Handling redundancies and redeployments

Planning human resources

  1. Faculties’ and Directorates’ Strategic Plans will include a review of future staffing requirements with the objective of ensuring that they can meet likely changes in the volume and type of workload without the need for redundancies. Future staffing requirements are likely to be affected by retirements and natural turnover, by work volumes and changes in the technical and policy environment, and these should be taken into account when making plans for the future. Union representatives should be invited to comment on any significant staffing changes in Strategic Plans.
  2. Faculties’ and Directorates’ training and development plans should aim to ensure that staff are appropriately prepared to progress to more senior posts within the University. The University’s personal review process is designed to promote a regular dialogue between employees and their line managers about realising their career development potential in ways which support the University’s future requirements.
  3. When considering ways of meeting future staff requirements, Faculty and Directorates should take account of the following options:
    • restructuring jobs to facilitate part-time or job-share applications
    • the introduction or extension of apprenticeship schemes
    • joint appointments with other Faculty or Directorates
    • alternative approaches to recruitment advertising
    • career progression schemes

Reductions in staffing

  1. Where forward planning indicates that a reduction in staffing is likely, the following actions should be considered in consultation with the Directorate of Human Resources, to minimise the need for job losses:
    • Freezing recruitment to posts which fall vacant, with workload being redistributed between other posts, or discontinued
    • Reducing or discontinuing overtime working
    • Reducing the scale of casual or agency staff employment
    • Non-renewal of temporary contracts
    • Redeployment opportunities through the Redeployment Panel
    • Voluntary severance
  2. If these or other preventative measures prove inadequate, and a reduction in the number of existing posts is judged to be required to align staff numbers with organisational needs, selection for possible redundancies will be based on objective criteria, which will be reasonably and fairly applied. Such objective criteria may be related to personal performance, skills, qualifications, attendance/absence, disciplinary history or other work-related factors.
  3. Staff with a disability who are within the pool for selection will not be put at any disadvantage within this process as a consequence of their disability. The University will make the appropriate adjustments to ensure that equal consideration is given. More generally, the University will ensure that no discriminatory criteria are used which infringe the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy.
  4. In the circumstances where a reduction in posts is judged to be required, the relevant Faculties/Directorate(s) will produce a report, demonstrating the reasons why posts are felt to be at risk of redundancy. Where a reduction in posts is linked to the closure of an academic programme or course, the Faculty must ensure that it has implemented all aspects of the closure procedures set out in the Quality and Standards Handbook. Any prior actions that have been taken under paragraph 4 above should be included in the report as should other potential ways of avoiding redundancies, the definition of the pool for selection and, if it is possible, the draft criteria for selection, The Directorate of Human Resources should be consulted and involved in the production of the report.
  5. Where the Directorate of Human Resources and the Faculties/Directorate(s) concerned are agreed on the basis of the report that post losses are likely to occur, an action plan will be drawn up aimed at minimising redundancies and including clear and non-discriminatory criteria for post losses and redundancies. So far as possible, job descriptions and grades for posts within the continuing structure will be included in this action plan.
  6. The report and action plan will be discussed with SMT and then with the appropriate recognised union(s), with a view to reaching agreement. A final report/action plan will then be prepared taking account of comments received, and it will be circulated to all those affected.
  7. A ‘provisional at risk’ consultation meeting will be held with each individual employee who is potentially affected by the job losses, and with the relevant union(s). These meetings will be conducted by the appropriate Dean/Director or a designated deputy and will cover the following topics:
    • the reasons for the proposed job losses/redundancies
    • the numbers and categories of employees who are considered to be at risk
    • the proposed method of implementing any redundancies
    • the time period over which the redundancies will be carried out
    • opportunities for voluntary severance
    • the method of calculating statutory and any non-statutory redundancy payments
    • opportunities for redeployment, including an invitation to be placed immediately on the Redeployment Register, and consideration of “slotting” an employee into a new or continuing role that is the same or broadly comparable to the post that is being lost. (More than 50 percent of the main duties would be expected to be comparable).
  8. The objectives of this consultation are to:
    • reach agreement with employees and/or their representatives on these issues
    • avoid the need for redundancies wherever possible
    • reduce the number of redundancies to a minimum
    • determine the criteria for selecting employees for redundancy
    • mitigate the consequences of any dismissals
  9. Following these meetings, the final selection criteria and the numbers of post losses will be determined by the Faculty/Directorate concerned in consultation with SMT and the Directorate of Human Resources, taking account of the outcomes of the consultative process and any other changes in circumstances affecting the situation. A final ‘at risk’ list of proposed job losses will be drawn up and the individuals and the relevant union(s) informed. All employees on the list will be included on the Redeployment Register, unless they have agreed in writing to terminate their employment through voluntary severance.
  10. Each employee on the final ‘at risk’ list will be invited to a further meeting with the Dean/Director, at which they will be informed of the basis of his/her selection and invited to submit any further representations within 7 days (or as otherwise agreed between the parties). Staff who were previously on the ‘provisional at risk’ list but who are no longer being considered for redundancy will be informed in writing.
  11. Any further representations received within the agreed period will be fully considered before a final decision is made on the number of redundancies and the identity of the employees to be made redundant. The final decision will be conveyed to the staff on the at risk list either in writing or at a meeting convened for that specific purpose. If they have not already done so, they will be invited to submit a full CV and supporting pro forma on redeployment preferences to the Redeployment Panel, and to consider whether they wish to opt for any voluntary severance terms for which they are eligible.
  12. Staff have the right to be accompanied by a friend or union representative in any formal meeting held under this procedure (from point 10 onwards), to discuss possible staffing changes and staffing requirements.

Time limits

  1. The minimum statutory period for consultation between the provisional at risk consultation meeting to the first contract termination is 30 days when less than 100 posts are at risk and 90 days when more than 100 are involved. The University would normally expect to extend these minimum periods to at least three and six months respectively, and will seek to agree a timetable for the process in each case with the union(s) and the staff concerned.

Time off for training or to seek employment

  1. Employees who have been given notice of redundancy will be permitted reasonable time off work with pay to attend training for future employment or to attend job interviews, visit employment agencies or a job centre in connection with new employment. Staff are on notice of redundancy once they have been included on a final ‘at risk’ list. Staff wishing to take time off for these purposes must have the advance permission of their line manager.

Annual leave

  1. Accrued annual leave that has not been taken should normally be taken before a contract terminates by reason of redundancy. A payment in lieu of annual leave will only be made where there is insufficient time before the contract terminates to use the accrued annual leave.

Procedures for Redeployment

  1. It is the University’s policy to refer all posts to the Redeployment Panel before they are released for advertising.
    1. If the Redeployment Panel agrees that there are employees on the Redeployment Register who could perform that role or could perform that role if they were appropriately re-trained, the post will be held and the HR Directorate will upload the vacancy onto the redeployment vacancy webpage.
    2. If none of the employees on the Register express an interest in the post, then it will be released for advertisement. If an employee on the Register is interested in the post, they should complete and return an application form to redeployment@brookes.ac.uk If the redeployee would like to discuss the post informally with the line manager before submitting an application, they should contact redeployment@brookes.ac.uk (ext 4501) to make the necessary arrangements. The Chair of the interview panel named on the advert pack, will be asked by the HR Directorate to shortlist any employees that apply.
    3. If the employee is shortlisted a redeployment interview will be held which will consist of a minimum of three panel members, one of whom must be the link HR Business Partner or a nominated deputy. If the panel feel that the candidate is appropriately qualified and experienced or that ,with appropriate training, could successfully fulfil the requirements of the role, the employee will be offered the post. The chair of the panel should complete an Appointment Panel Report Form from the HR Intranet site, and send it to the link HR Business Partner so that a contract of employment can be produced.  The member of staff concerned will then be taken off the redeployment register.
    4. If the employee maintains an interest in the post but the Interview Panel members do not feel that he/she would be able to perform the role adequately after further training, the Chair of the Panel should provide written reasons for this decision.  Any panel member who does not agree with the chair should provide a reasoned statement to the link HR Business Partner as to why they believe that the candidate could perform the role.
    5. The views of the Interview Panel members will be sent to the Director of Human Resources who will determine whether the panel’s decision should be upheld, in consultation with the SMT and the relevant Dean/Director.
    6. Employees who are redeployed will be given appropriate training aimed at enabling them to perform satisfactorily in the new post. After a three month ‘trial period’, either the employee or the Faculty/Directorate may decide to offer objective reasons why the employee is not suitable for the post. The employee or the Faculty/Directorate should make a submission to that effect to the Registrar, via the HR Director. The DVC and Registrar will make the final decision as to whether the member of staff will continue to be employed by the Faculty/Directorate, or whether the employee should revert to the Redeployment Panel. If the Registrar agrees that an employee should be referred back to the Redeployment Panel, a further three months will be allowed for a suitable redeployment opportunity. During this period, the individual will remain in the post to which they were originally redeployed. At the end of this period, if no suitable post has been identified, the employee will be redundant. It will be open to the Registrar to extend the period allowed for further redeployment by mutual agreement with the redeployee.
    7. The University will seek to redeploy staff at risk of redundancy to a post which carries a similar level of responsibility and remuneration. Where this is not possible and a person is redeployed to a post at a lower grade they will have their salary maintained for a period of up to two years, while further attempts are made to identify a suitable post at the original grade. During this time the member of staff will benefit from cost of living increases but will not benefit from incremental progression. After being in post for two years, salary protection will cease and the salary will be reduced to the top of the CRISP points for the post. Where a person is redeployed to a post at a higher grade, the individual will be paid on the higher grade.
    8. The University will seek to redeploy all other staff on the redeployment register. Where a person is redeployed to a post at a higher grade, the individual will be paid on the higher grade. Where a person is redeployed to a post at a lower grade the individual will be paid on the relevant spine point of the lower grade dependent on skills and competence.

Voluntary severance

  1. From time to time the University may offer a Voluntary Severance Scheme for specific types of staff or Faculties/Directorates which staff may apply for. Voluntary Severance is always subject to substantial cost savings being made as a result of the voluntary severance payment being made and must have the agreement of the Dean/Director, HR Directorate, Director of Finance and Legal Services and the Vice-Chancellor. It is the responsibility of Deans/Directors to ensure that there are no further costs associated with any re-employment that may be agreed such as future redundancy pay, before signing off their agreement for an individual to receive a voluntary severance payment. When an individual receives voluntary severance the post that they vacate cannot be refilled.

Redundancy pay

  1. Redundant employees who have a minimum of two years’ continuous service with the University will normally be entitled to statutory redundancy pay, which will be calculated as set out in the appropriate legislation according to the individual employee’s age, length of service and weekly pay.

Pension

  1. Redundancy may affect an individual’s pension depending on the pension scheme and the age of the individual for example. Staff are strongly advised to speak to the University Pensions Administrator if they have any questions about their pension entitlement in the event of a possible or actual redundancy.

 

Updated June 2013