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Step 1 - Planning and Proposals

Establishing the need for change

3.1.1 The first step in any organisational change process is to understand why change is necessary and the scale of the change required. This may involve a review of the current structure, an analysis of roles and activities currently undertaken within the institution and assessing how these needs will be met in the future, also taking into account the need to avoid redundancies wherever possible. Advice on undertaking a review is provided in the Guidance document supporting this Policy.

3.1.2 Effective two-way communication at each stage of the process with staff and trade unions is critical to a successful outcome. At this early stage consideration should be given to informing staff and their trade unions about the review and its terms of reference. Further details are provided in the Guidance document.

3.1.3 Advice must be sought from the relevant HR Business Manager or HR School team before any action is taken in relation to a proposed organisational change. The HR School team can offer support and guidance at all stages of the change process and a toolkit of template letters and supporting documents is available on request.

3.1.4 As a first step it is recommended that the Head of Institution identifies a lead manager for the proposed organisational change. The lead manager, with support from the HR Division, will be responsible for

  • ensuring the establishment of a project team if appropriate
  • researching the options for change, identifying possible solutions for the Institution and conducting an initial review if appropriate
  • preparing a business case for the proposed changes, including an outline timetable for the process and how consultation will be managed
  • conducting consultation and ongoing communications with staff and trade unions, ensuring that statutory notification requirements are met with support from HR
  • ensuring they are familiar with all relevant aspects of organisational change and selection processes (if appropriate), which may include attending relevant training
  • confirming who is responsible for approving proposals for the reorganisation and ensuring that the relevant approvals are obtained
  • undertaking an assessment of equalities issues, ongoing monitoring and taking necessary action as required throughout the change process.

3.1.5 Consideration should also be given at this stage to the approvals required for the organisational change by relevant University bodies. For example, whether the creation of a new organisational unit must be sanctioned by a Grace, or the creation of new established and chest funded posts approved by RMC. Please see the Guidance document for more information.

Minor Changes

3.1.6 In cases of minor change, as defined under section 1.3, a fair and reasonable process must be followed and this should be carried out in a consultative manner.  A reasonable process for a minor change which is not an Organisational Change would include the following:

  • an explanation of the operational reasons for the proposed changes and the benefits which may accrue to both the Institution and employee
  • listening to and taking account of the views of employees
  • provision of a sufficient period of notice to the affected employees (please refer to the Guidance document for further information).

In the event of any dispute as to whether the matter is minor or whether the Organisational Change Policy applies, the matter will be determined by the Chair of the HR Committee, whose decision shall be final.

Defining the Change Period

3.1.7 There will be a clearly defined change period which will include a consultation period (see Step 2) followed by an implementation preparation period (see Step 3) before any changes are implemented.  The minimum length of the change period will be dependent on the number of employees directly affected by the change, see details below:

Number of employees affected


Implementation preparation

Total change period

(including consultation and implementation preparation)

1 - 2

First 30 days

Next 30 days

60 days

3 - 19

First 30 days

Next 60 days

90 days

20 - 100+*

First 45 days

Next 45 days

90 days

* The legal requirement to conduct collective consultation applies if it is proposed that 20 or more employees are to be made redundant within any 90-day period. See Step 2 for further information.

3.1.8 The change period will commence on the date the consultation exercise is launched (when affected employees and their representatives have been provided with a copy of the business case and/or consultation document), and would be expected to conclude on the relevant date as set out in the table above.

3.1.9 In the event that a redundancy situation arises, the necessary legal requirements will be followed as part of the Organisational Change process.  These are set out in the Guidance document.  In addition, no dismissal will take effect until the day following the end of the change period (either day 61 if 1-2 employees affected, or day 91 if 3 or more employees are affected).  However, notice of termination may be served to take effect prior to this by mutual agreement between the employee and the University.  Employees who are made redundant will receive a payment in lieu of basic salary for any outstanding notice entitlement, as at the date of termination (see Step 4).

Redundancy Avoidance

3.1.10 In order to avoid compulsory redundancy, maximum advantage will be taken of alternative solutions, which may include:

  • natural attrition
  • redeployment to other parts of the organisation
  • restriction on recruitment where practicable
  • ceasing the employment of agency/contract staff (including TES workers) where this would release permanent employment
  • reviewing the use of temporary staff
  • ceasing or reducing overtime
  • seeking appropriate volunteers for redundancy
  • considering suggestions from trade unions/employees.

3.1.11 While suggestions for ways of avoiding redundancies will be welcomed during the consultation period, this does not mean that all or any suggestions will be adopted or implemented and the final decision will rest with the Institution concerned, having consulted with affected employees and their trade unions.

3.1.12 Further information on redundancy avoidance measures can be found in the Guidance document that accompanies this policy.

Consultation Planning

3.1.13 The lead manager should prepare a written business case and/or consultation document on the proposed organisational change and include the following (where appropriate):

  • rationale for the organisational change and/or proposed redundancies
  • any proposals as to how compulsory redundancies may be avoided or reduced or, where not possible, how the consequences of compulsory redundancies will be mitigated
  • how to provide feedback on the proposals, including ideas for avoiding job losses or mitigating the impact of potential job losses, by when and to whom
  • numbers and descriptions of employees whom it is proposed to dismiss as redundant
  • total numbers of any such employees employed at the Institution in question
  • proposed method of selecting employees who may be dismissed, including selection pools and criteria where applicable
  • proposed method of carrying out dismissals, with due regard to this policy
  • proposed method for allocating any new or revised positions
  • the number of agency workers working temporarily for and under the supervision and direction of the employer, the parts of the undertaking in which they are working and the type of work which they are carrying out
  • proposed timescales
  • the proposed method for calculating redundancy pay (see 3.4.7 - 3.4.8).

3.1.14 Early informal discussion with the trade unions on the proposed options for change should occur before any formal consultation begins.

3.1.15 An appropriate communication and consultation process should be established prior to the start of consultation according to the size and scope of the proposed change. This may include a combination of individual or group meetings and engagement with the trade unions. Advice should be sought from HR to determine what process would be appropriate for the particular circumstances.

Next Step:

Step 2 - Consultation and Communication.