WEST MIDLANDS POLICE Force Policy Document

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1 WEST MIDLANDS POLICE Force Policy Document POLICY TITLE: POLICY REFERENCE NO: POLICE STAFF DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE HR/06 Executive Summary The Force expects certain standards of conduct to be maintained by all individuals throughout the course of their employment. In the event that behaviour falls short of the Force s expectations then there may be a need for recourse to the disciplinary procedure. This document provides guidance to line managers and individuals on the process that will be followed where there is concern over an individual s level of conduct or behaviour. This includes both formal and informal mechanisms. **Any enquiries in relation to this policy should be made directly with that of the policy contact / department shown below. Intended Policy Audience This policy is aimed at all Police Officers and Staff of West Midlands Police. Current Version And Effective Date. Version April 2014 Business Area Owner Department Responsible Policy Contact Policy Author Approved By Human Resources Corporate Human Resources Tina Fergus, Jackie Brown, DCC Thompson Policy Initial Implementation Date Review Date 09/01/2015 Protective marking Suitable For Publication Freedom Of Information Not protectively marked Yes Version

2 Supporting Documents (Title and links to documents) Evidence Based Research Full supporting documentation and evidence of consultation in relation to this policy including that of any version changes for implementation and review, are held with the Force Policy Co-ordinator including that of the authorised original Command Team papers. Please Note. PRINTED VERSIONS SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON. THE MOST UPTO DATE VERSION OF ANY POLICY OR DIRECTIVE CAN BE FOUND ON THE EQUIP database on the Intranet. Version

3 Force Diversity Vision Statement and Values Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations by embedding a culture of equality and respect that puts all of our communities, officers and staff at the heart of everything we do. Working together as one we will strive to make a difference to our service delivery by mainstreaming our organisational values All members of the public and communities we serve, all police officers, special constables and police staff members shall receive equal and fair treatment regardless of, age, disability, sex, race, gender reassignment, religion/belief, sexual orientation, marriage/civil partnership and pregnancy/maternity. If you consider this policy could be improved for any of these groups please raise with the author of the policy without delay. CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION GENERAL PRINCIPLES FORMAL PROCEDURE FACT - FINDING SUSPENSION THE HEARING SANCTIONS APPEALS EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EQIA) HUMAN RIGHTS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOI) TRAINING PROMOTION / DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING REVIEW VERSION HISTORY Version

4 1. INTRODUCTION NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED 1.1 In the workplace expected standards of conduct are usually maintained through the normal dayto-day relationships between supervisors and individuals. Good management practice should ensure that all individuals are aware of acceptable standards of behaviour and conduct and that they receive appropriate support to ensure that these are maintained. 1.2 Minor breaches of conduct can be dealt with successfully in an informal way and will remind the employee of the standards of conduct and behaviour that are expected. Early interventions and actions are essential to avoid matters escalating. 1.3 If an Individual does not respond to informal action, if there is a more serious allegation of misconduct or a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, then it may become necessary to use the formal disciplinary procedure. This procedure is a framework to ensure that managers deal with disciplinary matters in a fair and consistent way. It must be read and implemented in conjunction with the Managers Guide. 1.4 The procedure is in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievances. It also meets the legislative requirements of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Section 10). 2. GENERAL PRINCIPLES 2.1 In the event of disciplinary action, the emphasis should be to encourage an improvement in behaviour rather than merely punish the individual. A full investigation of facts and an opportunity for the individual to explain their action and state their case should be undertaken. 2.2 Privacy and confidentiality shall be observed in all actions taken under this procedure. Further details in relation to this can be found in the Manager Guide. 2.3 At all stages of the process the individual shall be kept fully informed of the allegations made against them and they will have adequate opportunity to provide an explanation or rebuttal. 2.4 In accordance with the Employment Relations Act 1999, (Section 10), at each stage the employee has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or fellow worker. This will normally be one person but, in exceptional circumstances, may be increased to two. It is the responsibility of the individual to arrange their own representation. If the employee gives express permission copies of correspondence will also be sent to the representative or fellow worker. 2.5 The Line Manager Advice Team (LMA) within Corporate HR must be informed and consulted when considering any formal disciplinary action to ensure correct and consistent use of procedures. In turn, the LMA must liaise with the local HR Business Partner at each stage of the process. 2.6 Allegations of misconduct, rather than poor performance, made during an individual s probationary period shall be dealt with in accordance with the disciplinary procedure. 3. FORMAL PROCEDURE 3.1 The following process outlines the steps that must be taken when implementing the disciplinary procedure. It contains the fact-finding process, process of suspension or deployment into an alternative role if applicable, the hearing, sanctions and the appeal procedure. This is a formal procedure that must be strictly observed by all parties. Failure to do so may invalidate the proceedings. Version

5 4. FACT FINDING NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED 4.1 Where appropriate, the Line Manager/Investigating Officer should undertake an investigation, with the assistance of an LMA. It should involve all parties and quickly establish the facts in order to decide whether to proceed with formal disciplinary action. This would normally be concluded within a two week period. If there are exceptional circumstances which mean that the investigation will take longer to complete the LMA should consult with the local HR Business Partner and the Employee Relations Manager, Corporate HR. The individual should be kept informed of progress and likely timescales. 4.2 If appropriate, the disciplinary file will then be prepared and information exchanged with the individual, their representative, and relevant managers. The disciplinary hearing should be arranged as soon as practicable, normally within a month of the decision to proceed with formal action, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Line Manager/Investigating Officer must confirm with the individual that they must comply with Part One Order (84/2004) in respect of disclosing relevant outstanding disciplinary matters (paragraph 6.2 refers). 4.3 Where an individual is the subject of a criminal investigation this will not normally prevent a disciplinary hearing taking place, provided that this does not prejudice any police enquiry or possible prosecution. Cases involving criminal matters must be discussed with the Employee Relations Manager, Corporate HR/ Professional Standards Department to determine the most appropriate course of action. 4.4 If no formal disciplinary action is to be taken then no correspondence connected with the investigation should be kept on the individual s personal file. 4.5 Where allegations of misconduct are made against a trade union representative, a full-time officer of the appropriate trade union should be informed immediately. 5. SUSPENSION 5.1 If the allegations involve gross misconduct, or where a continued presence in the workplace may prejudice an investigation or harm the interests of the individual or others, suspension from work may be considered in accordance with Force policy. (See Appendix O for offences constituting gross misconduct). 5.2 It may, however, be more appropriate for an individual to remain in the workplace, but in an alternative role, department or place of work. 5.3 Suspension or deployment into an alternative role is precautionary and is not a disciplinary sanction in itself. During the suspension/alternative role deployment the individual shall receive their normal pay. Normal pay includes all the guaranteed earnings that would be paid during a period of normal working, including shift allowances but excludes any payments not paid on a regular basis. A formal notice will be issued following the decision to suspend/ alternative deployment and the employee will receive advice on their entitlements and the conditions of suspension. (Force policy on the precautionary suspension of staff is attached at Appendix N). 6. THE HEARING 6.1 The hearing should be arranged, wherever practicable, during the working hours of the employee and at their normal place of work. 6.2 All parties should receive a minimum of one week s notice of the time, date and location of the hearing, although it is acknowledged that in complex cases, more time may be required. Details of the allegations and all supporting documents should also be made available at this time. Version

6 6.3 Where the individual indicates that they cannot attend at the specified time then, provided that the explanation is reasonable, alternative arrangements may be made. In accordance with the Employment Relations Act 1999, an alternative date must be offered by the individual and be within 5 days of the original hearing date. Both parties must be prepared to be flexible in accommodating this short timeframe. If the individual fails to attend, or does not give a reasonable explanation, the hearing may continue in their absence. 6.4 Evidence shall be presented to a panel comprising a senior manager of an LPU/Department as Chair and a HR Business Partner as determined by Corporate HR. The Chair hearing the evidence will be senior to the person presenting the allegations. They will be from an off-line LPU/Department and will have had no prior involvement in the investigation. The HR Business Partner s role is to advise on procedure and ensure fairness and consistency. An off-line notetaker should also be present. 6.5 The individual and the manager bringing the case (i.e. the Presenting Officer) shall be given an opportunity to make statements, call witnesses, and question as appropriate. The Chair will then adjourn the hearing to consider the evidence presented and make a decision as to the findings gross/misconduct. 7. SANCTIONS 7.1 Should the individual be found blameworthy of gross misconduct/ misconduct the employee should be given an opportunity to make a statement in mitigation. The HR Business Partner will give details of their record of service. The Chair of the hearing will then adjourn the hearing further to consider any additional information and to decide the appropriate level of sanction. 7.2 A letter confirming the outcome of the hearing and any sanctions should be reflected on the employee s personal file, and ORACLE record for the period specified by the Chairperson. Also, a completed Notice must be forwarded to the Head of Professional Standards (as per Part One Order 84/2004). Once this period has expired, all correspondence relating to the discipline should be removed from the personal file. 7.3 If no misconduct is evidenced, a letter confirming the findings and a copy of the notes of the hearing will be sent to the employee. No correspondence relating to the disciplinary matter shall be placed on the employee s personal file. However, the disciplinary file will be kept confidentially by the LMA section for audit purposes. 8. APPEALS 8.1 Employees have a right of appeal against all finding and/or sanctions imposed under this procedure. The Appeal Hearing will determine whether the decision taken by Chair at the time was fair and reasonable. 8.2 Notification of the intention to appeal against any finding and/or sanction, including dismissal, must be submitted in writing to the Head of HR within five working days of receipt of the written confirmation of the sanction. Within 15 working days of their notification to appeal, the employee must submit a written statement outlining the grounds of the appeal. This should state whether they are appealing against the finding of misconduct, and/or the severity of the sanctions. 8.3 The Appeal Panel will normally only consider the facts as presented at the disciplinary hearing. Disciplinary sanctions and findings will remain in force pending the outcome of an appeal. Version

7 8.4 Appeals against any sanction, other than dismissal, will be heard by a member of Command Team, supported by a representative from Corporate HR. 8.5 Appeals against dismissal will be heard the Deputy Chief Constable, supported by a representative from Corporate HR. 8.6 The case will be presented by the senior manager that Chaired the disciplinary hearing, and the HR Business Partner who advised the chair. 8.7 The employee shall have a right to attend the appeal hearing, accompanied by a trade union representative or fellow worker. 8.8 This concludes the internal process. 9. EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EQIA) The Policy has been reviewed and drafted against all protected characteristics in accordance with the Public Sector Equality Duty embodied in the Equality Act The policy has therefore been Equality Impact Assessed to show how WMP has evidenced due regard to the need to: Eliminate discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. Supporting documentation in the form of an EQIA has been completed and is available for viewing in conjunction with this Policy. 10. HUMAN RIGHTS 10.1 This policy has been implemented and reviewed in accordance with that set out with the European Convention and principles provided by the Human Rights Act The application of this policy has no differential impact on any of the articles within the Act. However, failure as to its implementation would impact on the core duties and values of WMP (and its partners), to uphold the law and serve/protect all members of its community (and beyond) from harm, effecting that of: 11. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOI) 11.1 Public disclosure of this policy document is determined by the Force Policy Co-ordinator on agreement with its owner. Version 1.3 of this policy has been GPMS marked as Not Protectively Marked Public disclosure does not automatically apply to supporting Force policies, directives and associated guidance documents, and in all cases the necessary advice should be sought prior to disclosure to any one of these associated documents. Which exemptions apply and to which section of the document? Whole document Section number Version

8 12. TRAINING 13. PROMOTION / DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING The following methods will be adopted to ensure full knowledge of the Policy: The policy will be published on the HR intranet site. 14. REVIEW 14.1 The Policy business owner, the Corporate HR Department maintain outright ownership of the policy and any other associated documents and in-turn delegate responsibility to the department/unit responsible for its continued monitoring The policy should be considered a living document and subject to regular review to reflect upon any Force, Home Office/ACPO, legislative changes, good practice (learning the lessons) both locally and nationally, etc A formal review of the Policy document, including that of any other potential impacts i.e. EQIA, will be conducted by the date shown as indicated on the first page Any amendments to the Policy will be conducted and evidenced through the Force Policy Coordinator and set out within the version control template Feedback is always welcomed by that of the author/owner and/or Force Policy Co-ordinator as to the content and layout of the policy document and any potential improvements. CHIEF CONSTABLE Version

9 15. VERSION HISTORY. Version Date Reason for Change Amended/Agreed by. Chris Rowson, Head of HR Version / 11 / 2012 To amend the words Police Authority to the words Police and Crime Commissioner. This is to reflect the disestablishment of the Police Authority and the installation of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Also to amend spelling, grammar and general changes in policy Version / 11 / 2012 Paragraph 2.5 SSC has changed to Shared Service Centre (SSC) HRM has been changed to HR Business Partner Paragraph 4.1 HRM has been changed to HR Business Partner Employee Relations Manager, Employee Relations, Corporate HR has been changed to Employee Relations Manager, Corporate HR Paragraph 6.5 HRM has been changed to HR Business Partner HRM s has been changed to HR Business Partner s Paragraph 7.1 HRM has been changed to HR Business Partner Paragraph 8.2 Director of HR has been changed to Head of HR Paragraph 8.4 Chief Officers Group has been changed to the Chief Officer Group Corporate Personnel has been changed to Corporate HR A member of the Police Authority has changed to Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Paragraph 8.5 Members of the Police Authority has been changed to Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Legal advisors to the Authority has been changed to Legal advisors to the Police and Crime Commissioner Paragraph 8.6 HRM has been changed to HR Business Partner V To DCC for approval DCC Thompson Version April 2014 Stage 2 transfer requires appeal against dismissal to be heard by the Deputy Chief Constable. Version

10 Version

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