Ottimo Property Services Ltd v Duncan UKEAT/0321/14;  IRLR 806; (2015) EMPLR 055
Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
Her Honour Judge Eady QC
There is a ‘service provision change’ for TUPE purposes (in broad terms) when the supplier of services to a client changes. This case shows that a service provision change can occur where the provider of services to a group of clients’ changes: the term ‘client’ can include the plural ‘clients’.
Ottimo provided property maintenance services to an estate comprising blocks of residential housing. Each block was run by its own management company. Another company acquired the contracts to provide those services for some of the blocks. D (who worked for Ottimo) claimed he should have transferred under TUPE to that other company.
The question was whether, for there to be a ‘service provision change’ under TUPE regulation 3(1)(b), the services before and after the transfer had to be provided to a ‘client’ (singular), in which case there would be no service provision change because the services were provided to the group of management companies; or whether ‘client’ could mean ‘clients’. The EAT concluded that ‘client’ could comprise a number of different legal entities so long as the group of clients did not change. To satisfy reg 3(3(a)(ii), the EAT added, the clients must have a common intention concerning the provision of the services. The case was remitted to the tribunal to determine this.
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