Disciplinary Procedure

Sherburn in Elmet Community Trust

DISCIPLINARY POLICY & PROCEDURE 

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this procedure is to encourage improvement in the performance of an Employee  or Volunteer whose conduct or performance is unsatisfactory. 

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

Principles

Problems when standards are not met by Employees or Volunteers will normally be dealt with through informal discussions with their Team Leader, Volunteer Manager, Community Centre  Manager(CCM) or Line Manager as appropriate. 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 the individual Employee/Volunteer 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 individual has the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty.

Confidentiality will be adhered to.

Stages of the Disciplinary Procedure

A. Informal stage

The Line Manager, Volunteer Manager or CCM meets face to face with the individual 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 individual.  

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

B. Formal stage

If it is deemed that the individual 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, a formal meeting will be arranged. 

The Line Manager/Volunteer Manager/CCM concerned 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 purpose of the investigation is to gather together relevant facts from documents and witnesses so that a fair judgement can be made. Another Trustee or member of the relevant Management Team can be appointed as the investigator if this is considered to be appropriate. 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 Line Manager/Volunteer Manager/CCM concerned in a fair and systematic manner. The purpose of such meetings remains that of enabling the Employee/Volunteer to improve.  

Before the meeting

The individual 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 Line Manager or Volunteer Manager.

The individual 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 individual will be told of the facts that stand against them and given a full opportunity to respond.  The 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 individual afterwards and kept as an accurate record.

After the meeting

The individual 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

Appeals  

If the Employee/Volunteer wishes to appeal against the disciplinary decision they must notify the Trustee responsible for Human Resources, Mr Les Wake within 5 working days of receiving the written decision. The notice must specify why the individual disagrees with the decision that has been made and the issues that are contested. Mr Wake will nominate one other Trustee (who has not been involved up to that point) to join him in hearing the appeal. The Appellant 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, the individual raises a grievance, under the  Trust’s grievance procedure, consideration will be given to 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 an Employee or 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

 A verbal warning may be issued, when an individual’s conduct or performance does not meet acceptable standards.

At this stage a confidential meeting should be arranged to discuss the issue in order to:

  • Check that the standards of performance or behaviour expected of Employees or Volunteers has been explained
  • Check that the individual 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 individual’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 an Employee or 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 individual 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 Employee/Volunteer of the outcome and provide a right of appeal in the usual way.

If, after investigation, it is confirmed that the individual 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.

Suspension  

While the alleged misconduct is being investigated the Employee/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 have broken down
  • There are risks to Trust or NYCC property.
  • Trust responsibility to other parties is jeopardised.

This Policy was adopted at the meeting of Trustees held on 17th July 2018