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Senior review question about the APS?

By Cordelia - 12 January 2011 8

I have a workplace issue in my fed govt department that led to a decision that is under senior review.

To my astonishment, an EL2 has just been allocated to review a decision made by a branch head – not in her direct line of command but in the same Division. 

That strikes me as a likely career-limiter for the EL2 if the decision goes my way. So it won’t.

Has anyone on RiotAct any experience of a review conducted in this way?

Should I query this before the review is completed, or wait for the outcome and take it to the Ombudsman? 

The EL2 in question is a good thinker and a fair person, but I can’t imagine she would have the courage to question the judgement of a Branch Head.

Any thoughts about this situation welcome (and yes I am looking for work elsewhere).

What’s Your opinion?


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8 Responses to
Senior review question about the APS?
Cordelia 7:02 pm 12 Jan 11

Thanks for the input. I’ll post the outcome!

kagey 5:10 pm 12 Jan 11

Whether the reviewer is junior to the original decision maker is not legally relevant. They must however, possess sufficient delegation to be involved. Speculating on whether the reviewer will act to protect their own career isn’t terribly helpful. After the review, if you are still unsatisfied on the basis of technicalities, or inadequate addressing of the issues, then by all means take it to the Ombudsman. Sometimes a good industrial lawyer can help too. If you remain positive in these cases (which may be easier said than done), then it’s possible that you can negotiate something useful for your own career, be it a transfer, or some other change to your work environment.

Kuku 1:07 pm 12 Jan 11

Oops. My post @2 should have read “the reviewing officer should not be biased”.
And +1 for JessP’s advice.

You wrote “The EL2 in question is a good thinker and a fair person, but I can’t imagine she would have the courage to question the judgement of a Branch Head.”

At this point this is your opinion only. Wait until the review is conducted and then consider your options.

breda 1:04 pm 12 Jan 11

Is this person the sole reviewer? It is unusual, to say the least, for a person who is junior in a hierarchy to review someone more senior, even if they are not in a direct reporting line.

I have heard of more junior people being asked to provide advice in an area of special expertise (eg legal, IT) but even then they would be providing that information to someone more senior for decision.

Definitely document everything, and take it further if you get a bad result. I doubt that having a decisionmaker who is junior to the person whose conduct is under review would stand any kind of independent scrutiny.

housebound 12:02 pm 12 Jan 11

I suggest you wait it out and see where it goes. Use email and document everything. If it is not written down it pretty well didn;t happen.

Then go straight to the Ombudsman if the otcome doesn’t go the way it should.

JessP 11:46 am 12 Jan 11

This is a person who is not in your area, not managed by your Branch head and doesnt manage you. They do have experience as a Section Manager and as you say a fair person and a good thinker.

I think you have to accept his one as it goes. Claiming that this person is intimidated by your boss (and therefore found against you) is only going to cause more pain. And they may be right…..

Kuku 9:54 am 12 Jan 11

It may seem the issue you are alluding to is bias. The review should be conducted independently. The reviewing officer need not be biased but if there is an apprehension of bias, then that could mean a breach of procedural fairness and natural justice.

S4anta 9:28 am 12 Jan 11

that is std. operating procedure, you should be right if you have done nothing worng or arent a serial troublemaker/wanker. Assuming you will be screwed over will only add to your angst levels. relax, let it happen and take it from there.

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