DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE

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1 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 1 of 8 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE AUTHORISED BY: Sandra Le Blanc Director of HR PREPARED BY: Keith Warrior Head of HR Operations ENDORSED BY: Sandra Le Blanc Director of HR APPROVED BY: Staffside (NCG) ISSUE AND REVISION RECORD Date Issue. Details Review date 03/ Revised 03/08 06/ Policy under review, changes required 01/2012 have been noted and once new Organisational committee structure has commenced it will be submitted

2 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 2 of 8 CONTENTS PAGE Disciplinary Procedure Flowchart 3 Disciplinary Policy 4 Disciplinary Procedure 5 1. Introduction 2. Procedure Investigation Disciplinary Hearing Appeals 7 3. Trade Union Officials, Health and Safety Representatives and Workplace Learning Advisors 8 4. Support to staff 8 5. Monitoring 8

3 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 3 of 8 Disciplinary Procedure - Flowchart Complaint received/information found If patient safety related - refer to NPSA Incident Decision Tree Is the allegation potential fraud? Financial - Refer to Counter Fraud Policy & Response Plan and inform Assistant Director of Finance. Research Consult Governance Dept Decision to investigate & inform employee Is cooling off period or suspension from all or part of duties necessary? Take action and inform employee Investigate Is there a case to answer? Consider Counselling Is the complaint of a minor nature? Inform Employee Counselling Set up disciplinary hearing & instruct employee to attend Are any allegations substantiated? Decide on outcome, including sanction where appropriate Consider Counselling Inform employee Inform employee & confirm in writing including appeal rights

4 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 4 of 8 Disciplinary Policy It is the policy of Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust that all staff understand and comply with the standards of conduct and performance required of them. Where the Trust is required to manage the enforcement of this policy it will deal with such matters promptly and in accordance with recognised employment practice. The Trust s approach to disciplinary matters is set out in this document.

5 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 5 of 8 1. INTRODUCTION: Disciplinary Procedure Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust s Disciplinary Procedure follows the guidance contained within appropriate legislation, and incorporates the principles of the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. It is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain acceptable standards of conduct. The Disciplinary Procedure applies to all Trust employees. It is to be used for dealing with issues of conduct, performance and eligibility to practice whether arising in the context of employment with the Trust or otherwise. Issues relating to professional misconduct, capability, ill health and exclusions and restrictions on practice of doctors and dentists will be managed using processes outlined in the Department of Health document Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS. The purpose of the Disciplinary Procedure is to: Consider fairly any allegations against an employee; Decide whether or not the allegations warrant disciplinary action; and Where appropriate, decide what sanction should be applied This procedure provides a structured yet flexible process for managers to ensure that employees are treated in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner. 2. PROCEDURE: (te: Text printed in bold and italics within the procedure indicates that a guidance note is available on that topic.) Where fraud by an employee is suspected, the Manager must first report the matter to the Assistant Director of Finance (acting on behalf of the Director of Finance) or the Local Counter Fraud Specialist (LCFS). Depending on the details of the allegation it may then be necessary for the LCFS to undertake a formal investigation. It is essential that no action should be taken by management until the enquiry has been completed and recommendations on further action made. However, in cases of potential research fraud and misconduct, the Governance and Risk Management Department must be consulted. In the event of a patient safety related incident, reference should also be made to the National Patient Safety Agency s Incident Decision Tree. In appropriate cases, reference should also be made to the Trust s Whistleblowing Policy (CM28).

6 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 6 of Investigation When a complaint is received, or matters come to light that require investigation, the Manager (usually the employee s line manager) will normally arrange for an investigation to take place. The employee must be advised that an investigation is to take place and must be told what is to be investigated. At this point the Manager should consider whether either a cooling off period or suspension from all or part of the employee s duties or temporary relocation is appropriate. A cooling off period / suspension may become appropriate at any time during the disciplinary process. If an investigation reveals additional issues, these will normally be included within the scope of the original investigation and associated disciplinary process. Where the employee accepts the basis of the complaint, or if the preliminary evidence establishes the events it may not be necessary to carry out a formal investigation and if appropriate, the matter may proceed directly to a disciplinary hearing. Where the Manager becomes aware of an alleged problem relating to conduct outside employment, disciplinary proceedings may be invoked if that conduct impacts upon an employee s ability to carry out his/her duties or if the Trust is likely to be brought into disrepute as a result. Information gathered during the investigation, including witness statements are likely to form part of the evidence if formal disciplinary action is taken. Where an investigation reveals that there is a substantiated complaint but the Manager is satisfied that the complaint is of a minor nature, the matter will be dealt with by way of a counselling interview. Counselling interviews do not constitute formal disciplinary action. Where the Manager is satisfied that more than a counselling interview is required, appropriate formal disciplinary action will commence. 2.2 Disciplinary Hearings The employee s immediate line manager (the Manager) will normally hear the disciplinary case and a representative of the Human Resources Department may also be present to advise. Where dismissal is a possible outcome the manager hearing the case must have the authority to dismiss. The employee will be given written notification of a disciplinary hearing using a standard letter, giving seven calendar days notice of the date of the hearing. The letter must contain enough information to ensure that the employee understands the allegations against him/her and copies of any formal reports to be considered at the hearing must be enclosed. At least two calendar days before the date of the disciplinary hearing, the employee must provide the Manager with a copy of any additional documents, to which he/she intends to refer.

7 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 7 of 8 Witnesses will not attend disciplinary hearings as a matter of course. However, either the Manager or employee may call witnesses. The employee will be notified of any witnesses to be called in the letter convening the disciplinary hearing. The employee is responsible for proposing the attendance of any additional witnesses that he/she intends to call to the hearing and will notify the manager of these at least two days before the disciplinary hearing. The Manager will arrange the attendance of all witnesses. During the disciplinary hearing, the Manager will explain the allegations against the employee and introduce the evidence that has been gathered. The Investigating Officer will not normally attend the hearing but may do so where requested by either party. The Manager will ensure that the employee receives a fair and impartial hearing, is allowed to present his/her case (or have it presented by their representative). The Manager may adjourn the hearing in order to seek further information but once the Manager is satisfied that all the relevant evidence has been obtained, and after a sufficient adjournment to consider the matter, the Manager must reach a decision. The possible outcomes of a disciplinary hearing include: no further action; counselling and/or training; written warning; final written warning; and dismissal. In cases of gross misconduct dismissal would normally be without notice. In addition, a number of additional/alternative options (e.g. demotion, transfer, acceptance of resignation, financial penalties) may be applied. Irrespective of any disciplinary sanction that may be applied, consideration must be given to the provision of appropriate support, training and development to assist the employee to comply with the required standards. A guidance note regarding disciplinary outcomes is available. Having decided upon the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, the Manager will normally verbally inform the employee and his/her representative of the decision. This will be confirmed in writing using the appropriate standard letter which will be sent to the employee s home address. Where a disciplinary sanction is applied, the employee will be informed of their right of appeal. 2.3 Appeals The employee may appeal against the Manager s decision (NB counselling is not a disciplinary sanction and there is consequently no right of appeal).

8 DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE PAGE : 8 of 8 Appeals must be made in writing within fourteen calendar days of receipt of the decision letter and must include the grounds for the appeal which are: The finding was unfair or the severity of the sanction New evidence comes to light A belief by the employee that the disciplinary procedure was not used correctly Generally, appeals will be heard by the manager next in seniority to the Manager that made the original decision. However, in the case of an appeal against dismissal, the appeal letter must be submitted to the Director of HR. Appeals against dismissal will normally be heard by the Director of HR or another Executive Director. Exceptionally, the Director of HR may decide that due to the complexity of a case, the appeal will be heard by a panel of two Executive Directors. In cases where an employee has been dismissed, the dismissal will remain in force pending an appeal. If the appeal is successful and the employee is reinstated, reimbursement of lost pay and other benefits will be made using the same formula as for remuneration under suspension. 3. Trade Union Officials, Health and Safety Representatives and Workplace Learning Advisors rmal standards of conduct and discipline apply to trade union officials. Where an accredited trade union official is subject to investigation or disciplinary action, the appropriate full time trade union official must be informed before any action is taken, provided the employee has given written consent to do so. 4. Support to Staff Actions to support the wellbeing of staff involved in the disciplinary process are outlined in guidance note Monitoring The Human Resources Department will monitor the number and progress of cases, trends and compliance with the Trust s Equal Opportunities in Employment Policy. Monitoring information will be included in the HR quarterly board report.

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