The Public Appointments Service is committed to being a transparent and accountable organisation, with performance monitoring and management arrangements in place to focus on driving excellence in service delivery. We aim to be open, honest, responsible and transparent in our decision-making and in the provision of services, and will seek feedback from all customer groups and use it improve our service delivery.

Anti-Corruption

Zero Tolerance

We publicly commit to having a zero-tolerance stance on bribery and corruption as a vital aspect of upholding our ethical standards to our candidates and client organisations, our staff, our Minister (for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform), service providers and the public. This is bolstered by an internal organisational culture of integrity, in adherence to an adopted policy for preventing and handling fraud and corruption.

The Public Appointments Service Statement against Corruption and Bribery

We have financial regulations, policies and standard operating procedures in place regarding all financial transactions. Staff at Principal Officer level (and above) and our Accountant must complete an annual questionnaire on the systems of internal control in their areas as part of an annual review of Internal Controls. The Report on the Review of Internal Controls is then reviewed by the Management Board, the Board of the Public Appointments Service and the Audit Committee. An action plan is put in place to address any issues identified. Any weaknesses in internal controls within the organisation are noted in the Statement on Internal Controls each year, which is published within the Financial Statements.

Monitoring of Corruption and Bribery

There is a process in place to examine any suspected instances of fraud or unethical behaviour. It is our policy that any instance of suspected fraud and irregularities are subject to internal audit, the People and Culture disciplinary process and are also reported to An Garda Síochána for further investigation.

Internal Reviews

Currently, Mazars provide the Internal Audit function on behalf of the organisation. The Audit Committee approves the Strategic Audit Plan, based on feedback from senior executives and the Risk Management Group.

Policies and Procedures

Relevant Policies and Procedures include:

Code of Practice for the Board of the Public Appointments Service

Code of Business Conduct

Code of Corporate Ethics

Guidelines for the Public Appointments Service on the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour

Fraud and Anit-Corruption Policy

Child Safeguarding Statement

Financial Transparency

Financial Statements

Our annual financial statements are independently audited by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG). The audited accounts each year are available at: Appropriation Accounts - Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Our Annual Reports contain a detailed governance report incorporating information on Board members’ attendance at meetings. In addition, the Statement on Internal Controls sets out in detail the key control issues for the organisation.

Financial statements are also available in all Public Appointments Service Annual Reports at: https://www.publicjobs.ie/en/publications

Budget and Budget Commentary

Ongoing budgetary performance is updated and communicated to the Board and a summary published in the Board minutes. The minutes are available at: Publications | publicjobs.ie.

Quality Assurance Report Summary

The organisation prepares a quality assurance report on an annual basis and this is discussed by the Management Board. This is a review of all areas of expenditure covering both current and capital expenditure and the governance and reporting on same. A summary of this report In respect of 2022 is available here.

Asset Disposal

All assets disposed of are reviewed and managed by Finance Unit and approved by the Management Board.

Procurement and Contracts

The organisation’s Procurement Procedures include the principles governing procurement in the organisation. The Procedures state that “it is imperative that procurement is discharged honestly, fairly and in a manner that secures optimum value for money at all times. A competitive process should be carried out in an open, objective and transparent manner that will achieve best value for money. This is in line with EU Directives on public procurement. Essential elements to be observed in conducting the procurement functions include; non-discrimination, equal treatment, transparency, mutual recognition, proportionality, freedom to provide service and freedom of establishment. The Directives impose legal obligations on public bodies when advertising and the use of objective tendering procedures for the award of all tenders.”

Where there is no existing central Office of Government Procurement Framework in place, competitions are advertised on eTenders which bidders can tender for. Once the process concludes, the Public Appointments Service then places a notification on eTenders, stating that the tendering process is over, and eTenders publishes information about the awarding of the contract/framework agreement.

Internally, the organisation maintains an online Contracts Register and the procurement section monitors this. The staff intranet also hosts all relevant information for procurement, which is available to all budget holders when requested. Procurement by the Public Appointments Service takes place in accordance with internal policies which govern the organisation’s purchasing requirements. The organisation has a Procurement Officer and a range of supporting documentation and procedures in place to ensure compliance and governance with procurement legislation (EU) and the Office of Government.

Open Governance

Code of Corporate Governance

The Public Appointments Service’s Code of Corporate Governance, available on the website at Publications | publicjobs.ie, sets the relationship between the organisation and the relevant Minister and elaborates on the relationship with the Minister, parent department, and Oireachtas. The Audit and Assurance Arrangements are available at Publications | publicjobs.ie.

The Board of the Public Appointments Service

The Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 established the Public Appointments Service. It provides for a Chief Executive and the appointment of a Board. The structures put in place in the legislation provide for the Chief Executive to be the Accounting Officer of the Public Appointments Service and the designated Head of the Scheduled Office in accordance with the Public Service Management Act 1997. The Public Appointments Service is therefore a Civil Service body, and this impacts on the role and nature of the Board, which is advisory in nature, due to the robust legal responsibilities placed on the Chief Executive.

The Public Appointments Service is one of a small number of State Bodies that has a Statutory Accounting Officer (the Chief Executive) within the meaning of Section 22 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act, 1866, with responsibility for Voted funds. Therefore, the preparation of the Appropriation Accounts and associated public financial procedures are the responsibility of the Accounting Officer.

The Accounting Officer is personally answerable to the Public Accounts Committee of the legislature for the regularity and propriety of transactions in the accounts for which s/he is responsible, as well as for economy, efficiency and effectiveness and the stewardship of assets. The CEO acts as a direct liaison between the Board and management of the organisation and communicates to the Board on behalf of management. The Board is subject to the Public Service Management (Recruitment & Appointments) Act 2004-13, and operates in compliance with the Code of Practice for the Board.

Board Minutes

The minutes of the board are published once approved by the Board. The minutes are available at: Publications | publicjobs.ie. Ongoing operational and budgetary performance is updated and communicated to the Board and published in the minutes.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee is part of the control environment, tasked with providing independent advice to the Accounting Officer regarding the suitability and robustness of the organisation’s internal control systems and procedures. The Audit Committee is appointed to provide independent advice to the Accounting Officer and is responsible to him/her for its performance in this regard. The Audit Committee has the authority to investigate any matters within its terms of reference; the resources, and outside professional advice, it needs to do so and full access to information.

The Accounting Officer appoints members and the Chairperson. The Chairperson and all members of the Committee are external to the organisation, with one member being a nominee of the Public Appointments Service Board.

Representatives of the C&AG attend meetings annually and have direct access to the Audit Committee Chairperson each year.

Ethics/Corporate Governance

The Board ensure that there are effective arrangements in place in the Public Appointments Service for governance, risk management and internal control. An effective programme of internal controls, incorporated into the overall quality system, informs the Board in relation to significant corporate risks. Internal controls also assist in the development and review of the Public Appointments Service services.

It is the objective of the Public Appointments Service to ensure that the highest possible standards of integrity are maintained. The organisation is a participant in the Integrity at Work programme, a Transparency International (TI) Ireland initiative and has signed the Integrity at Work Pledge. This is a public commitment to protect anyone who raises a concern of wrongdoing from being penalised; to take action in response to those concerns; and to signpost them to sources of guidance and support including the Speak Up Helpline operated by TI Ireland.

Political and Community Engagement

Lobbying

As a public body, we comply with responsibilities around the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. Further information is on our website at: Regulation of Lobbying | publicjobs.ie

Sponsorship/Charitable Donations and Community Contributions

The Public Appointments Service wish to recruit a diversity of talent for the public service and wish to support the public service in ensuring that it reflects the communities it serves.

We sponsor the National Education Achievement Awards for the Irish Traveller community at Exchange House on an annual basis.

We are also members of Open Doors who are a registered charity. The Open Doors Initiative provides opportunities to some of the marginalised members of our society, creating pathways to work through training, education, employment and entrepreneurship.

As part of the National Diversity Awards (run by the Irish Centre for Diversity), we sponsor the Public Sector Organisation of the Year.

Excepting Outside Employment or Engagements

All staff in the organisation at Assistant Principal level and above must comply with the Ethics in Public Office legislation.

Contracts for all new staff contain a requirement to comply with the Codes of Standards and Behaviour (gov.ie - Code of Standards and Behaviour (www.gov.ie)). The Code sets out the standards and behaviour expected of all civil servants and includes requirements in relation to employment on leaving the civil service.

Any civil servant intending to be engaged in or connected with any outside business with which he or she had official dealings or any outside business that might gain an unfair advantage over its competitors by employing him or her must inform the CEO of this intention. Additionally, staff members at Assistant Principal level or above may not within twelve months of resigning or retiring from the service accept an offer of appointment from an employer outside the Civil Service or accept an engagement in a particular consultancy project, where the nature and terms of such appointment or engagement could lead to a conflict of interest, without first obtaining approval from the CEO. The CEO must apply to the Outside Appointments Board should he/she wish to take on such a role or engagement. Applications will be considered on the basis of determining whether or not a clear conflict of interest exists. Approval to take up an appointment or accept an engagement may either be unconditional or conditions may be attached.

Whistleblowing

Protected Disclosures Policy

We have published a Protected Disclosures Policy on our website. The policy notes that we have “put this Policy in place to ensure there are formal procedures for reporting concerns and that people know that they can safely make such disclosures”. The Policy contains our “public commitment to protect anyone who raises a concern of wrongdoing from being penalised; to take action in response to those concerns; and to signpost them to sources of guidance and support including the Speak Up Helpline operated by TI Ireland”.

The Policy applies to staff members (and former staff members). All references to workers also relate to former workers and staff members from other organisations working (currently or previously) in the Public Appointments Service. It also applies to contractors working in the organisation, those involved in pre-contractual negotiations, agency workers, trainees, volunteers, Board Members and job applicants (who come across wrongdoing during the recruitment process). We publish a Report on Protected Disclosures in our Annual Report. Up to 2023 the organisation had not received any Protected Disclosures.

Staff Training and Awareness Raising

Staff Training

The Public Appointments Service developed a training and awareness programme focused on key priorities affecting the area of ethical behaviour and managing organisational risk. The programme entitled “Risky Business” was delivered in 2021 and 2023 (and will be delivered on a 12-18 month basis). All staff were encouraged to attend. The resources from each session are available to all staff and is also used as part of the induction information for new starters. Senior managers are also trained on a regular basis on Fraud Investigation and the Investigation of Protected Disclosures. The most recent training is available here.