When redundancy is a waste of public monies

The climate has shifted and across the NHS everyone is using the ‘r’ word: nobody doubts that there will be compulsory redundancies and many organisations are still flirting with the idea of voluntary redundancies.

I recently had an interesting debate with an HR colleague on the ethics around redundancy in the NHS.   Primarily the debate centered around the  impact and consequences of the following NHS redundancy rule: employees are not allowed to undertake any paid work in the NHS for 28 days after leaving an NHS for redudancy reasons.

So in essence, a Trust could make a Band 5 nurse – Jane Blogs redundant at the end of December only to find her re-engaged on another ward, in a permanent post from 1 February.

Jane in the meantime has had a lovely month off work, taken advantage of the bargains in the January Sales, has been able to pay off her credit cards and a sizable chuck of her mortgage with her £40k redundancy monies.

About 5 years ago I erroneously thought there was a bean-counter at the DH who checked to see if anybody breached their redundancy terms by commencing work at another Trust within their 28 exclusion period.  I believed that some central department would then attempt to claw back the redundancy payment.

The reality is Jane Blogs could get a job down the road at another Trust the day after she is made redundant. If the first Trust doesn’t know about it – then they won’t be aware of the breach.  And so no attempt is made to reclaim the monies.

This is without doubt a loop hole and good HR departments ensure a robust debate takes place within an organisation to ensure that appropriate consideration is given who they are (potentially) making redundant.

But a new reality has emerged amongst the PCTS and the GP consortiums. It transpires that the GPs don’t want to employ any PCT staff under Agenda for Change terms and conditions. So they are telling the PCTs that they are to make these staff redundant and then the GPs will re-engage these staff on their own (and most likely less favourable) terms and conditions.

Without doubt this is a waste of tax-payers money.

As you will know, I’m not in favour of added layers of bureaucracy. But this time I hope that the DH takes the appropriate action and puts some sort of mechanism in place that ensures that millions of pounds aren’t wasted on inappropriate redundancy payments.

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5 comments on “When redundancy is a waste of public monies

  1. Vince Lammas says:

    Hi Karen,

    It’s pretty hard to keep track of the 1.3 million employees working across the NHS … and spotting Jane Blogs’ return to work at a different employer is a practical impossibility even with ESR as a universal database.

    In relation to GP consortia and PCT staff, I would have thought the question must surely be why TUPE legislation might be held not to apply to staff who are in relevant roles when functions transfer between two parts of public administration.

    Quite apart from the potential waste of taxpayers money on redundancy payments, I dont see how GPs wants or desires can avoid protections provided by the law.

    • karencwise says:

      Hi Vince,

      In reality, you are right….it’s impossible to keep track on where employees have moved to. Then my argument is: why have that provision / restriction of the 28 days in the first place?

      In relation to your GP / TUPE point, I have to play devil’s advocate: there is always someone who can find a way to demonstrate that the “new” post under the consortia is “significantly different” to that role the employee was performing at the PCT.

  2. [...] Blogger Karen Wise, who explains how the NHS may be about to waste millions of pounds on unneccesary and inappropriate redundancy [...]

  3. [...] Blogger Karen Wise, who explains how the NHS may be about to waste millions of pounds on unneccesary and inappropriate redundancy [...]

  4. [...] Blogger Karen Wise, who explains how the NHS may be about to waste millions of pounds on unneccesary and inappropriate redundancy [...]

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