1. Application and scope

1.1 The University is committed to protecting the employment security of employees by appropriate planning. It will ensure that, as far as practicable, the overall and departmental planning and budget setting processes will take account of potential staffing implications and wherever possible avoid the need for redundancy. There may, however, be occasions when changes in funding provision, the demand for services, or organisational, technological or academic developments impact on staffing requirements. This procedure outlines the approach to be adopted in cases of potential redundancy and shall be applied with due regard to legislative provisions relating to redundancy1. It should be read in conjunction with the policy on redeployment and other relevant policies available on the University of York's Human Resources web pages.

1.2 This procedure applies to all employees employed by the University of York under a contract of employment with more than twelve months' continuous employment as at the proposed date of dismissal.

1.3 Nothing in this document shall preclude the University from seeking volunteers for redundancy or any employee from agreeing to voluntary severance at any stage of the procedure. Selection of volunteers for redundancy shall be at the discretion of the University and shall be determined by the University's requirements to retain key skills and experience to meet the present and anticipated needs of the University.

1.4 A potential redundancy situation arises in the following circumstances:

  • When the University has ceased or intends to cease, to carry on the business for which the employee was employed or has ceased or intends to cease to carry on that business in the place where the employee was so employed2 or
  • the requirements of the University for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, or for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where the employee was so employed, have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish.

2. General principles

The following principles will apply to the application of this procedure:

2.1 Collective consultation - The University will undertake collective consultation with relevant recognised trade union(s) and their elected representatives, including, as appropriate, on the terms of any severance arrangements.

2.2 Right to be accompanied - All employees who are the subject of this procedure will have the right to be accompanied at any formal meeting held under the procedures by a trade union representative or work colleague.

2.3 Equality and diversity - To ensure fair treatment and, where appropriate, provision of support by the University in the application of this procedure, employees should be invited to provide information about any equality or diversity issues which may be relevant.

2.4 Confidentiality - All parties involved in these procedures must ensure that they maintain, as appropriate, the confidentiality of the process within and outside the University.

2.5 Involvement of Human Resources - A member of the human resources team will be consulted and will advise on the formal process.

2.6 Appeals against dismissal - Any dismissal under this procedure will remain in force pending the outcome of any appeal.

3. Measures to avoid or minimise redundancy

3.1 The University is committed as an overall principle to retaining employees wherever possible and will seek to minimise redundancies by forward planning within the relevant area. Where redundancies are proposed due consideration will be given to ways of avoiding redundancy or reducing the numbers involved.

4. Identification of potential redundancies

4.1 The Vice Chancellor is the Chief Academic and Administrative Officer of the University and as such is responsible for maintaining and promoting efficiency across the University. In that capacity, s/he normally delegates to Senior Managers and Heads of Department responsibility for ensuring that staffing levels are consistent with service requirements and anticipated available funding. Where changes in service requirements affect more than one department or area of work the HoD (s) will, following discussion with a senior manager3, establish the impact on staffing numbers.

4.2 In cases where the Vice- Chancellor, a Senior Manager or a Head of Department has formed the view that there is a requirement to reduce staffing levels in a specific area of work or in a department s/he will establish the required reduction in staffing and the pool from which employees will be selected for dismissal by reason of redundancy. The pool will be defined by the nature of the work in relation to which the University's requirement for employees is (or will be) ceasing or reducing. In the case of very specialist work, the required staffing reduction may be limited to one individual or to a group of individuals carrying out the work.

4.3 For the avoidance of doubt, where paragraph 6.1 applies, the approval of Council is required before any proposed staffing reduction is implemented. Nothing in this paragraph affects the powers and functions of Council or Senate under the University's Charter and Statutes.

5. Consultation

5.1 Joint Consultative Forum

5.1.1 A consultative forum consisting of University and Trade Union representatives will hold minuted meetings on a regular basis to consider any prospective redundancies and ways of avoiding them.

5.1.2 The consultative forum will also undertake collective consultation as required by employment law.

5.1.3 The purpose of consultation is to seek ways of:

  • Avoiding the redundancy situation
  • Reducing the number of dismissals or
  • Mitigating the effects of the redundancies proposed.

5.1.4 The University will respond to any written submissions from the Trade Unions in this regard.

5.1.5 The University will, as appropriate, respond to requests for relevant additional information to aid the process of meaningful consultation. Equality impact assessments will be undertaken by the University as appropriate and the results of these will be made available as part of the consultation process.

5.1.6 The joint consultative forum will seek, wherever possible, to issue joint communications regarding the position reached in relation to redundancies covered by section 6 below.

5.2 Consultation with Individual Employees Where a potential redundancy situation is identified, consultation will be carried out with the individual employees affected on an informal basis4. In any event, in all cases of potential redundancies, formal consultation will take place with the individuals affected for a minimum period of thirty days.

6. Approval of Council

6.1 The approval of Council will be required where it is proposed to make redundant, within a thirty day period ten or more FTE employees within a department or 10% of the total full time equivalent (FTE) of employees within a department as part of a restructuring or single exercise involving a significant change in service provision. Council may approve the recommendation(s) of the person(s) who under paragraph 4.2 established the relevant staffing reduction and the relevant pool or may remit them for further consideration. Council will need to approve the proposed reduction in staffing before any redundancy is effected.

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

7. Selection criteria and process

7.1 Where there is a reduction in the need for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, and a number of employees are employed undertaking that work, these employees will form a pool of staff at risk of redundancy as defined under section 4.1. A formal selection process will be undertaken to determine which employees are to be made redundant. The process will seek to identify the employees from that pool with the knowledge, skills and qualities that best meet the present and anticipated needs of the University.

8. Implementation of redundancies

Where it has been identified that there is likely to be a need for a reduction in staffing numbers, consultation will be carried out as follows: -

8.1 First formal consultation meeting - The employee should be invited, in writing, to attend a formal consultation meeting with the HoD (or other relevant Senior Manager) or his/her nominee and given the right to be accompanied. At the meeting the reason for the redundancy situation arising should be explained, together with the rationale for the employee's inclusion in the pool of staff at risk of redundancy.

8.1.1 At this meeting the employee will be advised that s/he is at risk of redundancy. S/he will be provided with details of the criteria to be used and means of selecting individuals to be made redundant. Employees will be asked to provide any relevant information to be taken into account when they are assessed against the selection criteria.

8.1.2 Where the pool has been established as containing the same number of posts as there are posts to be lost through reduction of staffing in the relevant exercise, the employee will be advised of that by the manager conducting the meeting.

8.1.3 In any case, the employee will be invited to put forward any suggestions as to how the relevant redundancies could be avoided or reduced in number.

8.2 Final consultation meeting

8.2.1 Following any selection process, those employees who have been provisionally selected for redundancy will be invited, in writing, to meet with the HOD (or other relevant Senior Manager) or his/her nominee to discuss the outcome of the selection exercise. That manager will outline the reasons for redundancy, as well as any criteria for selection and how they have been applied in the individual's case.

8.2.2 Where no selection is to be made, employees whose posts have been identified as redundant will be invited to a meeting with the Head of Department (or other relevant Senior Manager) or his/her nominee at which action taken to date will be reviewed.

8.2.3 In any case the employee and his/her representative may make further representations, which will be considered.

8.2.4 If the consultation process has not identified a way to maintain employment, the post will be declared redundant.

8.2.5 Following the meeting the HoD (or other relevant Senior Manager) or his/her nominee will write to the individual to advise him/her of the position. The letter will respond to any representations made during the final consultation meeting and, if the post is being declared redundant, will explain the employee's right of appeal, together with details of any notice provisions.

9. Redundancy payments

9.1 Redundancy payments will be calculated in accordance with Appendix A. Eligibility for a redundancy payment may be lost if an employee unreasonably refuses an offer of suitable alternative employment.

10. Academic Freedom - reference to Senior Academic Officer5

10.1 If, during the consultation process, an employee indicates that s/he believes that his/her consideration for redundancy is related to the exercise of his/her academic freedom, s/he will have the right to have his/her case reviewed by a Senior Academic Officer of the University. In order to invoke a review, s/he should write to the Director of HR outlining the reasons for his/her belief. The Director of HR will make arrangements for the case to be considered by a Senior Academic Officer and the employee will be notified accordingly.

10.2 Where a case is to be considered by the Senior Academic Officer, the employee and person(s) who established the redundancy pool will be treated as the parties to the case and have the opportunity to make written submissions. On the basis of the evidence submitted, the Senior Academic Officer will determine whether the redundancy situation is related to the fact that the employee has questioned or tested received wisdom or put forward new ideas or controversial or unpopular opinions or is likely to do so in the future, or whether there are other grounds justifying a potential redundancy. If, but only if, the Senior Academic Officer decides that the consideration of the employee for redundancy is related primarily to the fact that the employee has exercised his/her academic freedom or the way that s/he is likely to do so in future, the Senior Academic Officer will inform the employee accordingly and the redundancy procedure will cease. If, however, the Senior Academic Officer concludes that the primary reason for consideration of the employee for redundancy is a reason other than the exercise of his/her academic freedom or where there are other factors which may, in the view of the Senior Academic Officer, justify the potential redundancy, whether or not there are also issues of academic freedom, the consultation process will continue. The written representations and decision will be made available to both parties once the Senior Academic Officer has made his/her determination.

11. Appeals

11.1 The employee has the right of appeal against a decision to terminate his/her employment under this procedure. Any appeal should be sent to the Director of HR within ten working days of the employee receiving the written decision to dismiss. The appeal must state the grounds for appeal.

11.2 The appeal will be heard by an appeal panel consisting of three senior managers of the University appointed by the Vice-Chancellor and will include academic representation where appropriate. The appeal panel will have had no prior involvement with the case and the appeal hearing will be a review of the decision to dismiss.

11.3 The decision may be given verbally at the appeal hearing and will in any event be conveyed or confirmed in writing within ten working days of the hearing.

11.4 The decision following the appeal shall be final and there will be no further internal right of appeal.

This procedure will be reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with changes in employment law and equality and diversity legislation.

Guidelines are available and should be referred to in the application of this procedure.


  1. For the purposes of S188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 the University shall constitute a single establishment
  2. A contractual requirement to work at the York Campus includes King's Manor, Heslington East and West
  3. For definition of senior manager see the guidelines (section 4.1)
  4. In the case of fixed-term contracts consultation will not normally commence more than 6 months prior to the contract end date.
  5. The Senior Academic Officer will normally be a PVC/DVC with no prior involvement in the case. S/he will not be related to the department concerned and will be senior to the parties involved

Appendix A: Redundancy payments

Employees who are made redundant following two or more years' continuous service as at the date of dismissal will be eligible for a redundancy payment based on one week's pay for each completed year of service. The calculation will be based on the employee's gross weekly pay excluding any fluctuating payments i.e. bonuses, non-contractual overtime etc. and will include any entitlement to statutory redundancy pay*.

Total payment will be limited to the maximum tax-free amount payable by law (currently £30,000).

Employees will generally be expected to work out their period of contractual notice so entitlement to pay in lieu of notice will not normally arise.

*In the event that the amount payable under statutory provisions is higher, an adjustment will be required.

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  • Last reviewed: 31 May 2011