Grievance Policy. Version: 2.3. Status: Final. Title of originator/author: Human Resources Directorate. Name of responsible director:

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1 Grievance Policy Version: 2.3 Status: Title of originator/author: Name of responsible director: Developed/revised by group/committee and Date: Approved by group/committee and Date: Final Human Resources Directorate Executive Director of HR and Organisational Development HR Transitional Workstream Group Transitional Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee 28 November 2012 Joint JNCC / PRAG 15 July 2015 Effective date of issue: 15 July 2015 Next annual review date: July 2017 Date Equality Impact Assessment Completed tbc Regulatory Requirement:

2 Trust Policy Foreword South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has a number of specific corporate responsibilities and obligations relating to patient safety and staff wellbeing. All Trust policies need to appropriately include these. Health and Safety - SWASFT will, so far as is reasonably practicable, act in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and associated legislation and approved codes of practice. It will provide and maintain, so far as is reasonable, a working environment for employees which is safe, without risks to health, with adequate facilities and arrangements for health at work. SWASFT employees are expected to observe Trust policy and support the maintenance of a safe and healthy workplace. Risk Management - SWASFT will maintain good risk management arrangements by all managers and staff by encouraging the active identification of risks, and eliminating those risks or reducing them to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable through appropriate control mechanisms. This is to ensure harm, damage and potential losses are avoided or minimized, and the continuing provision of high quality services to patients, stakeholders, employees and the public. SWASFT employees are expected to support the identification of risk by reporting adverse incidents or near misses through the Trust webbased incident reporting system. Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty - SWASFT will act in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, which bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace. The Equality Duty has three aims, requiring public bodies to have due regard to: eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimization and any other conduct prohibited by the Act; advancing equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and fostering good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it. SWASFT employees are expected to observe Trust policy and the maintenance of a fair and equitable workplace. NHS Constitution - SWASFT will adhere to the principles within the NHS Constitution including: the rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled; the pledges which the NHS is committed to uphold; and the duties which public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure the NHS operates fairly and effectively. SWASFT employees are expected to understand and uphold the duties set out in the Constitution. Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy - The Trust Code of Conduct for Staff and its Conflict of Interest and Anti-Bribery policies set out the expectations of the Trust in respect of staff behavior. SWASFT employees are expected to observe the principles of the Code of Conduct and these policies by declaring any gifts received or potential conflicts of interest in a timely manner, and upholding the Trust zero-tolerance to bribery. Information Governance - SWASFT recognises that its records and information must managed, handled and protected in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and other legislation, not only to serve its business needs, but also to support the provision of highest quality patient care and ensure individual s rights in respect of their personal data are observed. SWASFT employees are expected to respect their contact with personal or sensitive information and protect it in line with Trust policy. Page 2 of 13

3 CONTENTS PREFACE PURPOSE SCOPE DEFINITIONS AIMS EXCLUSIONS ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED PROCEDURAL ARRANGEMENTS COLLECTIVE GRIEVANCE GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE TRAINING REQUIREMENTS MONITORING REFERENCES... 9 APPENDIX A GRIEVANCE REPORT FORM APPENDIX B GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE FLOWCHART APPENDIX C VERSION CONTROL SHEET Page 3 of 13

4 Preface South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing a suite of employment policies designed to give staff a clear and consistent framework through which they are supported to carry out their roles and responsibilities safely and effectively. All policies are developed in consultation with Staff Side Representatives and are approved through the recognised Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee and Directors group. 1. Purpose 1.1. This procedure has been agreed between the Trust and the Staff Side Representatives of the Transitional Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee (TJNCC). It takes into account the Advisory, Conciliatory and Arbitration Service s (ACAS) Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures March This procedure enables employees to raise any concerns that they have about their employment with the Trust. 2. Scope 2.1. This agreement applies to all staff who hold a contract of employment with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. It does not apply to private contractors including those employed on a self-employed basis. 3. Definitions 3.1. A grievance is defined as a complaint by an employee about action which his/her employer has taken or is contemplating taking in relation to him/her - the Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations A grievance or collective grievance relates to an individual or a small group of employees respectively whereas a trade dispute relates to most or a large group of employees Grievance hearings are defined as meetings where an employer deals with an employee s complaint about a duty owed to them by the employer, whether the duty arises from statute or common law e.g. contractual commitments. 4. Aims Page 4 of 13 The aims of this agreement are to: 4.1. Enable employees to resolve grievances promptly, fairly and informally with their line manager or within their Directorate. This has the advantage of strengthening good working relationships between managers and their staff and allows for problems to be resolved quickly. Wherever possible grievances should be resolved informally without recourse to the formal procedure.

5 4.2. Provide employees who feel they have a grievance concerning their working conditions with a procedure for pursuing it in a systematic way without fear of recrimination Allow the Trust to deal with grievances fairly, consistently and quickly. 5. Exclusions 5.1 The following matters are specifically excluded under this procedure: Disciplinary, secondary employment and flexible working requests for which there are a separate appeals procedures described within those policies The employee wishes to complain about (actual or threatened) action short of dismissal to which the standard disciplinary procedure applies, unless the grievance is that this involves unlawful discrimination including under the Equal Pay Act or is not genuinely on grounds of capability or conduct Matters over which the Trust has no control, e.g. deduction of income tax, national insurance contributions, court orders, Government policy, etc If the employee is no longer employed, the alternative procedure set out in section 6 can be applied The employee raises a concern as a protected disclosure in compliance with the public interest disclosure provisions of the 1996 Act. See the Trust Whistleblowing Policy 6 Alternative procedure 6.1 Where an employee leaves employment and Stages 1 to 3 of this policy have not been completed before the last day of employment then the grievance will be considered in the absence of the ex-employee and the outcome confirmed in writing. There will be no right of appeal. 6.2 The Trust will only consider, under these arrangements, grievances raised by exemployees whilst still in employment and will not consider new complaints raised post termination. 7 Right to be accompanied 7.1 At all stages in the formal procedure, including formal investigation interviews, the employee will have the right to be accompanied by an employed trade union official, a trade union representative that the union has certified as competent, or a fellow worker, not acting in a legal capacity. The employee is responsible for arranging the attendance of their representative. 7.2 If a workers chosen companion will not be available at the time proposed for the hearing the Trust will rearrange the meeting on one occasion. Page 5 of 13

6 7.3 Where it is determined that an investigation is necessary the relevant Director or Head of Department is responsible for identifying and nominating a suitably experienced Investigating Officer who, wherever practicable, should be external to the area or function being investigated. Every practicable step should be taken in order that internal bias is avoided and independence is achieved throughout the investigation. 7.4 Prior to any hearing, the employee should inform the HR representative to the hearing of their representative s name, status and contact address. All subsequent relevant information will then be copied to the employee and representative. 7.5 Trade unions recognised by the Trust will provide a list of representatives that have been certified as competent annually and will inform the Trust s HR department of changes when necessary. Representatives of unions not recognised by the Trust will provide evidence of certification of competence at the initial stages of their involvement with a case. 7.6 Fellow employees or trade union officials do not have to accept a request to accompany an employee and they should not be pressurised to do so. 7.7 Line Managers are not usually permitted to accompany staff at hearings as they may have a role in subsequent stages of this, or other policies. 7.8 A companion can put the case, sum up and respond to a view expressed by the employee. They cannot, however, answer questions on behalf of the employee. 8 Procedural Arrangements 8.1 A grievance should be raised as soon as reasonably practicable after the event in order that the Trust may take action as appropriate. It may be difficult for the Trust to properly deal with a grievance that has not been raised in a timely manner. 8.2 Wherever possible grievances should be resolved informally without recourse to the formal procedure. However this Trust recognises a three stage grievance process through which it demonstrates its commitment to resolving complaints for staff, commencing at an informal stage but with mechanism for escalation should the complaint remain unresolved after the informal stage. 8.3 Every opportunity should be taken to learn from Grievance investigations and hearings. At the conclusion of a formal hearing a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) will be completed by the Chair of the panel. The RCA outcome and related local or organisational actions will be forwarded to the HR Department. All actions will be allocated to appropriate managers with reasonable timescales for implementation. 8.4 Written records should be treated as confidential and kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, which gives individuals the right to request and have access to certain personal data. Copies of meeting records should be given to the employee including any formal minutes that may be taken. In certain circumstances, e.g. to protect a witness, the Trust might withhold some information. Records should include the nature of the grievance raised, a copy of the written grievance, the Trusts response, action taken, whether there was an appeal and of so the outcome. Page 6 of 13

7 Stage 1 Notification and Informal Resolution The aggrieved employee will: Set out the nature of their grievance in writing using the Grievance Report Form (Appendix A) or through a meeting with their own line manager, or where the line manager is implicated within the grievance, to a more senior manager or to HR. Within 10 calendar days of an occurrence or issue coming to light, informal discussions between the manager responsible for the issue and the aggrieved individual, or in the case of collective grievances, the nominated representative of the group, should take place. Following these discussions the manager responsible will provide a written response to the complaint. This response will be provided within 7 calendar days of the discussions, unless an alternative timeframe is discussed and agreed. If the aggrieved party remains dissatisfied after informal discussion, they may request in writing for the complaint to be escalated to stage two of this procedure. Stage 2 Formal Grievance Hearing On receiving a formal grievance the appropriate Head of Service, in conjunction with a member from the Human Resources Directorate, will appoint an appropriate Manager to consider the grievance. The appointed Manager and Human Resources representative will: Invite the employee to a meeting as soon as possible and agree in advance a time and place for the meeting to discuss their grievance. Wherever possible this meeting should take place within 28 days of the grievance being submitted. Inform them that they have the right to be accompanied. The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. managers will assist to facilitate staff attendance where possible. Trust Treat their grievance in a confidential manner. At the meeting the employee should be allowed to explain their grievance and say how they think it should be resolved. If the Manager feels that further investigation is necessary the meeting should be adjourned to make a further investigation, after which the meeting should be reconvened. Where it is apparent following the conclusion of the informal stage that an investigation would be beneficial this may be carried out in advance of the initial hearing being convened, and this approach will be discussed with the individual and timescales and process agreed. The Manager shall consider the evidence, written and oral, put before him/her and decide whether the grievance is well founded or not. If the grievance is considered well founded, he/she shall consider what (if any) action should be taken to redress the grievance. Page 7 of 13

8 Written notification of the Manager s findings shall be sent to the aggrieved employee, normally within 7 calendar days of the decision being made. The Manager will set out the right of appeal which should be addressed to the Director of HR within 7 calendar days of the aggrieved employee receiving the letter informing him/her of the decision, if they are not satisfied with the outcome. Stage 3 Appeal Where an employee appeals to the Deputy Director of HR against the decision of the Manager who has dealt with his/her grievance under stage 2 of the procedure, the following will apply: The Chair of the appeal should be a more senior manager to the manager that heard the grievance at Stage 2. The appeal panel should also consist of a Human Resources representative. Also where, for example, additional technical, professional or clinical knowledge is required it may be appropriate to appoint a third panel member. The Chair will invite the employee to a meeting as soon as possible and agree in advance a time and place for the meeting to discuss their grievance. Wherever possible this meeting should take place within 28 calendar days of the appeal being submitted. Inform them that they have the right to be accompanied. The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. Trust managers will assist to facilitate staff attendance where possible. At the meeting the employee should be allowed to explain their reason for appeal and say how they think it should be resolved. The Chair shall have reasonable opportunity to consider the evidence, written and oral, put before him/her including the letters and notes from the Stage II hearing and decide whether the grievance appeal is well founded or not. If the grievance is considered well founded, he/she shall consider what (if any) action should be taken to redress the grievance. If the Chair feels that further investigation is necessary the meeting should be adjourned to make a further investigation, after which the meeting should be reconvened or agreement is made to confirm the outcome in writing. Written notification of the Chair s findings shall be sent to the aggrieved employee, normally within 7 calendar days of the decision being made. A copy of this record will be passed to the HR Department to place on the employee s personal file. This is the final stage of the grievance procedure and there is no right of appeal beyond this stage. Page 8 of 13

9 9 Collective Grievance 9.1 Where a group of staff have the same grievance (collective grievance), it should be agreed that the group elect one of the group as their spokesperson(s) who may be accompanied. The meeting will be held in accordance to the Stage II process. 9.2 In the event of any collective grievance which cannot be immediately resolved, neither side will seek to implement any further changes to the existing situation including recourse to breach of contract or industrial action until such time as agreement has been reached or the procedures for resolving matters set out in this agreement have been exhausted. In cases where this might be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of patients, staff or members of the public, or it would post a financial or governance related risk, then the Trust would implement the change but in a time limited basis pending conclusion of the grievance at Stage 3 of this procedure. This will not apply when; An administrative error in the application of employee Terms and Conditions has been detected. There are changes to conditions of employment associated with handling reductions in the workforce. 9.3 Where the procedure for the settlement of a collective grievance or trade dispute has been exhausted or where Management and the Staff Side Representative(s) appear to have reached deadlock, a joint request may be made to Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) before any further action is taken on either side. 10 Grievances against the Chief Executive 10.1 Where the grievance is against the Chief Executive, or the Chief Executive has been previously been involved, and the grievance has not been resolved, the matter should be raised directly with the Chair of the Trust s Board. 11 Training Requirements 11.1 Advice in relation to the application of this policy can be sought from the Human Resources Department. 12 Monitoring 12.1 The effectiveness of this policy will be monitored and reviewed at the HR Management team meeting three months before the review date. Recommendations will be recorded and shared via the recognised policy approvals process in time for the policy review date. 13 References Page 9 of 13

10 13.1 ACAS Code of Practice Grievance Report Form Appendix A Section 1 to be completed by the employee Base Department Name of aggrieved employee Basis of grievance (Please continue on separate sheet(s) if necessary numbering each and heading with:- Grievance by (Name) South Western Ambulance Service Trust Grievance Report Form Date grievance lodged Employee signature Date Section 2 to be completed by manager hearing grievance Action taken in respect of grievance Manager signature Job title Date Page 10 of 13

11 Grievance Procedure Flowchart Appendix B STAGE 1 Yes Notification of informal grievance. Informal discussion. Resolution found? No 10 calendar days Response within 7 calendar days of discussions STAGE 2 Yes Notification of formal grievance. Stage 2 hearing heard by Manager appointed by Service Head Matter resolved? 28 days Response within 7 calendar days of decision being made No STAGE 3 Appeal Yes Notification of grievance to Director of HR. Stage 3 hearing heard by more senior manager. Matter resolved? No 28 days Response within 7 calendar days of appeal decision being made Case Closed Page 11 of 13

12 Appendix C Version Control Sheet Version Date Author Summary of Changes 1 st Draft 17/09/12 HR Directorate New Policy 2 14/2/13 HR Directorate Inclusion of Grievance Report Form and Flow Chart Appendix A and B. Reference to Grievance Report Form in paragraph 8.4 (Stage 1) HR In agreement with unions, policy adapted to align and simplify timescales in employment relations policies. Agreed changes (the summary of main changes were): 1- Outcome sent to employee within 7 calendar days of the decision being made including for appeals 2- Calendar days to be specified throughout the policies Executive Director of HR and OD Section added at 7.2: The relevant Director or Head of Department is responsible for identifying and nominating a suitably experienced Investigating Officer who, wherever practicable, should be external to the area or function being investigated. Every practicable step should be taken in order that internal bias is avoided and independence is achieved throughout the investigation HR 1.1 Date updated 5.4 Sentence simplified 6.1 Paragraph clarified 7.2 New paragraph HR Sentence amended - Disciplinary, secondary employment and flexible working requests for which there are a separate appeals procedures described within those policies. Page 12 of 13

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