Stage 1: Identifying the rationale

Stage 1a: Rationale for ceasing and area of academic, professional or support staff activity

A department may only put staff at risk of redundancy where they have established a clear rationalfor doing so, and is ceasing, or intending to cease, the activity or project for which the employee was employed, in the place where that employee was employed.

The practical reasons may emerge from internal planning which decides the size and most efficient use of staffing required to meet objectives or financial constraints.  Or the redundancy may be a response to external factors, including, for example, the loss or reduction of external funding.  The operational argument or academic rationale may take any format, provided it gives a clear, written reasons why certain posts are no longer required.

Stage 1b: Identify the potential redundancy pool

The relevant department must identify the pool from which any eventual redundancies will be sought. 

If, later in the process, compulsory redundancies prove to be unavoidable, the department will have to demonstrate that the pool from which those dismissed are selected had been properly and fairly identified. Selection from too narrow a pool may itself render a dismissal unfair. Judgement has to be objective.

The pool must reflect the specific circumstances of the case. For example: 

  • where the intention is to cease a particular activity altogether, identifying the pool is relatively straightforward.  It may be clear that all employees who carry out that activity are likely to be at risk of redundancy.  This may produce a large pool or, where the post under threat is highly specialised and only one employee is qualified to fill it, there may reasonably be a pool of only one.
  • where the intention is to reduce an activity or to cease it in only one area, it may be appropriate to include not just the employees whose posts have been identified as being at risk, but also comparable employee(s) in other areas.
  • where employees’ jobs are readily interchangeable, it is likely to be necessary to include all those employees in the pool.
  • where employees on different types of contract are doing similar work, they may also need to be included in the pool.

Advice should be sought from your HR Business Partner.

Procedures governing how any eventual selection from the pool is made are given in stage 5.