The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has appointed Wellington-based human resources consultancy KSJ Associates to conduct the review of its recruitment process for 2012 field staff in Canterbury.
Chief Executive Ian Simpson said the decision to appoint independent reviewers was discussed with Treasury, as its monitoring agency, and the State Services Commission. Both organisations were comfortable with the decision.
The reviewers would report their findings directly to the EQC board to ensure transparency, he said.
The terms of reference are attached and have been made public to keep the review process as open as possible.
The reviewers are both senior HR professionals with experience in the public and private sectors.
They will be required to report to the EQC board by the end of January 2012.
For more information, contact Iain Butler, EQC Media Manager, 029 978 6430
TERMS OF REFERENCE
FOR AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE PROCESSES USED TO SELECT
INDIVIDUALS FOR EQC FIELD STAFF ROLES IN 2012
From September 2010 to December 2011 the Earthquake Commission (EQC) engaged as contractors, on a rotating basis, approximately 800 individuals as Assessors and Estimators (“field staff”) to help it meet its statutory obligations following serious earthquakes in Canterbury.
In anticipation of some further requirements for field staff in 2012 (and possibly 2013) a process was undertaken to select approximately 200 staff from the existing field staff workforce. EQC also used this as an opportunity to transition the workforce from a high volume of short term contracts, where rates reflected uncertainty of tenure to longer term fixed term employment agreements.
Concerns were expressed by some field staff (and media commentators) that the selection process was not entirely fair and allegations of favouritism, bias and nepotism were made.
Because of the nature of the criticisms and allegations the EQC Chairman, on behalf of the Board has authorised an independent review of the processes for making the selection of field staff for 2012.
The review is to be carried out by KSJ Associates Ltd, a Human Resources consultancy company based in Wellington.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
1. The Reviewer will investigate the Earthquake Commission’s management and application of the selection process for 2012 field staff, to determine the fairness of the policies and processes that were used.
2. The Reviewer will, in particular, consider and report on the following issues:
a. The Workforce
· What was the status of the 2011 field staff? i.e. were they contractors or employees?
· Was there any basis for any of the 2011 field staff to have an expectation or right to any further work with the EQC in 2012?
· How many estimators and how many assessors are required for 2012 (and beyond) and how does this relate to the 2011 workforce strength?
· When and how were 2011 field staff advised of the possibility of a limited number of positions available in 2012 and beyond?
· What are the roles and functions of the field staff for 2012 and how were they advertised?
· Were the available positions advertised externally, and if not, what was the rationale for not making the positions publicly available?
· Was the rationale reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances?
c. Selection Criteria
· Was the criteria for selection outlined or described and was it explained in such a way that it could be clearly understood by potential applicants?
· What were the stated experience, qualifications and personal attributes required for the 2012 positions of Assessor and Estimator?
d. Selection Process
· What was the selection process used?
· Who was involved in developing, approving, managing and implementing the selection process?
· Was the selection process made known to field staff before the process began and was the field staff kept informed?
· What were the mechanisms used to make comparisons between applicants?
· What were the strengths and weaknesses of the processes and mechanisms used?
· Would it have been practicable to conduct selection interviews for all applicants?
· Would selection interviews have made any significant difference to the results?
· Over what period was the selection process implemented?
· What practical considerations influenced the timing and process?
f. Favouritism, Bias and Nepotism
· Where there was the possibility of conflicts of interest or bias, was this possibility acknowledged and dealt with appropriately? (Before or during the selection process).
· Is there any evidence of family members of applicants having in any way influenced the selection process?
· Are procedures in place to guard against inappropriate family member influence?
· Where there was a reliance on the views of supervisors, were appropriate procedures in place to mitigate any bias or prejudice in the selection process?
· What roles did supervisory and management staff from the Operational team play in the selection process for 2012 and were these appropriate?
· What roles did EQC Human Resources staff play in the selection of the field staff for 2012 and were these appropriate?
· What role did senior management staff in Christchurch play in the selection of 2012 staff and was this appropriate?
3. The Reviewer will provide advice to the EQC Board, in particular:
a. Reaching a conclusion in respect of the overall fairness, or otherwise, of the processes and procedures used;
b. Advising the EQC Board whether or not the Reviewer considers there to be any major causes for concern about the processes used, and if so, what they are;
c. Informing the EQC Board of any evidence found that would suggest that undue and inappropriate influence was brought to bear, negatively or positively, in respect of the selection or non-selection of any individual applicant or group of applicants.
4. The Reviewer will provide, by 27 January 2012, a report to the EQC Board (which will provide a copy of the Reviewer’s report to State Services Commissioner).
13 December 2011