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Changing the shape of the workforce- Manager Guide

Restructures and reorganisations are a common feature of local government. You will probably have experienced being part of a restructure yourself if you have worked for the council for a while.

As a manager you may face the challenge of re- shaping the way that your service is delivered. Sometimes these changes involve systems, technology or location changes. In many cases there will be changes to job roles, numbers of staff and /or terms and conditions of service.

Future budget savings targets, enterprising council initiatives and evolving delivery models for local services mean that change is likely to be an ongoing feature of a DCC manager role.

The management of changing the shape/size of the workforce is regulated by employment law and the council Redundancy and redeployment policy to ensure that we maintain our integrity as a good employer, act lawfully and behave consistently across the council.

This guidance is designed to help you to -

  • Be more confident in managing change

  • understand  and apply the processes needed to effectively manage changes to the workforce

  • get the best from your HR support team

  • support your team to deliver effective change and achieve outcomes

Detailed background knowledge and skills development can be accessed via Learning pool

 On the leadership and management page you will find a specific change management area with e learning courses and other resources.

HR Support Role

It’s important to work closely with your HR consultant who will ensure that you consider all relevant aspects of these policies in the process that you use.

This ensures a consistent, fair and lawful approach across the council.

The HR service is up to date with all current legal and case law requirements to ensure that our actions as an employer do not result in unfair dismissals, unlawful discriminatory actions or costly employment tribunal claims.

If there are any planned changes to job roles or numbers or location, you should be involving your HR Service Partner or designated HR Consultant. They will help you to prepare the cabinet report, map out all affected staff and develop a broad timetable for the consultation and management of the restructure and/or redundancy process that fits the particular circumstances.

Throughout the process your HR Consultant will guide you on timing and wording of written communication and support you in face to face consultations with trade unions and individuals.

The HR team will also provide redeployment support to any individuals identified at risk of redundancy in line with the procedure.

The Relevant Policies

The aim of all our processes is to deliver organisational change while minimising and mitigating against redundancies where possible as defined in -

  • Core principles for managing organisational reviews

  • Redeployment guidance  and information on support available is explained on the website  redeployment guide

It may be helpful to use these resources to refresh your knowledge at the point you start a change process.

The need for Change.

The service planning process will identify upcoming change within the next 5 years. The workforce planning process undertaken by each department will identify the workforce implications of changes to services required to achieve council objectives.

This effectively is the start of the management of change. Your team may have already been involved in generating the service plan so informal communication and consultation may have happened already.

 It may be that changes are politically sensitive and require public consultation before they appear on the service plan.  The consultation toolkit will help you with public consultation.


Developing proposals

To help you ensure you have considered all aspects of a change process and provide the right information for staff the attached template framework has been developed. This will help you define the action needed for a successful change and answer any questions raised in the consultation process. Change plan template

Starting to Communicate

As information about change is shared with the workforce informal communication is important to keep people and teams involved. Change at work has an impact on well-being and the decisions that people make about their employment.

Good practice is to be as open and honest as possible about future changes and ensure all the members of the team are engaged so that any formal proposals are not a surprise and promote ownership of the change in the team. If you have developed a change plan this is designed to be shared with staff and form the basis for your discussions.

Learning pool modules on “Managing Difficult Conversations” and “Leading and Managing change”  are available to help you.

Cabinet Approval

When there is a considerable change proposed details need to be approved through DMT and cabinet .You need to follow the appropriate approval process which includes details of People management (HR), finance, i.t. and equalities implications in the report.

The HR requirements are detailed in  HR Considerations.

The level of detail required will depend upon the scale and scope of the change and the change plan template will help.

Establishing new roles

When reviewing structures and tiers in your service Organisation design principles need to be applied to ensure consistent and appropriate spans of control and accountability. Any new roles will need to be described using a job and person profile and graded within the HAY Job evaluation framework, advice should be sought from your HR Consultant.

If there are current generic profiles already available they should be used or if very similar, a benchmarking exercise should be undertaken. Where roles are genuinely new a job evaluation panel will assess the requirements to determine the appropriate grade.

Your HR service will advise you to ensure that the correct process is followed and the appropriate grading is achieved. This is a process that you need to factor in to your timescales before you go to cabinet for approval or any consultation takes place.

Job and person profile guidance

Job and person profile template

Scope of change – ring fencing

When we need to reduce the number of staff or change the shape of the workforce grade/location/role we delete existing posts and create new roles or we have a straightforward reduction in numbers.

By identifying the relevant team/s who are impacted you can work with HR to define ring fences for the posts affected by the change and clarify the communication plan required for the formal process.

It is important to include all staff especially any people who are off sick, on maternity leave or seconded out of the work team. If there are any people on fixed term contracts they need to be identified and consulted within the formal process regarding the termination of their contract.

HR will produce details from payroll to ensure that everyone who should be is included in the consultation process and the change can be costed and managed effectively. (CHECK)

At this stage you will also know whether or not a VER or VR scheme will be offered this should have been covered and costed in your cabinet report. Volunteers can reduce the need for compulsory redundancy and /or redeployment but the costs and impact of such schemes need to be considered carefully. (CHECK)

Staff within the ring fence whose roles are deleted therefore  become at risk of redundancy and can be given priority consideration for new posts within the ring fence and other vacancies in the council via the redeployment procedure.

Where there are no new roles to be appointed in to, or when all recruitment into the new structure has been completed any remaining at risk staff will be subject to a selection out for redundancy process.

As they are identified at risk they will be eligible for redeployment support straight away.

The selection out of staff for redundancy is different from recruitment selection and training will be provided by HR if it is required in your particular change process.

Formal Consultation and communication

Specific timescales and requirements laid down for formal consultation with trade unions and individuals where there is a potential for redundancies. In the policy the consultation period is recommended as a minimum of 30 days for changes involving up to 99 employees, and 45 days for 100 or more employees.

Your role with support from HR, is to formally consult with trade unions and the staff affected on the details of this process as described in the change action plan.

Even if you have no union members in the team, all recognised trade unions must be consulted.

This will normally involve organising an initial meeting with the staff affected and their trade union representatives to share details of the change proposed and the process to be used. HR will advise and assist you to arrange this meeting, using a section 188 letter.

During the 30/45 days feedback from all parties must be considered and if appropriate changes will be made to the process, further trade union and individual consultation meetings will usually be held. It is important that records are kept of all communication with employees to document the process you have undertaken.


When employees are ‘individually at risk’ of redundancy


Individual consultation starts with the formal consultation process, this could take place in writing, a group meeting or an individual meeting.


Individual Consultation meetings are held with employees who are ‘individually at risk’ of redundancy. To ensure that the process is robust and lawful it is recommended that you have another employee  with you to provide support. This could be  your HR lead, another Manager or a Redeployment Officer. 


These meetings should ideally be held as soon as it is clear that an employee is potentially facing redundancy.


The number of individual consultation meetings you need will depend on the complexity of the proposals and the arguments the employee puts forward. A minimum of 2 meetings with each individual is advised to ensure that the consultation is meaningful and robust.


Your role is to :-


  • Give five working days' written notice of the meeting( The HR team have template letters to use )

  • Ensure the employee is invited in writing to the Individual Consultation meeting

  • Offer the right of representation at the meeting (trade union representative or a work colleague).

  • Ensure that all items listed on the ‘Individual Consultation Form’ are discussed fully

  • Keep a detailed record of the meeting using the ‘Individual Consultation Form’

HR will  store all documents on the Redeployment Register.

If, during individual consultation, the decision to make the employee ‘individually at risk’ of redundancy is changed, you or your HR lead should inform the employee and their representative in writing. 


It is important to allow the formal consultation period to be completed before any changes are actually made. So any interviews or other selection processes should not begin until after the end of the 30/45 day period.


Moving people into new roles

The detail of this process can be laid out in the change action plan.

If a new role is more than an 80% match to their current role a slotting process may take place for some individuals.

Where there are new roles and no clear slots an appointment in process will take place where people apply for the new roles in the structure. This is generally done on a top down basis from the most senior roles, with appropriate ring fences at each level.

You may use preferencing forms or full on applications through recruit, detailed advice on the nature of ring fence arrangements and the sequence of moving through the selection processes will be given by HR and are subject to consultation with the trade unions.

This is a formal selection process and you should ensure that confidentiality and objectivity are maintained. It may be tempting to reassure anxious individuals that they will get a job but it is not appropriate.

It is important that the timing of this process and the criteria used are fair and seen to be fair. HR will support and advise on the methods available. Good record keeping with objective reasons for selection decisions is vital.

When the process is complete, all people who have got a job will be advised - any staff who have not been appointed within the new structure will receive formal notice of redundancy.

At this time it may be appropriate to offer a further VER /VS scheme if approval has been obtained.

Support to find suitable alternative employment outside of the new structure will then be put in place for individuals at risk. This will include priority access to vacancies via the recruit system and potential retraining and job tasters made available to help to retain staff within the council workforce.


Individuals have the right to appeal against redundancy and this process may need to be managed. Evidence of the consultation process and selection process used will need to be presented at appeal.HR will advise to ensure that you comply with policy.

This may be a difficult time within a team with some members happy and relieved that they have secured a new role and others stressed and anxious about their future.

It is important that you offer support to the teams and be clear on time off for interviews etc. for staff who are at risk and how workloads will be managed as you transition into your new structure redeployment-support


Reductions in numbers

Where there is a service or establishment closure or reduction in numbers of staff in a particular role the process follows the same principles of appropriate formal consultation and communication and a change action plan can be used.

VER/VR schemes may be offered initially to mitigate against compulsory redundancies.

The process to define who is redundant will be managed via a manager led selection out process by 2 managers using specific objective criteria and recorded formally. As the staff in the pool  are identified at risk they will be eligible for redeployment support straight away.

The selection out of staff for redundancy is different from recruitment selection and training will be provided.

HR will support you to plan the timing of notice periods to coincide with the closure of service, and provide appropriate redeployment support for individuals identified at risk from the selection out process.

Reviewing the change /moving on /rebuilding the team

As the new structure is established you should be clear on any development needs within the team and regularly review how things are going to ensure any issues are highlighted and dealt with effectively.




This guidance takes you through the change process step by step


This module is suitable for managers or employees who need to have a detailed overview of the CDM Regulations.  It covers all aspects of the type of work covered by CDM, legislation and roles and responsibilities.


Course template - replace this with course description, aims, objectives and timings



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Serious Case Review Conference


This module is suitable for managers and employees.  The module is designed to give an overview of stress awareness at work, explains what is stress, how it is expressed both physically and psychologically and it explores various coping strategies.

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