Liaison committees

A liaison committee may be appointed during a selection process. The role of the liaison committee is to canvass views from the area on those candidates short-listed for interview and report back to the selection committee. As a general rule this would only be appropriate for key leadership positions.

Where a liaison committee is to be part of the selection process, this must be made clear in the documents to be made available to applicants.

Any member of staff who is a candidate for the position must be excluded from any consultation in relation to the appointment.


A liaison committee is formed within the College or School and would normally consist of a minimum of two members of staff from the area.

The liaison committee nominates a Chair from among its members. All members of the liaison committee are expected to participate in consultation with the college or school and to make themselves available throughout the process (see details below).


Liaison committees are usually used when short listed candidates are invited to present a seminar presentation to the staff within the College or School. The role of the liaison committee may vary from area to area however a liaison committee will normally be expected to:

  • invite members of staff and students of the area to view the curriculum vitae of the short-listed applicants (these will be forwarded to the Chair of the liaison committee by the Chair of the selection committee, and should have personal particulars such as address, phone number, etc removed). The liaison committee must not copy the curriculum vitae. The names of referees and their reports are not to be made available to a liaison committee or to the staff of the school. Referees' reports will be disclosed only to members of the selection committee. A breach of confidentiality may result in discontinuation of the selection process
  • liaise with the Chair of the selection committee on the organisation of the seminar presentations. The liaison committee will be responsible for organising the seminar rooms, ensuring that the requested equipment is available, and staff and student attendance at the seminars, i.e. circulation of seminar details to encourage attendance
  • assign "mentors" to assist outside applicants with finding their way around campus, introducing applicants to area staff and students, tours of the area, organising social functions (if any)
  • canvass the views of the staff and students of the area after the seminar presentations
  • prepare a report to the selection committee including how the views of the area were canvassed and a summary of findings in relation to each candidate ranking applicants in order of preference.

All members of the liaison committee are invited to attend the meeting of the selection committee. This meeting will take place after the applicants have been interviewed by the selection committee. The liaison committee may only make recommendations to the selection committee. It is entirely up to the selection committee to make determinations.


It should be noted that during the liaison process the candidacy of short listed applicants will be revealed to the College or School. Permission must be obtained from the candidates prior to making the curriculum vitae available to staff and students. A candidate cannot be required to participate in the liaison process.

Liaison committees for Directors and College heads

Liaison committees for the appointment of directors and college heads will normally be larger in composition and will also be responsible for canvassing the views of the College/School prior to the commencement of the appointment process.

The liaison committee is expected to consult widely within the College/School and to canvass views on:

  • the qualities the area looks for in a head
  • future directions for the area, in the context of its strategic plan
  • whether an internal or external appointment should be made
  • whether the vacancy should be advertised
  • any names which have been suggested by the area
  • any other points the liaison committee wishes to make.

The selection committee, at its first meeting, meets with the liaison committee. The selection committee will consult with the liaison committee before deciding whether or not the vacancy is to be advertised.

In advance of the meeting with the selection committee, the liaison committee will canvass views of staff and students by means such as formal meetings, email contact or personal contact. A written report by the liaison committee on the matters listed above and the method(s) of consultation employed will be provided to the selection committee.

If the selection committee determines that a college headship or directorship be advertised, the selection committee will also seek the views of the liaison committee in relation to specific names, having given the latter committee sufficient time to take soundings from the area.

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