During our selection process we interview candidates and Panel Members represent us on those panels.
Panel Members review applications, interview you at a selection day, and provide an assessment of candidates that helps Commissioners decide who to recommend for judicial appointment. All selection panels contain a judicial member, and at least one lay panel member.
Panels assess all the evidence of a candidate’s merits against a competency framework (or Skills and Abilities criteria) for the post. Although our Commissioners make the final decision about who to recommend for appointment, they rely heavily on the panel assessments in making that decision. Panel members therefore have a key role in ensuring that we conduct our business efficiently, fairly and with a focus on its statutory duty to select on merit.
Panel member diversity
JAC panel members perform a critical role in the recruitment of judicial members, so it is essential that they are representative of the wider society. The JAC is committed to the recruitment, retention and ongoing support of diverse panel members of all backgrounds, in line with the UK working- age population. This is to ensure diversity is at the forefront of selection panel member composition, both for lay panel members and judicial members.
Panel member recruitment
We regularly seek new panel members to support our current cadre. If you are interested in becoming a panel member, or require further information, please contact Ian Thomson at Ian.Thomson@judicialappointments.gov.uk
The panel member experience
All in the same boat
“In my 7 years as a panel chair I’ve found that it doesn’t matter who is sitting on the candidate’s side of the table, how senior, how experienced, or clever they are, they are nervous and find the interview process difficult. Everyone does. However, those who have prepared clearly find it easier.
“Candidates who haven’t understood the process and didn’t do any preparation really struggle. I’m sure they have loads of good examples they just don’t have them at their fingertips because they haven’t done the work in advance of interview. But I do think that the message is finally getting through that you need to do a good self-assessment, give good examples and prepare for the interview process.”
Natural behaviours to the fore
“I think the role play is a very powerful recruitment tool because it puts the candidate into a very realistic situation. With good actors, candidates get caught up in the situation and it ceases to be a role play and becomes a court room so they begin to act like a judge or tribunal member. I believe that as people become caught up, their natural behaviours come out. That is what we want to see. It’s quite enlightening what we find out. Natural behaviours almost inevitably come to the fore.
“The actors are not in any way involved in decision making but they do take it their role very seriously. They are very professional. Sometimes they have to improvise, if the candidate goes off-piste then they help to get the role play back on track so we cover what we need to.”
A professional panel
“As chair the majority of my panel members are like-minded which makes it easy. But sometimes you do get a member who strongly disagrees. I like to have these discussions because sometimes you can miss something. This is why having a panel is so important. There is often a very detailed discussion especially when one of the candidates is borderline. It can be difficult but everyone is professional and we use the evidence. It’s not personal it’s a business decision and as chair you have the casting vote.
“For every selection exercise we talk about unconscious bias. We are constantly checking ourselves and each other. We must ensure we don’t judge anyone on their background or diversity. It’s a discipline. It’s crucially important to candidates that we use only the evidence put before us.
“What reassures me is that everybody: the JAC staff, the front of house team, the panel – everybody takes the process very seriously. No candidates can say they’ve had an unfair deal. They have been given a good opportunity to tell us why they are suitable and have been considered honestly and fully.
“No recruitment system is perfect but having been involved in a number of them I believe this is a robust, detailed, professional system.”
“I have an extensive background in recruitment and retention. During my time at Amex we were able to ‘tap in’ to some innovative recruitment approaches and were one of the first companies to fully embrace competency based interviewing. I also helped develop the in-house recruitment training for managers.
“For the JAC I have undertaken both panel chair and panel member roles and both are enjoyable. The chair role obviously has more responsibility and can be time consuming. The role of panel member suits me best as I have caring responsibilities.
“The JAC runs a thorough and fair process that allows all applicants an equal opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for the role.
“The competencies needed are always clearly identified but sometimes a candidate chooses a poor example to demonstrate the competence or ability. If this happens during an interview the panel do their best to elicit as much relevant evidence as time will allow. However if an application form has been poorly completed then the panel can only base their decision on the information on the form.
“I am aware that some candidates, although very experienced in their day job, may not be familiar with the interview process. The JAC provides some very useful training for potential applicants to help with the application and interview, which is well worth pursuing.
“My role is always interesting and varied. The calibre of the candidates we interview is often exceptional and the roles we recruit for are arguably some of the most important jobs in the country.”