FAQs

This page covers a number of topics which frequently arise:

Scope of the Mercer system

Why is the Mercer CED classification system only being used for positions classified above Level 8?

The Mercer CED classification system has been introduced by the Public Sector Commission in respect of assessments for positions classified above Level 8. This system has been used by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal to assist with classification determinations for positions within the Special Division. At this stage it is not proposed to expand the use of the Mercer system beyond SES positions. The Public Sector Commission is mindful of the significant issues that would need to be addressed before implementing a new classification tool across the public service, including implementation costs, licensing and training etc.

Some agencies may not have the resources to source appropriate external comparative positions – is this something that Mercer will be able to do?

While initially the capacity of Mercer to source and comment on appropriate external comparative positions within the WA public sector may be limited, it is expected that Mercer will have greater access to comparisons as the database of WA public sector positions increases over time. Where agencies are having difficulty sourcing appropriate external comparisons they may contact the Commission for guidance.

Will agencies be provided with a copy of the assessment report prepared by Mercer?

No. The Mercer assessment report will be used by the Commission in determining a classification request. To assist agencies in understanding the rationale behind decisions regarding classification requests, written advice to agencies regarding the outcome will include reasons why a request has not been supported. Seeking advice from the Commission before lodging a classification request can highlight any potential issues which may require further consideration.

Are agencies able to engage other contractors to use the Mercer CED evaluation tool as part of a classification request?

No. A contract with Mercer has been established to provide the Public Sector Commission with the required evaluation services based on Mercer CED.

Interaction with other processes

Will the use of Mercer delay the process for determining Classification and TSA requests?

The Public Sector Commission is committed to assessing requests and advising agencies of the outcome as soon as practicable. As a guide the Commission aims to convey a decision within six weeks of receiving a complete request. To assist the Commission in achieving this aim it is important that agencies provide all necessary information as outlined in the checklist contained within the Framework for Executive Classifications.

Do agencies still have to do a BIPERS assessment?

No. As part of the assessment process Mercer will use the Mercer CED evaluation system to assist in determining an appropriate classification for each position. While the Mercer CED evaluation system replaces the BIPERS tool for positions above Level 8, the BIPERS tool is still applicable to positions at Level 8 and below, as provided for by Approved Procedure 1.

Are agencies precluded from using external contractors to assist with executive classification requests?

Following the implementation of the Framework for Executive Classifications, which involves assessments being undertaken by Mercer (Australia) Pty Ltd on behalf of the Public Sector Commission, the need for agencies to independently engage an external contractor to prepare classification proposals should be minimised. However, should an agency decide to seek the services of an external provider to assist with an executive classification, any costs incurred are to be borne by the agency. The use of external contractors by agencies will not replace the need for a Mercer assessment. Therefore agencies will also incur the costs associated with the Mercer assessment. Agencies should also note that as there is no correlation between the Mercer CED system and BIPERS, the result of any BIPERS assessment will not be considered by Mercer in conducting their assessments.

Applying the Mercer System

​Can agencies contact Mercer direct before submitting a classification request?

Agencies wanting to discuss a classification proposal before submitting should contact the Commission not Mercer. Once a classification request has been lodged and checked, the Commission will refer it to Mercer for assessment. A contractor from Mercer will contact the agency during the assessment process. Please refer to Attachment 3 of the Framework for Executive Classifications for an overview of the information that will be covered during a job analysis interview.

If a contractor is doing some work in relation to an organisational wide structure, should they exclude SES positions?

While it is ultimately up to agencies to determine the scope of work undertaken by the contractor, it would be beneficial for any preparatory work relating to SES positions within an organisation structure to be included in the work undertaken by the contractor, as this may assist Mercer in undertaking the assessment and determining an appropriate classification except that, as stated above, any BIPERS assessments will not be considered by Mercer.

Will the assessment consider the potential for flow-on effects?

Yes. An assessment will consider the flow-on effects within an agency, as well as the wider public sector.

Transition to the new system

How is the new process​ better for agencies?

Engaging Mercer to assist the Public Sector Commission to assess the classification of SES jobs is expected to lead to the following benefits for agencies –

  • increased objectivity, transparency, and consistency of classification assessments
  • a simplified and streamlined process
  • reduced need for agencies to independently engage external contractors, resulting in time and cost savings.

In particular, agencies will no longer need to undertake extensive analysis and BIPERS assessments, rather the new process will rely on information that already exists within an agency. In this regard, the analysis and application of an assessment tool will be undertaken by Mercer.

An additional benefit will be the capacity and expertise of Mercer in being able to suggest other options where a classification request is not justified or supported and where the circumstances suggest that alternatives (eg. Attraction and Retention Incentive) seem reasonable.

What are some of the benefits of using the Mercer CED tool?

The Mercer CED classification system uses a contemporary and internationally recognised tool to assess positions, which is able to distinguish between the various types of positions across the sector taking into account their unique attributes.

Can an agency resubmit a classification request that was recently not supported so that it can be considered by Mercer?

Where a classification request was not supported by the Public Sector Commission, a subsequent request for the same position should not be made within 12 months from the date of the decision. Furthermore, given the rigour of the Framework, classification requests are not to be repeatedly presented if rejected. It is inappropriate that a request for the reclassification of the same position should be re-presented frequently unless significant and clearly demonstrable change has occurred in the agency that directly impacts on the classification of the position.

Further Questions?

Should you require any assistance, please forward your inquiry to the Public Sector Commission using the following e-mail address – execmanagement@psc.wa.gov.au or telephone (08) 9219 6200.


Page last updated 27 September 2012