1.1 The University has experienced a significant decline in staff numbers year on year since 2008. This pattern is set to continue for the foreseeable future in line with the situation in other thirdlevel institutions and the public sector generally. Reductions in staffing have had an uneven impact across the University leading to disparities in support in academic areas and central administration. This has resulted in significant strain on the resources of some University units in maintaining necessary levels of service to students and the University community.
1.2 The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 [“Croke Park Agreement”] specifies the nature of redeployment across the public sector including the education sector, having regard to the arrangements which are appended to the Agreement.
1.3 The scope of this policy covers employees in administrative grades. This document focuses on the issues arising in paragraph 1.1 above and the necessity to maintain services, support levels and equity in the distribution of employees in administrative grades to ensure that aspect of University sustainability.
1.4 In light of the foregoing the University reserves the right to reassign such staff as may be required and appropriate, within the University:
- where services or functions are allocated or re-allocated;
- to meet priority needs; or
- to address needs arising from rationalisation, reconfiguration, reorganisation or restructuring of services or functions, including by the imposition of general or specific levies of staff where necessary.
1.5 It is recognised that reassignment on a voluntary basis is the preferred option in the first instance. Where this route has been exhausted a person or persons will be selected
1.6 In this policy the following definitions apply:
“Deployment” refers to the allocation of duties to staff within an academic or administrative unit which requires flexibility on a day to day basis to ensure provision or continuity of the service. The policy will not impact on the normal management decisions to deploy/assign duties or staff as deemed appropriate or temporary transfers due to emergencies.
“Temporary Reassignment” means the temporary placement of an employee in another area of a College or of Central Administration to cover a short-term service need, for a minimum period of one month and for a maximum of six months, at the end of which the staff member will revert to his/her original position.
“Permanent Reassignment” may be at College, Central Administration level or at University level and means the long term movement of staff to in response to priority service needs, due to the cessation of activities, to address needs arising from rationalisation, reconfiguration, reorganisation or restructuring of services or functions, including by the imposition of general or specific levies of staff where necessary. The surplus capacity/pressing service requirements will be identified by the Head of College or Central Administration Head in conjunction with the HR Manager and a member of the Employee Relations Section of the Department of Human Resources. The Head will have the discretion to move staff to respond to the service requirement. A staff member will not be reassigned on a compulsory long term basis more than once in 3 years or more than twice in a 5 year period.
“Unit” means an academic or administrative area within a College or within Central Administration.
1.7 Reassignment will generally take precedence over recruitment (including fixed-term employees), transfers and promotions except in circumstances where special skills are required
1.8 Where the University decides that certain functions or services are to be transferred to another area of the University, the posts and/or staff associated with those functions will also transfer, as appropriate to the receiving area taking account of the skills mix and the need to avoid duplication of roles. Where a staff member is reassigned he/she will not be replaced. If the post is approved for filling at some future date the person concerned will have first refusal.
1.9 This policy will be implemented in an open and transparent manner with full regard to the need for consultation with individuals and the representative trade union. A reasonable notice period will apply in the case of redeployment.
2. Reassignment of staff within the University
2.1 Local Reassignment Reassignment will take place in the first instance at local level within each College or within Central Administration. Decisions in relation to reassignment in Colleges or Central Administration will be made by a group comprising the relevant Head[s] the HR Manager[s] and a member of the Employee Relations Section in the HR Department.
2.2 In the context of this policy from an induction perspective and with a view to facilitating a smooth transition, where required in an individual case, HR will support the employee being reassigned and the new manager in putting in place a suitable development programme to support the staff member concerned, in meeting the requirements of the new role. HR will communicate in writing with the employee concerned confirming the reassignment together with the relevant job description.
2.3 Staff for reassignment should be identified as follows:
(i) Where an activity or programme is no longer being carried out, the posts associated with that activity or programme should be deemed to be surplus and available for reassignment. Surplus posts may also arise as a result of rationalisation, reconfiguration, reorganisation or restructuring of services or functions. The budget holder should, in those circumstances, identify the numbers of posts at each relevant grade which are surplus and the location of the surplus;
(ii) Uneven distribution of administrative staff in the units within Colleges and Central administrative units where identified by the Head and HR Manager may result in a request for volunteers who are willing to redeploy from relevant grades.
(iii) Staff returning from career breaks in excess of one year, in the relevant grades, will be included; (v) Where there are no or insufficient volunteers, staff to be made available for reassignment will be identified as outlined at 2.1 above.
3. Identification and filling of vacancies by Reassignment.
3.1 Where a unit is facing increasing demands for its services and experiences resource pressures, it must first seek to meet these demands from the reorganisation or restructuring of work of units and/or the reassignment of staff internally (taking account of any staff due to return from career breaks, other special leave, etc).
3.2 Where a unit considers that its internal staffing resources are insufficient to meet its work demands, the unit must make a business case to the Head of College/Head of Central Admin Area seeking sanction to secure additional staffing resources. The Head of College/Head of Central Admin Area will determine the number(s) and grade of staff to be reassigned (if any) and if additional resources need to be transferred.
3.3 Where a decision has been made on reassignment, the HR Department will be notified of the positions to be filled and details of same.
3.4 If there are no volunteers for the posts, staff will be selected by a group comprising the relevant Head[s] the HR Manager[s] and a member of the Employee Relations Section in the Department of Human Resources. Staff moving under the above arrangements will retain their existing seniority.
3.5 A unit having been offered a suitable candidate may not refuse to accept the employee.
4.1 In the event that an employee is selected for reassignment and wishes to appeal the decision of the group specified at 3.4 above, an appeal specifying the grounds for same may be lodged with the Head of Human Resources. The Head will consult with the SIPTU Education Sector Organiser (UCC) in considering the appeal and the Head will take a decision which will be binding and final.