The do’s and don’t’s of redundancy and restructuring

Schools are experiencing ever increasing demands on their budgets and this sometimes leads to schools having to consider amending the staffing structure.

DO NOT leave it too late to start the process.  A restructuring or redundancy process usually takes at least two terms, taking account of notice periods. The process can be stopped if things change but timescales cannot be curtailed.

DO start with a business plan, setting out the rationale for change. This will form the basis for consultation and a clear rationale will help protect from a claim of unfair dismissal.

DO NOT dismiss someone for redundancy when the underlying reason they are being selected is related to something else such as their absence record or capability. This may give a tribunal reason to question your business reasons and risks a finding of unfair dismissal which can be both time consuming and costly.

DO engage in meaningful consultation with staff.  Provide a transparent explanation of why your proposal is deemed necessary, explain the process to be followed and have a genuine two-way discussion about ways to lessen the impact on staff or avoid redundancies altogether. You may not be able to reach an agreement, but this discussion is vital to ensuring a fair process.

DO be objective in your selection process – be it through skills audit or selection interview. Vague and discriminatory selection criteria are the most common basis for unfair dismissal claims in redundancy situations.