General Council Agreed Report on the Filling of Technical and Specialist Posts through Confined and Open Competition

General Council Agreed Report No 1539 (click to download). This is effective from 29th June 2017.

IMPACT sought an agreement on filling technical and specialist posts equivalent to Principal Officer and Assistant Principal Officer according to an agreed sequence of confined and open competitions to mirror arrangements for general service grades.

This has now been agreed through General Council that the following provisions will apply to grades common to more than 1 Department –

  • Posts equivalent to Principal Officer will be filled using a ratio of 2 thirds open competition and 1 third confined competition.
  • Posts equivalent to Assistant Principal Officer will be filled using a ratio of 1 third open to the department, 1 third interdepartmental competition and 1 third confined competition.

A list of grades common to more than 1 Department is attached as an annex to the Agreed Report.

Departmental grades will continue to be filled according to local agreement. This means that where confined competitions have traditionally been used to fill promotional outlets this practice will continue.

Where no agreement exists consultation should take place to determine what type of competition will be used.

The Agreed Report mentions the provisions of Towards 2016 which sets out the ratio of posts that could be filled through open competition below the Assistant Principal Officer grade, those arrangements were agreed and have not been superseded. Due account should now be taken when filling posts within IMPACT grades of recruitment practice for General Service grades such as HEO and EO, where no agreement can be reached please contact Head Office.

Branches should contact their servicing Official for further advice and assistance, local discussion will be required in many instances to ensure that arrangements for filling specialist posts are compliant with the Agreed Report.

General Council Report

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this agreement prevent employers from using open competitions?
No, the agreement will require employers to fill one in three posts at PO equivalent level through confined competition and two in three at AP equivalent level. The agreement sets parameters for the use of public competitions and confined competitions.

How do I find out if my grade is a departmental grade?
The common interdepartmental grades are listed in the annex to the Agreed Report. Branches are asked to note that many other grades are based on the Engineering pay scales. If there is any doubt about the status of a grade local discussion should take place. Where established local arrangements for the filling of departmental posts exist they will continue unless there is agreement on changing arrangements.

How do we agree which posts are filled through open and confined competition?
Our preference is to commence the new sequencing with a confined competition (at AP equivalent level this should be a departmental competition).  Branches should keep a record of posts filled through confined and open competition and commence discussion with local Personnel as soon as possible.

What happens if a Branch cannot agree if a grade is a departmental grade or an interdepartmental grade?
Advice should be sought from your IMPACT Official, ultimately if no agreement can be reached a dispute on the interpretation of the Report may have to be referred to General Council or the C&A scheme

What are the arrangements for the filling of General Service Grades below AP level?
At HEO 1 in 6 posts are filled through open competition and 5 in 6 are filled through confined competition. AT EO level a 50/50 arrangement is in place this is to be reviewed later in 2017.