If collective consultation is required set up consultation meetings with the relevant trade union or employee representatives or appoint employee representatives if none exist.
You may wish to make a general announcement to all staff to avoid rumour and explain the reasons for the redundancies and tell them they will be contacted if they are directly affected.
You should write to all the affected employees before having a meeting with them, and before doing the assessment (so as to show fair treatment).
If you are proposing to make a number of people redundant from a particular department/section e.g. managers, floor staff etc, then you will have to assess all the employees in that department or any other employees who performs similar or like work elsewhere (at all locations in any Group Companies). This is called ‘identifying the pool’. You will need to consider what skills and qualifications are required for the new roles going forward in order to prepare the assessment criteria.
The assessment areas should be those skills that are most needed for the targeted section/department. You may want to assess qualifications, communication skills, disciplinary record, profitability of employee etc. You may have to include length of service as one area of criteria but this should be a last resort rather than a first option criterion and care should be taken to assess for possible claims of age discrimination.
The assessments should be documented and carried out if possible by two managers/partners/directors who know the affected employees, their abilities and how they work. This should hopefully ensure there is no personal bias. Additional weight can be given to those factors which you consider more important.
You will need to justify not only the criteria/weightings and why used together with the scores given to all employees not only so as to be able to fulfill your duties in relation to consultation, but also to convince a Tribunal that you have acted fairly if you are taken to a Tribunal for unfair dismissal. These considerations are of great importance when deciding if you have acted fairly.
To achieve the total score for an employee, each of the criteria could be weighted by a factor of, for example, one to three to reflect its relative importance. The weightings must take into account the company’s requirements to meet its primary business needs and targets as well as the need to maintain a balanced workforce. The more important the criteria, the higher its weighting (i.e. all important factors should be x 3, all less important factors should be x 1). NB you could go from 1-5 or 1-10 depending on how fine a discrimination between jobs is necessary and/or possible.
Having weighted the scores, a total is calculated for each employee. You will need to justify the criteria, the weightings and scoring, therefore ensure these can be objectively justified and explained.
There are circumstances when you may have to amend the criteria. For example you may have an employee who is disabled or pregnant. If you have such an employee, assessing him/her based on his/her attendance may be discriminatory if because of his/her disability or her pregnancy he/she has taken time off work.