5.1 General approach
The appeal is a ‘re-hearing’ (s.144) meaning that the PRSB Member considers all the information in the Selection File, written submissions to the PRSB, and the appeal hearing. The PRSB Member then makes the selection decision independently and afresh.
It is important to note that the PRSB’s role is not to make findings about whether there were errors in the initial selection process.
The PRSB is not a court and is required to act with as little formality and technicality and as much speed as the Act requires and proper consideration of the subject matter (s.156). Rules of evidence and the practices of courts do not apply (s.159).
The appeal hearing will not be unduly formal or ‘court-like’: it will be similar to the panel interview.
The PRSB Member’s aim is to learn as much as possible about each of the parties to decide who is of superior eﬃciency. This includes information about your education, career experience, quality of service, capabilities and approaches to police work, and how this best equips you for the rank and the position applied for.
The PRSB Member will not try to ‘trip you up’ and will give you a fair opportunity to put forward your claims and demonstrate your capabilities for the position and rank.
The PRSB Member will aim to put everyone at ease, and will be fair and equitable in the way they deal with each of the parties.
You can ask questions or seek to clarify any matters with the PRSB Member at any time.
If the appeal is in person, please come to the foyer at level 6, 155 Queen Street, Melbourne. There may be another hearing underway so please keep noise down. The PRSB Secretary will place a sign on the table showing you where to sit. Parties usually stand when the PRSB Member enters the room, but there is no need to bow. The PRSB Member will address parties by rank and surname and you may address the Member as Mr. or Ms.
If the appeal is by Teams, please join the meeting at the allotted time. Keep your phone close by in case of technology issues. The PRSB Secretary will admit parties and any observers, and then the PRSB Member hearing your appeal. Observers will be ‘on mute’ with cameras off. Make sure your microphone and camera are on, then follow the PRSB Member’s instructions.
The appeal hearings will then be conducted in the same way, as follows.
Preliminary issues may include argument about whether an Appellant meets the eligibility and other requirements for the position, and if not, whether they should be permitted to appeal (regulation 54). In such a case, the PRSB Member will:
invite the Appellant to argue why they should be allowed to appeal
ask the CCR to respond
as a preliminary question, determine whether the Appellant will be allowed to appeal
It is important to note that the PRSB role in an appeal is not to make findings about whether there were any errors in the initial selection process. The role is to re-hear the selection decision and make a fresh decision, based solely on "eﬃciency".
If the Selection File raises probity or conduct issues, these may be dealt with at the preliminary or final hearing stage. The hearing will usually be closed, and the issue raised with the relevant party and the LPR.
Preliminary issues may include argument about whether an Appellant meets eligibility and other requirements to apply or the position, and if not, whether they should be permitted to appeal (Regulation 54; see 2.2 of this Guide). In such a case, the PRSB Member will: invite the Appellant to argue why they should be allowed to appeal; ask the CCR to respond, then determine whether the Appellant will be allowed to continue their appeal.
If the Selection File raises probity or conduct issues, these may be dealt with at the preliminary or final hearing stage. The hearing will usually be closed, and the issue raised with the relevant party and the CCR.
If there are no preliminary issues, the matter will proceed directly to the interview-style questions.
The PRSB Member will remind the parties to listen carefully to the question, write it down and pause to think before answering; to make sure your answer is relevant and responds to the question asked, and to not speak too quickly.
What order will the parties speak in?
The Appellant(s) will go first, then the Selectee(s). If there are several Appellants or Selectees, they will proceed in alphabetical order. The PRSB Member will address each person in turn and ask a series of questions, outlined below.
Will I make an opening submission?
No. You will not be asked to present an opening statement or submission addressing your claims to being best suited to the position. (This was past PRSB practice, but this information is now contained in the written application.)
The PRSB Member may ask you to expand upon or clarify matters from your written application or your written submission to the PRSB, including questions about your personal and professional experience, positions held, upgrading, work experience outside Victoria Police, qualifications, professional development undertaken, awards or volunteer activities.
I notice you have a Graduate Diploma in Management. Tell me more about this course of study, and how it assists you in your role as a sergeant.
Tell me about your upgrading in the Senior Sergeant position: how did that come about?
I see you are a captain in the CFA. What training have you undertaken in that capacity? How have you applied what you have learnt in your work as a sergeant?
The PRSB Member will decide the number, nature and order of the questions having regard to the duties and seniority of the position.The PRSB Member will ask each Appellant and Selectee between two and four interview-style questions. The number of questions will depend on the seniority and nature of the position, and the number of parties. If any Appellant was not interviewed, there are likely to be at least three questions to ensure the same kind of rigorous questioning as occurred during the panel interview.How many questions will be asked?
Will the same questions be asked of each party?
No. Questions in the appeal will focus on the same broad capability or topic but there will be diﬀerent questions for each candidate. So don’t start preparing your answers assuming you will be asked the same questions.
The questions will not be the same as those asked by the Panel and may cover the same or different areas of capability.
Care is taken to make the questions of equal complexity. The questions will relate to the needs of the position and be aligned with the capabilities expected for the rank. Questions are likely to focus on the most important needs for the position as flagged in the Position Profile.
You will not be told in advance which topics will be chosen.
You may be asked follow-up or clarification questions.
In unusual cases with many parties, a special Practice Direction may be issued so that each party is interviewed one at a time, and the same questions are asked of each party.
Probity or conduct matters are generally raised as a final issue (with the hearing closed) (see part 4.14).
There will be an opportunity for parties to raise any final issues in response but no closing statements. The PRSB Member will outline what will happen next and the likely timeframe for giving the decision.
The appeal is not an adversarial process where you are asked to critique the other party’s presentation, or respond to what they say, or to directly compare yourself to them.
A better way to establish your ‘superior efficiency’ is to set out your own skills, education, capability and experience and show how this equips you to perform the requirements of the specific role and the rank, as set out in the Position Description, Position Profile and Rank Capability Profile.
If you believe (based on direct knowledge) that another party has misled the PRSB Member by providing false information (for example, by claiming to have performed a particular role they did not) then you should raise this in the hearing. The PRSB Member will ask the person to respond and may make further enquiries.
Parties will be asked questions similar in style to those asked by the Selection Panel. The questions may be in one or more of the following styles.
Behavioural questions (using the 'STAR' method)
Situation or Task
Give a specific example of a situation encountered or a task you performed
that demonstrates the desired behaviour in the KSC:
What you did in the situation to accomplish the task or deal with the situation:
Explore the result or outcome:
This type of question asks you to give a real-life example demonstrating your application of a particular capability.
You will be asked to demonstrate a particular capability, value, personal quality or approach.
You should choose an example which showcases this. Your answer must be relevant to the question.
“Tell me about a time when you had to implement a change in policy or procedure in your team and met with resistance. How did you go about achieving the desired change?”
Write down the key words so that you remember to respond to them in your answer:
“Implementing a change - policy or practice”
- What was the change you had to implement?
- Why was it important?
- What was the resistance?
- What were the causes of the resistance?
- How did you find out?
“How I overcame the resistance”
- What was your strategy to overcome resistance?
- What did you do? How did you go about it?
- What worked? What would you do differently?
The PRSB Member wants to understand how you think and problem-solve and how you go about things: how approach a situation, and the kinds of steps and enquiries you undertake
You need to describe how and why you decided what you would do, and how and why you went about it in the way you did.
Remember, you need to show the approach expected at the rank, so make sure your example is suﬃciently complex.
Values-based questions seek to test values and behaviours. These questions focus on how and why a person works in the way that they do, and on what drives and motivates them in their choices and actions (values), rather than just what is done (skills and competencies).
Values-based questions will be open and probing. They will invite you to reflect on and describe how you go about doing your work, and why you do it that way.
In asking these kinds of questions, the PRSB Member will be looking for you to show self-awareness and to show that you understand the impact and importance of how you go about your work.
Examples of values-based questions
- Being objective and impartial is important in policing. Can you give me an example of a time when being objective and impartial was important in getting an appropriate outcome?
- Tell me about a time when you acted respectfully to a member of the public, even though your patience was being severely tested. How did this affect the situation?
- Police have duty of care towards people in police custody or control. Tell me about your understanding of that duty of care, and how you fulfill that duty in your day-to-day work.
Scenario (or hypothetical) questions
You might be asked what you would do in a hypothetical scenario. The Panel uses at least one “scenario” question in the initial panel process.
This could be to test your understanding of policies, protocols or technical policing knowledge which is relevant to the position. Scenario questions can also be used to test your thinking in areas where it might be inappropriate to give a real-life example, such as management of welfare or ethical issues.
You might be asked a longer form of scenario question which tests your technical policing knowledge. You may be provided with the scenario in writing and given a few minutes to consider your response.
Examples of scenario questions
- What would be expected of you if a suspicious vehicle appeared to be engaged in surveillance of your station?
- How would you respond to the following scenario: A constable comes to you and asks that he not be teamed with a particular senior constable saying he feels uncomfortable working with him. What are the possibilities you would need to consider here? What would you do?
- You are a senior sergeant checking a brief. You are concerned that a witness statement included in the brief was not declared on the date stated, as you know the person was away on leave at that time. What are your obligations? What would you do?
Organisational engagement questions
The PRSB Member may explore your knowledge and application of Victoria Police policies and strategies.
Questions might explore policing strategies, internal policies and organisational knowledge relevant to the position, as well as the expected approach to leadership and management in Victoria Police.
The Capability – Strategies page on the Victoria Police intranet contains links to key strategies in priority areas: Community Safety, Reduce Crime, Reduce Road Trauma, and Service Delivery Excellence. You are encouraged to be familiar with the policies and strategies relevant to the position.
Examples of organisational engagement questions
- Tell me about what is expected of you as a leader to make sure development opportunities are oﬀered fairly and equitably to employees?
- Community engagement is a vital component of the new Victoria Police Neighborhood Policing Strategy. What does community engagement mean to you, and how will you engage with the community in this role?
- The Strategy for addressing Sex Offences on Public Transport seeks to improve safety for women and girls. As a sergeant in Transit, what is your role in implementing this strategy, and how will you go about it?