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Organisational Change Procedure

These conditions of service are only applicable for those staff employed at UCL Qatar

Introduction

  1. As a modern, world leading university UCL needs to be able to adapt to changing circumstances in order to maintain and improve its position in the global higher education community. UCL recognises that change is an integral part of organisational life and is committed to managing it effectively, in an open and transparent manner. Consultation with staff 1, plays a key role in the effective management of change and when organisational change occurs, UCL will adopt good practice in its employee relations and will seek to avoid redundancies wherever possible.

Principles and objectives of this procedure

  1. The objective of this procedure is to provide a framework for effecting organisational change which ensures that the process is fair, open and consistent.
  1. UCL Qatar is committed to consulting on and implementing change within a reasonable timeframe to minimise uncertainty while ensuring sufficient time for meaningful consultation.
  1. UCL Qatar will avoid redundancies wherever possible and where redundancy becomes necessary, will utilise its redeployment procedure and provide support and assistance to displaced staff to minimise hardship.

  2. UCL Qatar is committed to ensuring that the timescales for change are realistic including consultation periods and arrangements for re-training or re-skilling where appropriate.
  1. There are many different types of situations where organisational change may occur and this procedure attempts to deal with a range of eventualities.

Procedure

Changing nature of jobs, roles and tasks

  1. UCL Qatar expects managers to review activities for which they are responsible to ensure that they support UCL Qatar's plans and aspirations. Examples of such changes may include moving into new areas of research, developing new methods of delivering teaching or development/change in the provision of a support service. This procedure complements any agreed arrangements for reviewing and revising academic course content or developing research strategy etc. Where any change proposal has substantial implications for the health & safety of staff, students or visitors, advice may be obtained from Safety Services.
  1. In many cases, a proposal for change includes changes in the duties, roles or working practices of individual employees or a group of employees. In such circumstances managers should discuss proposals for change with their staff, either individually or collectively to explain the reasons for the change. If additional or alternative proposals are forthcoming through consultation these should be discussed, with the appropriate manager taking the final view on issues for which s/he is responsible and explaining the decision s/he has reached. If a proposed change in duties requires skills not currently possessed by the employee(s) concerned, training and development may be appropriate and advice is available from the HR Director.
  1. Job descriptions should be revised if duties and responsibilities change and it may be appropriate to seek confirmation of whether the change warrants a grading review. Such a review will require that a revised JDO is submitted for evaluation. Managers should seek advice from the HR Director when considering changes that will have an impact on their staff.

Change to Organisational Structure

  1. When a manager is reviewing the way in which work is carried out; is contemplating the reduction in the volume of a certain type of work or considers that an activity needs to cease altogether and redundancy is a possibility, the manager needs to take the following steps:

a) produce a document outlining the proposal and the reasoning behind it,
b) discuss and consult on the proposal with those affected,
c) confirm the final proposal when the consultation is complete,
d) implement the change, in close consultation with those affected.

  1. Where a change proposal includes a proposal to transfer staff either into or out of UCL Qatar, advice must be sought from the HR Director.

a) - Putting the Proposal in writing

  1. Managers leading organisational change that may or may not result in a redundancy(ies) should draft a note of the context for the change, the outline of the proposals, the desired benefits and if there are any, the options that have been considered and rejected. More complex change processes may need to be staged and changes would normally be reviewed once implemented and embedded to ensure that they produced the required benefits.
  1. The document produced to inform consultation should include the following where they are known:
  1. Advice can be sought from the HR Director on the contents of such a note, as necessary.

b) – Staff Consultation

  1. The proposal document should then be discussed with the staff likely to be affected by the changes (i.e. either those affected by the change in services or support provided to them or because they work in the jobs which will cease to exist or reduce in number as part of the change). The manager concerned may hold an open meeting or choose to talk to staff in groups or one to one to make sure that those affected understand the proposal(s), the impact on the department and in order that they can contribute their views.  Staff may be accompanied by a workplace colleague at any one to one meetings.
  1. Staff who are absent from work (e.g. due to maternity, sickness or other leave) must be sent a copy of the note about the proposed change to their home address in order that they have the opportunity to participate in the consultation process.
  1. Managers leading change must consult with an open mind and welcome suggestions that enhance or improve their proposals, suggest alternative courses of action or that provide information which demonstrates that the proposals will not reap the benefits intended. Proposals should be reviewed as a result of the consultation process and rejected suggestions explained and documented.

  2. There are no statutory timescales for the consultation to take place, but it must be sufficient to give affected staff an opportunity to meaningfully consider the proposals and respond.

c) – Confirmation of final proposal 

  1. At the end of the consultation period the manager concerned, in conjunction with other senior managers, as appropriate, will consider all comments and make a decision on the way forward. This decision will be communicated to all affected staff and any suggestions that have been considered and rejected will be summarised.
  1. Complex changes may need to be implemented in stages. In such circumstances, care should be taken that the decisions at one stage do not unreasonably limit opportunities for staff who will be affected at later stages.
  1. Once a proposal has been finalised managers should effect change as efficiently as possible to reduce uncertainty over the future which can undermine morale, lead to increased turnover and induce planning blight.

d) - Implementation - see flowchart

  1. In the event that a final change proposal involves the deletion of one or more posts and/or the creation of new posts staff occupying the deleted posts will be considered for assimilation into the newly created posts. Assimilation will depend on skills and experience and whether the necessary skills could be obtained quickly through appropriate training. Where there is more than one member of staff eligible for consideration for assimilation into a post a competitive process must be completed and the HR Director will advise on this.
     
  2. Where a post holder's duties, skill and experience identifies them as appropriate for another post at the same or higher grade following the deletion of his/her previous post, this is deemed to be 'suitable alternative employment'. If an individual chooses not to accept suitable alternative employment s/he would be deemed to have resigned from their employment with UCL Qatar. The question of the suitability or otherwise of any post in the new structure is (as part of the overall proposal) subject to the formal consultation process with the staff member.
     
  3. Where a higher graded post is available that is deemed suitable alternative employment for an employee, the employee will be interviewed for the post to ascertain their suitability. If the employee is unsuccessful and another suitable post is not available s/he will be made redundant. In cases where more than one employee is in contention for a post at a higher grade this interview will be conducted competitively (see para 22 above).
     
  4. Where the change proposal places staff at risk of redundancy either because posts are being reduced in number or being replaced by different types of posts, UCL Qatar will seek to avoid redundancy and facilitate redeployment wherever possible. Measures used may include not replacing staff who resign or retire and by curtailing the use of temporary and agency staff wherever possible. Where there are a number of staff facing redundancy, volunteers for redundancy may be sought.
     
  5. Where redundancy cannot be avoided and redeployment has not been possible, the termination procedure for UCL Qatar Employment Contracts must be followed. Academic staff are covered by UCL's Statute 18.

  6. Under Qatari law there is no statutory entitlement to redundancy pay.
     
  7. UCL recognises that organisational change can sometimes have unforeseen consequences and therefore it is good practice to review the outcome of an organisational change once it has settled down, to examine whether the desired benefits have been achieved.
     

HR Policy and Planning
February 2013

1 Only Qatari nationals are entitled to belong to a Qatari trade union. No other trade unions are recognised under Qatari law. Under Article 124 of the Labour Law (Law no (14) of the Year 2004) where there are 30 or more workers a Joint Committee may be formed embodying 2 employer and 2 worker representatives. Where a Joint Committee exists they will also be consulted in respect of any proposed organisational change.