Employment Law News Analysis

No TUPE transfer when the service provision change is in respect of a short-term contract - Expert Comments

David Reid
15th Nov 2012

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has defined a 12-month contract as ‘short-term’ and therefore excluded from the application of the TUPE Regulations 2006 (TUPE). In reaching this decision the EAT took account of the fact that the type of contract under consideration would typically be three years or more in duration.

Employment law tribunal cases

In this case, a local authority awarded a coach company five 12-month contracts to transport children whilst their school was being rebuilt. Upon the expiry of these contracts, the company re-tendered but secured only one of them. The company relied on there having been a service provision change (SPC) in respect of one of the contracts it failed to secure to argue that one of its employees had transferred to the new provider under TUPE.


However, TUPE provides that an SPC will be exempt if the services provided under the contract are in connection with ‘a single specific event or task of short-term duration.’ Contradicting existing guidance on this issue, the EAT stated that even where the activities in question are not necessarily of short-term duration, they will still be exempt under TUPE if they were carried out in connection with a single specific event. The EAT's findings imply that the exclusion is in fact wider than previously anticipated.


Case name: Liddell's Coaches v Cook UKEATS/0025/12

The full case can be found here (Text Document).

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