Grievance Policy. Version: 2. Joint Consultation and Negotiating Committee

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1 SH HR 25 Version: 2 Summary: Keywords (minimum of 5): (To assist policy search engine) Target Audience: This document provides a framework for the resolution of staff initiated grievances, disputes or differences of opinion arising from their employment with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Grievance, ACAS, appeal, representation, support, dispute, resolution. All Southern Health Staff. Next Review Date: October 2018 Ratified by: Staffside Policy Scrutiny Group Joint Consultation and Negotiating Committee Date of meeting: 26 February March 2014 Date issued: Author: Sponsor: Version 1 - Liz Skeats Head of HR Integrated Community Services - Rita Hawkshaw HR Manager Best Practice Sandra Grant Director of Workforce, Development and Communications. For translation of this document, an interpreter, or a version in large print or Braille or audio, please contact the Communications Team on

2 Version Control Change Record Date Author Version Section Reason for Change Feb 2014 Rita Hawkshaw, HR Manager- Best Practice Throughout General update of terminology. General alignment of process with other workforce (employment relations) policy Added to provide further neutrality, where required In exceptional circumstances and where agreed with HR, it may be more appropriate for the grievance to be addressed outside of the individual s line management structure Inserted Stage names i.e. Stage 1, 2 & 3 (to align with Grievance Procedure) Replaced failure to attend on second alternative date, grievance heard in absence with. normally treated as withdrawn (reflects guidelines/letter) Updated staff support 16/3/17 Review date extended from April to June /7/17 Review date extended to December /11/17 Review date extended to March /2/18 Review date extended to October 2018 Reviewers/Contributors Name Position Version Reviewed & Date HR Scrutiny Group, HR Team, Staffside, Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee and Strategic Workforce Committee HR Team, Staffside Policy Scrutiny Group and Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee Version 1, July 2012, November December

3 Contents 1. Introduction Scope Definitions Roles and responsibilites Policy Monitoring compliance Policy review Associated documents.9 9. Supporting references...9 3

4 1. Introduction 1.1. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust ) believes that all staff should be treated fairly and with respect. This Policy and Procedure provides a framework for assisting staff in resolving disputes and/or differences arising from their employment within the Trust. These matters will be resolved fairly and quickly, either informally or formally. This will be done in line with current legislation and best practice guidance outlined by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). 1.2 The and Procedure makes it clear that staff can raise a grievance without fear of reprisals, victimisation or subsequent discrimination or disadvantage, and that they will receive appropriate support and feedback. 2. Scope 2.1. This policy and its associated procedures will apply to all staff directly employed by the Trust other than when specific conditions may apply e.g. to Medical and Dental staff. This also includes trainees, secondees and staff on honorary contracts or on joint contracts with the Trust and another employer The Trust does not have a responsibility to accept grievances from former staff. 3. Definitions 3.1. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Code of Practice; sets out principles for resolving grievances in the workplace. Grievances are defined by ACAS as concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers. Issues that may cause grievances may relate to any of the following however, this list is not exhaustive: terms and conditions of employment; the introduction of new working practices, procedures or duties; Health and safety issues and working conditions; relationships at work; organisational change; equal opportunities; and opportunities for career development If staff have a complaint that relates to bullying and harassment, the matter should be raised using the Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure. Complaints that amount to an allegation of misconduct on the part of another member of staff will be investigated and dealt with under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. 4

5 3.3. Where a grievance is raised by a group of staff (Collective Grievance) and is not resolved informally, it will be open to the Staff Representative for the group to review the nature of the complaint. Where it is found to meet the definition of a dispute, the dispute will be registered and dealt with separately under the procedure for collective grievances Complaints that staff may have about any disciplinary action taken against them should be dealt with as an appeal under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure Grievances raised while staff are subject to disciplinary proceedings will usually be heard only when the disciplinary process has been completed. Insofar as a grievance has any bearing on the disciplinary proceedings, it can be raised as a relevant issue in the course of those proceedings Disclosures in the public interest should be raised through the Trust s Speak Up (Whistleblowing) Policy and Procedure Meetings held during the informal process will be on an informal basis During the formal process, due to the nature of the formality of process, a meeting will be referred to as a formal hearing. 4. Roles and responsibilities 4.1. Trust The Trust and its managers will communicate with staff to ensure their involvement in and understanding of any decisions that affect them. This approach minimises confusion and alleviates disputes from arising Managers Managers are required to develop a working environment in which views can be expressed openly and listened to constructively and fairly, in order that formal grievances are avoided. Managers should attempt to resolve grievances informally wherever possible. Managers are advised to take care in identifying a potential grievance. They should treat written requests, strongly worded correspondence, including a resignation letter or exit interview as a potential grievance. In circumstances where such correspondence is received, they will clarify with the correspondent whether or not such material is to be treated as a grievance, and begin the grievance procedure as necessary. Managers will inform the Human Resources Team whenever a potential grievance is considered or an actual grievance is submitted Staff Staff have a responsibility to engage with communication methods and to ensure they discuss with their manager issues about which they feel dissatisfied. Staff have a responsibility for maintaining a professional boundary, by ensuring their own behaviour does not contravene employment legislation or good employment practice. 5

6 Staff and managers should refer to their professional code of conduct, the NHS Constitution, the NHS Code of Conduct for NHS Managers and relevant policies for further guidance Human Resources The Director of Workforce, Development and Communications has delegated responsibility from the Board to ensure this Policy and associated procedure is properly implemented and monitored The Human Resources Team has a responsibility to ensure that the Policy and Procedure is followed, fairly and consistently. Their duties will also involve: A Human Resources representative will attend all formal stages of the procedure, and will advise the manager that minutes of the hearing are recorded. The Human Resources Team will be responsible for retaining Grievance documents confidentially for a period of six (6) years after employment has ceased Trade Unions Trade Union representatives, when asked to support a member, will: appropriately advise, accompany and support the member fully through the grievance process; work constructively to ensure the best outcome in the circumstances; liaise as necessary with relevant parties. 5. Policy 5.1. Principles The main objective of the Policy and Procedure is to allow grievances to be resolved quickly, fairly and at local level while providing the opportunity to appeal if appropriate Wherever possible, staff are encouraged to resolve grievances informally and as locally as possible Grievances should be raised as soon as reasonably practicable to do so in order that matters can be dealt with quickly and that the grievance should be progressed as quickly as possible In exceptional circumstances and where agreed with HR, it may be more appropriate for the grievance to be addressed outside of the individual s line management structure It may be necessary to alter some working and managerial arrangements whilst the grievance/dispute is processed, however normal working conditions will continue to operate as far as reasonably practicable. 6

7 If a grievance is formally raised it must be in writing, stating the nature of the grievance and who it is against and may include possible resolutions for consideration Stages of a Grievance There are three stages to the Trust s Grievance Procedure: Stage One: Informal - in the first instance, an individual should raise any problems with their immediate manager with a view to resolving these informally without proceeding to the formal procedure. Stage Two: Formal - where a grievance has not been resolved informally with the manager, a formal grievance should be submitted in writing. Stage Three: Appeal - an individual who is still aggrieved in respect of the original grievance can submit an appeal in writing Further details of these stages are outlined in the Grievance Procedure Collective Grievances The Collective Grievance procedure complements the procedure for dealing with individual grievances and is informed by the ACAS guidelines Staff using this procedure must be aware that they cannot then use the Individual Grievance Procedure for raising the same issue Dependent upon the type of grievance, the initial stages of the Collective Grievance Procedure may be omitted if mutually acceptable to both management and to staff representatives and/or the group of staff affected A group of staff not represented by a Trade Union would be expected to elect a representative or lead person for the group At each stage, possible methods of conciliation and arbitration should be considered Details of the Collective Grievance Procedure are contained within the Grievance Procedure Representation At all the formal stages of the Grievance procedure, including the final stage (appeal), the individual has the right to be accompanied by their Trade Union representative or work colleague, who is not a relative (and who has not been involved in the matter of concern) The Trust reserves the right to refuse to accept a work colleague whose presence would undermine the grievance process. There is no duty on a work colleague or a Trade Union (of which the individual is not a member) to accept a request to accompany the individual and no pressure should be put upon a member of staff if they do not wish to act as a representative Formal hearings are essentially meetings between the Trust and the individual member of staff. Discussions should therefore be principally 7

8 between the Trust and the individual; the role of the Trade Union representative or work colleague should be to support the individual by offering relevant supplementary information that adds value to the hearing and, if requested by the individual, sum up the case. Any questions put directly to the individual should be initially dealt with by them The individual has the right to seek an adjournment to allow further time for appropriate representation to be obtained, however the individual will be required to take all necessary steps to attend the hearing on the nominated date. The Trust will look to provide a maximum of two alternative dates/times in the event of the individual and / or representative being unable to attend the first date set, as long as it is reasonable and not more than five (5) working days after the date proposed by the manager, unless mutually agreed between the manager and the individual. If the individual does not attend on the second alternative date, their grievance would normally be treated as withdrawn If neither the individual nor their representative attends the hearing and the failure to attend could be reasonably foreseen and that no notification was given of the non-attendance, then the Trust will not be under any further obligation to continue with the grievance process. Staff will be required to renew their grievance The manager hearing the grievance may be supported by a Human Resources professional during the formal stages Support and Accessibility The Trust recognises that a grievance can be a stressful and upsetting experience for all parties involved. Everyone involved in the process is entitled to be treated with respect. The Trust will not tolerate abusive or insulting behaviour from anyone taking part in or conducting grievance procedures and will treat any such behaviour as misconduct and consider taking appropriate formal action under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure Staff support can be sought via: Trade Union representative Work colleague; or Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Workplace Options, Tel: (Freephone) ACAS can also be contacted for advice via the Helpline ( ) If any aspect of the grievance procedure causes staff difficulty, for example, on account of any disability that they may have, or if staff need assistance because English is not their first language, they should raise this issue with their manager or the Human Resources Team who will make appropriate arrangements. 8

9 5.6. Confidentiality All grievances raised at the formal level will be recorded in writing. Written records will be retained confidentially by the Human Resources Team. 6. Monitoring compliance 6.1. Human Resources (HR) will monitor and analyse data on a quarterly basis. HR will use the data to monitor the implementation of the policy and management of cases. In addition, the data will be collated and analysed for information regarding the reasons of the grievances, outcomes and appeals Subsequently, the data will be used to inform and improve policies, as well as provide recommendations for improving working practices. HR will provide relevant reports, based on this data, to the Strategic Workforce Committee (SWC), Executive Board and the Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee (JCNC). 7. Policy review 7.1. The policy and procedures contained within these documents will be in place for three years following approval of a review and amendments. An earlier review can take place should exceptional circumstances arise resulting from this policy; in whole or in part, being insufficient for the purpose and/or if there are legislative changes. 8. Associated documents Grievance Procedure Workforce Investigation Policy and Procedure Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure Disciplinary Policy and Procedure Speak Up (Whistleblowing) Policy and Procedure Employment Rights Act Supporting references This website provides information on the Text Relay service which ACAS uses as part of its helpline service 9

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