Redundancy policy


1. Due to changes in the economic or technological environment or for business related reasons, the University may need to reduce the number of its employees. Unfortunately, this may necessitate employee redundancies and changes to the university structure.

2. This policy sets out the University’s approach to conducting a redundancy exercise. Where possible, the University will always endeavour to avoid redundancies by exploring alternatives to compulsory redundancy first. However, where they are unavoidable, the University aims to keep the impact to a minimum.

3. The Quality & Standards Handbook covers procedures that must also be followed for the closure or suspension of recruitment to taught programmes, including those delivered through collaborative arrangements. Both procedures will normally operate simultaneously.

4. The University is committed to meeting its legal obligations to undertake meaningful consultation with recognised trade unions and individuals, to provide support through what can be a distressing time.

5. The University is aware of the statutory obligations in respect of redundancies provided for by the following pieces of legislation:

  • Equality Act 2010
  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 and
  • Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

Alternatives to redundancy

6. The University will take steps to explore all other alternatives that are suitable to maintain the needs of the University. Whenever circumstances allow, these will be explored before staff are placed at risk of compulsory redundancy. The particular measures to be taken will depend on the exact circumstances at the time a decision is made.  However, the measures in Appendix 1 will be explored and considered.

Voluntary Severance

7.  When a redundancy exercise is proposed, the University may take the initial step of inviting applications for voluntary severance for a restricted period of time.  This will be entirely at the University’s discretion and details of the voluntary severance scheme will be given at the time.

8. The final decision on accepting a voluntary severance application will be made by the University and employees must be aware that redundancy severance will not necessarily lead to an approval of that application. The University may deem that the skills, capabilities and workload of others in the team are such that it would be detrimental to the University’s future prospects if they were no longer available. In these circumstances, the application is likely to be denied.

Consultation and information duties

9. A business case proposal will be completed by the relevant Dean(s) or Director(s). This is subject to VCG agreement before any consultation can begin, where there are proposed redundancies.  This includes individual and collective redundancy proposals. During the consultation meetings with the Trade Unions, alternatives to redundancy should be considered (see Appendix 1). It is recommended that an equality impact assessment be carried out during the consultation process.

10. Business cases must not contain identifiable data such as names of individuals but use post titles if appropriate. Confidentiality of business case proposals must be maintained prior to impacted staff being made aware of the proposed changes.

11. No business case needs to be submitted for an end of fixed term contract due to redundancy (unless part of a wider redundancy or restructure process or the FTC is coming to an end before its end date).

12. Once VCG have agreed the business case proposal, the lead manager will share details of the proposal, including timelines where practical, with the recognised Trade Unions.  Any business case proposal remains strictly confidential prior to any consultation starting until impacted staff are informed.

13. The minimum consultation periods detailed below will be followed; however, the University reserves the right to increase the length of consultation period at any stage where appropriate, such as in a complex situation where it is deemed necessary to ensure meaningful consultation. Time frames will be dependent on the complexity of the situation and will be communicated, having also been discussed with any relevant unions. Consultation with Trade Unions will also take place if redundancies are proposed for less than 20 employees.

  • 20 to 99 redundancies - the consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals take effect.
  • 100 or more redundancies - the consultation must start at least 45 days before any dismissals take effect.

Individual consultation meetings

14. A period of individual consultation meetings will be conducted for those employees who have been placed “at risk” of redundancy. During the consultation period, the employee will be informed of the University’s proposed approach to the redundancy, including why their role has been selected as being “at risk” of redundancy, and they will have the opportunity to explore the reasons for the selection, submit counter proposals and ask questions.  Staff can have more than one individual meeting during this consultation period.

15. Individual and collective consultation periods may overlap.

Statutory information (prior to collective consultation starting)

16. An HR1 form must be completed for each campus or site where 20 or more redundancies are proposed. This form needs to be sent to the Insolvency Department and the union representatives prior to collective consultation starting. The Insolvency department must receive this form completed before the first dismissal and before any individual notices of dismissal are issued. Responsibility for submission of this form lies with the Chief People Officer (or delegated other).

17. The following information will be outlined in the section 188 letter and business case:

  • the business reason(s) for the proposed redundancies
  • the outline and specifics of those affected including numbers of employees and divisions
  • the methods that are being suggested to select those to be made redundant
  • the methods that are being suggested to conduct the proposed redundancies
  • the time frame in which the redundancy dismissals will occur
  • suggested proposals for formulating redundancy payments, in the event of non-statutory payments being made
  • the volume and usage of agency workers working with the University in the affected areas
  • the nature of work conducted by the agency workers.

18. The University is committed to the full involvement of employees and their recognised trade union representatives throughout any redundancy exercise and sufficient time will be allocated to ensure consultation is meaningful.

Redundancy selection

19. The University will always endeavour to use fair selection criteria. The University will develop criteria to suit the circumstances pertaining to the proposed redundancy and these will be communicated to staff as part of the consultation.

20. Trade Unions will be consulted on the selection criteria.

Protection against redundancy extended for new parents

21. Under the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, which became law on 24 May 2023 (but will not come into force until regulations on it have been made, expected to be around 6 April 2024) the right of first refusal to any alternative work will be extended to those individuals protected by the legislation, namely those on family or maternity leave

22. Employers will be required to offer pregnant employees, and those who have come back from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave, until 18 months after the birth/adoption, a suitable alternative vacancy during a redundancy exercise.

End of the collective consultation period

23. Following the end of the consultation period, all feedback and alternative proposals will be submitted to VCG for consideration and any amendments made to the original proposal and business case will be agreed. If practical, feedback should be given to affected staff and the recognised Trade Unions on the viability of any alternative proposals during the consultation process.

24. Feedback on any decision made at VCG will be provided to the relevant Trade Union(s).

25. In the event that notice of termination is served, the employee will be invited to discuss the decision with their line manager or senior manager prior to formal notice being served. During this meeting the employee will be notified of the timescales of termination, in addition to any redundancy payment that may be applicable and any alternatives i.e. being placed on the redeployment register.

Appointments to new posts within a restructure

26. Wherever staff are displaced by a restructuring process, following the end of the consultation period, the next stage may involve assimilation and / or ring-fenced recruitment exercises to new posts in the structures.

27. Slotting is a process of moving an “at risk” employee into a similar position without the need for a selection process. Slotting will be possible if:

  • there are no substantial changes in job content/type (from current to new)
  • the post is the same grade
  • the employee(s) to be slotted demonstrably have the appropriate level of skills and/or qualifications for the post
  • there are no other employees who are at risk of redundancy and who are also a match for the post on the basis of the criteria above.

28. Ring-fencing is a process where “at risk” employees are given the opportunity to compete for positions in the new structure. This applies if:

  • there are more at-risk staff who have been matched to a new role than there are roles of that type available
  • the substantive role is similar (e.g a 70% match in role profile) to the ring fenced role
  • the new role will be at the same grade, up to two grades lower or one grade higher

29. Pay protection will apply if an employee is redeployed into a lower graded role. The employee will have their salary maintained for a period of up to two years. During this time they will benefit from cost of living increases but will not receive incremental progression. After being in post for two years, salary protection will cease and the salary will be reduced to the top of the ACE 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.

30. Roles that are unfilled following slotting and ring-fenced competition will be available to those who are at risk in the first instance and will be subject to a selection process.

Final at-risk list

31. Once selection to any new roles has taken place, each employee on the final ‘at risk’ list will be invited to a further meeting with the Dean or Director or nominated manager, at which they will be informed of the basis of their selection for redundancy and invited to submit any further representations within seven days (or as otherwise agreed between the parties). Staff who were previously on the ‘at risk’ list but who are no longer being considered for redundancy will be informed in writing.

Redundancy notice and termination of employment

32. Following final selection for redundancy, the employee will be issued with a notice of redundancy letter. Employees will normally be required to work during their redundancy notice period, but the University reserves the right to make payment in lieu of notice (PILON). The University may consider a request from an employee to reduce their contractual notice period but this will be at the discretion of the relevant Dean or Director, where exceptional circumstances apply.

Redeployment to suitable alternative roles

33. In an attempt to avoid redundancies, the University will ensure that action is taken to seek alternative employment options for employees who have been placed at risk or notified of redundancy, until the point of termination. If a role is found to be suitable and an offer presented, a trial period of 12 weeks will apply.

34. If, during the trial period, the alternative vacancy is deemed unsuitable on reasonable grounds by the employee or University then the employee’s employment will be terminated upon conclusion of the trial period. The employee’s entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment will not be affected by this decision. In the event that further suitable alternative work is found, the employee will again undertake a trial period of 12 weeks in that role.

35. The total amount of time for a trial period is 12 weeks but this can be extended where there are any periods of long-term absence within the initial trial period or if extra (reasonable) training needs are identified.

36. The employee loses their entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment upon an unreasonable refusal of a suitable alternative role. The same will apply in the event that the employee, having taken up the offer of the suitable alternative role, resigns before the end of the trial period.

37. Employees who are on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave will be given preference over other employees in the search for suitable alternative vacancies.

38. Where there is more than one suitable, at-risk applicant for a vacancy, the University reserves the right to introduce a ring-fenced selection process akin to those used in a normal recruitment process, to allow for fair selection of the most suitable applicant.

Time off to look for work or undergo training

39. If a notice of redundancy dismissal is served, impacted employees will be allowed time off work to seek other employment. A reasonable amount of time off will be granted for the purpose of attendance at interviews. Any time off should be discussed with the employee’s relevant line manager prior to being arranged.

Support for redundant employees

40. The University acknowledges the important role it plays in the provision of support to employees during the redundancy process, and will endeavour to provide that support where possible. Consideration may be given to employee requests for further needs, such as training, but this will be assessed on an individual basis.

Outplacement support

41. The University may offer outplacement support following notice of dismissal for redundancy. This may be provided either by in-house expertise or an appropriate external provider, depending on the available resources at the time of the redundancy. However, the University is not able to guarantee the offer of outplacement support.

Statutory redundancy payments

42. A statutory redundancy payment will be payable to those employees with a minimum of two years’ continuous service with the University. This redundancy payment is formulated based on an employee’s age, length of service and final gross weekly pay. This final gross weekly pay is subject to the statutory maximum at the time of the redundancy dismissal.


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


44. Once the employee has been provided with redundancy notice, they have a right of appeal. Any appeal should state the reasons for the appeal, be made in writing and sent to their Dean or Director within ten working days from the date of the redundancy notice letter.

45. An appeal against a redundancy decision will be heard by an Appeals Committee, which will consist of one independent Governor of the University, and two other parties who are Deans, Directors or other members of senior staff, nominated by the Chief People Officer.

46. None of the appeal panel will have previously been involved in the case. Decisions made on appeal shall be final and the employee will normally be informed of the outcome in writing within five days of the appeal hearing. The Committee will be chaired by the Governor member.

47. Employees have the right to be accompanied to the Appeals Committee by a recognised trade union representative or a work colleague.

48. The outcome of the appeal will be notified in writing to the employee within a reasonable timeframe.

May 2024