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Decision of the European Ombudsman in case 990/2020/SF on how the European Personnel Selection Office dealt with a request for review of the points awarded to a candidate in a selection procedure for EU civil servants in the field of information and document security

Dear Mr X,

On 8 June 2020, you submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO), concerning the review of your points in the field-related interview in selection procedure EPSO/AD/364-19-3. You consider the points too low, that the questions asked were not relevant and you are dissatisfied with EPSO’s reply to your review request. You are concerned that EPSO did not carry out a proper review of your points and that it does not have measures in place to avoid errors in selection procedures.

After a careful analysis of all the information you provided with your complaint, we regret to inform you that the Ombudsman finds no maladministration by EPSO.

In your review request to EPSO, you argued that there was a manifest irregularity as the points you received in the field-related interview were too low compared to the points you received in the talent-screener and your results in previous selection procedures.

In its answer, EPSO said that the points in the talent screener are based on objective criteria in the candidate’s application form, whereas the points in the field-related interview are based on the candidate’s answers in the interview. The interview scores therefore depend on the performance that day. Thus, high scores in the talent screener do not necessarily translate into high scores in the field-related interview. EPSO further said that, according to EU case law, candidates cannot challenge a selection board’s assessment based on their results obtained in other selection procedures.

In your review request to EPSO, you also argued that the questions asked in the field-related interview were not relevant.

In its answer, EPSO said that the selection board has a wide discretion concerning the methods and the detailed contents of the tests as well as their assessments.

We consider that EPSO has given you a detailed and correct answer to your review request, referring also to relevant case law. As EPSO said, the breakdown of the points in the competency passport is an adequate and transparent justification of its decision. We know from our long experience in handling complaints against EPSO that EPSO has a very robust review procedure. There is nothing in this case that would indicate any mistake in the procedure.

For these reasons, the Ombudsman has closed the case[1].

We understand that you may be disappointed by this decision, but we hope that the above explanations are nevertheless helpful.

Yours sincerely,


Tina Nilsson
Head of Inquiries - Unit 4

Strasbourg, 26/06/2020


[1] Full information on the procedure and rights pertaining to complaints can be found at