Guidance Series - Managing the Notification Process
Table of Contents
- What is Notification?
- Why is Notification Required?
- What is the Purpose of the Notification of Consideration?
- What is the Purpose of the Notification of Appointment or Proposed Appointment?
- Methods of Notification
- Whom to Notify?
- Managing the Waiting Period
- Notification Options
- Notification Examples
Notification is a two-step process that is applied for each internal appointment. A first notification, or notification of consideration, is given when a manager considers someone for appointment. A second notification, or notification of appointment or proposed appointment, is given when a manager appoints a person or proposes a person for appointment.
Notification does not apply to appointment processes leading to an acting appointment. However, section 13 of the Public Service Employment Regulations (PSER) requires that persons in the area of recourse be informed of the person appointed or proposed in acting appointment situations.
The requirement for two separate notifications is in the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). The requirement that notification be communicated in writing is an element of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Policy on Notification, which supports the guiding values of fairness and transparency.
Notification of consideration informs persons to be notified of whom the manager is considering for appointment. This is not a final decision, and the notification provides persons with a final opportunity to discuss the decision.
Notification of person(s) being proposed or appointed informs persons to be notified of a final decision by the manager, and as per the PSC Policy on Notification, it advises those persons of their right to make a complaint to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST).
While there are many different ways to provide notification, there are some points that must be respected:
- Notification must be provided in writing;
- All persons to be notified need to be informed of what method of notification will be used;
- The official language requirements for communication must be respected; and
- The duty to accommodate must be respected.
Points to consider:
- Publiservice is a well-known and familiar portal in the federal public service;
- It provides immediate notification;
- The responsibility lies with each person to check the Publiservice site;
- If someone has withdrawn, been eliminated from or lost interest in the appointment process, he or she could choose to stop checking the Publiservice site;
- Persons who have participated in the advertised process but have since left the public service (e.g., term employees) may no longer have access to Publiservice; and
- Notification must be in both official languages.
The Publiservice site provides both a Notification of Consideration and Notification of Appointment or Proposal template.
Points to consider:
- Organizations already have e-mail distribution lists of all employees, which could be useful for a non-advertised appointment process with an organizational, or branch, or regional area of selection;
- Delivery is practically instantaneous, which may facilitate the establishment of a shorter waiting period; however, the waiting period can be no less than five calendar days;
- There is no requirement to translate the notification if all persons to be notified have indicated the same official language preference for receiving communications;
- Ensure that the e-mail addresses remain current for the notification;
- Sending an e-mail is relatively easy and inexpensive; and
- Determine whether all persons have regular access to e-mail.
Organizations could establish a Web site where the notifications issued could be found.
Points to consider:
- It provides immediate notification;
- The responsibility would lie with each person to check the Web site;
- If someone has withdrawn, been eliminated from or lost interest in the appointment process, he or she could choose to stop checking the Web site;
- A password could be provided, with respect to the notification for an advertised appointment process, to those persons who participated in the process in the area of selection. This could address any privacy concerns; and
- Unless a password was used, notification must be in both official languages.
Points to consider:
- Mailing addresses for all persons to be notified will be needed; this information may not be available for notification as a result of a non-advertised process;
- Periods should take into account delivery time;
- The administrative burden of sending individual letters, depending upon the number of notifications to be sent;
- Translation may not be necessary if all persons to be notified have indicated the same official language preference for communications;
- Costs of sending letters, either by mail or courier, could be significant with a large number of persons to notify and multiple notifications; and
- The impact on a person who was eliminated from a large advertised appointment process with many positions to staff receiving numerous letters of notification of others being considered or proposed and/or appointed could be demoralizing.
Keep in mind that some employees may be on a secondment, an assignment, an acting appointment elsewhere, or on extended leave. These employees may be entitled to notification. Some good practices to consider are:
- Inform employees that, when away from the workplace, the onus is on them to make alternative arrangements to obtain notification;and
- Deputy heads may instruct their managers to determine an appropriate method of notification before an employee leaves for an extended temporary absence from the office.
In an internal advertised appointment process, notification is provided to all persons in the area of selection who participated in that process. This includes:
- persons who have been eliminated at any point of the process;
- persons who are qualified, but not considered for an appointment; and
- persons who participated in the process, but who no longer meet the organizational criterion of area of selection or they have left the public service.
A) Persons not in the area of selection who apply on an internal advertised appointment process:
- No notification of who is being considered for appointment, or who is being proposed or appointed since they are outside the area of selection.
- When persons are screened out of the appointment process because they are outside the area of selection, they are advised of this decision and the fact that they will not receive notification of appointment decisions.
B) Persons with a priority for appointment:
- If they referred themselves, or were referred to this appointment process, they will not receive notification per se, as they did not participate in the appointment process;
- If they submitted an application to participate in the process, they will receive notification.
C) Persons in the area of selection who participated, but then withdrew from the process:
- The PSEA does not make an exception to the notification requirements for those persons who have withdrawn from an internal advertised appointment process. A decision to not provide notification to persons who withdrew would be reasonable since those persons are no longer participating in the process.
- Consider confirming the withdrawal in writing, and advising that, as a result, there will be no further communication with respect to this appointment process.
D) Persons in the area of selection who participated in the process and who have been appointed from the process:
- The PSEA states that notification must be given to persons who have been appointed in an internal advertised appointment process since the purpose of notification is to inform all who participated of the appointment decisions.
- In processes used to staff multiple positions, organizations should decide how to manage expectations and requests from appointed persons when they are advised of other appointments in different locations; and
- Organizations will need to determine how to best manage this issue. Whatever decisions are made, these should be communicated clearly at the beginning of the appointment process, so persons understand all the implications of accepting an appointment in this process.
Where a person has indicated that he or she needs communication in an alternate format, confirm the method to be used with the person.
The waiting period between the notification of consideration and the notification of appointment or proposed appointment allows for time before the appointment decision is finalized. It provides a period during which the manager may consider any information before making a final decision. The waiting period may provide the first opportunity for informal discussion for some persons to understand why they have been eliminated from consideration for a specific appointment. No appointments may be proposed or made during the waiting period.
The PSC, in its Policy on Notification in the Appointment Process has established a minimum duration of at least five calendar days. The waiting period begins on the date the persons to be notified are informed of the names of the persons being considered for appointment.
Organizations may establish their own practices. Examples include the following:
- Setting a standard waiting period for all internal appointment processes;
- Setting a standard waiting period for all advertised internal appointment processes, and a separate standard waiting period for all non-advertised internal appointment processes;
- Setting different waiting periods, depending on the position being staffed from the appointment process;
- Establishing a range of waiting periods within which managers could choose the waiting period for a particular internal appointment process; and
- Providing guidelines to help managers determine the waiting period for an internal appointment process, but allowing them complete flexibility otherwise.
Considerations to keep in mind when determining a duration for a waiting period include:
- How many persons are being notified? How many could request informal discussion? This could be influenced by factors such as:
- The number of persons who participated in the process;
- Whether the appointment process is advertised or non-advertised; and
- Whether persons have been given the opportunity for informal discussion throughout the process.
- The method of notification being used, and access to the notification by the persons to be notified. This could be influenced by factors such as:
- Length of time for delivery of the notification. For example, e-mail delivery would be much faster than regular mail;
- Whether the notification is being sent during a holiday or vacation period;
- Ready access of persons to the method of notification; and
- Special work circumstances of the persons to be notified; for example, ships' crews, extensive travel, etc.
The PSC Policy on Notification in the Appointment Process requires that persons be advised of the duration of the waiting period. This could be done as follows:
- Persons could be informed of the duration of the waiting period in the notification of consideration; and
- If an organization has established a standard waiting period for all appointment processes, the duration of the waiting period could be communicated in advertisements for internal appointment processes, in the organizational orientation material, or in other communications products.
To make the appointment process more efficient, when the same merit criteria are being applied to each position, some managers may wish to include the names of all persons who meet the criteria on one notification of consideration, once the assessment is completed. This would allow for only one waiting period to be applied. Following the waiting period, the manager would have some options:
- issue a notification of appointment or proposed appointment each time an actual appointment is made; or
- depending on the projected number of positions to be staffed, issue a notification of proposed appointment for all and then appoint those persons once vacancies become available; or
- issue a notification of appointment for the immediate vacancy and at the same time issue a notification of proposed appointment for the projected vacancies.
Considerations for notification as outlined above are:
- Prior to issuing a notification of appointment or proposed appointment, the manager could inform all persons who are on the notification of consideration of who is actually going to be appointed immediately. This provides those persons (the ones eliminated only from this specific appointment) with an opportunity to have informal discussion; and
- Notifying persons that they have been eliminated from consideration at each decision point in the process, thus allowing for informal discussion before issuing a notification of consideration, could assist in managing the waiting period since those persons would have had access to informal discussion prior to this point.
The manager has identified five persons who meet the asset qualification for three vacancies in her branch. She assesses the five persons and three are found to meet all of the essential qualifications. One position is currently vacant, and two other positions will need to be staffed in approximately six months.
Because this is a non-advertised appointment process, all persons in the area of selection must be notified. The manager does not wish to notify persons by e-mail, regular mail or courier. She considers using the organization's intranet Web site, but since the area of selection includes those persons who are employed in other departments and separate agencies, it is not ideal. For this reason, the manager decides to use Publiservice as the method of providing notification.
Managing the Notification Process
In order to facilitate the subsequent appointments, the manager puts all three names on the notification of consideration. She then meets with these three persons and explains her staffing plan. She advises two of them that they will not be appointed immediately, but that she plans to appoint them to the projected vacancies in approximately six months. This allows them to know the decision and it also provides them with the opportunity for informal discussion since they are eliminated from consideration of the first appointment.
After the waiting period, the manager issues the notification of appointment for the first appointment, with one name on it.
Later, when the other two positions can be staffed, the manager issues a notification of proposed appointment with the other two names on it.
The position is advertised and 43 persons apply. The Statement of Merit Criteria identifed essential qualifications, asset qualifications and operational requirements. The assessment of the essential qualifications resulted in 10 persons being found to have met all the essential qualifications.
The manager has one position to staff immediately. There may be other appointments to be made in the future, but the actual number and specifics of these positions are unknown.
Each person has provided an e-mail address and has indicated the same official language preference. One of the applicants is outside the area of selection, and was informed that for this reason, he was screened out and not being considered further. During the assessment process, seven persons withdrew. The manager ensured that their withdrawals were acknowledged and that they were informed that they would not be provided with notification for this process. Thus, 35 persons are left in the process. Given the small number of persons to notify, the manager decides to provide notification by e-mail.
Since the manager is only certain of the one immediate appointment, he issues the notification with only one name on it. This is sent via e-mail to the 35 persons.
Following the waiting period, the manager sends another e-mail with the notification of appointment to the same persons.
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