University of Brighton
Organisational Change Toolkit
Managers Guidance on Organisational Change (Restructuring/ reorganisation and measures which
can be taken to avoid (or minimise) redundancies and the relevant collective and individual
Restructuring / Reorganisation Flow Chart*
TOOL 1 Writing a rationale for change
TOOL 2 Consultation Processes – Advice / Guidance
TOOL 3 Restructuring - Terminology and Processes
TOOL 4 Practical advice and guidance on the consultation process during a restructure
TOOL 5 Redeployment: Suitable alternative employment
TOOL 6 Minimising and Avoiding Redundancies
TOOL 7 Statutory provisions for consulting in redundancy situations
N.B. Please click on links to take you directly to the appropriate section in the document.
*Note: This document is mainly concerned with restructuring/reorganisation rather than managing
potential redundancy situations.
Managers are advised to seek advice and guidance from the Human Resources Department.
For potential redundancy situations the consultation and implementation processes may vary.
Further details are in cover in Tools 6 and 7.
Manager is a generic term which also includes heads of school/ dean as appropriate.
I am a manager looking at restructuring or
reorganising within my area. I need to
produce a rationale/business case for these
changes for approval.
Are you confident that you know what needs
to be included?
You will need to discuss this proposal with
your line manager who will then seek SMT
I need to be sure I know exactly what has to be
- Use TOOL 1 to help identify all the appropriate
headings and contact your HR Adviser for support
and assistance as necessary.
Consultation with the Trade Unions begins. Your HR Adviser will support you
through this process.
Consultation document is required for (a) consultation at Common
Interest Group/ Joint Negotiating Committee (b) consultation with
staff. Use TOOL 2 for advice and guidance of what is required.
Produce a timetable for the implementation and consultation process
Produce a new structure chart identifying new posts, changed and
You will need slotting, ring fencing and selection criteria; identify any
‘at risk posts’. TOOL 3 and TOOL 4 will help you with this.
Job descriptions are required for new and changed posts
Supporting information will be needed for the grading panels for the
purpose of grading any new posts
Begin formal consultation process with staff.
TOOL 4 will give you some practical advice and guidance on the consultation
Redeployment / suitable alternatives may need to be considered.
Use TOOL 5 to assist with this.
Agreed contractual changes implemented by
Human Resources Department
Approval has not been
granted. I need to work
on my proposal.
There may be a potential redundancy situation. Use
TOOL 6 and TOOL 7 for advice on this situation.
DO NOT PROCEED WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR
Writing a rationale for change -
for consideration by a senior manager / Dean / SMT member
When a manager has identified the need to change how a service, function, system, process is
currently being carried out they should discuss this with their line manager (e.g. senior manager/
Dean/ SMT member) and if accepted in principle, they should then start to draft a rationale for
change. The manager should also seek early advice from the Human Resources Department about
how to plan for change and manage any impact on staff.
The rationale will need to clearly identify the reasons for change/costs attached to a proposed
restructure. The content should include any proposed strategic or operational changes and related
impacts on staffing and budgets. This rationale for change should be approved at a more senior (or
strategic level), prior to undertaking any future grading work or proposed formal staff consultation
with the trade unions.
These following headings are a guide for the type of planning and preparation to be considered
when preparing a ‘business case’ for organisational change, which may also arise from academic
planning and changes to the academic portfolio. The number of headings will depend on the scale
and complexity of the restructure (e.g. reviewing a school or a service is more complex than
restructuring one team). The information can be summarised and used as a basis for the trade
unions and staff formal consultation document and further guidance is given in Tool 2.
The headings are as follows:
Reasons for the proposals/change and how this supports the university’s aims and
Results of any service/ structural review, supporting information (including pre identified
internal/external drivers for change) and anticipated impacts on the service and proposed
course of action
How many roles will be affected, structure chart before and after (grades can be proposed
for costing purposes only)
Relevant management information on posts:
o arranged by 1) current affected roles and 2) proposed future roles and include
service area/ team which confirms the number and type of posts by post title, grade,
FTE, summary salary and staff on-costs. Employees names should not be included
at this stage.
Proposed selection method and detail for filling posts in the structure e.g. by service area/
team - the staff in ring fences /to be slotted/any deleted posts/ reduced grades/ vacancies/
new posts. Where there are new posts/ vacancy posts when would they be filled.
Arrangements for staff displaced to be linked to redeployment
Phasing arrangements and approximate timetable from consultation to implementation
Deleted work - where has this gone/who will cover it
Reduced grade - what work has been removed and impact on grade –likely change
Other options considered and dismissed with reasons why
Costs, savings, anticipated efficiencies, service improvements, identified impacts and
support required to implement changes (estates/ IT/ HR/ H&S/ legal/ finance), any
retirement/ redundancy costs (if relevant)
Training of managers/heads/ staff – e.g. managing change training need, other change
related training identified
Equality impact assessment – first draft currently under consideration by the manager
Clear project plan (key milestones/ any other approvals needed e.g. SMT, implementation
dates for starting communication and consultation with staff and the trade unions, also the
proposed start date for the new arrangements some examples are provided below.
Job descriptions/ grade and recruitment process – proposed grades and anticipated cost
Communication plan (trade unions and staff) – at least under consideration
Communication with marketing and communications: for students/ customers/ external
media (if potentially sensitive)
Any risk to university reputation/ governance issues (SMT/Board issues)
For school mergers, or structural changes within a central department, the head would be
responsible for preparing the consultation plan and managing implementation process;
working in consultation with the Human Resources Department and trade unions.
On other occasions the Vice-Chancellor has written to staff in schools advising them of the
proposal, at the same time as consulting the trade unions at formal meetings. .
Both the Human Resources Department and the trade unions have a role to play in
supporting managers and staff, where the planning process identifies a significant change to
job roles, terms and conditions of service, working practices which may need a formal
consultation process leading up to the proposed date of change.
It is also good practice to start early communication between the Human Resources
Department, trade unions, managers and staff (before the formal staff consultation process
starts) by using the university’s Common Interest Group meetings, or local opportunities in
between. The guidance in Tool 2 will provide practical guidance on how these staffing
impacts can be managed.
Consultation Processes – Advice / Guidance
When leading on organisational change or a restructure it is advised that the manager seeks advice
from their HR Adviser prior to drafting a formal consultation paper with regards to:
Communication - how to start communicating the need for change to staff, whether to seek
ideas and contributions about how the current arrangements can be improved (e.g. an
organisational review), or if the strategic decision has already been taken (e.g. new IT
system or way of working), how the proposed changes would be implemented at an
operational level (subject to staff consultation as needed). This could be the early stage of
consultation with staff (i.e. in overview rather than the actual impact on individuals) and may
involve other areas (schools/ central departments) although these type of are outside the
scope of this guidance. Managers are advised to contact their HR Adviser prior to starting
any communication, particularly where there are staffing impacts and further support is
The Human Resources Department can provide advice on any formal consultation and
implementation issues stated below.
Considering the need for an equality impact assessment for the restructure (ideally prior to
starting any formal collective consultation) and the documentation a manager would need to
prepare (with Human Resources Department advice).
Identifying staffing impacts on existing structures (posts and staff). Examples include
changes to job design and job descriptions (by adding or removing duties and
responsibilities), adding new posts or deleting them in the structure and identifying where
there are grading issues (for new or significantly changed existing posts).
Agreeing the proposed approach to consultation and implementation. For example how staff
will be moved into the new structure (e.g. ring fence selection or slotting), considering how
the trade unions and staff will be formally consulted and the timescales attached to any
consultation process and implementation timetable.
Starting formal consultation with the trade unions and affected staff (with advice from the
Human Resources Department throughout the process).
Drafting a Formal Staff Consultation Paper
This Tool is a guide; the exact content of the formal staff consultation report for organisational
change would be agreed with your HR Adviser. It is important that adequate information is provided
to inform the trade unions and staff of the reasons for the proposed change and how this will affect
them individually. Supporting information such as structure charts and job descriptions should be
attached to the consultation paper.
The formal consultation paper should provide relevant information which outlines the reason for the
change, what the change means for the function or service, how the structure/ways of working need
to change, the proposed staffing structure and job descriptions which will deliver this. Normally the
affected posts will only be identified as faculty/ department/ team name, post title, grade and FTE at
this stage. This is because where staff are placed “at risk” of redundancy (due to a ring fence) there
is a need to consult further and to reach agreement with the trade unions.
Existing staff will be identified at appropriate points for the purposes of collective consultation (e.g.
slotting first and then ring fencing) and this information would be based on the current structure
The paper would also cover how the staff will be consulted, how they can feedback their views to
the relevant manager (or the trade unions representative) and the fact that the consultation is
designed to be fair, open and meaningful. This means that managers/heads will be expected to
have considered and provided an adequate response to any issues raised by trade unions and staff
feedback in writing, before the selection stage goes ahead.
In addition equality impact assessments may need to be undertaken at an appropriate stage and
this can be mentioned in the paper. Further advice can be provided by your HR Adviser.
It is important that key timelines are included in this document to provide a framework for the
process. The three key areas are:
1) The closing date for responses and the final date/planned time period when the consultation
should aim to be completed by;
2) The proposed date for any ring fence interviews/selection process (or planned time period) and
when staff that have been slotted will have their position confirmed;
3) The final implementation date for the new structure (i.e. when the new arrangements will
The paper should also confirm that staff have the right to be accompanied or represented a trade
union representative or work colleague/person.
The timescales for consultation should be adequate to enable the trade unions and staff to consider
the proposal. As a guide two to three weeks would normally be sufficient for stages 1 and 2 (but
this could be varied by agreement with the trade unions). Any further timings would depend on the
project plan (see rationale for change) and timings would depend on each case.
Grading processes (Support Staff)
Once the content of the jobs has been identified and revised/new job descriptions produced, this
information along with a structure chart and the business case needs to go to a new/ vacant panel
to have the grades agreed. Please see attached link for the new and vacant post grading
procedure for more details
There may be situations where managers want to vary job descriptions for reasons either linked to
personal development, or role interchange/ flexibility for school/ service reasons. This can either be
included when a role becomes vacant, or as part of normal day- to-day discussions with members of
Managers are advised that they have an obligation to consult staff if varying (or updating) job
descriptions and should respond in a reasonable way to any concerns raised. Such changes are
unlikely to need a review of the grade, but the Human Resources Department can provide further
advice as needed.
Changes to job title must be agreed with individual post holders as this constitutes a contractual
Formal staff consultation process
Once the grades and job descriptions are complete the next stage is for the manager to plan the
formal consultation process with the trade unions and staff and the selection arrangements whereby
staff can be moved into the new structure. The manager would need to agree the ring fence and
slotting arrangements with the Human Resources Department and then summarise the details into
a brief consultation paper to start formal collective consultation with the trade unions and staff. This
would normally be shared with the trade unions at Common Interest Group meetings/ Joint
Negotiating Committee for consultation purposes. The Human Resources Department can advise
further, if the dates do not coincide other arrangements would be made to consult the trade unions.
Further details of the principles and terminology used to determine the staffing arrangements are
covered in Tool 3.
Terminology - A Guide to Definitions
Restructuring - Terminology and Processes
The most practical way to plan and manage a restructure is to apply a top down approach,
identifying posts that are likely to be affected by the proposed changes. This tool provides a guide to
the terminology which is likely to be used in the formal staff consultation paper.
Phasing – top down approach
This can be applied, depending on the extent of the change, whereby the new structure is filled in
phases which normally start with the senior positions first. This top down approach enables the
principle of prior consideration to be applied and ensures that any ring fence and promotion
opportunities are managed in a fair and consistent way.
Slotting – no change to posts
This would be applied to posts which can be matched by reviewing the old and new structures by
identifying where there are the same number of posts, with the same grade and content. In these
cases the post’s duties would remain largely unaffected by the change. This can be assessed by
reviewing the main areas of responsibility and selection criteria in the job description. If there was a
significant match between the old and new post - slotting would be applied. If the role has changed
in a minor way this could be reassessed by a grading panel.
The grade would normally be the same. If the job is deemed to have changed substantially and the
post was assessed at a higher grade this would be a promotion opportunity which must be covered
by a process of selection, or a post re-grading depending on the circumstances. This would be
agreed as part of the organisational change process.
Staff who are slotted should be consulted in the same way as other affected staff and they would be
transferred to the new structure (without a ring fence or selection process) and would be confirmed
Any contractual changes should be confirmed in writing by the Human Resources Department
ideally before the transfer, or at least within one month of change. Examples of a change would be
an impact on pay, working arrangements, revised job title, place of work, faculty/school/ department.
Job descriptions should ideally be reviewed soon after the change to ensure this accurately reflects
Ring fence – pools (e.g. more people than posts)
Normally applies where there are broadly similar posts in the old and new structure (e.g. where
grade and essential criteria of the posts are the same/similar) and there is a need to limit who can
For example where there are more people than posts for roles at the same/ similar level, or type of
generic role within a relevant service area e.g. Administration Assistant, Human Resources
Assistant, Technician. A ring fence would be normally be identified by post or a group of posts.
The ring fence would encompass both full and part-time permanent staff. Fixed term and temporary
staff will be included if the end date of their contract crosses over the date of the proposed new
The implications of a ring fence are to start to place staff “at risk” of redundancy (as an early stage)
until they are selected to join the new structure. This may create some staff anxiety and
managers/heads are advised to seek early advice from their HR Adviser about ring fencing/
selection arrangements prior to starting any formal trade unions/ staff consultation.
Expressing a preference during the selection process
As part of the selection process linked to either ring fencing, or promotion opportunities, staff would
be expected to evidence how they meet the selection criteria by completing a brief pro-forma and
discussing this at interview. Managers/heads are expected to interview and assess the member of
staff in the normal way. The maximum number of roles staff can be considered for would have to be
agreed as part of the consultation process and applied consistently through the restructure.
Any new or vacant posts would normally be held back until the end of the restructure unless there
was an appropriate reason to fill the post earlier. Relevant examples would be to accommodate a
displaced member of staff, there was an urgent business need to fill the post or the post was
outside the scope of the review.
Staff eligible to apply for a promotion would be identified as part of a ring fence consultation
arrangement. This would normally apply to staff in the prior consideration group within one grade
below the higher graded role. Any arrangement beyond this would depend on the individual
circumstances of the restructure.
This would exclude staff who were slotted who could apply at the end once any vacant posts were
advertised. If a higher graded employee was displaced following an earlier part of the restructuring
selection exercise, they may be considered before lower graded staff (as part of a ring fence/ prior
consideration process - see below), before a redeployment/ finding alternative employment exercise
Competitive interview process - new posts and promotions
This process would be applied to new posts or promotion opportunities. New posts can be
advertised in the normal way at the end of implementation. Posts which are promotion opportunities
would normally be advertised internally first and this would be carried out as part of the restructure.
Prior consideration for staff who are likely to be placed at risk of redundancy as a result of
This principle applies whereby staff with the appropriate skills and experience who are “at risk” of
being displaced at their level/ grade, or have not been successful in securing a post following a ring
fence exercise are given prior consideration above other internal staff. This is particularly important
for new posts, or promotion opportunities where there may be further competition.
These staff cannot automatically apply for lower graded posts in the structure due to the impact on
lower graded staff. If they are not successful in a ring fence exercise they could be considered for
new posts in the revised structure, or be provided with support in finding redeployment, or suitable
alternative employment within the university.
Where redeployment is an outcome, salary protection may be applied depending on the
circumstances. If there is no successful outcome of the redeployment exercise, their future
employment with the university would be “at risk” and they may be dismissed in accordance with the
university’s Suspension and Dismissal procedure.
Deleted posts or removing duties from posts
Where an activity needs to cease this may result in a post being deleted or a post’s job description
and grade having to be reassessed by a grading panel. If this situation arises managers/heads
should seek early advice from the Human Resources Department. Examples of relevant changes
would be discontinuing an academic programme, or changing the way a service is delivered due to
changes in working practices.
Staff who are ‘Acting up’ (internal secondment/other)
Staff who are acting up into a higher graded role (or carrying out a similar internal arrangement)
would normally be considered for roles based on their substantive grade/ posts. Exceptions to this
would be where an employee has been carrying out the role for over two years (with continuous
service) and they were recruited into the role following an advertisement and interview. Further
advice can be obtained from the HR Adviser.
Requests from staff: opportunities for change
Where appropriate, restructures may provide staff with the opportunity to request a reduction in
hours, early retirement, flexible or phased retirement. Requests should be dealt with sensitively and
with due consideration including the cost and benefit to the university, the number of requests and
the needs of the university. The Human Resources Department would work with employees and
managers/heads where requests are made.
Practical advice and guidance on the consultation process during a
Individual consultation with staff during a restructure is essential. This is because a planned
restructure may impact on a member of staff’s terms and conditions of employment (examples of
this are changes in job title/ job description/ location/line reports, etc). An employer is legally
obliged to consult with staff on all contractual changes and to try any agree these by consensus.
If a line manager does not carry out such consultation, and the change is deemed to be imposed
unilaterally, this may lead to a grievance, or the risk of the member of staff claiming constructive
dismissal against the university. Should a re-structure lead to the individual being made redundant,
without appropriate consultation, the university would be at risk of a claim of unfair dismissal.
Consultation involves the line manager explaining to each member of staff reasons why a
restructure is required and to give the member of staff the opportunity to express their views, to
raise any questions, and to discuss how the changes are likely to affect them personally.
Consulting with staff means considering what they have to say and not dismissing it out of hand.
Genuine engagement with the member of staff is required.
There are no set rules regarding the numbers of meetings that need to be held. What is appropriate
will depend on the scope and complexity of the restructure. Typically, this would involve the
An initial meeting with staff to announce the restructure. At this meeting, you would set out
the background and explain why this was necessary. Describe the differences between the
current and proposed structure and how it would affect your department/ school.
Staff should be encouraged, at the meeting to put forward any suggestions that they may
have. They can ask any questions or raise any concerns, although it would be prudent to
deal with any individual concerns at the follow up individual meetings.
In individual meetings with staff to discuss their options and how decisions for ring fencing/
slotting/ etc were reached and the criteria for selection in any competitive processes.
Planning for interviews and selection (Tool 3 provides further information).
Once all the slotting in/ interviews have been completed, and the selection process is
completed, ensure that all individual members of staff are aware of how they fit into the new
Following this make an announcement to the team giving them the outcomes and setting out
a time table for implementing the changes.
Human Resources must be informed of all contractual changes agreed through the
consultation period and the Human Resources Department will formally confirm these
changes to staff and arrange for any post changes to be implemented. Please provide a
copy of an updated structure.
Redeployment: Suitable alternative employment
The university is obliged to take reasonable steps to find alternative employment for staff who may
otherwise be dismissed by reason of redundancy as a consequence of any restructure. Failure to
do so could make a dismissal unfair. The Redeployment Procedure is available on Staff central.
Any dismissal by reason of redundancy, expiry and non-renewal of a fixed term contract would only
apply after consultation and would follow the university’s Suspension and Dismissal procedures.
Staff should be made aware when their future employment is at risk and what steps can be taken to
mitigate this (e.g. redeployment). They also have the right to be accompanied by a person of their
choosing at any formal meetings (e.g. a trade union representative).
The Human Resources Department can provide further advice about practice and procedures on
Tool 6 is a brief overview of the measures that the university can take to avoid or minimise
redundancies. This guidance is based on the “Acas Digest on Job Security” which stemmed from
the JNCHES national pay negotiations (2009-10), a copy of which is also included.
Tool 7 relates to the provisions required for the statutory consultation process (both collective and
individual) and the related timescales.
Further advice about how to manage a potential redundancy situation and plan the consultation and
implementation process will be provided by the Human Resources Department.
Minimising and Avoiding Redundancies
1. Local measures which can be taken to avoid or minimise redundancy
The university will seek to manage its staffing levels by using strategic workforce planning, whereby
the faculties, schools and departments seek to match the level of academic, research and support
staff they need in order to meet existing commitments and future plans. This provides some
flexibility and avoids the need to reduce staffing levels and as well as manage areas such as natural
wastage and staff turnover, retirements, external funding (e.g. fixed term contracts), staff
development and succession planning. However given the uncertain nature of HE (external funding
and demand for teaching, research and related support staff), this can be difficult to predict in the
long term and in some cases the university needs for posts may be outweighed by budget or other
When these situations arise and it is expected there is a need to manage (or reduce staff/ posts)
and the following options can be used to try and avoid (or to minimise) potential job losses. This
could also include seeking links with partner institutions, including universities is the surrounding
counties (South East) for recruitment purposes, which may help identify external recruitment
opportunities when academic and research staff may need to be redeployed. The individuals would
need to apply in their own right but the university may provide some support in preparing the
The following measures which can be considered are:
Using natural wastage (i.e. staff turnover)
A recruitment freeze (whereby the work is redistributed to other posts, or is ceased). If
internal only recruitment is retained, this can be used to support internal movement of staff
including staff seeking redeployment.
Review the scope for making savings in non-staff budgets, or seeking alternative funding in
the case to funded projects.
The need for overtime working may be reviewed (stopping or reducing)
The continued use of short term workers (e.g. agency, casual or external contractors) may
Temporary contracts may not be extended
Opportunities for redeployment and retraining
Opportunities for retraining staff whose skills are no longer needed but they could be
consulted and moved to another part of the institution
The use of secondments
These are the normal measures which can be considered. If further measures were needed
additional consideration would be given to opportunities for reduced hours; job share; sabbaticals;
voluntary redundancy/ early retirement and these would be packaged as needed for each situation.
2. The Acas Digest on Job Security and measures which can be taken to avoid or minimise
Acas Digest on Job Security
Acas has facilitated a series of meetings between UCEA and the trade unions. At
these meetings, the trade unions have expressed their concerns and their desire for
a national approach on the handling of job security. UCEA has explained the
constraints upon its mandate, which is to seek to negotiate a national pay agreement
to apply to staff covered by the single pay spine; it has no mandate on behalf of the
HE employers to enter into a national agreement in the area of job security and the
handling of potential redundancies in HEIs. The management of staffing matters, be
it in recruitment, promotion or in the handling of any staff reductions is a matter for
each HEI as an independent employer.
This paper presents some of the statutory requirements and also outlines additional points for
employers and employee representatives to consider as appropriate. These points have been
raised in discussions; they are not all shared.
A Joint Acas and CIPD guidance note is drawn on here to highlight three key points,
following which particular perspectives are added from either UCEA or the trade
unions which are the specific viewpoints of those parties.
1. Redundancy Handling booklet, Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, April 2009
2. How to manage your workforce in a recession: a joint Acas and CIPD guidance note, 2009.
Key point 1 – Consult with your workforce and their representatives
UCEA notes the following from the Acas / CIPD guidance note as relevant for
HEIs’ consideration when dealing with collective redundancies:
Consult representatives about ways to avoid redundancies, reducing the number to be
dismissed and mitigating the consequences of any redundancies. The consultation must
take place with a view to reaching an agreement.
Recognise the difficult but key role that representatives have to play.
In addition, UCEA suggests consideration is given to:
Informing wider stakeholders, including student representatives
Engaging in dialogue with local TU representatives to discuss long-term financial
sustainability, organisational change and workforce planning
Ensuring that there is a good understanding of a particular institution’s context and
The legal requirements of a collective redundancy consultation are that the
employer provides certain information, including:
Reasons for the proposals
Numbers and descriptions of employees whom it is proposed to dismiss as redundant
Total number of employees of that description employed by the employer at the
establishment in question
Proposed method of selecting the employees who are at risk of dismissal
Proposed method of carrying out the dismissals, with due regard to any procedure, including
the period over which the dismissals are to take effect.
(Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, s188)
In addition, the trade unions suggest HEIs consider the following points:
Conduct equality impact assessments and consult unions to ensure prior consideration on
whether the proposals have a disproportionate effect on either gender, black and ethnic
minority staff, disabled staff, and staff of different ages
Carry out individual consultations with those staff affected (ensuring staff are aware they are
entitled to be accompanied by a trade union representative)
Advise on the proposed method of calculating the amount of any redundancy payments to
be made to employees who may be dismissed.
The trade unions also suggest that information beyond the statutory
requirements may be helpful, such as:
Statistics on staff turnover for previous years
Lists of vacancies on a regular basis
Details of the institution’s current financial position
Details of the redundancy appeals procedure.
Key point 2 – think long term
UCEA notes the following from the Acas / CIPD guidance note as relevant for
HEIs’ consideration when dealing with collective redundancies:
Think creatively about how to reduce employment costs, such as new ways of working and
Remember that making people redundant and recruiting again later when the market picks
up is expensive.
Protect and make the most of the training budget – focus resources on key areas such as
improving line management capability and customer service.
Bear in mind your long-term reputation.
In addition, the trade unions suggest HEIs consider the following points:
Inform and consult with the trade unions at the earliest opportunity
Seek all possible opportunities for redeployment (including, where necessary, retraining) to
other parts of the organisation
Provide careers advice and training in transferrable skills, where practicable
Seek alternative funding, e.g. where funding for a particular project has expired.
Key point 3 – think about ways to minimise redundancies
UCEA notes the following drawn from the Acas / CIPD guidance note as
relevant for HEIs’ consideration when dealing with collective redundancies:
Take advantage of natural wastage and/or offer voluntary redundancy terms – redundancies
can have a serious negative impact on morale and performance.
Cut back recruitment and review your use of temporary staff.
Retrain employees whose skills are no longer in demand and redeploy employees to other
parts of the organisation where possible.
Reduce or eliminate overtime working.
Consider short-time working, temporary lay-offs or sabbaticals.
Encourage staff to suggest how jobs can be done more efficiently and costs saved.
In addition, the trade unions suggest HEIs consider the following points:
Try to make savings in non-staff budgets and to achieve any unavoidable reduction of staff
levels by natural wastage
Review the use of external contractors, where practicable
Consider volunteers for part-time working or job-sharing
Consider volunteers for redundancy including, where practicable, from areas of work where
other potentially redundant staff possess transferable experience and skills to enable
Consider ring-fencing vacancies, where this is practicable, to internal applicants otherwise
likely to be made redundant
Establish a redeployment procedure that ensures staff at risk of redundancy are aware of
and can be considered for suitable posts [Note -The university has a redeployment policy for
Minimise potential redundancies by such means as utilising transferable skills and
maximising redeployment options. Including the potential for retraining.
Statutory provisions for consulting in redundancy situations
Where the university is faced with a potential redundancy situation there are certain statutory
provisions it has to comply with under S.188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations
(Consolidation) Act 1992 and subsequent legislation. The statutory provisions are that any
proposals should be communicated to the trade unions as early as possible, with a view to reaching
The main provisions of the legislation are:
avoiding the dismissals;
reducing the numbers of employees to be dismissed; and
mitigating the consequences of the dismissals.
For the purposes of statutory consultation the manager (as advised by the Human Resources
Department) will need to disclose in writing to the trade union representatives (and affected
employees) the following information:
The reasons for the proposed redundancies;
The numbers and descriptions of staff whom it is proposed to dismiss as redundant;
The total number of staff of that description employed at the establishment;
The proposed method of selecting the staff who may be selected for redundancy;
The proposed method of carrying out the dismissals, having due regard to any agreed
procedure and the proposed timing of them;
The proposed method of calculating the amount of any redundancy payments to be made to
staff who may be dismissed.
In addition further information would need to be provided on agency workers (namely the number of
agency workers, the areas of the university they are working in and the type of work they are
covering) in redundancy situations. Further advice should be sought from the Human Resources
Department on these issues.
The above information should be delivered to the trade union representatives, or sent by post to an
address notified by the employer (employees), or to the trade unions main or head office. The trade
union consultation should then start at the earliest possible opportunity.
The purpose of collective consultation is to consult trade union representatives of any affected
employees in terms of the proposed dismissals and any measures connected to these dismissals.
Therefore collective consultation should include any ways of avoiding dismissals, reducing the
number of employees to be dismissed and mitigating the effects of dismissal.
Individual consultation with affected staff also needs to be carried out and these staff have the right
to be accompanied by a trade union representative.
Local procedures for alternatives to redundancy such as the rights of appeal against selection for
redundancy (and/or appeal against dismissal due to redundancy), redeployment, time off to look for
work, provisions for training and annual leave will also be included at relevant times during the
consultation and implementation process.
Consultation should be carried out with a view to reaching agreement with the trade union
representatives (even where there are volunteers). Failure to consult may lead to a complaint to the
Employment Tribunal, which if upheld will require the university to pay a protective award up to 90
days’ pay in certain circumstances.
The timescales for collective consultation are:
Where between 20 and 99 redundancies are proposed at one establishment within 30
days, (at least 30 days before the first dismissal is to take effect); and
Where 100 or more redundancies are to arise at one establishment within 90 days, at least
90 days before the first dismissal is to take effect.
Other relevant information
The university recognises two trade unions (Unison and UCU) for the purpose of collective
consultation for proposed redundancies and the dialogue would normally start during the
formal trade union meetings (consultative groups or joint negotiating committee)
Where the number of redundancies is above 20 employees the Human Resources
Department will need to notify BIS via a Section 188 statutory notice.
Where less than 20 employees are to be made redundant, the general principle of consulting
in good time would be applied which means as early as possible.
There are other areas of good practice which can be included in the consultation information and
further details are available in the Acas Code on Redundancy Handling.