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Management of Reorganisation and Change Policy

Contents
  1. Aim  of this policy
  2. Important considerations
  3. Role of the Change Project Sponsor (CPS)
  4. Formal Stages of reorganisation or change at SOAS
  5. Action after Executive Board decision
  6. Communications throughout the reorganisation or change process
  7. Disagreement with the management or the outcome of the consultation process
  8. Equal opportunities
  9. Guidance on this policy and supporting procedures
  10. Approval
  11. Appendix A - Detailed Business Case Template for Re-organisation/Change Proposals
    1. Purpose
    2. Fitness for purpose checklist
    3. Suggested content of a SOAS reorganisation/change business case
    4. For major re-organisations/change scenarios, the business case could be developed in three stages:
    5. Further Advice
1. Aim of this policy

1.1 The core areas of activity for the School are the provision of undergraduate and postgraduate high quality teaching and the carrying out of research in the fields of Arts & Humanities, Languages & Cultures and Law & Social Sciences. This is supported by the School’s Professional Services Directorates. The School needs to be appropriately organised and managed in order to maximise its potential income, minimise its risks and liabilities and invest in its continued expansion. 

1.2 Recognising that the most valuable resource is its employees, the School will strive to maintain security of employment wherever possible.   However, where structural changes (arising from financial, organisational, scientific, technical, market or other factors) are either required or proposed, the senior officers of the School will take all practical steps to minimise the adverse effects on employees by following the aims of this Policy.

1.3 This document sets out the procedures that will apply if a significant (important or noticeable) reorganisation of a department, faculty or section of the School becomes necessary. It seeks to recognise the differing challenges the School faces when promoting change across all departments of the School whether they are academic-related or professional services support-related.

1.4 The Management of Reorganisation and Change Policy does not apply to employees on Fixed-Term Contracts of Employment. Those employees are subject to the School’s updated ‘Policy on the employment of fixed-term staff’ agreed with the School recognised trades unions, UCU and UNISON, on 18 January 2012, unless they have been continuously employed by the School for a period of at least two years. That policy supports the implementation of “The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations” 2002.

1.5 Also this Policy does not apply to certain Academic employees  covered by the School’s Standing Orders, to whom a different set of procedures in respect of redundancy would apply (see * below).


*( “SOAS Standing Order X: Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters” This Standing Order applies to members of the academic staff (except for those excluded from Part II by clause 5(1) below: The power to dismiss, and the procedures prescribed, under this Part shall not apply to those staff defined in sub-sections (3) to (6) of section 204 of the Education Reform Act 1988 (appointed prior to, and not promoted after, 20 November 1987), who shall for this purpose continue to be subject to such powers, if any, as applied to them prior to the introduction of the Standing Order made by the University Commissioners in the exercise of their powers under sections 203 and 204 of the Education Reform Act 1988.)

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2. Important considerations

2.1 This Policy is not intended to cover situations where there are some minor changes to working practices and/or duties which may be discussed between a line manager and an individual or group of individuals in a particular area, such as reviewing job descriptions.  Minor changes are defined as those of having little overall impact upon the School as a whole when compared with other issues which carry greater importance. Minor change situations should be considered as part of the normal day-to-day interaction between employees and their line managers. An example would be a change of individual responsibilities within a team structure to assist individuals with their personal development or a proposal to introduce a new system or process. Minor change might also encompass adjustments to a colleague’s work/role/hours as a result of a flexible working or reasonable adjustment for disability request.

2.2 In dealing with the staffing consequences of reorganisation and change management, the School’s senior managers will consult with the appropriate School’s recognised trades unions and all affected employees in good time (the consultation timetable is set out at Section 4 below).

2.3 No final decision about any significant reorganisation proposals presented to Executive Board will be made until after the relevant consultation procedures have been followed and the appropriate consultation period has ended.

2.4 Where reorganisation or change proposals may lead to the possibility of redundancies, the School’s Redundancy Policy (which is not currently recognised by the UCU and UNISON SOAS Branches) will apply.

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3. Role of Change Project Sponsor (CPS)

3.1 Where reorganisation or change is considered necessary across a department/directorate/service area, careful planning will be undertaken by the Head of the relevant department/directorate/service area concerned. That person will be the Change Project Sponsor (CPS) for the particular reorganisation or change project.

3.2 Where the proposed reorganisation or change affects other departments/directorates/service areas, the Change Project Sponsor role would be taken by an Executive Board level senior manager.

3.3 The Change Project Sponsor will work in partnership with the HR Manager (Change), the School’s Diversity Advisor and/or the HR Manager (Equality & Diversity), affected employees and the trades unions throughout the reorganisation or change process. He or she will also work closely with the appropriate HR Manager who provides day-to-day operational support for the department/directorate/service area concerned. The Change Project Sponsor will also be responsible for ensuring that any potential adverse equality impact identified during the change process is addressed, taking advice from the School’s Diversity Advisor and/or from the HR Manager (Equality & Diversity).

3.4 The Change Project Sponsor is also responsible for the preparation and continual evaluation of the Risk Register relevant to the proposed change project. The Change Project Sponsor will be responsible for managing any risks identified and ensuring appropriate mitigation measures are available or in place.

3.5 The Change Project Sponsor will handle the management of the proposed reorganisation or change in the fairest, most consistent and sympathetic manner possible. He or she will follow the principles set out in this Policy and will attempt to minimise, as far as possible, any hardship that may impact on any employees affected.

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4. Formal stages of reorganisation or change at SOAS

There are five distinct administrative stages of process where significant reorganisation or change is contemplated across the School.

Stages 2 and 5 require consideration and approval (or amendment) by the School’s Executive Board.

Stage 1: Informal discussions at faculty/department/directorate management team level (Dean of Faculty/Head of Department/Directorate-level consideration on possible proposals)  
Stage 2: High-level Business Case (to Executive Board for approval in principle)
Stage 3: In confidence discussion meeting with the School’s recognised trades unions
Stage 4: Formal consultation with affected employees and the wider School community
Stage 5: Detailed Business Case (to Executive Board for approval/amendment)

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Stage 1: Informal discussions at faculty / department / directorate management team level

The Change Project Sponsor (CPS) may hold informal in confidence discussions with appropriate individuals or small groups of affected employees and key stakeholders in advance of Stages 2 to 5.

This is to ensure that at a strategic-change management level, the CPS is able to ‘sound out’ initial reaction from his or her key management team and from key stakeholders (i.e. those with a shared interest as to the impact the proposed change will have) as to the high-level feasibility of the proposals or required change.

At this stage, the CPS will also have to consider whether the proposed changes could have a different impact on different groups of people using the School’s Equality Analysis Guidance.

The CPS should also seek advice from the School’s Diversity Advisor and/or from the HR Manager (Equalities and Diversity) as necessary.

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Stage 2: High-level Business Case – This is prepared by the Change Project Sponsor to be presented to the School’s Executive Board. It should include the following:

 

  • The reasons for considering the proposed reorganisation or change
  • Supporting evidence including outline financial considerations (for example: will the proposals increase or decrease operating costs?; will the proposals require fewer or more people resource than currently provided?)
  • A range of alternative solutions (see below)
  • Initial reaction from key stakeholders who would have been consulted informally
  • Equality Analysis considerations

The high-level Business Case should be in the form of a short briefing paper with attachments covering the above.

This document has to be approved formally by Executive Board in principle before Stage 3 can proceed.

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Stage 3: In confidence discussion meeting with the School’s recognised trades unions

Before formal consultation with affected employees and the wider School community can commence, the Change Project Sponsor supported by the HR Manager (Change), will hold an in confidence discussion meeting with the School recognised trades unions to present the key points and issues relating to the high-level Business Case approved by EB in principle at Stage 2.

The purpose of the discussion meeting is to ensure there is a joint understanding between the School and the trades unions as to the reasons for the proposed change and the documentation which supports it. The in confidence discussion meeting must be held at least five working days in advance of the commencement of the formal consultation period.

The proposed School-wide consultation document should be circulated to trades union colleagues 24 hours in advance of the Stage 3 meeting. The document should include a proposed structure chart showing the anticipated pay band/grade for each post and outline indicative role descriptions which may or may not have been subject to the HERA process at that stage.

In certain circumstances, there may be a need for two Stage 3 meetings (referred to as Stage 3A and Stage 3B). The Stage 3B meeting will be necessitated where the original Stage 3 meeting elicits a number of discussion areas which require the Change Project Sponsor to revisit and/or amend some of the proposals. The revised consultation document is then shared and discussed again with the trades unions before School-wide consultation can commence.

If for whatever reason after a Stage 3, 3A or 3B meeting has been held the Change Project Sponsor feels that the final consultation document requires further amendment, these amendments will be shared with the trades unions by email on an in confidence basis 24 hours in advance of the commencement of School-wide consultation. There is no requirement for a face-to-face meeting with the trades unions – the email circulation will suffice as notification.

 

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Stage 4: Formal consultation with affected employees and the wider School community

Formal consultation with those directly affected by the proposals and the wider School community must take place over a period of no less than 30 calendar days. Where this period might include School holiday closures then additional time will be added for the consultation.

The consultation period commences either on the day that a meeting is held by the Change Project Sponsor with those employees directly affected by the proposals or, for significant change across the School, when a stand-alone all-staff email is issued (not via the School’s weekly e-Bulletin).

The formal consultation process will last for at least 30 calendar days from the date of the meeting above or when the all-School email is issued and may be longer if agreed between the Change Project Sponsor and the School recognised trades unions.

School employees will be asked to comment on the proposals (and may wish to suggest possible alternatives for consideration) via a dedicated email address for the purposes of receiving contributions. The HR Manager (Change) is responsible for arranging for the email account to be set up. These contributions will be viewed and considered by the Change Project Sponsor and the relevant Change Project Board members and members of EB (under Stage 5 below, EB may decide the comments are to be published internally across the School. If this is the case then the authors’ names and contact details will be removed before publication).

Further one-to-one meetings may be arranged between individuals whose jobs are likely to be directly affected as a result of the proposals and the Change Project Sponsor. For large-scale reorganisation or change, the one-to-one meetings may have to be between the individual and their relevant Head of Department or directorate.

For large scale reorganisation or change proposals, it is good practice for the Change Project Sponsor to offer to hold one further group consultation meeting towards the end of the consultation period if this is requested by those individuals affected by the proposals. This would be to consider any alternative proposals made either by affected individuals or a group of affected individuals. This meeting, if held, must be held at least five working days before the formal consultation process ends. In exceptional circumstances, it may be appropriate to hold several group meetings during the consultation period if alternative viable proposals are being promoted.

Relevant union representatives and/or HR representatives should also be invited to attend all group consultation meetings by the Change Project Sponsor. They could also attend individual consultation meetings as required if the employee is a union member and its presence is requested.

 

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Stage 5: Detailed Business Case (suggested headings set out in section 3 of Appendix A) 

The detailed Business Case is prepared by the Change Project Sponsor. It will include evidence against the various headings set out in Section 3 of Appendix A. It must contain evidence confirming that those employees directly affected by the proposals have been consulted and their views considered and taken into account wherever possible.

The Business Case should also record the views of the recognised School trades unions if they have been offered either verbally or in writing.

The Business Case would then be submitted to the Executive Board for its consideration and decision.

 

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5. Action after Executive Board decision

5.1 The EB decision will be confirmed to the Change Project Sponsor as soon as possible after the relevant EB meeting has been held.

5.2 The Change Project Sponsor will then inform the trades unions of the decision by email or via a meeting if appropriate and then inform the directly affected employees of the final decision as soon as practicable thereafter.

5.3 Once those employees have been informed, the EB decision is then promulgated to the rest of the School by means of an all-staff email (not via the School’s weekly e-Bulletin).  

5.4 If the change project is approved, the Change Project Sponsor will then prepare and publish an appropriate timetable for the reorganisation to be delivered.

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6. Communications throughout the reorganisation or change process

6.1 The Change Project Sponsor is responsible for ensuring that all affected employees are kept fully informed throughout the reorganisation or change process.

6.2 He or she will work closely with the School’s Head of Communications regarding all aspects of the required communication along with the HR Manager (Change).

6.3 The HR Manager (Change) will arrange for a dedicated email address to be set up for the purposes of receiving contributions to the consultation. Each change consultation document plus supporting documentation will be placed on the HR Change webpages under either current or past proposals as appropriate.

6.4 The Change Project Sponsor is required to give appropriate updates on progress on the change project either through meetings with affected employees or through electronic update messages

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7. Disagreement with the management or the outcome of the consultation process

7.1 In cases other than redundancy, where an employee’s views are not acted on during the consultation process, without good practical or financial reasons or where this consultation procedure has not been followed, individuals or groups would have the right to raise a grievance in accordance with the School’s grievance procedures.

7.2 In cases of statutory dismissal through redundancy, there is a separate appeals procedure outlined in the School’s Redundancy Policy (not currently recognised by the School’s recognised trades unions).

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8. Equal opportunities

8.1 This policy has been drafted to adhere to the School’s Equality and Diversity Policy. The School will ensure that no employee will be treated differently on the grounds of age, carers’ and parents’ rights, disability, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, marital status, religious belief, sexual orientation, or transsexualism.

8.2 The process outlined here should be carried out with due regard to any diversity issues raised. The School’s Diversity Adviser and HR Manager (Equality & Diversity) are available to support colleagues in this area. Where a diversity issue (e.g. a disability including chronic physical or mental health conditions) has been disclosed to the School, whether prior to or during the process, the manager co-ordinating the process is responsible for checking with the employee to determine their needs and for making the appropriate arrangements. Employees who have not previously disclosed a diversity issue which may be relevant to this process are encouraged to do so, as early as possible, so that it can be taken into account. Further information on equality and diversity at SOAS can be found at: http://www.soas.ac.uk/equalitydiversity/

8.3 Under the Equality Act 2010, the need for public bodies in England to undertake or publish an equality impact assessment of its policies, practices and decisions was removed in April 2011 when the ‘single equality duty’ was introduced. The School must still give “due regard” to the need to avoid discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all protected groups when making policy decisions. The School is also required to publish information showing how it is complying with this duty but does not have to conduct a lengthy and detailed impact assessment each time it promotes a change. As at July 2013, the Government is currently reviewing the public sector equality duty but has not made any specific proposals for its reform.

8.4 Although there is no longer a specific duty to carry out equality impact analysis, the requirement to publish outcomes of such analysis will help ensure that this activity still features as part of everyday decision making. It is also important to note that case law before the Equality Act 2010 will still be relevant.

8.5 The operation and impact of this policy will be routinely monitored by HR and the trade unions and may be reported on an annual basis as part of a wider Equal Opportunities and Diversity report for the School.

8.6 The HR Directorate will work closely with the School’s Diversity Advisor to ensure that feedback from the practical aspects of the Management of Reorganisation and Change Policy feeds back into the equal opportunities aspect of this policy.  

 

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9. Guidance on this policy and supporting procedures

9.1 Should you require further guidance regarding the School’s Management of Reorganisation and Change Policy and the supporting procedures, you should contact the HR Manager (Change) or the relevant HR Manager for your work area.

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10. Approval
  • This Policy was agreed with UCU and UNISON on 17 July 2009 and formally approved by Executive Board on 27 July 2009.
  • This Policy was reviewed and updated by HR and the trades unions in June and July 2013 and noted and approved by EB on 5 August 2013.

SOAS, University of London
HR Directorate
August 2013

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APPENDIX A

SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

DETAILED BUSINESS CASE TEMPLATE FOR REORGANISATION/
CHANGE PROPOSALS

1. Purpose:
  • TThe Business Case is used to obtain SOAS Executive Board agreement and approval for the proposed reorganisation/change proposals
  • The Business Case provides a framework for planning and management of the reorganisation/change
  • The ongoing viability of the reorganisation/change project will be monitored against the Business Case

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2. Fitness for purpose checklist:
  • Is the need for the proposed reorganisation/change clearly stated?
  • Are any current posts at risk of redundancy as a result of the proposals?
  • Have the potential benefits of the proposed reorganisation/change been stated clearly?
  • Is the reason for and benefits of the reorganisation/change consistent with the School’s strategy and mission?
  • Does the business case adequately cover the School’s equality and diversity requirements?
  • Is it clearly set out in the proposals what will define a successful outcome?
  • Is it clear what the proposed reorganisation/change(s) is/are?
  • Is it clear in the business case why the preferred option is to be pursued?
  • Is it clear in the business case that all affected stakeholders have been identified and consulted?
  • Are the stakeholder views contained in the business case?
  • Is it clear in the business case that the School recognised trades unions have been consulted, when they were consulted and what their views are?
  • Where there is an external procurement proposed, is it clear in the business case what the sourcing option is?
  • Is it clear in the business case why this is the preferred sourcing option?
  • Is it clear in the business case how the necessary funding for the reorganisation/change project will be put in place?
  • Is it clear how the benefits of the reorganisation/change will be demonstrated?
  • Are the risks faced by the reorganisation/change proposals explicitly stated either in the main text of the business case or in a supporting Risk Register?
  • Are the plans and mitigation for addressing those risks explicitly stated?

 

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3. Suggested content of a SOAS reorganisation/change business case

The business case should ideally contain information covering the following:

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Details of existing problems/challenges
  4. Details of existing employee numbers and existing operating costs
  5. Details of benchmarking across similar activities in other HEIs relevant to the proposed reorganisation/change
  6. Options for the proposed reorganisation/change
  7. Summary of equality and diversity considerations
  8. Commentary of current capability of existing employees against the new proposed structure and roles within
  9. If required, description of how to move current employees’ skills forward to meet the new capabilities required
  10. A list of all stakeholders affected by the proposals
  11. Summary of stakeholder views
  12. Summary of the views of the employees who would be affected directly by the proposals
  13. A record of the views of the School recognised trades unions regarding the proposed reorganisation/change
  14. Details of the risks associated with the proposed reorganisation/change
  15. Details as to how the proposals align with the School’s strategy and mission
  16. Proposed method of procuring external services if required
  17. Timetable for the proposed reorganisation/change
  18. A list of issues relating to affordability of the proposals (i.e. ‘before’ and ‘after’)
  19. Commentary regarding the achievability of a successful outcome for the proposed reorganisation/change

The level of detail required in a reorganisation/change business case depends on the scale or complexity of the proposals.

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4. For major reorganisation/change scenarios, the business case could be developed in three stages:
  • Preliminary Business Case (or Strategy Outline Case) to confirm strategic fit and School need for the reorganisation/change, typically no more than one or two pages
  • Outline Business Case – indicative assumptions to support the preferred way forward (including procurement strategy, where applicable), variable length depending on the scale of the project
  • Full Business Case – validated assumptions to support the investment decision, variable length depending on the scale of the project

For less major reorganisation/change projects, you may only need to produce the business case in one stage but still covering the content areas set out at section 3 above. 

5. Further advice

Please contact Chris Byrne, HR Manager (Change) on extension 4822 or by email to chris.byrne@soas.ac.uk for further advice if required.

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