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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Guide to organisational change

Making changes to Terms & Conditions

If you want to make permanent changes to an employee’s working pattern, you need to change their employment contract.

Firstly, you must check their existing contract to make sure a change can be made. If it can, you must also consult with your employees about the changes you want to make. If your organisation is associated with a Trade Union, they must be made aware of your plans as well.

You can find more information about what to do next if your colleagues agree with the changes here (ACAS)

You can find out more information about what to do next if your colleagues do not agree with the changes here (ACAS)


Having a plan

Having a plan will help you manage the redundancy process with transparency and integrity. You need to think about what options you have before concluding that redundancies are necessary. Other things to consider are how you are going to consult with your staff – this will depend on how many people will be at risk of redundancy.

The redundancy process also includes selecting staff, communicating to your staff within required timelines, calculating redundancy pay correctly and supporting all affected staff to plan for the future, post redundancy.
It’s important to note that your plan should not be final – it should only be made final when you have concluded consulting with your staff.

Considering all the options

Before making the decision to start the redundancy process, you need to ensure you have considered all options to avoid it.

This might include asking staff to begin flexible working or reduce their hours temporarily or putting a stop to all overtime. If you have temporary or contract workers, letting them go could save money. Retraining your staff to do other jobs in the organisation would avoid redundancies if this is needed. Finally, make sure you have explored all available funds and grants, like furlough, you may be able to apply for.

Redundancy should be your last resort and if you do ultimately need to make redundancies, having considered all alternative options beforehand will help you build a stronger business case for your decision.


You must consult with affected staff about your plans. If there are more than 20 people impacted, you must consult collectively and individually.

The number of potential redundancies also impacts when the consultation period should begin. You need to include any voluntary redundancies and redeployed staff in this number.

Consulting with your staff might have to be carried out remotely. If you have to consult collectively, you might want to do this in a video conference call or by telephone. It would also be courteous to allow extra time for technical issues or difficulties logging in.

In usual circumstances, colleagues attending face to face consultations would be entitled to be accompanied by someone if they felt they needed the extra support. This would still stand in remote situations.

You also need to consult with your organisation’s Trade Union and/or staff representatives.

Assessment and selection

Selecting employees for redundancy must be done fairly and in a way that doesn’t discriminate against any individual or group.

If more than one colleague will be put at risk of redundancy, they must be put in a ‘selection pool’. This is a way of grouping together everyone and making sure selections are made fairly. The selection pool must include colleagues who are doing the same or similar jobs.

As well as a selection pool, you should also have selection criteria to decide which colleagues, if not all, will be made redundant.

These criteria might consider skill, experience, disciplinary or absence records and standard of work.

Selection criteria must not include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave, parental leave, marriage or civil partnership status or whether they are part of a trade union. Doing this might be found to be discriminatory.

It’s important to be open and honest about your selection process and how you came to those decisions. Colleagues should be consulted on the process and allowed to make alternative suggestions. You don’t have to adopt the suggestions, but everyone must be heard.

Once the selection criteria have been agreed and the consultation period has ended, you can begin the selection process.

Scoring colleagues against each part of the criteria and keeping this for your records is a good idea. You must back up your scores with written evidence.

You can give different scores for each part of the criteria. For example, work performance might have a high score than attendance, depending on what you think is most important. This allows a little flexibility in scoring each colleague.

There should be a process in place for a colleague to appeal against the decision to make them redundant if they believe it to be unfair. You might want them to put this in writing, so you have it for your records, or conduct a meeting to discuss their reasons further.

Giving notice of redundancy

You can only give people notice of redundancy once the consultation period has concluded.

When you give employees notice, this must include their leaving date, what their notice period is, their right to appeal and a calculation of their redundancy pay.

When calculating the notice period, it’s important to check the colleague’s contract in case a longer notice period is required.

If the colleague has worked for you for less than a month, you do not need to give notice. If their length of service is between one month and two years, the minimum of one week’s notice should be given. One week of notice per year of service must be given between two and twelve years. For colleagues who have more than twelve years’ service, they must be given the maximum of twelve weeks’ notice.

Notice should be given in the form of a letter and it’s important to make sure your colleague understands the length of their notice period. It is possible to end employment before the end of the notice period, by agreeing with your colleague to make a payment in lieu of notice.

Redundancy payments

Redundancy payments must be made to staff who have been employed for 2 years or more.

How much redundancy you pay depends on how long they have worked for you, their age and how much they earn per week before tax.

Payments must be made on or before the colleague’s last pay day and this must be clearly communicated.

If you cannot afford to make redundancy payments, please seek advice and support from the Redundancy Payments Service.

Supporting your employees through redundancy

The redundancy process is a very stressful experience for those at risk. It’s important that you don’t place them under any more stress than necessary.

You must allow staff reasonable time off work to look for new employment during their notice period. Employees are eligible if you are making them redundant and they have been employed for two years or more.

It’s also important to look after those who have to announce and implement the redundancy. Make sure they are fully informed as to why redundancies are being made and that they feel confident in having challenging conversations.

Handling redundancies in the right way by making these considerations will help protect the wellbeing of your staff and allow for a smoother process for everyone.

PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment)

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is the Scottish Government's initiative dedicated to helping individuals and employers with advice and support when faced with redundancy. PACE offers free advice and support, and helps take away some of the strain of dealing with redundancy. Visit or call 0800 917 8000 to find out more.

Job Finding Support Scheme

The UK Government has introduced a scheme to offer support across England, Scotland and Wales to individuals who have recently become unemployed (up to 13 weeks unemployed), who may not need significant help with their job search, but would benefit from a short package of tailored 1-2-1 support to help them become familiar with current recruitment practices and understand sector specific approaches. The key objective of JFS is to enable participants to move quickly into appropriate sustainable employment. 

How will the support be delivered? 

All of the support offered through JFS will be delivered remotely to participants using digital communication channels. During the programme, every participant will be offered a minimum of 4 hours flexible 1-2-1 digital support and the opportunity to join at least 1 digital group session. 

What support will individuals receive? 

The delivery of support will be tailored to the participants, but all participants must receive access to: 

· Minimum of two 1-2-1 sessions with a designated adviser 

· A minimum of one digital group session where the participant will receive advice and information in a group setting of a reasonable size. Guidance is up to a maximum of 15 participants. 

· A mock interview 

· Sector specific job advice 

· Job matching to suitable vacancies and advice/links to suitable employers 

· Opportunity to meet online with peers 

· Also receive tailored 1-2-1 support to enable them to develop a Job Finding Action Plan (JFAP) which will be updated at each interaction and a personalised CV. 

Participants will also be signposted to other suitable local or national support or organisation which may be able to offer assistance. 

Are there conditions to participating? 

Whilst participating in the scheme individuals will need to continue to meet the requirements for claiming their benefits, for example meetings with their work coach. 

How will individuals participate? 

Jobcentre Plus will identify potential participants for the programme and undertake an eligibility/suitability assessment and initial interview. If suitable individuals will be referred to the provider. 

Eligibility criteria: 

To be eligible for JFS, potential participants must: 

· have the right to reside in the United Kingdom 

· have the right to work in the United Kingdom 

· reside in England, Scotland or Wales 

· be claiming benefits for less than 13 weeks 

· be of working age (16 to State Pension age) 

Suitability criteria: 

To be considered suitable for JFS, the potential participant would: 

· not normally be currently participating in other DWP Contracted Employment provision or similar job finding provision, unless the Work Coach believes that it will benefit the participant 

· not be in employment or on a zero hours’ contract 

· be assessed as needing and benefiting from JFS support including consideration of suitability for an individual who has left full time education within the last 26 weeks 

· capable of participating on JFS, including being able to work on-line via video conferencing and/or telephone connections 

· be wishing to volunteer for JFS 

· be motivated to find work and actively participate in the provision 

If this is of interest to you or anyone you know please forward this summary to them and contact your local Job Centre Plus.

What is TUPE and is it right for my organisation?

TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. It can be used to protect jobs when an organisation, or part of an organisation, moves from one employer to another. It also includes mergers, when two organisations combine.

There are two types of transfer – Business Transfer and Transfer of Services:
Business Transfer: This is where an organisation moves from one employer to another.
Transfer of Services: This is when part of an organisation, e.g. a service provided in-house, is awarded to a contractor, or transferred to a new contractor, or transferred from a contractor back to in-house.

When TUPE applies, employees’ Terms & Conditions are protected from one organisation to the other. This includes salaries and holiday entitlements. There are very few examples of when T&Cs can be changed. In these instances, HR or legal advice should be sought due to its complex nature.
More information about TUPE can be found on the ACAS website here.

Last modified on 22 May 2024
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