Guide to the Sub-delegation of Appointment and Appointment-related Authorities - Archived
This Guide is provided by the Public Service Commission to help human resources advisors support deputy heads in developing organizational approaches.
Table of Contents
- General information
- Who is eligible to receive sub-delegated authority?
- Identifying employees for sub-delegation
- Ensuring competence and training
- Signature and commitment
- Consequences of non-compliance
The Public Service Employment Act1 (PSEA) gives the Public Service Commission (PSC) the authority to make appointments to and within the public service. It further authorizes the Commission to delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities to deputy heads, for positions within their jurisdiction.
In the spirit of the PSEA, the Commission has maximized delegation. Deputy heads, in turn, are encouraged to sub-delegate those authorities. Sub-delegation means that deputy heads authorize sub-delegated persons to make appointments on their behalf. The sub-delegation of these authorities will provide public service managers the flexibility they need to staff, manage and lead their personnel to achieve results for Canadians.
Under the PSEA, deputy heads decide:
- which authorities should be sub-delegated;
- to what extent these should be sub-delegated;
- under what conditions these should be sub-delegated;
- when these should be sub-delegated;
- to whom these should be sub-delegated; and
- how appointment and appointment-related authorities will be sub-delegated in their organization.
Deputy heads will exercise their appointment and appointment-related authorities within a management framework, and will be accountable to the Commission for the proper use of delegated appointment and appointment-related authorities.
II. General information
Although the PSEA does provide increased flexibilities for deputy heads, there are nevertheless certain aspects of sub-delegating appointment and appointment-related authorities that are mandatory to ensure the integrity of the public service appointment system.
- Only deputy heads may sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities, and make changes to the sub-delegation of these authorities.
- Sub-delegation is subject to the terms and conditions specified by the Commission in the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument (ADAI).
- Certain authorities are not to be sub-delegated as specified in the ADAI. For example, only deputy heads can extend the agreement period to become bilingual in non-imperative appointments to positions in the Executive Group.
- The instrument of sub-delegation will be consistent with the ADAI and its effective date must coincide with or follow the effective date of the ADAI signed by the PSC and the organization.
- Deputy heads must sub-delegate in writing, either by e-mail, regular mail, or by posting a message on the organization's intranet site.
Deputy heads may sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities incrementally. For example, a deputy head may choose to delegate down to directors general, then down to directors and later on, to first-line supervisors.
The PSC encourages deputy heads to sub-delegate the appointment and appointment-related authorities. Each deputy head will determine how low these authorities are sub-delegated in their organization, based on a number of considerations. As a result, the depth of sub-delegation may vary from one organization to another.
Deputy heads have the authority to impose conditions and limitations on the exercise of certain sub-delegated appointment and appointment-related authorities in addition to those imposed by the Commission in the ADAI. For example, they may sub-delegate the authority to make appointments under certain organizational programs, on condition that they themselves have approved those programs, to ensure that they have been established in the best interest of the entire organization.
III. Who is eligible to receive sub-delegated authorities?
Deputy heads may sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities as follows:
For appointments to all positions, including those in the Executive Group:
- Associate Deputy Ministers (or other associate deputy head title);
- Governor in Council (GIC) appointees whose functions fall under the jurisdiction of the deputy head and who have both financial and human resources responsibilities;
- Interchange Canada (IC) participants whose assignments fall under the jurisdiction of the deputy head and who have both financial and human resources responsibilities, provided that the IC assignment (including any extensions) is in accordance with the Employer's Policy and Directive on IC; and
- employees within the deputy head's organization.
In addition, for appointments to all positions, excluding those in the Executive Group:
- employees in another organization that has an ADAI with the PSC.
Sub-delegation to GIC appointees or IC participants is to be limited to the period of appointment or assignment to the position.
Should deputy heads wish to sub-delegate authorities to persons other than those specified above, they must make a specific arrangement with the PSC.
Deputy heads may sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities to managers, to human resources advisors, to other employees and, under specific arrangements, persons outside the public service.
The Preamble to the PSEA suggests that sub-delegation of appointment and appointment-related authorities should be to public service managers.
Deputy heads are responsible for defining what constitutes a manager in their organization. They may decide to link appointment and appointment-related authorities with others, such as financial authorities3; however, there is no requirement to do so except for Governor in Council (GIC) appointees. GIC appointees can be sub-delegated appointment and appointment-related authorities only if they have both financial and human resources responsibilities.
The PSC delegates appointment and appointment-related authorities to deputy heads for positions in their jurisdiction; managers receive sub-delegated authorities for positions in their area of responsibility, unless the deputy head has made other provisions in the instrument of sub-delegation. For example, the manager of a professional development or apprenticeship program may be sub-delegated certain appointment and appointment-related authorities for specific positions in any part of the organization.
The extent to which appointment and appointment-related authorities are sub-delegated depends on the size, structure and nature of the organization. It may also depend on how managers are defined and the extent to which adequate training and support will be available to them. Other considerations could include the following (the list is not exhaustive):
- organizational culture and management philosophy;
- degree of centralization or decentralization;
- existence of satellite organizations;
- potential partnerships/service provider arrangements;
- number and nature of appointment activities;
- adequacy of human resources planning;
- organization's past performance;
- organization's approach to accountability;
- existence of management control frameworks;
- existence of monitoring systems;
- extent of organizational change; and
- current approach to sub-delegation.
b) Human resources advisors
Although the Preamble to the PSEA suggests that appointment and appointment-related authorities should be sub-delegated to managers, there is nothing in the Act that prohibits sub-delegation to human resources advisors. This approach may be appropriate in small organizations with low levels of appointment activity.
Since the focus of modernizing human resources management in the public service is on integrating staffing with human resources planning and other business planning activities, the deputy head is encouraged to integrate human resources specialists who are sub-delegated appointment and appointment-related authorities into their management team.
If deputy heads decide to sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities to both managers and human resources specialists, it is crucial that there is clarity about when they can exercise their sub-delegated authorities. For example, human resources specialists may only exercise their authorities in the absence of the sub-delegated manager, or pending full implementation of sub-delegation to managers under the PSEA.
Deputy heads have the option of sub-delegating appointment and appointment-related authorities to employees who may not be managers or human resources advisors, but who are responsible for specific resourcing initiatives such as a candidate pool or a recruitment campaign. Sub-delegation in these circumstances may be temporary or permanent.
As already mentioned, deputy heads may also sub-delegate authorities for appointments to non-executive group positions to an employee in another organization which has an ADAI with the PSC.
Deputy heads may sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities to managers who are seconded from other organizations.
Under specific arrangements approved by the PSC, they may even obtain the authority to sub-delegate to a person outside the public service, such as a consultant.
Deputy heads remain accountable for the exercise of sub-delegated authorities by employees outside their organization and persons outside the public service. It is therefore important that they address a number of issues before sub-delegation takes place. For example:
- To what extent does the approach to sub-delegation differ between the organizations?
- How do departmental appointment policies and practices differ?
- Is the person being considered for sub-delegation competent?
- How will training and support be provided?
- How will the person being considered for sub-delegation be held accountable to the delegating deputy head?
- How will the deputy head monitor and investigate appointment decisions?
- How will he/she ensure that the PSC has access to information for audits?
- How will remedial measures, if any, be implemented?
Please note that this list is not exhaustive.
d) Acting appointments or absence of sub-delegated employees
Deputy heads will specify, in the instrument of sub-delegation, who is authorized to exercise appointment and appointment-related authorities in the absence of sub-delegated employees; those employees cannot themselves designate someone to exercise their authorities.
If no provision is made in the instrument of sub-delegation, then the supervisors of the sub-delegated employees would exercise these authorities in their absence, as long as they too have been sub-delegated these appointment and appointment-related authorities. A similar approach would be used for acting appointments when acting appointees are not immediately competent to exercise sub-delegated authorities.
IV. Identifying employees in the instrument of sub-delegation
Deputy heads may identify employees in the instrument of sub-delegation in a number of ways, provided it is clear to whom the appointment and appointment-related authorities are sub-delegated. For example, deputy heads may identify sub-delegated employees by name, by job title or by management level.
- Identifying sub-delegated employees by name is considered to be administratively burdensome, because it is necessary to track sub-delegated employees and ensure that any staff changes are reflected in the instrument of sub-delegation. This approach may only be feasible if there are few sub-delegated employees.
- If job titles are being considered as the way to identify sub-delegated managers or human resources specialists, classification and organization specialists should be consulted to determine to what extent job nomenclature is consistent in the organization. If appointment and appointment-related authorities are being sub-delegated to human resources advisors, deputy heads will specify who will be sub-delegated, as not all human resources advisors are staffing and appointment specialists. Job titles may change over time and the instrument of sub-delegation should be amended accordingly, to ensure it continues to accurately reflect reality.
- Deputy heads may choose to identify sub-delegated employees based on management level. Management levels would normally be distinguished by their reporting relationship to the deputy head.
Identifying employees for sub-delegation by job title or management level enables deputy heads to automatically sub-delegate appointment and appointment-related authorities to incumbents of these positions. If exceptions are made, then deputy heads could write to the employee(s) concerned and ensure that other interested parties are informed of their decision. Such decisions must be documented.
When appointment and appointment-related authorities are sub-delegated to employees outside the organization, deputy heads can identify these employees specifically by name or based on the duties they perform (such as manager of ABC pool of candidates or project manager for XYZ recruitment campaign).
Organizations may find it useful to maintain a list of the persons occupying sub-delegated positions identified by job title or management level in the instrument of sub-delegation. Such lists can be used to communicate directly with sub-delegated persons, to provide information about training courses and confirm attendance, or to monitor the exercise of sub-delegated authorities.
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