Case Study – Multi Academy Trust
Collective Redundancy Consultation
An independent and self-governing Multi Academy Trust, made up of five schools, providing nursery and primary education and before and after school and school holiday club provision.
Solutions for HR were appointed to provide HR consultancy and legal advice in relation to a large scale restructure within one primary school due to falling intake which heavily affected funding and a £250,000 in year deficit.
The restructure addressed redundancy, removal of TLR enhancements and responsibility, re-organisation of roles and reduced hours.
Initially we worked with the client to map out the restructure proposal taking into account pay protection limitations in order to develop the most cost effective proposal for the Trust.
Prior to the start of any formal consultation process, we engaged with four unions who represented the affected employees to seek ideas and discuss project collaboration.
34 staff in total were identified as potentially affected and Solutions for HR notified the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) in accordance with legal obligations.
Solutions for HR produced a detailed restructure proposal document setting out the business case, the current and forecast financial position, proposed staffing and consultation plan, including redundancy selection criteria.
Following a whole school announcement, elections were organised to nominate employee reps. to act for the affected departments and staff.
This was in addition to union representation.
A schedule of informal and formal consultation, both collective and individual, was agreed over an eight week period.
During the collective consultation period we discussed ways of avoiding and lessening the impact of the proposals in addition to the fairest way to select employees in the at risk pools.
Some new roles were created and job descriptions were circulated during this period and interest in available jobs ascertained.
Voluntary redundancy was opened up to those identified in an “at risk” pool.
Following the closure of the 30 day collective consultation period, the agreed selection criteria was applied and individual consultation commenced.
A minimum of two individual meetings took place and redundancy was either confirmed or notice of agreed changes given.
Throughout the consultation process staff were kept up to date through the production of a weekly “Q&A” document, pulling together the questions and responses of all discussions and queries raised during the process.
A variety of support measures were provided including Job Centre Plus Rapid Response, personal and professional training, pension and financial support and counselling.
The early intervention with the unions proved highly successful as it resulted in a partnership approach with little conflict.
The heavy focus on consultation and effective communication meant that all staff were fully updated and this helped build trust and improve employee relations at this difficult time.
Strategies such as voluntary redundancy provided opportunity for exit where applicable, ensuring committed and engaged staff remained in the organisation.
Through a fair and robust process, the restructure was successfully managed with engagement from all unions and employees.
There were no appeals and no litigation.
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