What is the ERSP?
The ERSP was devised by the Cabinet Office in conjunction with key national and regional stakeholders to facilitate a common approach to handling the people implications of the Gershon and Lyons Reviews. It provides departments with a common framework on which to base activities around redeployment of civil servants to maximise opportunities within the Civil Service and the wider public sector. In addition, it provides information, advice and assistance with career training to ensure that retraining opportunities are communicated to affected staff at all levels within departments.
What is the aim of the ERSP?
The key aim of the support programme is to ensure that every effort is made to minimise compulsory redundancies. The key to successful implementation is that all the protocols should be followed before considering any recourse to formal notice of compulsory redundancies and that it can be demonstrated that they have been followed.
What do departments do if it looks like compulsory redundancies may be necessary?
The protocols require that notification be given to the Cabinet Office at the earliest opportunity where compulsory redundancies appear to be necessary before issuing the notices. This would provide departments, Cabinet Office and CCSU with a timely opportunity to reflect on what has been done to support affected employees (surplus/pre-surplus etc) .
Who was the ERSP issued to?
The HRDG letter of the 3 December 2004 together with a copy of the ERSP was issued to departments, agencies and non departmental public bodies (NDPBs) for implementation within their organisations.
Can employees at risk receive promotion opportunities as part of ERSP?
No. The ERSP has been set up to facilitate a corporate approach to redeployment of surplus employees across the Civil Service to minimise compulsory redundancies and enable those at risk to be given available opportunities to acquire a suitable post. It does not make provision for progression/promotion opportunities.
Can posts be offered to internal staff on promotion or do they have to be offered to staff at risk first (surplus/pre-surplus etc)?
Decisions on how departments fill internal vacancies are entirely down to them - it is for departments to put in place processes that support their business requirements.
Why are some departments still advertising posts externally?
Departments need to have the flexibility to build capacity to deliver their reform and business objectives which means that essential recruitment will continue. Departments are engaged in this process – they will only advertise vacancies externally once employees, who are at risk of losing their jobs, have been given priority.
How do departments define who is surplus?
It is for departments to make a decision on which employees are surplus to their business requirements. The process described in the ERSP comes into effect once departments have been unable to redeploy employees internally.
Why use the term surplus – doesn’t it give the wrong signals?
Departments are at liberty to use terminology that suits their purposes in defining posts which do not fit into their long term plans. Key to successful implementation of the programme is not the terminology used but how well the processes supporting staff at risk are embedded within departments.
Are specialist posts exempt from the vacancy handling process?
No. A blanket dispensation has not been given with regards the treatment of specialist posts. The Cabinet Office is handling any issues covering these types of posts on a case-by-case basis.
How will affected employees with fixed term contracts be handled within the process?
Dependent on individual circumstances and should be resolved in most cases by departments.
Can secondments be offered to surplus employees?
All potential opportunities should be utilised. For example secondments, loans, temporary postings etc should be explored to facilitate redeployment of surplus employees.
Is there a standard application form that surplus employees can use when applying for vacancies within OGDs?
Some departments have signed up to using a standard application form. See guidance in the policy section for further details.
Are NDPBs who do not have civil servants expected to implement the ERSP?
Very much so. No distinction has been made between NDPBs with civil servants and those without. All NDPBs have links to Government departments therefore we would expect them to adopt the corporate approach. This approach supports the Chancellor’s commitment to facilitate surplus employee’s voluntary movement to public sector posts where suitable vacancies exist.
Do departments and agencies have priority over surplus NDPB staff?
Surplus civil servants in departments will not take priority over eligible surplus staff in NDPBs.
Can non civil servants within NDPBs move across to the Civil Service on a permanent basis?
Yes, subject to meeting certain criteria. See HRDG letter of 3 April 2006.
What are we doing locally to maximise redeployment opportunities?
The Cabinet Office has successfully established regional networks to support departments in their redeployment activities. See Regional networks for further information.
What’s the role of Jobcentre Plus in this process?
Jobentre Plus, in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, has established a vacancy handling process (CSVacs) to support employees at risk of losing their jobs. See CSVacs in the policy section for further information.
What do departments do if they have vacancies?
It is usual for departments to try to fill vacancies internally in the first instance. Once internal processes have been exhausted and they have been unsuccessful in filling the posts departments/agencies/NDPBs must lodge vacancies with Jobcentre Plus for a minimum of 10 working days before seeking to fill vacancies externally - via the Civil Service website, national newspapers such as the ‘Guardian’, and so on.
Why 10 days – won’t this will mean unnecessary delays will occur in the recruitment process?
The ERSP has been devised to minimise recourse to compulsory redundancies. This involves ensuring that surplus employees are given priority to suitable vacancies. This can only happen if vacancies are within the system for sufficient time to enable departments to bring them to the attention of affected staff. As a result a decision was made by the HR forum (represents approximately 70% of the Service) that 10 days would be a reasonable time to enable this to happen.
Can staff be compulsorily transferred to other government departments?
This will depend on a number of factors. It is particularly important that legal advice is sought.
What would be considered as a ‘reasonable’ offer of suitable employment?
This will also depend on a number of factors. The ERSP includes criteria that must be considered before reaching decisions on whether an offer of alternative employment is ‘reasonable’. It is particularly important that legal advice is sought.
What happens if a surplus member of staff wants to take up a job offer in a new department/agency with different terms and conditions?
Normally, the person will simply move onto the new organisation’s terms and conditions. The balance of the whole terms and conditions - for example, in pay, travel costs and so on. The transferring deparment and/or the importing department should seek ways of overcoming the barrier/s. See HRDG letter issued on 8 August 2005 for further details.