Individual Consultation Training

This course helps make “Individual Consultation” more effective; evidence fairness and identify solutions that avoid redundancy.

 “Individual Consultation” is where the employer consults directly with all affected employees before finalising changes to contracts or making redundancies.  The goal being to identify solutions that avoid imposing contract changes or redundancy.

When making redundancies, regardless of the number of redundancies that need to be made, employers must always follow a fair consultation process.  Individual consultation is fundamental to a fair consultation process.  In the event that a dismissal, redundancy or otherwise, is escalated to an employment tribunal the employment tribunal will look at whether the employer acted fairly and reasonably when reaching the decision to dismiss.

Successful consultation requires the employer to discuss and consider the subject matter in an open manner, free from any forgone conclusions. If the employer has already made a decision, there is be nothing to consult on which makes the consultation a sham process.  Consequently, it is important that those tasked with carrying out “Individual Consultations” understand their importance, together with the rules and the approaches that make it fair and effective. 

For Whom
This training course is for Leader, Managers and HR teams involved in “Individual Consultation”.  The course is also suitable for employee representatives, who may be involved in supporting staff through the process. 


  1. The Purpose of Individual Consultation
  • Aims and objectives
  • The need for an open mind with no pre-determined outcomes
  • To avoid imposed contract changes or redundancy
  • To reach agreement on a way forward
  1. Situations when Individual Consultation May Apply
  • Changes to Contracts and Redundancies
  • After Collective Consolation or Instead of Collective Consultation – understanding the difference
  1. Legislation, Case Law and Good Practice – key points
  • Individual consultation v collective consultation
  • Specified information
  • Periods of time
  • Minimum number of meetings
  • Example contract variations and support measures
  1. Typical Time Lines and Stages
  2. An announcement
  3. Initial individual consultation meetings with each potentially affected employee.
  4. Employee reflection period including time off work
  5. Second Individual Consultation meeting – alternatives and Options
  6. Selection Process
  7. Post Selection Process Individual Consultation Meeting
  8. Employer Review and additional Individual Consultation Meetings as required
  9. Final consultation meeting
  10. Final Individual meeting with each employee. – Confirming the outcome individually
  1. Key Content for Each Individual Consultation Meeting

    5.1  Meeting Number One
    This meeting takes place as soon as possible, after the change announcement. It should include:

  • Explaining proposing changes and implications
  • Reasons for the proposed changes and the proposed pool
  • Clarifying selection criteria
  • Alternatives and Options
  • Time Frames and Redundancy Payments
  • Written Confirmation

This session also highlights the need to test understanding, ways handle questions when the answer is not known and the need for confidentiality and robust records.  These are covered in more detail in section 6. 

5.2 Meeting Number Two
The second individual consultation meeting should be held after the employee has had time to consider pending situation. It reviews and explores the employee’s thoughts and views on:

  • The proposed pool
  • The proposed selection criteria
  • Options to avoid redundancies and/or mitigate the consequences

Note: The employer representative may need to adjourn this meeting to consider the points raised by the employee and reconvene to respond to them.

5.3 Meeting Number Three
The third Individual Consultation Meeting is held after the selection process has been completed, the employer should hold a third individual consultation meeting with the employee.  The key focus being:

  • Confirming the outcome of the selection process
  • Provide the employee with the opportunity to challenge their selection
  • Respond to any suggestions made by the employee.
  • Exploring alternative employment options

5.4 Additional Individual Consultation Meetings 
Before holding a final consultation meeting, the employer should review the redundancy process to date. This will include considering any further suggestions and points made by the employee in relation to alternative employment and any other concerns or suggestions the employee may have. The employer should take time to consider these and further meetings with the employee may be necessary in order to respond to these points. Once the consultation is completed, if no alternatives are found, the employer should invite the employee to a final meeting. The letter should confirm that no alternative has been identified and warn the employee that they may be given notice of dismissal at the final meeting. Ideally, the employee should be allowed to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative at this final meeting.

5.5 Final Meeting with the Employee – The Dismissal Meeting
This is a final dismissal meeting.  The employee has the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.  The employer should:

  • Reiterate the reasons for the redundancy proposal
  • Discuss any attempts to find alternative employment
  • Discuss any other points arising and address any final queries the employee may have
  • Issue notice of termination to the employee.
  • Confirm to the employee the termination date, payments, right of appeal.

The contents of the meeting should be confirmed in writing to the employee. If the employee raises an appeal, this will need to be addressed by the employer as an additional step/s in the process.

  1. Hints and Tips for Effective One to One Meetings
    This session explores a range of communication and soft skills that help make one-to-one meetings more effective.

 6.1 Developing an Effective Structure Right

  • Ground Rules
  • Planning a meeting
  • Opening the meeting
  • Conducting the meeting
  • Testing Understanding
  • Before closure
  • Records and note taking
  • Defensible Documentation – “see you in court”
  • Data Protection and Confidentiality

 6.2 Effective Communication Hints and Tips
Making consultation and meetings more effective revolves round effective communication.  This session explores some simply, easy to apply techniques that allow those hosting a one-to-one meeting to improve its effectiveness

  • Active Listening
    • Concentrating, being non-judgmental, showing empathy and respect
    • Reflective listening, Paraphrasing, Summarising
  • Questioning Techniques
    • Open, Probing, Reflective, Closed
    • Multiple Questions, Hypothetical Questions, Leading Questions

6.3 Supporting Different People – Hints and Tips
Employees attending individual consultation meetings will show a range of different emotions.  This session provides hints and tips on how to engage, better, with those who are:

  • Anxious or Nervous
  • Angry
  • Confused and Rambling
  • Shy and Diffident
  • Upset
  1. Course Review, Signposting and Close

This session captures any final questions and summarises organisational matters that the trainer may have been asked to share with management.  It also Signposts additional support routes


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