All public appointment competitions must include a demonstrable element of independent participation in the assessment of applicants.
The Commissioner manages a team of Independent Assessors, a pool of suitably trained individuals who provide independent scrutiny as part of the process of appointing to Boards of public bodies; and assist Ministers and their Departments to make public appointments that are open, transparent, based on merit and command public confidence.
The Independent Assessors are not employees or public appointees, they are recruited jointly by the office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (CPA NI) and representatives of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Departments.
To enhance their independence the CPA NI manages the pool of Independent Assessors and allocate these in rotation to departments upon request.
Training for the Independent Assessors is carried out centrally by CPA NI to ensure that Assessors are enabled to fulfil their role.
The main duties of an Independent Assessor are:
- To play a full, visible and active part in a public appointment process as an independent member of the selection panel.
- To review documentation and processes and assist with the short-listing, interviewing and documenting of candidates for the purpose of putting recommendations to Ministers.
- To provide advice and guidance to departments as appropriate.
To raise concerns, whenever necessary, about any shortcomings in an appointment process with the Chair of the selection panel, responsible officials in departments or the Commissioner.
One further aspect of the Assessor role is to provide feedback to CPA NI on the recruitment process they have been involved in. A CPA NI Independent Assessor Feedback Form is completed and returned for each competition.