In a non-NHS case useful guidance has been provided on the use of redundancy scoring criteria. In the case of Nicholls v Rockwell Automation Ltd the question for the Employment Appeal Tribunal was, ”should an employment tribunal find a redundancy dismissal unfair by examining the scoring in a selection process?”

Rockwell’s business made one redundancy among its 11 field service engineers of which the Claimant was one. Rockwell applied detailed marking criteria to the candidates for redundancy. The Tribunal held that the Claimant received scores which were “clearly lower than they should have been”, in particular in the categories of flexibility and skills/ability. The Claimant had worked weekends and overseas in the previous year.

The Tribunal found the selection of the Claimant for redundancy unfair noting that the Claimant’s scores did not appear to accurately reflect his capabilities with regard to flexibility, in particular. The Tribunal determined that the scores allocated to the Claimant were not capable of objective assessment as being fair and accurate.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal, however, found that the Claimant’s dismissal was fair, holding that the Employment Tribunal had erred by engaging in a detailed critique of certain items of scoring and effectively had substituted its own view for that of the employer.

The EAT said that using criteria that were not verifiable independently of the judgment of management was not fatal for a redundancy selection scheme.