1. Initiating a proposal for organisational change

1.1 A manager wishing to propose a significant organisational change in his/her area should first have a general discussion with an HR Partner. Where changes in service requirements affect more than one department or area of work the HoD(s) will, following discussion with the relevant senior manager(s), establish the impact on staffing numbers.

1.2 Any proposal for significant organisational change should be set out in a briefing paper outlining the high-level business case. This paper, which will be presented to the relevant Senior Manager for outline approval, should be concise and cover the following aspects:

  • The broad rationale informing the proposed change
  • Outline financial considerations
  • Outline staffing/establishment considerations (with 'before' and 'after' organisational charts)
  • Any alternative solutions considered and rejected
  • Summary of any initial discussions within the departmental management team
  • Any obvious or apparent equality impacts or implications
  • Details of redundancy pools, where appropriate
  • Communication strategy.

1.3 Following consideration of the proposal the relevant Senior Manager will either:

  • Seek further information or clarification, or
  • Reject the proposal, or
  • Accept the proposal in full for taking forward to collective consultation, or
  • Accept the proposal with revisions for taking forward to collective consultation

1.4 If the proposal is accepted by the relevant Senior Manager either in full or with revisions, then the manager will meet with an HR Partner to discuss and plan the consultation and implementation process.

2. Collective communication

2.1 The organisational change proposal will be presented, as soon as practicable, to the affected trades unions in confidence with a covering note confirming the in principle agreement of the relevant Senior Manager and detailing the broad consultation and implementation methodology and timetable.

2.2 Where the change may result in redundancies collective communication will be undertaken at the Joint Consultative Forum and in accordance with the University's redundancy procedure.

3. Individual consultation

3.1 One-to-one consultation meetings should be arranged between the manager and all directly affected staff during the consultation period. The purpose of the individual meetings will be to outline the proposals in greater detail and explore all the potential implications for the member of staff in terms of his/her future employment.

4. Equality and diversity

4.1 If there are equality and diversity issues that are relevant to the employees these should be made known to those involved and appropriate support provided by the University. In the case of a disability or language issue an employee may be accompanied by an appropriate person to provide support.

4.2 Managers should check if there are any special arrangements, eg support for a disability, that an employee or his/her companion may require to enable them to participate fully in the procedure. Appropriate guidance may be sought from an HR Manager. Correspondence in relation to this procedure will invite the employee to inform the University if they require additional support.

5. Approval of Council

5.1 The approval of Council will be required where it is proposed to make redundant, within a thirty day period ten or more full time equivalent (FTE) employees within a department or 10% of the total FTE of employees within a department as part of a restructuring or single exercise involving a significant change in service provision.

5.2 Referral to Council will only be made following prior reference to senior management.

6. Communications

6.1 It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that affected staff, their representatives and other relevant stakeholders are kept fully informed throughout the change implementation phase. Advice on this may be sought from an HR Manager.

7. Redundancy, redeployment and change of role

7.1 In situations where there are more employees than available posts the displaced employees may be offered redeployment, redundancy or early retirement or any other options that may be deemed appropriate. In such cases the University's Redeployment and Redundancy Procedures should be followed.

7.2 In situations where the number of new positions is greater than or equal to the number of employees who are directly affected by the change then they will be given priority for the vacant positions.

8. Matching people and posts

8.1 Where the organisational change involves a process of assimilating existing members of staff into new roles within the revised structure, the following provisions, which should be read in conjunction with the university's procedures on redeployment and redundancy, will apply.

9. Automatic matching to a new position

9.1 Where existing positions are changed it may be appropriate to automatically move an employee to a new position if it closes matches their existing position.

9.2 Where an employee's current duties match at least 75% of the new position and is on the same grade they will be eligible to be automatically placed into the position. However, where more than one employee is eligible for automatic allocation to a single position, or the number of employees eligible is greater than the number of available new positions the position(s) will be ring-fenced under the provisions of paragraph 10.2 below.

9.3 When an employee has been matched to a new position there will be no trial period and the University's redeployment procedures do not apply. Any member of staff who unreasonably refuses a matched position will forfeit their right to a redundancy payment.

10. Ring-fencing

10.1 Ring-fencing is the grouping of employees who have not been automatically matched to a new position to available vacancies within the new structure. Consideration will be given to comparing the job duties and grade of the new/vacant posts with the job currently undertaken by the employee(s).

10.2 When ring-fencing occurs an objective selection process will be undertaken and employees will be assessed against the criteria outlined in the person specification.

10.3 Scenarios in which ring-fencing would apply include:

  • When the number of displaced employees who are eligible for new positions under the 75% rule above is greater than the number of new positions available.
  • Where the current substantive duties match less than 75% of the changed role but there are still significant commonalities
  • Where there are significant commonalities but the new position represents a change of grade

11. Temporary responsibility allowances, secondments and fixed-term contracts

11.1 If any of the employees are currently in receipt of a Temporary Responsibility Allowance (TRA) then their substantive grade and job duties, and not those associated with the temporary additional responsibilities should be used to determine any matching or ring-fencing arrangements. The same principle will apply with regards to secondments.

11.2 Where an employee is currently on secondment and their substantive post becomes redundant or is subject to change, the employee will be consulted and supported in the same way as other employees.

11.3 If a redundant role is currently filled by someone on secondment from an area not affected by the change, or from another organisation they will not be eligible for consideration of new positions. They should still be consulted about how the change may impact on their secondment. It may be appropriate to consider early termination of the secondment arrangement.

11.4 If an employee has been appointed on a fixed-term contract pending a restructuring they would not normally be included in any ring-fencing exercise.

12. Supporting staff through change

12.1 Periods of change can create additional pressures for staff and as far as possible, support will be offered to any member of staff experiencing difficulty during such situations. Throughout the change implementation process, managers must ensure that employees fully understand their situation and are consulted and involved in the process.

12.2 Employees should be made fully aware of the University's Employee Assistance Service.

13. Procedure for the assimilation of staff to the new structure

  • Identify areas of work, duties and responsibilities to be undertaken under the new structure, if this was not established during the drafting of the proposal and/or business case.
  • Develop job descriptions using generics where appropriate, if this was not undertaken in advance of the Business Case.
  • Consider grades and responsibilities of existing employees to determine whether any should be automatically matched to any of the new positions.
  • Commence individual and collective consultation as appropriate and check whether any employees require special arrangements that an employee or their companion may require to enable them to participate fully in the procedure, e.g. support for a disability.
  • Ensure all affected employees are made aware of the University's Employee Assistance Programme.
  • Once any employees have been matched appropriately, any remaining positions should be considered for ring-fencing. The matching exercise should be completed for all grades before any ring-fencing commences.
  • Where ring-fencing applies employees should be asked to submit a written application outlining why they are a suitable candidate for the position. Where an employee is ring-fenced for more than one position s/he should indicate their preference and where possible the University will endeavour to take this into account.
  • The process will normally start with the highest graded post(s) and work down through the structure.
  • Where a number of employees have applied for a position the selection process will assess the most suitably qualified individual as assessed against the criteria outlined in the person specification. If only one employee is being considered for the position the assessment process will seek to determine whether the employee has the skills, experience etc required to carry out the position.
  • Where the only alternative employment available in the structure is at a lower grade than an employee's current position then they should be given the opportunity to be automatically matched to the position if they meet the essential criteria for the position. However, should they decline the offer they will be subject to the University's redundancy and redeployment procedures.
    The secondment and restructuring appointment form should be used for current employees who are being placed in new posts.

13.2 Any employees who have not been assimilated to posts within the revised structure will be subject to the University's redundancy and redeployment procedures.

13.3 Once the above process is complete, any remaining posts would be advertised in accordance with the University's recruitment policy and procedures.

14. Appeals

14.1 There is no bespoke appeals process pertaining to the outcomes of the application of the Organisational Change Protocol. However, in cases (other than redundancy) where there is a failure to agree or where an individual wishes to challenge the outcome as it effects him/her, there is a right to raise a grievance in accordance with the University's grievance procedure.

14.2 Where the outcome of the change is a proposal for redundancy the appeals provisions of the University's redundancy procedure will apply.

Document control

  • Last reviewed: 30 April 2013