Organisational and workforce change FAQs
When should the Transformation team be contacted?
If a manager is considering making a change which may affect the terms and conditions of anybody in their team, they should contact a member of the Workforce Transformation team for further advice before making any changes.
These changes could include:
- Change in organisational structure – reporting lines
- Change in working hours or patterns
- Reducing headcount within your structure
- Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE)
If a manager is involved in a service transferring in to or out of the organisation, this may have implications for staff under the TUPE regulations 2006 as amended by the collective redundancies and TUPE (amendment) regulations 2014. The Workforce Transformation team should also be contacted at the earliest opportunity.
Should managers consult with permanent members of staff only or do they need to consult with staff on a fixed term contact?
All members of staff must be involved in consultation regardless of whether they are permanent or temporary.
Is a formal consultation always required?
A formal consultation process must be followed at all times unless, all affected staff agree with the proposed changes and agree to forgo a full consultation period. In this event, the changes can be mutually agreed and confirmation of the change, with their agreement should be documented. Trade unions must still be informed of the changes proposed.
If a formal consultation is required, what is the time period for consulting before implementing the changes?
This will depend on the nature of the changes taking place. The consultation paper must include a proposed date for the change and if those affected are in agreement the change can be effective on that date and no further action is required.
Managers may need to consider modifying this if staff need additional time (e.g. to make alternative childcare or personal arrangements). If the change results in a dismissal (e.g. redundancy), contractual notice will need to be issued.
If the change will result in dismissals through redundancy, the Trust must ensure that the statutory minimum consultation periods listed below are met.
- 30 days before the first of the dismissals takes effect where between 1 and 99 redundancy dismissals are proposed at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less
- 45 days before the first of the dismissals are proposed at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less
What happens to members of staff who are on maternity leave, long term sick leave or other approved absence?
Managers must ensure they contact staff and fully inform them of the changes, plus invite them to participate in the process.
If a member of staff is on holiday during the consultation period, the manager must ensure they allow them time to be properly consulted and to give their comments.
It is important that staff who are absent from the workplace are not disadvantaged and all reasonable efforts are made to engage them in the process. This may involve making some adjustments such as communicating by telephone and sending information via post or email.
There is no need to unreasonably delay the consultation process but if someone is on extended leave for the whole consultation period, please ensure that advice is obtained from the Workforce Transformation team.
What happens if a reduction in headcount is required? Can a member of staff be made redundant?
Where redundancies are envisaged, formal proposals must be submitted to the divisional management teams and in some cases to the executive management teams for approval.
Once agreed, the consultation process outlined in the Trust's organisational and workforce change policy must be followed. Trade unions should also be consulted on the proposals.
How do managers select posts?
Where a selection process is required, a fair process that does not disadvantage any particular staff group should be determined at the start of the consultation process. This may include interviews or disciplinary/performance records.
Any new role that differs from an existing role must be subject to an interview process.
What is considered a suitable alternative to employment?
The Trust has a legal obligation to look for and offer suitable alternative employment to those staff at risk.
A number of factors will be taken into account in determining suitability, including the skills required for the role, the band and the location of the role. If there is a bridgeable gap between the skills required for the role and the skills of the employee, reasonable steps must be taken to assist the employee in bridging the gap through training.
Does this process apply to all staff?
The process applies to all staff who are employed by the Trust, including those who have been seconded to work elsewhere. It does not apply to workers engaged by the Trust via third party contractors or through the Trust’s internal temporary staffing arrangements.
When does pay protection apply?
Pay protection may be applicable if a member of staff is redeployed to a lower banded role or loses other regular payments (e.g. weekend enhancements) as a result of organisational change. The length of time that this is payable for is dependent on different factors.
Please contact a member of the Workforce Transformation team for further advice.
If a member of staff moves to another department, who is responsible for their salary?
If an ‘at risk’ member of staff has been given a trial in a vacant post that is WAF/EVAS approved, the existing department will continue to pay the member of staff’s salary during this trial.
If the trial is a success, the costs transfer to the new department who will need to complete the relevant HR/ESR forms and attach it to the WAF/EVAS.
If the trial is unsuccessful, the originating department will pay for any redundancy benefits.
After the trial period, what happens if the member of staff does not want the job or the department does not want them?
If it is agreed that the individual is not suitable for the post, they once again become the responsibility of the originating department.
If during the trial their previous role has been removed, they will be entitled to redundancy benefits in line with NHS policy and procedure. If they unreasonably refuse to undertake a trial or reject the offer of suitable alternative employment they will not receive a redundancy payment.
What should I do if I want to change a member of staff's working pattern or hours?
Before making changes to the working pattern or hours of staff member, managers must discuss their proposal with them, including the service reasons behind the change and the impact this will have on them.
Where issues arise (e.g. the member of staff has external responsibilities that make the change difficult for them), the manager must work with them to try and identify a suitable solution to the issues that may rise.
What if an agreement cannot be reached with a working pattern or hours change?
Every effort should be made to mutually agree changes to terms and conditions of employment.
In rare cases where an agreeable solution cannot be reached, it may be necessary to issue contractual notice on the existing contract of employment and the member of staff then has the choice whether they accept employment on the new terms and conditions. This action should never be taken without seeking the relevant advice first from a member of the Workforce Transformation team.
How is formal consultation undertaken with staff?
All affected members of staff should be invited to meetings to discuss the proposal. Trade union representatives should also be invited to attend. At this meeting, the rationale for the proposed change should be made clear, including relevant timescales along with communication channels for staff to feedback.
Individual meetings will not usually be organised with staff unless they are placed at risk of redundancy, but managers must ensure that staff have the ability to approach them to discuss any of their concerns.
If individuals are at risk of redundancy, a formal meeting must be held with the individual. Staff attending such meetings have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague.
What happens at the end of the consultation period?
The manager must keep a written record of any feedback they receive on the consultation document or the process, so that they can respond formally to these matters.
Once the formal consultation process has closed, the manager must communicate the final decision to the affected staff.