Making budgetary savings FAQs

Q. IS THE NEED TO MAKE BUDGETARY SAVINGS THE BASIS FOR MAKING POSTS AND THEREFORE PEOPLE REDUNDANT? 

A. No, not in itself.  The legal definition of redundancy situation is where:

  • The employer has ceased, or intends to cease continuing the business, or
  • The requirements for employees to perform work of a specific type or to conduct it at the location in which they are employed has ceased or diminished.

Within Schools the changes are usually small scale, meaning that the number people likely to be made redundant at the end of the process rarely exceeds 19 (where statutory timescales for consultation, and the need to notify government, and so forth apply).

Within schools the most common changes are:

  • Reducing the number of posts
  • Delivering activity differently (e.g. combining TA roles with lunch time supervisory roles)
  • Where activities within a given job description are to CONTINUE but to be absorbed across a number of other existing or newly created posts it is vital that the proposed changes are MAPPED in a grid to clearly demonstrate where activities are going, and which post holders can be considered for posts in the revised structure and by what means.  This grid must be included in your business case for change and be incorporated into the consultation documentation.  An example grid is shown below:
Proposed posts -> 5 FTE TA (new incorporating Mid-Day Supervision)2 FTE Assistant Head Teacher posts (classroom teacher posts)4 FTE Classroom Teacher Posts
Existing posts below   
5-part time Midday Supervisors proposed to be removedCannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.Cannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.Cannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.
5 FTE TA'sOffer of suitable alternative employment as TA (new)Cannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.Cannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.
1 FTE Deputy Head post proposed to be removedCannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.Vacancy 1: Offer of alternative employment Might be considered within the pool (via BUMPING) increasing the pool to 7 into 4 (but following appointment to assistant head teacher posts)
6 FTE Classroom teacher posts (to be reduced by 2 posts to 4)Cannot apply during the restructuring thereafter any suitably qualified candidate may apply for any vacancy arising.Able to apply for Vacancy 2. Selection for appointment (standard recruitment selection process)Selection for redundancy 6 into 4 (or 7 into 4, see above) (but following appointment to assistant head teacher posts)

In the example above, of the 17 affected posts, 8 posts are being removed (5-part time midday supervisor posts, 1 Deputy head post and 2 classroom teacher posts) and 7 new posts are being created and 4 posts will continue as is (classroom teacher posts).

Of the 17 affected posts, there is only scope for a maximum of eight redundancies because:

  1. The 5-part time Midday supervisor posts are proposed to be removed and the activity undertaken by them absorbed in newly configured TA posts. There are therefore 5 redundancies proposed from the part time Midday Supervisor posts. No selection applies, the posts are being removed and the work absorbed into other posts which are predominantly different (primarily TA roles).
     
  2. The TA roles change only slightly, and as such these post holders are proposed to be “slotted in” to the new style TA posts, and that this constitutes an offer of suitable alternative employment which means if the offer is declined it is a resignation (redundancy compensation would not apply).
     
  3. The 1 deputy head post is being removed from the structure.  It is proposed that the Deputy Head be offered an assistant head post which is also a classroom teaching post.  This job is of a lesser status, salary and content and is being proposed to be offered as alternative employment; the employer could in the first instance argue that it is suitable alternative employment.
  • Suitable alternative employment is work of a similar status, salary and job content, usually in the same or nearby location and broadly similar working pattern.  If declined, the employee has resigned and there is no recourse to redundancy compensation.
     
  • Alternative employment is work that differs in one or more of status, salary, job content, and/or in a different location (an unreasonable commute) and/or a substantially different working pattern.  If declined, or tried out but then declined, the employee has recourse to the redundancy compensation relating to the post being removed/changed.
     
  • There would also be the option to use BUMPING to enable the deputy head teacher to be considered within the pool for the classroom teacher posts.  The purpose of bumping is to enable an employer to retain more highly skilled workers who share a skills set with another group of employees, and where it can be justified to expand the pool of employees to be considered within a selection for redundancy exercise.

4. The number of classroom teacher posts is being reduced from 6 to 4 but two assistant head teacher posts are being created which will also be classroom teacher posts.  In order to minimise the need for redundancies it is proposed to resolve the resourcing of the assistant head teacher posts first.  If the deputy head teacher is offered and accepts one of the assistant head teacher posts, and should one of the classroom teachers be successful in applying for the second assistant head teacher post, that would leave 5 classroom teacher post holders for 4 classroom teacher posts. A process of selection for redundancy has to be applied to this group.

  • Selection for redundancy is a desk top assessment of skills, knowledge and experience using a grid, with some additional tie-break only criteria agreed to be applied where scorings are equal.  The post holder with the lowest score is selected for redundancy.
     
  • Selection for appointment is a recruitment selection process including interview and other work simulation or similar exercises from which the person considered to be most qualified for the position is selected for appointment.

It is important to remember that a dismissal for redundancy purposes is defined in section 136 (Employment Relations Act, 1996) in a basically comparable way to that for unfair dismissal but it is irrelevant whether the workers have volunteered or been selected. An employment tribunal will view either as dismissal for redundancy purposes.

Q. WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF MAKING REDUNDANCIES? 

A. There are a range of immediately obvious and less obvious direct and indirect costs of making changes that may result in redundancies.

Obvious Direct Costs:

  • Continued employment during the consultation, implementation and notice periods.  Remember that notice is the better of contractual or statutory (which can be as much as 12 weeks).
  • Redundancy compensation (check any enhanced local authority terms that might have been considered to have transferred under TUPE at academy conversion or change of academy employer)

Less Obvious Direct Costs:

  • Salary Safeguarding may not create the immediate cost savings envisaged.  Teachers displaced and redeployed through a reorganisation may be entitled to up to 3 year’s safeguarding. For support staff this varies according to specific Local Authority agreements and or local Academy and or Trust agreements.
  • LGPS Pension Strain Costs: Employer obligations under the LGPS rules concerning redundancy of LGPS contributing scheme members aged 55 or more years at the date of termination of employment due to redundancy.
  • TPS Pension Strain Costs: Potential employer obligations if, and only if, the employer has  exercised its discretion under the TPS rules to grant access to pension benefits not subject to actuarial reduction in the event of redundancy [of TPS contributing scheme members aged 55 or more years at the date of termination of employment due to redundancy] .  (What is the employer’s policy on employer discretions for TPS, and if the employer is the local authority what is the LA policy?  Might it be argued that any LA policy transferred under TUPE?).

Indirect Costs:

  • Employee morale and “redundancy survivor syndrome
    1. Redundancies, particularly compulsory redundancies, can create anything from a temporary dip in morale to a fundamental change in the relationship between employer and employee that can be difficult to turn around.  Whole school team building events at the start of a new school year can go some considerable way to rebuilding trust and involving employees in more positive forward looking activities planning for the future of the school.
    2. Employers should undertake a risk assessment at times of organisational change to identify not only the commercial and financial risks but also the softer people risks (e.g. stress) and identify how these risks are to be manged, mitigated and or removed.
  • The impact on management time will divert the focus of the senior leadership and governing body from teaching and learning goal setting and monitoring.

For further information or to speak to a member of the team call 0330 123 2542 or email HR@strictlyeducation.co.uk

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