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Introducing Change to Organisational Structures.

05 Nov 2007

How the University is ensuring a consistent and fair approach to re-structuring.


There are a number of restructures across the University which managers are now taking forward or are seeking to take forward. Managers and HR have been or are in consultation with the Campus Trade Unions where restructures are occurring. Human Resources will be consulted prior to beginning any exercise to change organisational structures.

This paper sets out the University's approach to introducing change to organisational structures to ensure that a consistent and fair process is adhered to.

Reorganisation means more than just changes in formal structures. It typically links not only to substantial alterations in organisational and managerial systems and processes but to potentially far reaching changes to culture and behaviour as well. Reorganisations are an important part of a manager's role and it is vital that to succeed our managers understand what is key to managing change successfully. This focuses on:

  • Sustaining the support of senior management, especially personal commitment and political support
  • Avoiding uncoordinated reorganisations
  • Achieving substantive rather than tokenistic, employee (and trade union) involvement in the change process, moving beyond communication to active involvement
  • Developing a people centred approach which includes the provision of training
  • Involving HR closely and right from the start
  • Maintaining effective project management disciplines
  • Building the skills of managers to manage effective change programmes


There are a number of key stages to the process managers and HR must  adhere to if the University is to handle reorganisations effectively, efficiently and consistently.

Stage One - Design the new structure and roles

Managers need to develop their new structure and roles to take account of the skills and capabilities required to deliver a cost effective operation now and in the future. 

Roles should be clearly defined with job descriptions using recognisable job titles. Individual names should not be included in the new proposed structure at this stage.

Once agreement has been reached with senior managers then the process moves into stage two.

Stage Two - Consultation

Undertaking meaningful consultation with the relevant campus trade unions is critical to ensure the change process can move forward as smoothly as possible. At this stage managers need to present their old structure and their new proposed structure for consultation together with the proposed human resources process and implementation plan. It is advisable at this stage to circulate the proposed organisational structure and HR process and implementation plan to all those staff likely to be affected by the change.

Managers and HR need to ensure that they are clear which staff are affected by this particular change so as to draw the boundary around the correct part or parts of the organisation. Managers and HR should then meet with the relevant campus trade unions in order to discuss the proposals. Managers and HR will then need to take away any points raised by the trade unions (and affected staff) for consideration. A further meeting with the trade unions will be required in order to respond to any points raised. Once the consultation process has been concluded Managers and HR will then inform the affected staff and the relevant campus trade unions of the final structure and the HR process and implementation plan. The implementation plan must contain realistic timescales so individuals will be aware of what is likely to happen and when in order to manage down levels of uncertainty and anxiety. This helps to manage anxiety levels. This process should now be managed as a project.

Regular meetings should then be scheduled with the relevant trade unions in order to provide the opportunity for the trade union to raise any concerns and to enable managers and HR to provide a progress report.

Stage Three - Populating the Structure

This next stage concerns populating the now agreed structure with names. The staff affected need to be divided into the following categories:

 a) A like for like job match (i.e. at least 80% of their current job is identifiable in the new role). These staff should be informed immediately in writing of their position in order to minimise anxiety. This must be a role at the same grade.

 b) A pool of individuals against a job role similar to the one they currently do. There should be a minimum of 51% of their current role identified in the new job role. This must be at the same grade.

 c) No obvious match for the individual against a job role in the new structure. These staff will be immediately placed on the redeployment register.
There may be posts within the new structure to which no individual can be matched because it is so different from previous roles. These posts are vacancies and will not be filled until category (a) and (b) staff have been informed of their position.

Stage Four - Process for Handling Category (b)

Individuals who fall within category (b) will be asked to provide an up to date CV. Each member of staff will be invited to a meeting with their manager(s) and HR (if required) to:

 a) define their skills and experience in their current and previous roles together with       any relevant qualifications.

 b) discuss possible training needs

 c) agree their 'pooling' opportunities

Human Resources has designed an appropriate proforma for this part of the process which must be used in all cases.

A second meeting will be held up to five working days later in order to provide the individual with an opportunity to add to the information already provided. When all 'pooled' individuals have been met, then the manager(s) in consultation with HR will decide using the job description and person specification who is most suitable for the role. The decision will be given to those individuals affected verbally as soon as possible and then confirmed in writing. The University will not be taking attendance and disciplinary record or using L.I.F.O. as criteria.

The unsuccessful individuals (if not pooled for another position) will be placed on the redeployment register. They will meet with HR to ensure that all relevant details have been recorded and will be given the opportunity to discuss their options.

This stage of the process is repeated until all 'pooled' positions have been filled.


Individuals will have the right to appeal against the decision. Appeals must be made in writing to the Head of HR within five working days or receipt of the decision. The appeal will be heard by the senior line manager and a Head of HR not involved in the original decision.

Stage Five - Filling Vacancies

New roles may have developed to which no individual is matched. Either this is totally different to previous roles or less than 51% is identifiable from existing roles. These are vacancies and as such can now be filled from staff on the redeployment register.

Stage Six - Implementation of the New Structure

As a general rule, major restructures should not be implemented before a 90 day period required to effect a change has expired. In effect this is a broader  consultation period but the clock starts ticking from the beginning of the initial consultation meeting with the relevant trade unions. 

Briefing Sessions for Managers

It is planned to deliver briefing sessions to managers on the process of managing through a change in organisational structure. It is envisaged that these will be short sessions of a maximum duration of one hour and presented during planned Faculty/management team meetings.

Managing the Redeployment Process
Populating the Redeployment Register

It is now important to populate the redeployment register as soon as possible. It is envisaged that the register will be populated in the following way:

 a) as soon as individual roles are identified in a proposed new structure as no longer likely to be required, the individual affected will be placed on the redeployment register to enable suitable opportunities to be identified.

 b) where individuals have been 'pooled' for a role, eg.10 administrators currently but only eight roles in the new structure, then the job title will be placed on the register. When the individuals have been identified then those concerned will be placed on the register.

 c) where a one off role is no longer likely to be required then the individual will be placed on the register as early as possible and before it is finally agreed that the job will no longer exist.

Managing the Redeployment Process

Effective and efficient management of the redeployment process is vital to supporting the reduction in payroll costs through the ERVS Scheme and the vacancy management procedure. The numbers of redeployees is therefore likely to grow over the coming months. The key components of managing the redeployment register are:

 a) retaining the detail of each individual on the register re their skills, experience, qualifications, training needs.

 b) matching them to vacancies as they are approved.

 c) matching them to posts where an ERVS application has been approved.

 d) organising interviews/meetings with the relevant line managers.

 e) maintaining an individual records base of interviews undertaken and results .

 f) confirming outcome of interviews and providing all written correspondence and copy to the individual's personnel file.

 g) providing monitoring data as required.

This is very similar to processes operated by agencies and job centres.

This process would be more effectively managed centrally and by individuals seconded from the current Faculty/Central HR Teams who have knowledge of the University and the roles. It is envisaged that one HR Manager and one HR Officer/Administrator would be required to manage this process. The HR Manager will 'match' redeployees against suitable roles. Managers will determine who to appoint but if the individual is rejected then the manager will be expected to justify their decision in writing. It is worth noting that defining what is a 'suitable alternative role' is subjective. Generally this is defined as a role at the same level as the individual using their range of skills and experience. The individual may be required to undertake additional training in order to fulfil the role satisfactorily. The new role does not need to offer the same tasks. 

Karen Heaton
Director of Human Resources
22 June 2007