Library Disciplinary Procedure

Sherburn & Villages Community Library Management Group


Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this procedure is to encourage improvement in the performance of a volunteer whose conduct or performance is unsatisfactory.

This procedure sets out how unsatisfactory conduct or performance by volunteers will be dealt with and who is responsible for carrying out the disciplinary action.

Problems when standards are not met by volunteers will normally be dealt with through informal discussions with the Team Leader and/or Volunteer Managers. Formal Procedures will be adopted when efforts to resolve matters informally have failed.

When a formal approach is needed the following rules and procedures are to be used to:

Promote good working relationships between colleagues
Ensure fairness and consistency in the treatment of individuals.

The disciplinary procedure is designed to establish the facts quickly and to deal consistently with disciplinary issues. No disciplinary action will be taken until the matter has been fully investigated.

At each formal stage Volunteers will be informed in writing of what is alleged and have the opportunity to state their case at a disciplinary meeting and be represented or accompanied, if they wish, by a companion of their own choice.

A Volunteer has the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty.

Confidentiality will be adhered to.

Stages of the Disciplinary Procedure

A. Informal stage
The Volunteer Manager meets face to face with the Volunteer to raise the issue which is the cause for concern. Notes of the meeting, including agreed actions with timescales, will be kept on file and a copy given to the Volunteer.

The Volunteer will be told that if the improvement is not achieved then disciplinary action may be taken as the next step.

B. Formal stage
If the Volunteer Manager deems that the Volunteer does not meet the required standard during the specified time limit, or an event of alleged misconduct occurs which appears to lie within the scope of formal disciplinary action, the Volunteer Manager will arrange a formal meeting.

The Volunteer Manager will gather together the evidence needed for the formal meeting and if personal testimony from witnesses is needed will arrange for it to be documented and, if necessary, for the witness to attend the meeting. The investigation’s purpose is to gather together relevant facts from documents and witnesses so that a fair judgement can be made. If appropriate another member of the Library Management Group can be the investigator who will carry out these tasks. This investigator will have no additional role in the disciplinary action, such as being called as a witness.
Disciplinary meetings during the formal stages
Disciplinary meetings will be conducted by the Volunteer Manager in a fair and systematic manner. The purpose of such meetings remains that of enabling Volunteers to improve.

Before the meeting
The Volunteer will be informed in writing of the purpose of the meeting and of the alleged behaviour that is the cause of concern and given any documented evidence gathered. If appropriate a verbal explanation of why the action is being taken will be given by the Volunteer Manager.

The Volunteer will be informed of his/her right to be accompanied by a companion, who may offer support but may not speak on their behalf at the meeting.

At the meeting
The Volunteer will be told of the facts that stand against them and given a full opportunity to respond. The Volunteer’s companion will also be allowed to address the hearing in order to put their case and sum it up.

An accurate, unbiased account of the proceedings will be taken and provided to the Volunteer afterwards and kept as an accurate record.

After the meeting
The Volunteer will be informed of the decision at the meeting and notified of the right to appeal. If the decision has to be deferred, the meeting will be reconvened as soon as possible. The decision will be followed up in writing within 3 days

If a Volunteer wishes to appeal against the disciplinary decision they must notify the Chair of the Library Management Group within 5 working days of receiving the written decision. The notice must specify why the Volunteer disagrees with the decision that has been made and the issues that are contested. The Chair will nominate two members of the Management Group (who have not been involved up to that point) to hear the appeal. The Volunteer has the right to bring a companion.

An appeal may result in the original disciplinary decision being reversed, or the sanction reduced to one less severe, but the sanction cannot be increased.

If an appeal is made on the grounds of procedural defects in a previous hearing this should be remedied by holding a complete re-hearing on appeal.

If during the course of a disciplinary process, an Volunteer raises a grievance, under the Trusts grievance procedure, the Volunteer Manager will consider suspending the disciplinary procedure, while the grievance is dealt with. It may be necessary to deal with a grievance and disciplinary issue concurrently.
Disciplinary action options
If a Volunteer’s conduct or performance is unsatisfactory the following sanctions are available.
1. Verbal warning
2. Written warning
3. Final written warning
4. Dismissal

1. Verbal warning
The Volunteer Manager may issue a verbal warning, when a Volunteer’s conduct or performance does not meet acceptable standards.

At this stage Volunteer Manager may arrange a confidential meeting to discuss the issue in order to:
Check that the standards of performance or behaviour expected of employees has been explained
Check that the Volunteer has had sufficient time to understand and learn the tasks involved in their role
Check that they have had sufficient training
Check that there is no domestic or personal problem causing high levels of anxiety and affecting performance

Where conduct is the issue, a verbal warning is a useful opportunity to emphasise the limits of acceptable behaviour. A timescale for improvement and review date will be set.

2. Written warning
If the offence is serious or if there is no improvement in standards of conduct or performance, or if a further offence occurs, a written warning may be given which will include the reason for the warning.

The warning should:
Explain what is unsatisfactory about the Volunteer’s performance or conduct
State what improvements are needed.
Set a timescale for improvement.
Set a review date.
Set out any support to be provided.

3. Final written warning
If the offence is very serious or if conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory, a final written warning may be given, making it clear that any recurrence of the offence or other serious misconduct will result in dismissal.

4. Dismissal
If a Volunteer still fails to reach the required standard of conduct or performance after a final written warning, or is guilty of gross misconduct, they may be informed that their service is no longer required.
The Volunteer will be given as soon as reasonably practicable a written statement of reasons for this and its effective date.

Gross misconduct

This term refers to serious wrongdoing that justifies immediate dismissal. It is necessary to investigate any alleged gross misconduct, hold a disciplinary hearing, inform the Volunteer of the outcome and provide a right of appeal in the usual way.

If, after investigation, it is confirmed that the Volunteer has committed gross misconduct, examples being (the list is not exhaustive): theft, damage to property, fraud, incapacity due to being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, physical assault, conduct endangering any person, gross negligence, serious breach of the Acceptable Use Agreement the usual consequence will be dismissal.


While the alleged misconduct is being investigated the Volunteer may be suspended.
This suspension is not a disciplinary action and will not be taken into account in making a disciplinary decision.
Suspension should only be used however if:
There are circumstances where relationships at work have broken down
There are risks to Trust or NYCC property.
Trust responsibility to other parties is jeopardised.
Adopted by:                                             Date: