Skip to main content

Government Appointments: Northern Ireland

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which appointments to government positions in Northern Ireland are not governed by open competition rules; and, if any exist, how the appointments are made. [HL7204]

Appointments to the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) are made on the basis of merit in fair and open competition. The principles underpinning the merit principle are outlined in the Northern Ireland Civil Service Commissioners’ recruitment code.

There may be specific circumstances in which there exist strong and compelling grounds to depart from the merit principle, and they are also set out in the commissioners’ code as “Exceptions to the Merit Principle”. They are: where a person is appointed on secondment; where a person holds a situation in another Civil Service of the Crown; where a person is or has recently been employed on functions that are being or have been transferred to the Crown; where the appointment is justified for reasons relating to the needs of the Civil Service and the person proposed for appointment is of proven distinction; and where a person has been selected for an appointment under government programmes to assist the unemployed and the total period of employment does not exceed three years.