A priority candidate is a University employee who applies for a vacancy at the University at the same or lower grade as his or her existing post and who is either:
- a member of staff  who has been told that he or she is at risk of redundancy and who has indicated a wish to be redeployed; or
- a disabled member of staff for whom redeployment to a more suitable post is being sought
The employee should, with the support of their nominated facilitator, consider all advertised vacancies.
There is no guarantee that any suitable vacancies will arise. The employee should not automatically rule out vacancies at a lower grade and/or involving a reduction in salary.
 Priority candidate status applies only to members of staff who will have been in continuous employment by the University for one year or more at the date their employment is terminated on grounds of redundancy.
There are two ways in which a priority candidate may be given preferential consideration for a vacancy.
When a vacancy is advertised, there should, wherever possible, be two closure dates for applications: the date by when all applications must be received (the normal application date) and another, earlier date by when priority candidates should make their applications (the priority application date).
Priority application date
- this should normally be set at approximately half way through the normal application period i.e. if the post is advertised for four weeks, the priority application date should be at the end of two weeks.
- if a priority candidate believes he or she is suitable for a vacancy and wishes to apply for the post, he or she should submit an application in the manner requested on the advert, making it clear that they do so as a priority candidate by attaching a copy of their redeployment letter (Use pro forma letter X5 for staff at the end of a fixed term contract, and pro forma letter A7 in all other cases. See Pro- forma letters).
- provided that the application is received on or before the priority application date and provided the applicant is not clearly unsuited to the post, he or she should be interviewed before any other candidates (if practicable, before other candidates are called for interview).
- If, following interview, a priority candidate is found to be suitable they should be appointed (see selection and trial appointment below). If this is the case the vacancy may be closed, saving the department further effort on short-listing and interviewing.
Normal application date
- Provided that another priority candidate has not already been appointed under the above process, if a priority candidate fails to apply for a post before the priority application date they may still be given priority consideration.
- as above, he or she should submit an application in the manner requested on the advert, making it clear that they do so as a priority candidate by attaching a copy of their redeployment letter (Use pro forma letter X5 for staff at the end of a fixed term contract, and pro forma letter A7 in all other cases. See Pro- forma letters).
- provided that the application is received on or before the normal application date and provided the applicant is not clearly unsuited to the post, he or she should be interviewed at the same time as other candidates, but, where operationally possible, the priority candidate should be interviewed first on the first day of interviewing and, following all the interviews, the priority candidate’s application should be considered by the panel before they go on to consider the other applicants.
Where a particular vacancy generates more than one application from candidates whose posts are at risk, departments and divisions are advised to consult HR Business Partners.
It is for the selection panel to judge whether a particular priority candidate meets all the essential selection criteria, bearing in mind the applicant’s skills, abilities and experience as evidenced by the application, inter-departmental references and the interview and associated tests.
If the panel judges that the candidate is suitable, or is likely to be suitable after reasonable retraining, then the post should be offered to him or her on a trial basis (see below) (Pro forma letter P1)
If the selection panel decides, for any reason, not to offer a vacancy to a priority candidate at risk of redundancy the panel must be able to show that its reason was based on a comparison of the candidate’s skills, abilities and experience with those required for the post.
- the applicant should be informed of the panel’s decision (Pro forma letter P2)
- feedback on the reasons should be passed to the applicant’s department which will be responsible for discussing it with him or her (Pro forma letter P3)
The statutory length of the trial period is four weeks.
If an employee whose post is at risk of redundancy is accepted for redeployment, but the trial period in the new post is not successful, it remains the responsibility of the original department to consult with him or her over the next steps to be taken.
By starting a new post, on new terms, the employee will bring their previous contract of employment to an end (even if this is before the date on which their employment was scheduled to come to an end). The statutory trial period automatically begins when their old post comes to an end, and lasts for four weeks from that date.
If the trial period fails within those four weeks, the date the employee’s previous post came to end becomes the date on which their employment is treated as having come to an end. The employee will be entitled to whatever redundancy payment is due, provided that the ending of the trial period did not amount to an unreasonable refusal of a suitable alternative post by the employee.