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FAQ/redundancy – how should we decide on the pool?

Gill Ross tells HRNews about consulting over the make-up of redundancy selection pools

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  • Transcript

    Many organisations are going through a reorganisation these days and as a result we have seen a rise in the number of queries around redundancy. 

    Given the entire process needs to be conducted fairly, one of the issues employers often find tricky to manage is choosing the selection pool. That means identifying the roles to be considered for redundancy, including in the pool all roles that are the same or similar, bearing in mind that where you have a number of different roles you may need more than one pool. 

    To be a fair process it needs to involve a proper consultation exercise with a view to avoiding or minimising the job losses but who should you involve in that and what are you consulting about exactly? That’s a question we are often asked so we have added it to our FAQs series of programmes. On the line from Glasgow with answer to this one, Gill Ross: 

    Gill Ross: “So, when you've got a redundancy process underway consultation is obviously critical on a number of aspects but pooling is a really important one and maybe one that can be sometimes forgotten about because the employer might set the pools and think that’s it, they are set in stone. But, similar to consultation about selection criteria, pooling is a really important one to get agreement from the employees and from the reps, or get the employees who are under consultation comfortable that the pooling is fair and appropriate. Where you have got a collective consultation process, or where you've got a union involved with a workforce, it's important to get discussions going at an early stage with them - here are our selection criteria, here are our proposed pools, are you comfortable with them, do you have any comments on them. Where you've got employee representatives in a collective consultation the same with apply, that should be on the agenda for your consultation meetings, are they comfortable that the pools are appropriate and reasonable? If you have got their say so on that then that is a huge bonus point because they then can't push back on that later on down the line. Where you've got individual consultation and you're proposing selection pools, even if you've got a pool of one person where they are in, apparently, a unique role you should still discuss the pool with them. So, say you have got a group of finance assistants, if there's only one finance assistant you should still say to them look we’ve identified you as being in a unique role because XY and Z are you comfortable with that and if they say, well, actually, no, I've got other skills, or I do the same job, in effect, as somebody that sits across from me, this should be a pool of two, you then have to go back and revisit that and rethink whether the pool that you have put together is appropriate or whether it should be revised before you go on with the consultation process. So, it's really, really important because when you get into the consultation process that's when employees might say things like well, actually, you've put me in the finance assistant role, but actually I do a completely different role, or what's on my contract of employment, or recorded on the HR system, isn't what I do anymore, I've moved on from that, I’m in  promoted role, or a different role, or I’ve got other skills so I should either be in a different pool or excluded completely from this redundancy process. So, that is a really, really important part of the consultation process, as I say, with union reps, with employee representatives, if appropriate, and with employees who are at risk of redundancy.” 

    Joe Glavina: “What if you only have one role that’s at risk and just one individual involved? Is there any point in consulting in that situation given it might seem a bit pointless?

    Gill Ross: “You still have to go through a consultation process even if you think well there's no point, it's inevitable, that's the only person that does that role, the role is going, we’ve made that decision already. You do still have to go through a consultation process because there might be something that that person says in the consultation meeting, maybe the role that you've identified them doing isn't quite right or, actually, somebody else does the same role as them and they should also be included in it. They may say something in the consultation process that means, actually, maybe we don't need to lose this role or, maybe, we could reduce this role to part-time. So, you shouldn't just go straight from this role is unique, it’s being made redundant and that’s it, you have to consult with the employee and do that in a meaningful way to make sure that you're following a fair process and that the employee has their say, effectively, before the decision is made to dismiss them. They shouldn't just make that decision without any consultation.”

    We have added this programme to our FAQs series of programmes. To find them just type ‘FAQ/redundancy’ in the search engine of the Out-Law website.


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