Recruitment in the Civil Service

People who are not selected for a position often criticise the PSC when in fact the methodology used and the process should be questioned

People are inquisitive about recruitment in the civil service. Many seem to be unaware of the process of recruitment and make half-baked comments. Others think that Members of Parliament (MPs) are involved in the process or can influence the intake of people in civil service positions. It is common to see people flocking around Ministers and other MPs to solicit their help so as to secure a job in the civil service. I have always wondered whether this made sense.

Section 89 of our Constitution confers power upon the Public Service Commission (PSC) to recruit people in the civil service except for certain posts as provided for in the Constitution. The PSC is an independent body established under the Constitution. It does not come under the purview of any Ministry. It consists of a Chairman, 2 Deputy Chairmen and 4 Commissioners appointed by the President and a complement of staff to carry out its activities. The Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and the Commissioners all take oath to discharge the functions of their respective offices without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

One of the prime objectives of the PSC is to recruit people for the Civil Service. It is also responsible to appoint people to promotional grades within the civil service and to exercise disciplinary control over people holding positions in the civil service. The PSC, however, does not enlist people “in any office of a temporary nature, the duties attaching to which are mainly advisory and which is filled by a person serving under a contract and non-pensionable terms” (Advisers/Senior Advisers) Section 89 (3)h .

The PSC follows established processes and procedures to carry out its activities and bases itself on the Scheme of Service (SOS) of the post to conduct the recruitment exercise. The SOS is a quasi-legal document that is prescribed by the Ministry/Department and approved by the PSC itself. It contains detailed particulars about the job namely its appellation, its duties and responsibilities and the qualifications, competencies, skills and experience required for entry into the post. The salary attached to the post is also specified. The PSC makes appointment strictly on the basis of the prescribed scheme of service. There cannot be any departure from that.

Whenever there are cases where people who do not satisfy all the conditions but are competent and the Government is willing that they be considered for appointment, the Supervising Officer brings amendments to the SOS so that these persons be considered for enlistment by the PSC.

The recruitment decisions are based on valid, practical and measurable approaches that ensure hiring on the basis of merit, experience, knowledge and suitability. This means hiring the candidate whose qualifications best meet the requirements to do the job as per the SOS. The hiring steps generally involve Job Advertising; Application Screening; Evaluation through assessments based on the qualifications in the current SOS, written tests and interview. And finally selection of successful candidate is based on the results from the evaluation process.

People who are not selected for a position more often than not criticise the PSC when in fact the methodology used and the process should be questioned. The criteria used by the PSC might favour some while putting others at a disadvantage. In any case an appointment can be contested in the Tribunal or the Court.

Ref: Constitution of Mauritius

                                                                  

  • Published in print edition on 1 November 2017

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