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NHSE’s redundancy scheme ‘unfit for purpose,’ says managers union

Published on: 23 Jan 2023

NHS England’s voluntary redundancy scheme is “unfit for purpose”, the Managers in Partnership union has claimed, warning its members to “consider their circumstances carefully” before applying.

MiP wrote to its members after NHSE launched its voluntary redundancy process last week. The agency has declared its intention to cut its headcount by up to 40 per cent, losing around 6,000 posts.

The union was critical of the scheme, which is open to other staff as well as managers, for several reasons. Among them was that the 8 February application deadline falls on the same day as the structure of the new transformation directorate, formed from the relevant NHSE teams and staff from the merged NHS Digital and NHSX, is due to be published.

MiP alleges this will leave staff making “crucial decisions about their future when they have no idea where they might fit,” and that individuals are being asked to “bear a significant level of personal risk” as a result.

The union’s other criticisms of the scheme include the claim that its criteria are “subjective,” and that a successful outcome for an applicant relied upon the decisions of an “as yet unknown group of individuals with an unknown scoring matrix or decision tree”.

MiP chief executive Jon Restell said: “MiP sees voluntary redundancy schemes as an important element of managing job losses, but we decided that we can’t endorse this particular scheme because a number of aspects fall short of what we would be comfortable with.

“MiP are advising individual members who are interested in applying for the scheme, and we are recommending that members consider their own circumstances very carefully before applying.”

The scheme is open to national and regional staff working across various directorates - including transformation, workforce and training, finance, commercial and strategy. 

It is likely to be extended to other directorates later.

NHS England told HSJ the list of staff excluded from the scheme was “decided following feedback from unions.”

The scheme is driven by three principles: a need to remove roles “not required in the future,” reducing “duplication and overlap,” and a desire to employ fewer senior managers “in some areas”.