News Release – New cushion needed by public sector after big redundancy payouts set to end

Biggest HR concerns include negative effect on surviving staff, bad PR, future recruitment and strike action

HR teams in public sector organisations need to search for new ways to cushion staff over redundancy, say leading local authority HR advisers.  With the Government trying to introduce legislation to cap redundancy payments to civil servants, it means the sector’s biggest comfort could be on its way out.  The average redundancy payout, according to CIPD figures, is £17,926 in the public sector and £8,981 in the private sector.

“The proposed legislation to stop the big redundancy pay-off takes away the last of the public sector cushions, so there isn’t even cash to soften the blow,” says Amanda Gee, Senior Consultant, Career Sage.

“Many HR teams in the public sector express that they are very concerned and feel unprepared for the redundancies expected.  The sector has always had a history of recruitment and retention and ‘jobs for life’, so redundancy is an alien situation. There is an expectation of bad PR, a negative effect on surviving staff and future recruitment.  Mix in potential strike action and there are a lot of new processes for HR and organisations to get a handle on.”

Yet, cash isn’t necessarily the way to ensure a good company perception of a redundant employee.  In a recent survey by, 21% percent of respondents said they had a good or very good perception of their previous employer, while 49% said their overall treatment during redundancy was fair or very good.  Common ‘good employer’ qualities include outplacement services to support them to find new alternatives and being given solid advice.  Less than 40% percent had been given a financial package. Respondents included 1046 jobseekers across the public and private sector professions.

Amanda advises, “To minimise the negative situation redundancy can bring to the employer, it is essential to manage the process well for employees before the ‘at risk’ stage.  It’s vital to give people choices.  For the organisation, it’s about thinking of alternatives, minimising compulsory redundancies and supporting all employees, and in so doing, creating a positive image about the organisation.”

Career Sage’s advice for public sector HR:

  • Find positive, cost-effective ways to help staff; in doing so, you’ll go some way in satisfying the unions
  • Aim for staff to feel they’ve been looked after; this will help protect the employer brand plus aid recruitment and retention in the future
  • Consider ways to minimise compulsory redundancy by enabling staff to make informed choices, perhaps early retirement, career change, voluntary redundancy, redeployment or sabbaticals
  • Communicate well and continuously with staff from the point they are ‘at risk’, providing them with knowledge and choices
  • Protect or limit organisational reputational damage; minimise unfair dismissal claims.  Take positive action now to lessen potential battles later on
  • Protect remaining staff and support employee engagement to work through the difficult times.  ’Survivor guilt’ needs to be addressed to positively affect morale and productivity.

For more information contact Kay Phelps, The PR Department for Bluepost Digital on 07710 043244; or kay.phelps@theprdepartment.netCAreer Sage new

About CareerSage

Career Sage is a dedicated outplacement service for the public sector, providing strategic and tactical HR advice through web technology and best-practice consultancy services.  It is a part of Ways HR Consulting which advises over 30% of the UK’s local authorities on a range of HR issues.

The online outplacement product supports employees placed at risk of redundancy, giving them choices to explore which ultimately, can minimise compulsory redundancy.  A Career Sage journey starts when an employee is placed at risk so they can explore their options fully.  The tool then helps people find their transferable skills and offers support in CV writing and interview preparation.  A powerful jobs board and business intelligence tool is included, while guidance on the best way to find work in the current environment is continuous.  Because outgoing staff are looked after, it also helps promote employee engagement, retention and future recruitment, plus the employer brand remains intact.