Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Consulting on redundancy

An interesting case has clarified the date from which the schedule for consultation over redundancy must begin - this could have an effect on schools.

The law is that it starts once redundancy is proposed. In this particular case, the decision had been taken by a council's staff but had not yet been put to elected members for their decision. As the decision could have been overturned by members, the council argued that it should date from the point at which the members took their decision.

However, the employment appeals tribunal decided that it should begin when the decision was taken by council officers.

Therefore, heads planning to take a proposal for redundancies to governors would be advised to alert union representatives at the point when they prepare a paper for the relevant governors committee to avoid falling foul of this interpretation.

Two other cases have established the following points regarding redundancy. Notices cannot be issued to employees until the statutory period for consultation has expired. There must be formal consultation even where the employer believes that alternative employment may be found.

Finally, in some circumstances it is the employer's responsibility to consider 'bumping' a junior employee to make way for a redundant senior employee.

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