Skip to main content

"By creating we think, by living we learn" Patrick Geddes

Main University menu

Job Vacancies

Templates Top-Level Menu


Procedure for Managing Organisational Change

    1. Introduction
    2. Definition
    3. The Outline Change Proposal
    4. Preliminary Assessment by UEG
    5. Commencing the Collective Consultation Process
    6. The Project Team
    7. The Organisational Change Proposal
    8. Guidance for Developing the Organisational Change Proposal
    9. Full Assessment by UEG
    10. Collective Consultation
    11. Redundancy Avoidance Policy
    12. Voluntary Approach
    13. Open Meeting with Staff in the Affected School or Directorate
    14. Individual Consultation
    15. Preparation for Selection and Project Planning
    16. Decision Whether to Proceed
    17. Selection Criteria
    18. Selection
    19. Dealing with Outcomes
    20. Redundancy Policy
    21. Appeals
    22. Redundancy Support Measures
    23. Redeployment, Retraining, Trial Periods and Pay Protection
    24. Notice
    25. Implementation of Change
    26. Evaluation

1.  Introduction

1.1        The University’s vision is to be Scotland’s leading University.  To achieve this goal our focus must be on excellence.  This means that the University must offer unique, high-quality learning and teaching opportunities to the ablest students who have the best possible student experience.  The skills, knowledge and capabilities acquired at the University should enhance their employability, and provide the catalyst to making an impact in their chosen field.  The University’s vision translates research into knowledge transfer, the application of which will benefit individuals, society and economic development and growth, worldwide as well as providing sustainable growth for the University.

1.2        To realise the University’s vision and transformation and its aspiration to achieve excellence in teaching and research; focussing on its strengths in challenging environments and creating impact in higher education and to the benefit society, there will be an ongoing need for organisational change.

1.3        Organisational change can result, for example, from strategic, technological or structural changes, for example in relation to teaching and research strategy or patterns in student demand, or the need for staff to work in a different ways.

1.4        This procedure provides a structured approach to managing the transition from the present state to the future desired state and ensures there is clarity about:

1.5        Successful organisational change needs careful planning, sensitive implementation and consultation throughout.

Back to top

2.  Definition

2.1        Organisational change in the context of the University’s Transformation is defined as a strategic change to the School or Directorate which has the potential to affect jobs and may result in redundancy situations and the redeployment of staff.

2.2        The strategic change may result from a strategic project or other proposals from a range of sources that support the alignment of the School/Directorate’s activities and outputs with the University’s strategy.

2.3        Where organisational change is for the purpose of greater effectiveness and is relatively small scale, internal, and will result in no jobs or people being at risk of redundancy, the process may be dealt with internally by the Dean or Director, with the involvement of their HR Officer.

2.4        Where the organisational change is as a result of the withdrawal of, or an alteration to, funding which does not require the approval of UEG as it is due to external factors that must be acted on, collective consultation will be necessary where there is the risk of redundancies to jobs or people.  In those circumstances an abbreviated version of the Organisational (Outline) Change Proposal of 1-2 pages Appendix 1 should be completed together with the letter S188 (see section 5.3) and these documents passed to the Director of HR for sending to and discussion with the relevant campus unions in order to commence the 30 or 45 day period of consultation.  Thereafter, the process may be managed by the Dean/Director and their HR Officer, taking account of best practice and legislative requirements.

Back to top

3.  The Outline Change Proposal

3.1        In the first instance the possible need for organisational change may be identified by UEG, the Dean, Director or others in response to opportunities or problems; internal or external factors and environment; or in recognition of improvements that can be made to more effectively deliver the University’s aims and objectives.

3.2        An initial analysis and evaluation of the situation will be undertaken within the School or Directorate and will be presented as an Outline Change Proposal paper to UEG.

3.3        The content of the Outline Change Proposal paper will necessarily vary according to circumstances but must contain information and data under the following headings:

3.4        The Outline Change Proposal should be a short document, typically no more than 1-2 pages.

Back to top

4.  Preliminary Assessment by UEG

4.1        The Outline Change Proposal should be signed by the person making the change proposal and submitted to the HR Officer who will arrange for it to be included on the next UEG agenda.

4.2        UEG may agree that the Outline Change Proposal can be developed, alternatively UEG may request specific information to enable further consideration e.g. consultation with students and stakeholders such as Industry Advisory Boards.

4.3        Submissions to UEG for the Preliminary Assessment stage may be iterative until all the necessary information is provided.

4.4        UEG may approve an Outline Change Proposal to proceed ‘in principle’, which means proceeding to collective consultation.

Back to top

5.  Commencing the Collective Consultation Process

5.1     If the Outline Change Proposal is approved by UEG it will be approved ‘in principle’ (see 4.4) to proceed to the next stage of collective consultation with the campus unions.  Collective consultation will consider ways in which any potential redundancies could be avoided, reduced or the effects minimised.

5.2    The Outline Change Proposal will be sent to the campus unions together with the S188 letter, see (5.3).

5.3    The Outline Change Proposal should be accompanied by an S188 letter Appendix 3 prepared by the relevant HR Officer in accordance with S188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 for the campus unions which will provide the following details:

5.4   The Outline Change proposal will be placed on the agenda of the next Collective Consultation meeting and further documentation and/or updates will be provided to the campus unions throughout the collective consultation period.

Back top

6.  The Project Team

6.1  On approval to proceed further after the preliminary assessment, UEG will appoint the Project Team, which will comprise:

6.1.1      Project Manager (may be a Dean, Director or School Manager).

6.1.2     Dean, Director or delegate (if Dean or Director is acting as Project Manager).

6.1.3    Members of the School or Directorate recommended by the Dean/Director.

6.1.4    School or Professional Services HR Officer.

6.1.5    School or Professional Services Finance Officer

6.2    The Project Manager and the Dean, Director or delegate will have access as necessary to:

6.2.1  University Legal Consultant

6.2.2  External Relations

6.2.3  Other SASS Directorates

6.2.4  The dedicated central Strategic Change and Project Management Group.

Back to top

7.  The Organisational Change Proposal

7.1      The full Organisational Change Proposal Appendix 2 - Organisational Change is the document that will be submitted to UEG for consideration and thereafter considered as appropriate within the University’s decision-making structures according to the Schedule of Delegation and governance framework (e.g. Senate, Court, College Board, etc).

7.2      The document will also be disclosed to the campus unions as part of collective consultation. 

7.3     The Organisational Change Proposal should be structured as follows (see Appendix 2 - Organisational Change)

Back to top

8.  Guidance for Developing the Organisational Change Proposal

Back to top

9.  Full Assessment by SMT

9.1      The Organisational Change Proposal should be signed off by the Dean/Director and submitted to the Vice-Principal & Head of College or University Secretary and checked by the HR Officer to ensure it is complete.

9.2      If the Vice-Principal & Head of College or University Secretary is satisfied with the Organisational Change Proposal they should counter-sign it and send it to the Director of HR for the Principal.

9.3      The Principal will ensure, in consultation with senior colleagues as appropriate, that all the relevant information is available to enable the Organisational Change Proposal to be passed for consideration to UEG.

9.4      If the Principal considers that the information provided is inadequate, there will be further liaison with the relevant Dean/Director and Vice-Principal and Head of College/University Secretary.

9.5      When the Principal is satisfied that the Organisational Change Proposal contains all the necessary information it will be placed on the next UEG agenda.

9.6      UEG will only consider a submission when the full Organisational Change Proposal has been presented so that they have access to all the pertinent information on which to consider whether or not to allow the proposal to proceed.

Back to top

10.  Collective Consultation

10.1    The University holds quarterly collective consultation meetings with the campus unions to discuss any potential redundancies, including where the funding for permanent contracts is ending.

10.2    The University will use electronic communication and the collective consultation meetings as the forum for apprising and/or updating the campus unions of any proposed organisational change following approval ‘in principle’ by UEG to proceed to collective consultation.

10.3    The S188 letter will be sent to the campus unions together with the Organisational (Outline) Change Proposal, (see section 5) as soon as possible after UEG has given its approval ‘in principle’.

10.4    The University will actively engage with the campus unions in meaningful consultation consistent with the University’s Redundancy Avoidance Policy and Redundancy Policy with a view to reaching agreement about ways of:

10.5    The consultation will be meaningful which means:

10.6    Meaningful consultation is an absolute obligation on the employer and a genuine commitment on the part of the University. It does not mean both parties have to agree. The final decision on redundancies is for the employer. It is however more than “going through the motions”. It must be shown as genuine. There is an obligation to negotiate and engage actively to discuss options such as alternative work, patterns, job share proposals etc and these should continue until the issues have been aired, parties have had a reasonable time to comment on information provided and proposals or counter proposals made. There is an ‘acting reasonably’ test.

10.7    In order to ensure meaningful consultation takes place at a sufficiently detailed level typically the Dean, Vice-Principal or their senior delegate or Director and University Secretary may attend the collective consultation meeting at which the Organisational Change Proposal is presented.

10.8    The University will comply with the relevant legislation in relation to the collective consultation period.  Typically, the 30 or 45 day collective consultation period will begin on the day the campus unions are notified of the Outline Change Proposal and the S188 letter is sent to the campus unions.  If there is any variation to this the University will make it clear to the campus unions the date on which the collective consultation period will commence.

10.9    Throughout the 30 or 45 day consultation period the campus unions have the right to communicate with the senior members of the collective consultation committee (i.e the University Secretary, the Director of Finance and the Director of HR) to make any further points or suggestions to avoid or mitigate potential redundancies.  The University will give serious consideration to these suggestions.

10.10  The campus unions will be kept apprised of UEG’s discussions and any decisions going through the University decision-making processes via the collective consultation meetings or by direct communication if there is greater urgency.

Back to top

11.  Redundancy Avoidance Policy

11.1    The University recognises the importance of security of employment for its staff and the desirability of avoiding redundancy.  As far as possible, it is committed to protecting the employment of its staff and will take reasonable steps to do so, as outlined in the University’s Redundancy Avoidance Policy.

Back to top

12.  Voluntary Approach

12.1    In accordance with the University’s Redundancy Avoidance Policy and as part of the collective consultation process with the campus unions, the University will give consideration to a voluntary approach such as Voluntary Severance.

12.2    The University will, however, reserve the right to decide when and if a voluntary approach can be offered taking account of relevant factors e.g. affordability.

Back to top

13.  Open Meeting with Staff in the Affected School or Directorate

13.1    Immediately the initial collective consultation notification takes place with the campus unions the Dean or Director should arrange an open meeting with the staff of the unit that is potentially affected.

13.2    The preferred method for the announcement is an open meeting to enable questions to be raised and answered but there may be occasion when letters or emails will be used as an alternative, but this should be the exception.

13.3    Letters or emails should be sent to staff who are on maternity leave, sick leave, sabbatical or otherwise not in attendance at work on the day of the open meeting.

13.4    The HR Officer should be in attendance at the open meeting.

13.5    The Dean or Director holding the open meeting should:

Back to top

14.  Individual Consultation

14.1    Even if collective consultation has commenced it is essential that individual consultation meetings are arranged with the staff who are potentially affected by the proposed changes.

14.2    As staff will be concerned about the announcement conveyed at the open meeting individual meetings should take place with staff as soon as possible thereafter.

14.3    Time should be scheduled in diaries and calendars in advance to ensure the individual meetings follow quickly on the open meeting.

14.4    Letters or emails should be sent inviting staff who are on maternity leave, sick leave, sabbatical or otherwise not in attendance at work.  If staff are unable to attend, other arrangements should be made to apprise them of the situation.

14.5    The Dean or Director or their senior delegate together with their HR Officer will conduct the individual consultation meeting.

14.6    The member of staff may be accompanied by their trade union representative or a work colleague.

14.7    At the individual consultation meeting the Dean or Director or senior delegate should:

The HR Officer should:

Back to top

15.  Preparation for Selection and Project Planning

15.1     At the end of the collective consultation period, staff will be keen to know the outcome and whether the proposals have been approved or not.  If they have, typically, staff will wish matters to proceed as quickly as possible.

15.2     During the consultation, therefore, and making no assumptions that approval will be given, further work can be done on the selection process to be used and the possible timescale if approval to proceed is obtained.

15.3     The Organisational Change Proposal will have identified the method of selection to be used and the selection criteria.

15.4     Job descriptions and person specifications for each new post should be developed if not already available.

15.5     Consideration should be given to a range selection methods e.g. exercises and whether references will be required.

15.6     The key aspects of selection criteria for redundancy are that they must be objective and applied consistently.

15.7     The selection criteria may be given the same weights or different weights by giving the maximum score different values for each (e.g, any credit for length of service can only given for up to 5 years therefore this factor will be scored out of 5 whereas because of the importance of skills and qualification to the post it may justify a score out of 20).

15.8     Selection for appointment for posts and potential redundancy will be based on a combination of approaches including:

15.9     The selection criteria must be passed to the Director of HR for consultation with the relevant campus unions prior to their being used.

15.10   Where there is an obvious pool of one person who is the most suitable person to fill a new post, neither the selection method nor selection criteria need to be determined; they simply need to be identified as a ‘pool of one’.

15.11   The project plan submitted with the Organisational Change Proposal should be updated.

Back to top

16.  Decision Whether to Proceed

16.1     At the end of the collective consultation period the HR Officer will liaise with the Dean or Director and Vice-Principal and Head of College or University Secretary to ensure an Organisational Change Proposal Update (Appendix 5) is completed, together with any written suggestions from staff, and sent to the Director of HR, with a copy to the relevant campus union.

16.2     The purpose of the Organisational Change Proposal Update is to apprise UEG of the outcome of the collective and individual consultations, key ideas that have been received and to advise if, on the basis of this additional information, the School or Directorate wishes to proceed with the proposed change or whether they are suggesting any amendments to their original proposal.

16.3     If the request is withdrawn or if UEG does not support the proposed change in the light of the additional information, the Vice-Principal and Head of College or the University Secretary will communicate the decision throughout their area of responsibility.

16.4     If the proposed change is still requested and is approved to proceed by UEG, this will be communicated to the Dean/Director by the Vice-Principal and Head of College/University Secretary.

Back to top

17.  Selection Criteria

17.1     Selection criteria must derive from the job description and the person specification for the new post against which the members of staff in the selection pool for a particular post are to be assessed.

17.2     Each new job in the new organisational structure should have selection criteria. 

17.3     It may be necessary to assess the candidates against the key criteria for the post rather than every criterion.

17.4     Assessment of candidates against selection criteria must be consistent and objective.

17.5     A range of possible generic criteria undernoted.  The criteria are not exhaustive and each post should have selected criteria relevant to the role.

17.6     Examples of generic criteria:

17.7     Each generic criterion selected should be defined in precise terms on Appendix 6 so it is clear to the assessors and the candidates the competencies that are required.

Back to top

18.  Selection

18.1     The essential feature of a selection process that will have the outcome of redundancy is that it is fair and non-discriminatory.  It is automatically unfair to select a member of staff for redundancy on the basis of any protected characteristic, long-term sick leave, pregnancy/maternity, part-time, fixed-term or trade union status.  However, staff in these categories may feature in the selection pools provided their posts are legitimately at risk of redundancy.

18.2     The selection criteria may require to be modified for staff with disabilities.

18.3     Scoring

18.4     Appendix 7 should be used to score the candidates against the criteria for the post they are being considered.

Back to top

19.  Dealing with Outcomes

19.1     Once the decision is made about people who will be offered posts in the new organisation and those who will be placed in a redundancy situation, the HR Officer should ensure the Organisational Change Outcome form (Appendix 8), is fully completed, signed by the Dean or Director and sent to the Director of Human Resources.

19.2     The Director of HR will liaise with senior colleagues to endorse (or not) the content of the Organisational Change Outcome form.

19.3     If endorsed, the Director of HR will notify the Vice-Principal and Head of College, the Dean or Director and the HR Officer.

19.4     If not endorsed, the Organisational Change Outcome form will be placed on the UEG agenda to decide how to proceed.

19.5     When advised by the Director of HR of the decision to proceed, the Dean, Director or their senior delegate should arrange confidential meetings with the successful and unsuccessful candidates.

19.6     The Dean, Director or senior delegate should be accompanied by the HR Officer or other member of management and the member of staff should be advised that they may be accompanied by a trade union representative.

19.7     The outcome meeting should be arranged by telephone or email to ensure no time is lost is conveying the outcome to the affected members of staff.

19.8     The outcome should not be conveyed to the member of staff by letter only.  A face-to-face meeting must be arranged and only in exceptional circumstances, (e.g where the member of staff is out of the country or otherwise unable to attend) should be notified by telephone.  Notification by letter or email should be avoided, wherever possible.

19.9     When advised by the Director of HR of the decision to proceed with a redundancy, the HR Officer will arrange the Notice of Termination letter (Appendix 9), obtain the Director of HR’s signature to the letter and ensure it is issued in good time, taking account of the requisite notice period (see Redundancy Policy).

19.10    The HR Officer will issue the offer letter/contract of employment to the successful member/s of staff.

19.11    The offer letter/contract of employment will be conditional upon the outcome of any appeals not overturning the original selection decision so the offer letter/contract of employment should contain the sentence: “This offer of employment is conditional, subject to the outcome of any appeals made by other candidates in the selection pool.”

19.12    The HR Officer must diarise the case to ensure the offer is confirmed, or not, as early as possible after the expiry of the appeal period or once appeals have been heard and decided.

Back to top

20.  Redundancy Policy

20.1     In the event that it is not possible to avoid redundancies, the University’s Redundancy Policy will apply.

Back to top

21.  Appeals

21.1     The details of the appeal process against selection for redundancy are detailed in the University’s Redundancy Policy.

21.2     On receipt of the appeal a Redundancy Appeal Acknowledgement letter (Appendix 10) will be issued by the HR Officer and the appellant will be kept apprised of progress.

21.3     The Redundancy Appeal Committee will be arranged by the relevant HR Officer.

21.4     Following the appeal hearing the Chair of the Redundancy Appeal Committee will write to the appellant, detailing the committee’s findings and decision.

21.5     It is possible that the Redundancy Appeal Committee overturns the original selection decision.  For this reason offers can be made, but only on a conditional basis, until the expiry of the appeal period or until any appeal has been heard and decided.

Back to top

22.  Redundancy Support Measures

22.1     The HR Officer should make themselves available on the days that outcome meetings are held and the days that follow.  They should also have access to a private area in order that staff may be offered support if necessary.

22.2     If the HR Officer is not available they should make arrangements for a colleague to be available.

22.3     The University will make a counselling service available to members of staff under notice of redundancy.

Back to top

23.  Redeployment, Retraining, Trial Periods and Pay Protection

23.1     Full details of arrangements in respect of redeployment, retraining, trial periods, and pay protection can be found in the University’s Redundancy Avoidance Policy.

Back to top

24.  Notice

24.1     Members of staff who are dismissed by reason of redundancy are entitled to a period of notice, which will be either that stated in their contract of employment or the statutory minimum, whichever is the greater.

24.2     The normal expectation will be that members of staff will work their period of notice but the University may apply ‘garden leave’ whereby the member of staff will not be required to attend work during the notice period.  Full salary will be paid and entitlements to other benefits are not affected during a period of garden leave.

24.3     If appropriate, pay in lieu of notice may be agreed.

Back to top

25.  Implementation of Change

25.1     To facilitate the change it is important that staff in posts within the new structure are focussed on and working towards their new objectives as quickly as possible.  The Objective-setting and Review process should be used to clarify individuals’ objectives in order that these contribute to the overall success of the change.

25.2     Care should be taken to treat the members of staff who are under notice of redundancy with consideration and dignity.  No communication mentioning them should be issued without their specific agreement to the text.  Whether they are being redeployed or leaving the University, their past service in the School, Directorate or unit should be appropriately recognised and respected.

Back to top

26.  Evaluation

26.1     Six months after the implementation of the change and at the one year point, the Evaluation of Organisation Change report (Appendix 11) will be completed by the Dean or Director and passed to SMT for information.

Back to top

Version Control
Version 1.2