Give 'displaced' public servants a fair go, warns Stephen Sedgwick

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The Australian Public Service says a thaw in the hiring freeze does not give managers a chance to discriminate against "displaced" bureaucrats when hiring new staff.

But recruitment industry sources say it is still too easy for ruthless bosses in departments to rig the system and exclude redeployees from making a fresh start with the service.

Public Service Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick has told agency bosses that still they must give workers on the Redeployment Register a fair go at job vacancies, warning mandarins that repeat offenders will be banned from free access to the internal jobs market.

Mr Sedgwick has announced a slight thawing of the public service hiring freeze imposed by the Abbott government last year, saying the hiring guidelines had been "streamlined".

Agency bosses will be allowed a little more freedom in advertising within the service for new workers, with the requirement for pre-approval of job ads by the APSC to be relaxed.

But Mr Sedgwick is also coming to the defence of about 400 public servants, according to the latest figures, on the central "redeployment register" whose jobs have been axed but are still employed by the government.


The commissioner says bosses still have to prove they have given redeployees a fair go, with "compliance checks" to see if displaced applicants have really been considered for the vacant job.

The "displaced persons" are still supposed to be given priority for vacant jobs under the revised hiring rules, but the Commission does not appear to be convinced that all agency heads are complying with the rules.

 "The APS Commission will conduct compliance checks on agencies' assessments of employees on the APS Redeployment Registers to ensure that displaced employees are being genuinely considered," Mr Sedgwick wrote.

"The vacancy notice will not be published on APSjobs (Public Service Gazette) where the compliance check indicates that the above requirements have not been adequately met.

"In the case of persistent non-compliance, the agency head's authority to advertise internally without the commissioner's approval will be revoked."

But one insider told The Canberra Times that bosses who were prejudiced against redeployees could easily get around the guidelines.

One method was for a manager to peruse the CVs of potentially suitable public servants on redeployment register and then redesign the job criteria so they will have no chance of success.

Unscrupulous recruiters have also been delaying the release of job details until after redeployees who are likely to be interested have left the register, either through getting a position elsewhere or being made redundant.