a Selection Decision?

Public service employees may apply to the public service body for an initial review of a proposed appointment or promotion on the ground of a significant deficiency in the selection process. That is, the review cannot be on the ground of relative merit.

Public service employees may apply to the VPSC for a review of the initial review process in the public service body on the ground that it was unfair, or inconsistent with the PAA or the standards.

The provisions outlined above are prescribed in the Public Administration (Review of Actions) Regulations 2015. Applicants in the following categories cannot access a review under these Regulations:

  • public entity employees;
  • former public service employees; and
  • public service employees seeking employment in a public entity.

However, this should not prevent an applicant from raising any concerns they have with the relevant organisation and expecting those concerns to be addressed. Also, if an applicant considers there was an error in the application of the public sector values and/or employment principles they may raise their concerns with the VPSC.

2.3 Information Privacy

The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (PDPA) requires all public service agencies to comply with its principles. All private information about individuals that is collected must be used in accordance with the PDPA. Every government agency is required to have its own privacy policy outlining responsibilities and procedures for collecting, using and storing private information. This means that all applications for executive positions will be collected, used and stored in accordance with the PDPA and agency policies. Any breach of the PDPA requirements can be reported to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.