Following close of consultation on 7 September, HEE management, after negotiations with the Branch, provided their response to the consultation included an amended set of proposals, yesterday, 29 September, which we set out below.
Please note, these proposals are subject to certain assumptions about VR rates which cannot be guaranteed (as VR applications are a matter for individual employees, which they are free to withdraw should they so wish) and therefore we cannot provide an absolute guarantee that provisions below will take place. However, given the current number of VR applications (75) and resignations (15), we are optimistic that we can achieve the following key outcomes:
- No compulsory redundancies will be made
- No selection process will be required for the vast majority of staff. Most staff will be slotted into the new structure.
In addition the following provisions have been made:
- The revised proposal will be subjected to an externally conducted Equality Impact Assessment
- Current part-time and flexible working arrangements have been guaranteed
- The timeline for implementation has been extended until September 2017
- Secondments will be reviewed and evaluated as whether they can be considered as a ‘permanent’ positions for the purposes of post-matching
- Technology solutions will be subjected to rigorous testing, and an evaluation of their capacity to provide efficiency savings will be undertaken. This will take place prior to the reduction in staffing which will be achieved through VR
- A stakeholder engagement exercise will be undertaken
Given the above, we believe that we have secured the majority of provisions which we sought as part of our response to the consultation.
The exceptions to the ‘no selection’ provisions are likely to be staff being considered for posts at Level 8a, who will be required to demonstrate competency tests. We have secured assurance from senior management that affected employees will be supported through training and development should these not be met, and will be provided with in-job training and trailing. We therefore believe that ultimately all those affected wishing to continue at this level will be able to do so.
There is also a possibility that a very small handful of staff currently employed between levels 5 and 7 may have to be subjected to a selection process. This will be purely for the purposes of determining post allocation. Ultimately we hope that this does not need to take place.
Finally we wanted to speak about VR. The current number of applications is 75, which exceeds the numbers of WTE post reductions. This number is in addition to a number of resignations and it will therefore not be possible for the organisation to approve all of the applications that have been made.
We are aware that some members had queries surrounding their VR applications following the HET bulletin which was circulated recently. To clarify: if you have special extenuating circumstances pertinent to your VR application which you have either not detailed on your application, or which have arisen since you made your application, then you will be afforded an opportunity to do this following the release of the management response to consultation. You are welcome to do this immediately, if you so wish, by contacting HR. If you would prefer it if we did this on your behalf then we are happy to.
We believe that the undertakings that we have secured from senior management provides an acceptable way forward that means that no-one will be made compulsorily redundant and that most members will not be subjected to a selection process. Our requests for additional measures around the timeline, technology reviews, equality impact assessment and protection of part-time and flexible working have also been incorporated.
The deadline for us to provide any additional comments to management is next Thursday (6 October) and so we would welcome any thoughts that you may have on this which we may be able to pass on.
We also understand that members may have queries about their individual circumstances given the information we have provided in this correspondence. We are, of course, more than happy to answer any such questions you may have. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org