Can there be a redundancy where the headcount remains the same? Yes, says the EAT in Packman v Fauchon.
The claimant was employed as a book-keeper. The employer introduced an accountancy software package which reduced the number of hours which it was necessary for the book-keeper to work and there was a downturn in business. The employer therefore sought to persuade the claimant to cut down her hours. The claimant refused to reduce her hours. She was dismissed.
The employment tribunal held that the downturn in business meant there was a diminishing need for book-keeping. Since the claimant did not agree to a reduction in her hours, the reason for her dismissal was redundancy. This analysis is consistent with an early, Divisional Court, decision in Hanson v Wood  3 KIR 231.
But in a susequent, unreported, Employment Appeal Tribunal decision in Aylward v Glamorgan Holiday Home Ltd (EAT/0167/02) it had been suggested that there must always be a reduction in the headcount of employees for redundancy to apply. The decision in Aylward has, however, always been questioned. The employment tribunal took this into account and decided not to follow Aylward.
The employer appealed, relying upon the Aylward case, which, it contended, bound the employment tribunal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the appeal, departing from the principles in the Aylward case.
If the amount of work available for the same number of employees is reduced then a dismissal of an employee caused wholly or mainly for that reason is a redundancy.