Wednesday, 19 August 2015

More From Nick

Latest missive from Nick Hall, CEO of Northumbria CRC:-

Good afternoon everyone,

I wanted to provide you with a further update on where we are now that the window for voluntary severance applications has closed.

Voluntary Severance 


In total we received 120 applications which equates to about 105 full time equivalents. You may recall that in my previous email I outlined that we needed to lose about 105 full time equivalent posts so we are as close as we can be in terms of total numbers. Not all applications coincide with where we need to lose posts and at this stage it is not clear how many applications will result in a member of staff leaving, but if all or most did leave then I am confident we would be able to resolve some of the pools of staff without any further action. We are also working hard to see how we might 'balance' pools where there are too many applications with those where there are not enough in order to mitigate compulsory redundancies. I will ensure that staff are kept fully informed as soon as possible as I realise how important it is.

For staff that have applied for voluntary severance and the application has been approved 

You will be receiving a letter along with a draft settlement agreement to confirm that your application has been agreed, without prejudice and subject to contract. The letter and agreement will be sent by post to your home address and there will be clear instructions as to how to progress your application through to conclusion. This must be by no later than 5pm on 4 September so that we can be absolutely clear how many surplus staff we have prior to making final decisions on any compulsory redundancies. On a case by case basis I will reserve the right to extend this deadline for a member of staff who is out of the area for this period. I must inform you that if you decide to withdraw your application it is likely that you will be placed in a pool of staff at risk of compulsory redundancy.

Compulsory Redundancies 

Although the number of applications for voluntary severance is high, I have to confirm that it is unlikely that we will be able to avoid compulsory redundancies altogether in some pools and therefore have written to the National Joint Secretaries in line with the NNC Management of Change Protocol to inform them of this position. At our last consultation meeting locally I also made our local trade unions aware of this position as well as informing them that we have now introduced our revised redundancy policy which is available on NORIS under HR / Policies and Procedures. For pools where we are not reliant on the outcome of the voluntary severance scheme, we will progress towards compulsory redundancy selection as soon as is reasonably possible using the selection criteria outlined in my previous email. Following the deadline of 4 September we will then look to apply the same selection criteria in order to manage any final selection process required. Where compulsory redundancies are necessary we intend to issue notices of compulsory redundancy by no later than 30 September. An up to date restructure timeline is available on NORIS for information.

Where it is now possible to confirm that staff are being 'slotted in' to their post, you will be receiving a letter outlining this as soon as possible.

For any staff leaving the company there will be a full outplacement service made available. Some details of this have already been placed on NORIS but full details will be made available to all those where appropriate.

In the meantime we continue to consult with our trade union representatives.

Finally, I do realise that we are in a very difficult phase of our company restructuring and want to ensure that you are provided with as much support as possible. In addition to our employee assistance programme can I suggest that if you feel there is anything we can do then please make contact with HR in the first instance.

Thanks
Nick

67 comments:

  1. "in line with the NNC Management of Change Protocol"

    Should read:

    "in line with the bits of the NNC Management of Change Protocol we like & haven't had to illegally amend to suit our greedy endgame"

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  2. Have I really just read that if you decide to withdraw your application for VS (n.b. Not your expression of interest), it is likely you'll be made CR so you may as well go on VS? Sounds a lot like bullying to me. It was never made clear at the application of VS stage that if you didn't see it through you'd have marked yourself for CR! Oh, and just to really piss you off, a revised redundancy policy which has taken out that rather unfortunate troublesome paragraph which stated everyone made redundant up until March 2016 would get EVR. Meanwhile, in the cosy bubble at head office in Northumbria, there are still staff accumulating length of service waiting to say 'Cheerio' on EVR. I do hope emails aren't sent asking for contributions to leaving gifts! Blood is boiling.

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    1. 'I must inform you that if you decide to withdraw your application it is likely that you will be placed in a pool of staff at risk of compulsory redundancy.'

      I don't recall it being made clear at the time that an expression of interest in VR would become a criteria for selection for compulsory redundancy. And will it follow that those refused VR will automatically go into the compulsory redundancy pool?

      This is what happens when individuals go it alone.

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    2. It cannot be any other way. If people could avoid redundancy by pulling out WITHOUT being eligible for comp. redundancy, then everyone could secure their position at the expense of everyone else without any risk to themselves.

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    3. This is making those who pull out automatically eligible, irrespective of other criteria. This is not about avoiding, it's about not suffering a penalty for an expression of interest. It's about a fair selection process.

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    4. Well said Anon at 09:08 but as for fairness in my opinion that was effectively disregarded when a decision was taken to determine that some were initially favoured for a CRC or NPS job depending on what work they were doing on one particular day in 2013 - armistice day if my memory is correct.

      The whole business is profoundly unfair whatever words of justification are used by those who seek to excuse their own behaviour in having any responsibility for any of the decisions about how the daft and dangerous scheme is implemented.

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    5. You missed my point. An expression of interest in VS does not make anyone MORE likely to be made redundant. It just means that, if they refuse the offer, they are put back in the pot with everyone else who has the potential to be made compulsorily redundant. The outcome may or may not be redundancy, depending on the procedure. They will not have lost anything but will not have gained anything either.

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    6. Anon 10:31. I take your point about not being exempt from subsequent compulsory redundancy if you refuse VR. But Nick says it is likely you will be placed in the compulsory pool if you refuse VR. Now, I would expect any post deemed surplus would require that all staff holding similar posts would be in the compulsory pool. Thus, for example, every single PO will be at risk of compulsory redundancy. If so, then why does Nick state the obvious as no one would have assumed that rejecting VR would protect them against a compulsory dismissal. The fact of expressing an interest and then rejecting an offer which you consider inferior should be irrelevant to the selection criteria that will apply. But will it be?

      The wider point is that individuals are taking risks acting outside of a collective agreement. I am assuming that Sodexo have referenced the management of change protocol because they know it could open them up to claims of unfair dismissal if they fail to observe agreed collective arrangements.

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    7. I don't want to 'go it alone' but I have seen little guidance or support coming out from Chivalry Road.
      Rome burns and all that.

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    8. What??!!

      "I must inform you that if you decide to withdraw your application it is likely that you will be placed in a pool of staff at risk of compulsory redundancy."

      I work for another Sodexo CRC, and I was specifically told by management that applying for Vol Serverance was purely an expression of interest and in no way binding or a criteria for selection , which is why i'm totally shocked with the wording of the above statement by Nick. What does this 'pool' mean? A different place to the remaining staff who didn't apply?

      Confused, and angry with this development. (although not suprised)

      I was concerned by this right at the outset and my fears look like they are true, even having been specifically advised otherwise..

      Yet again, you couldn't make it up..

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  3. "In addition to our employee assistance programme can I suggest that if you feel there is anything we can do then please make contact with HR in the first instance"

    Yes, I'd very much like you to honour the EVR as you've already done with the selective few!

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  4. And all being done whilst Parliament is in recess - this government and its predecessor is shameful and all in senior management positions who are doing this dirty work on behalf of British taxpayers.

    I am ashamed and very sorry, there is absolutely no point in me contacting my MP about it, she is a member of this Government and the person who presaged this whole business in an article in the Daily Mail in about October 2012. I voted for another candidate in the General Election but the British people are so ill informed they do not realise that by the act of splitting the probation service in their locality, without any of the other nonsense they have been put in greater potential of danger from convicts than was previously the case.

    Commiserations to all those trapped between a metaphorical rock and another hard place.

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  5. In the meantime I am getting emails and texts from agencies asking me to come temp for them on decent wages. Where is all this money coming from then?

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  6. I share everyone's disgust re those coments about being frst in line for CR! However, I read the statement to mean if you accept their offer by 4/9/2015, and then withdraw, your f***ed!

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  7. Any news from CLCRC ?

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  8. If staff leave on the basis of "redundancy" then it's difficult for Sodexo to replace them for a whole number of legal reasons.
    If however the same number of staff leave on the basis of "severance", then Sodexo can replace that number with much lower paid staff immediately without any fear of consequence.
    It is only those that are made compulsory redundant that will not be replaced.

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    1. You can see the private companies making increasing use of agency workers. As Sodexo reduce their workforce through voluntary severance they will be able to recruit cheaper labour, free of pension and other obligations. Just as we have become accustomed to bank nurses and supply teachers, the CRCs will manage their staff through zero hours contracts. If Sodexo could do it in one fell swoop they would get rid of all their directly employed staff and contract in casualised labour.

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    2. Sodexo can't honour the terms of the EVO agreement, and never could. Redundancy just doesn't mean a reduction in staffing numbers, it effectively closes the positions that those staff held.
      There is no way they could operate or function effectively unless they can maintain those positions.
      So call it severance, lose the staff, and keep the position open to be filled by much cheaper staff with far fewer employment obligations required from the employer.
      Even in business, it's a dirty trick!

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    3. Does that mean that if no one took a voluntary severance package the number of compulsory redundancies would have to be far lower because it can't realistically close down that many positions?

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    4. I think your logic is probably correct 13.11. They need the posts but want cheaper refills.

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  9. In NSCRC an employment agency is already advertising CP supervisors jobs at a much reduced pay rate. This is in readiness for January when the majority of Supervisors contacts end.

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  10. http://findlaw.co.uk/law/employment/losing_a_job/500395.html

    The above link is basic but should be read.
    Not only does it give a flavour for what you are signing up for if you take severance, but it also seems to say that if you wish to take legal advice on what's being offered to you, you're employer should foot the bill.

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  11. I don’t work in probation however I have taken an interest in the destruction of the service. In terms of redundancy if you make a post redundant eg a Probation Officer post you cannot recruit for that post otherwise you face an ET. The employer would have to wait at least 3 to 4 months before recruiting for the post. Why NAPO doesn’t have a team of lawyer fighting this is beyond me.

    The key to all redundancy is process, fail the process and the employer leaves themselves open to an ET. Looking at the selection process etc makes me believe that a number of CRCs will certainly be flying by the seat of their pants and that they hope no one challenges them. For an employer to fight an ET is £25k - £30k per person and it is intensely time consuming. Most but not all companies will settle rather than go to an ET.

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  12. ET costs employees money remember Its NOT FREE

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    1. "ET costs employees money remember Its NOT FREE"

      But we have a union, don't we?

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  13. Two payments totalling max £1200, if a CRC starts gearing up for a ET then its mega bucks, 100 people go to ET its £2.5 million, no profit in that
    They are only interested in their bottom line. ET brings additional costs plus potential reputational damage.

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  14. There are 2 fees to pay, an issue fee and a hearing fee.

    You'll only have to pay one fee for your case, regardless of the number of claims you're making. For example, you'll only pay one fee if you're claiming for unfair dismissal and for discrimination at the same time. If you're making both Type A and Type B claims, you'll have to pay the Type B fees.
    If there are a group of claimants, the fees change again.

    Fee type Type A claims Type B claims
    Issue fee £160 £250
    Hearing fee. £230 £950
    Total £390 £1,200

    Fee Type of claim

    Type A fee
    For claims, such as:

    unpaid wages
    redundancy pay
    holiday pay
    notice pay
    equal pay (for claims presented before 6 April 2014).

    Type B fee
    For claims, such as:

    unfair dismissal
    discrimination
    whistleblowing
    equal pay (for claims presented on or after 6 April 2014).

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    1. Napo had a ruling after fees were imposed that the union would pay fees for its members in Boa Fide cases. You see why napo cannot afford to take a case on mass. To busy paying for their champagne wine and hotels for likes of the treasurer and friends who run napo into bankruptcy. So I guess under that circumstance has helped the employers.

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  15. why oh why are NAPO not taking specimen ET cases ? It would ruin the employers finances and reputations.....remember how costly reputational damage is to a listed company.....and ETs in the pipeline really will frighten the City.
    NAPO should be all over this.

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  16. All this talk of tribunals is premature. The union position is not to seek this sub-standard EVR and there has been a preliminary vote rejecting it. But in the meantime 120 apply and it is already looking like Sodexo are up to mischief with compulsory redundancy pools. But individual members can't have it both ways. If you go ahead in spite of union advice, why then blame the union if you get into difficulties? The open letter that went out was undermining of the union's position and it was authored by a branch vice-chair. If you go it alone, don't then turn around and blame the union. There is a gaping hole where there should be solidarity. And Sodexo must be amazed at the sheer docility of its workforce. Every union member should withdraw from this process and not sell their jobs on the cheap to Sodexo who will then fill some positions lower paid workers which will in turn serve to further suppress wages in probation.

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  17. Folk are scared that the Union wont back them up, so they are taking what they consider the safest option, severance. Better than being managed out with redundancy with a lower amount than severance or having you work judged as sub standard and dismissed. FOLK ARE FRIGHTENED THATS WHY THEY ARE THINKING OF SEVERANCE.

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    1. Ironically it was the daily fear of abuses by employers that led to the formation of trade unions all those years ago.

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    2. Seems like your folk are stupid and badly led. It has been well written avoid it like the plague yet the lemmings run to it like a moth in the light . Like I said any interest from anyone your being stupid and fear your sunk anyway you can thank some aspects of NAPO incompetence but expressions under duress is the fault of the individual raise cases claim or be dammed.

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    3. My mother in law years ago had her hours cut, she appealed the decision at every stage, eventually, the manager to shut her up more than anything, reinstated her hours. I said to her, weren't you embarassed, she said NO, if you want anything then fight for it, I had a mortgage to pay and was a single parent. The morale of this story is... Fight for what you want, and for me, I am not going to be moved unless due process is carried out.

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    4. yes exactly

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    5. Completely agree! I have not gone for VS and will fight for EVR with or without the Unions assistance.

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  18. People are wanting severance because the job they loved has been replaced with a shallow parody on which they have no confidence, a 'sheep dip' approach to rehabilitation and a performance culture based on smoke and mirrors. The only fear is the fear of a career based on bullsh*t.

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  19. Totally agree Netnipper. The problem is the majority of people just don't have confidence in the Unions. If the Unions could just give a solid promise that they will fight for the EVR rather than talk of negotiating a 'better deal', if they could promise to stand by their members with ET's then I think more people would walk away from the severance offer and sit it out. I just find the Union advice a bit wishy washy with no concrete direction or promises, it rocks people's trust. I'd like to think that even if the Unions aren't willing to commit to ET's there will be enough confidence in staff to take a collective action against Sodexo. But for that to happen, people need to walk away from VS.

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    1. "If the Unions could just give a solid promise that they will fight for the EVR rather than talk of negotiating a 'better deal', if they could promise to stand by their members with ET's then I think more people would walk away from the severance offer and sit it out."

      The General Secretary has been on holiday and is definitely not keen on spending what's left in the coffers on ET's.

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    2. Sorry but NAPO is finished, this is the slow death. They are saving the money for pay outs when central offices closes and they move on.

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    3. My sources tell me NAPO are revving up for the fight. Lawro took leave so he was well rested for the fight. Lawro will be victorious convincing sodexo to make no redundancies and we're all be thankful and apologetic for doubting his union on here

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    4. There is no doubt Ian Lawrence is an insensitive GS at this and most times yet while looking like a clumsy fool. Currently he is sitting pretty while we let him get away with zero action. Nearly as bad as the failure to fight the original sell off in London that set us on this path. The unions signalled acceptance because they would not spend the money in action. Why because it was PSO grade and the three power heads could not a professional reason to fight for non qualified staff that would get POs to protect them. You cannot blame them alone would any team PSO go out at the time? Who know NAPO never asked. Now in away we have the tidal wave across the CRCs it will hit NPS soon and no one will be happy. It goes to show the only clever branches made best use of the harmonisation process on policies with the better employers now owned by the Contracts holders. Another battleground to come no doubt but nothing Ian Lawrence will help with he is in the counting house counting all the money . Oh and yes all the national Officials will be hanging on for their pay offs under the agreed EVR rates no doubt as the last spend before Napo sells out to any union that might still want what is left . Sadly its the last day for motions I read here lets hope there are a few from the north on Competance or confidence in the GS. I guess not as much of this has come from the failings of the northern officials too involved without any long term understandings.

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    5. northern officials...please explain?

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  20. Jim Brown19 August 2015 at 19:20 must be joking. aint happenin.

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  21. to anon 1958 - did you not notice that Jim is quoting 1908?, followed by his sardonic comment on the GS being on hol.

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  22. nero fiddling while Rome burned springs to mind?

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  23. Just left the office. 3 of us worked late. We did 4 ISPs and saved our CRC about £1000 in fines by getting them done on time. Feeling chuffed. Our SPO texted saying thanks. Who said goodwill is dead in the CRC.

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    1. Goodwill, or exploitation?

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    2. The SPO had gone home then !!!. Great manager they must be, organizing things so that people have to work late in order to save their masters money... Not surprised they sent a text, probably couldn't have talked coherently with all the smirking and self congratulating...are you going to get a bonus, or maybe even more special, put forward for an employee of the month poster....y

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    3. "Just left the office. 3 of us worked late. We did 4 ISPs and saved our CRC about £1000 in fines by getting them done on time. Feeling chuffed. Our SPO texted saying thanks. Who said goodwill is dead in the CRC."

      Just designed to deliberately inflame. It's sad to reflect on the motives of some who post comments on this blog and I'd like to think they'd be no colleagues of mine.

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    4. I agree Jim. Anonymous at 22:13 sounds a total twat. Meantime I hear the offers are coming out.....and have heard grumblings that the figures they are writing out with dont match the terms of the offer

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    5. Blimey ! That poster is possibly a true post and the manager is a regular drinker with that staff group. hardly a professional service

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    6. Well I have to work until 7pm on a late night, so I know they were not in my office, everyone had left by 5:45pm and our SPO is out of the door at 5pm on the dot every night. Can't wait for the rumoured 9pm late night opening, must look at taking up knitting again.

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    7. SPO probably then gets home, logs on to his/her laptop and carries on working. Office based working is so 20th century.

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    8. Probably true, but our Clients come to the office, hopefully when everyone is working from home we can send them around to their homes for a nice cup of tea and chat. Won't need any offices then will we.

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  24. Out of morbid interest I asked for voluntary figures & a timescale. Today I received a letter offering £25k & "Go as soon as you like". It came as a bit of a shock. I have already asked my union if they'll support me taking my case (for not receiving EVR per the national agreement) to tribunal, either as an individual or as a group action. The union told me it couldn't afford to make that commitment. I have a very unwell partner & can't afford to lose my home. If I say no they'll simply heave me out on compulsory redundancy with a fraction of that £25k figure. The bastards have me by the short & curlies; the union is on its belly; & we've been stitched up good & proper.

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    1. So do something! I really don't mean this flippantly - don't just sit around watching them sharpen the axe. Make a plan, put yourself out there, and sort yourself and your family out. You have a skill set. Use it.

      Probation as we knew it is DONE. Start a new chapter in your life. Get the 25k and work out how to use it effectively - people have gone a lot further with a lot less!

      I'm sure this comment may invite negative replies. So be it, but I made a plan, stuck to it and have never been happier - you won't believe how good it feels to move on.

      I'd say good luck, but it's time you started making your own :)

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    2. I agree with you 1:30. No one has anyone by the short and curlies unless they want to be in this passive position. Also, given I have applied and not got it, it would piss me off if they allocated a potential payout to someone who applied out of »morbid curiosity»....presumsably not wanting it at all. What were curious about? The amount? Or whether you'd get it??? Anyway, why should the union bother with hoy? Youve applied for something of your son volition and have an offer. Either get on with it or stay and let someone else go for it.

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  25. 25,000 sounds good to me, better than being given less than 25k through redundancy or even worse managed out via impossible targets. Also you could supplement your 25k with agency work. Compulsory redundancy entitles you to state benefits whereas severance doesnt ??

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  26. For those in Wales, if you are made redundant you may be entitled to REACT funding.
    http://www.careerswales.com/en/jobs-and-training/unemployment-and-redundancy/coping-with-redundancy/

    You may be able to apply for ReAct funding to help cover the cost of a course or training to help you to get a new job. The funding can be used to pay training costs up to a maximum of £1,500. You may also be able to apply for help with extra costs like childcare. Contact Careers Wales to ask about applying.

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    1. Being made redundant can be very stressful, but it can also offer new opportunities. When facing redundancy you need to consider:

      What are my options?
      Who can help me?

      What are my options?
      The options open to you could include:

      Look for a job
      Return to study to update your skills or qualifications – e.g. community education, distance learning, higher education, Part-time study
      Change career or re-training e.g. Work based training for adults
      Work flexible hours e.g. Part-time, shift work, job sharing or working from home
      Work for yourself e.g. Self employed, freelance, or franchised
      Volunteer to gain useful experience
      Moving to a new area to find work, this could include working abroad.

      Who can help me?

      The Redundancy Action Scheme (ReAct) is a programme of funding for training provided by the Welsh Government for people living in Wales who are facing redundancy.

      You can receive a training award of up to £1,500 to help you get the skills you need to land a job. You can train while you are job hunting or you can go on courses to get the skills you need even if you plan to become self employed eventually.

      Who is eligible?

      Support under the ReAct scheme is available for individuals who:

      have become unemployed in the last 3 months as a result of redundancy, are currently unemployed, and who have not been in continuous employment for 6 weeks or more since being made redundant; or
      are currently under notice of redundancy; and have not undertaken any publicly funded training since being made redundant, including the work-based learning suite of programmes.

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  27. Behave Jim. Your not a career advisor. You the creator of a blog

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    1. Hahaha (I'm told lol is so passe) I'm just desperate to fill the blank space every day.

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    2. Once a Probation Officer always a Probation Officer , Jim, LOL

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