Grievance and Disputes Policy. Target Audience. Who Should Read This Policy. All Trust Staff

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1 Grievance and Disputes Policy Who Should Read This Policy Target Audience All Trust Staff Version 3.0 September 2015

2 Ref. Contents Page 1.0 Introduction Purpose Objectives Process Informal Procedure Formal Procedure Referral to ACAS Representation Status Quo Exceptional Circumstances Grievances in Relation to other Trust Procedures Exclusions Grievances not Resolved Prior to Leaving the Trust Time Limits Procedures connected to this policy Links to Relevant Legislation Links to Relevant National Standards Links to Other Key Policy/s References Roles and Responsibilities for this policy Training Equality Impact Assessment Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act Monitoring policy s effectiveness 10 Appendices 1.0 Grievance/ Dispute Flow Chart Notification of Grievance/ Dispute Proforma Procedure to be Followed at a Grievance Hearing 14 Version 3.0 September

3 Explanation of terms used in this policy Grievance - Any work related matter which is grounds for complaint between an individual employee and their manager or the Trust Collective Grievance - A work related matter which is grounds for complaint between a group of employees and management Dispute - A work related matter similar to a collective grievance where the matter has been formally raised within the Trust by one or more of the Trust s recognised Trade Unions or Professional Organisations in respect of their members employed in the Trust Advisory and Conciliation Arbitration Service (ACAS) - A voluntary body who can provide an advisory and mediation service to employers and staff Version 3.0 September

4 1.0 Introduction Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (hereafter referred to as the Trust) recognises that employees may have problems or concerns about their work, working environment or working relationships that they wish to raise and have addressed. This policy and procedure provides a framework to ensure that any problems or concerns raised by staff are dealt with in a timely, fair and consistent manner. 2.0 Purpose This policy aims to encourage full and open communication between managers and employees with the aim of resolving any concerns quickly and as near to the source as possible. This policy has been developed to give guidance on the procedure to be adopted where early action to resolve an issue has failed and a grievance has developed. The policy has been written in accordance with relevant employment legislation and the Advisory and Conciliation Arbitration Service (ACAS) guidelines. 3.0 Objectives This policy aims to address the following objectives: Provide a framework to enable employees to raise concerns about their work, working environment or working relationships Provide a framework to enable managers to respond to individual and collective grievances and disputes, fairly, consistently and speedily Allow managers and members of staff the opportunity to deal with grievances informally and as close to the point of origin as possible, without recall to the formal grievance procedure Clarify the Trust s expectations of its managers and employees so that all concerned understand their rights and obligations Ensure this policy is applied equitably and fairly to all employees, in line with statutory legislation Signpost to other Trust policies that may be more appropriate dependent on the individual situation e.g. Trust Bullying and Harassment Policy Recognise the benefit of working in partnership with accredited Trade Union representatives to ensure issues can be dealt with locally and with minimum delay 4.0 Process (Also refer to Appendix 1) 4.1 Informal Procedure Every effort should be made to resolve problems informally between the manager and the employee and it is hoped that this will normally be the situation. When an employee has a concern they should initially raise this with their immediate line manager as soon as possible. A meeting should take place with the line manager and employee to discuss their concerns with the aim of seeking an appropriate resolution. If a group of staff have a common issue of concern they should raise this with their immediate line manager through a group representative (usually this will be a Trade Union Representative). If it is not possible to reach a mutually acceptable solution, the issue should be referred Version 3.0 September

5 to Stage One of the formal procedure. If the grievance relates to the immediate line manager please refer to Section 4.5 of this policy. NB: If the employee/group of employees have concerns regarding bullying and harassment they should refer to the Trust s Bullying and Harassment Policy. 4.2 Formal Procedure This formal procedure should be adopted for both individual and collective grievances/ disputes. Each stage of the procedure should be exhausted (i.e. obtaining an outcome) prior to proceeding to the next stage. All stages of the procedure should be exhausted before any form of industrial action is considered. Throughout the grievance procedure members of staff must take all reasonable steps to attend any meetings or hearings. Meetings/Hearings should only be postponed at short notice in very exceptional circumstances. If, for any valid reason, it is necessary to postpone then another meeting/hearing should be arranged as quickly as possible in line with timescales set out in this procedure. Should a member of staff fail to attend or provide the required information within the specified timescales, the grievance will not be considered and will not be heard at a later date. In order that a collective grievance or dispute can be resolved as quickly as possible, the staff in question should be represented through this process by no more than 3 members of staff from the group and their Trade Union Representative(s). In the case of a collective grievance or dispute it is possible, through mutual agreement of all parties, to move straight to Stage 2 of the formal procedure Formal Procedure Stage One If a grievance has not been resolved at the informal stage, the grievance should be lodged in writing using the Grievance Notification Form (Appendix 2). This form should be fully completed by the individual employee/group representative(s) and then submitted to the next level of line management (Service Manager level or above as appropriate) at the earliest opportunity. The manager, accompanied by a Human Resources representative, should meet with the member of staff/group representative(s) within ten working days (based on Monday- Friday and not including weekends or bank holidays) of receipt of the Grievance Notification Form wherever possible. At the meeting management should explore the grievance in detail with the employee. If possible, management can provide a verbal outcome at the meeting, however, dependent on the grievance, there may be circumstances where it may be necessary for management to ascertain further details surrounding the grievance following the meeting before providing a response. Following the meeting the outcome, incorporating a summary of the key considerations and conclusion, should be confirmed in writing within five working days of the meeting Formal Procedure Stage Two (Appeal) Should the individual employee/group of staff remain dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage One of the formal procedure, the matter may be referred in writing to the Director of Workforce and Learning within ten working days of receipt of the Stage One Version 3.0 September

6 outcome. In order for the appeal to be registered, the letter should include the grounds for appeal and the desired outcome. The grievance will be heard by a Director and Senior HR Representative and if relevant, an appropriate professional lead within 30 working days, following the process outlined in Appendix 3. Following the appeal hearing, the outcome should be confirmed in writing within five working days of the hearing. This is the final stage of the internal grievance procedure and other than the matters referred to below, exhausts the internal grievance procedure. The conclusion at this stage is therefore final. If information relevant to the grievance has been omitted at any stage of the procedure the circumstances should be reviewed by the appropriate manager for possible reassessment of the position. 4.3 Referral to ACAS If a mutually acceptable solution is not reached within the Trust then providing both management and trade union representatives agree, the matter may be referred to ACAS for arbitration. 4.4 Representation At all stages of the formal grievance and disputes procedure the member of staff has the right to be represented by a Trade Union Representative or workplace colleague. The employee is responsible for making their own arrangements for representation at any meeting/hearing. 4.5 Status Quo During the grievance process status quo will be preserved, with the following exceptions: where client safety may be compromised where there may be a detrimental effect on the quality of patient care where the viability of the Trust may be compromised where health and safety may be compromised in order to comply with statute or Department of Health directives where it could affect the Monitor or CQC compliance frameworks 4.6 Exceptional Circumstances In circumstances where a grievance is regarded as being too personal to be raised with the immediate line manager in the first instance, or where the grievance itself involves an employee s relationship with the manager concerned, employees may raise these matters directly with a HR Representative in the first instance i.e. without recourse to line management. In such instances every effort will be made to resolve the matters quickly, but it may be necessary to modify the time limits set elsewhere in this policy. In dealing with issues of this nature, applicable or other associated policies e.g. Bullying and Harassment Policy may be appropriate, taking into account issues of confidentiality, sensitivity, risk, etc. Version 3.0 September

7 4.7 Grievances in Relation to Other Trust Procedures Where a grievance is raised following the application of another management process (e.g. Disciplinary Policy, Absence Management, Management of Change, etc), a Senior Manager (e.g. at Service Manager or above) and Senior Human Resources representative, not already involved in the process, will decide on the most appropriate course of action to be followed taking into account the details of the relevant policies and ACAS guidelines. They will decide whether the grievance should be considered on a prima facie basis relating to significant concerns; or is simply a reaction to the application of the management process and should not progress. 4.8 Exclusions The following issues are excluded from this policy/procedure: Matters relating to National Insurance, Income Tax and matters relating to the NHS Pension Scheme or other Pension Schemes Matters which are properly dealt within the scope of negotiation and discussions at a national level in the National Health Service Matters relating to any policies collectively agreed and/or formally adopted by the Trust Matters which are appropriate to be considered under the Trust s Disciplinary Policy, Capability Policy, Whistleblowing Policy or other relevant Trust policies A grievance that is outside the competence of the Trust to resolve Matters which relate to bandings/gradings, unless the individual believes they are being unfairly denied the opportunity of requesting a re-banding 4.9 Grievances Not Resolved Prior to Leaving the Trust Where possible a grievance should be dealt with before a member of staff leaves the organisation. If the employee invokes the Grievance Procedure and leaves before its completion, the Trust will make every effort to complete the current stage of the procedure and will confirm their response to the member of staff in writing Time Limits The time limits indicated throughout the procedure may be extended, however this must be with the agreement of all parties concerned. 5.0 Procedures connected to this Policy There are no standard operating procedures connected to this policy. 6.0 Links to Relevant Legislation Employment Act 2008 The Employment Act (2008) came into force in April 2009, removing the minimum statutory Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures. The procedures are more flexible in that it encourages employers and employees to resolve disputes in a less formal way. The Act encourages issues to be resolved internally where possible, without recourse to tribunals. It does this by enabling compensation to be adjusted up or down if a party fails to observe an ACAS Code of Practice. Employment Rights Act 1996 The Employment Rights Act 1996 came into force on 22 August It sets out the statutory employment rights of workers and employees. If these employment rights are breached, the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives the Employment Tribunals powers to order compensation to workers and employees. Version 3.0 September

8 Data Protection Act 1998 The Data Protection Act came into force in March 2001, replacing the 1984 Act, to control the way information is handled and to give legal rights to people who have information stored about them. It sets out strict rules for people who use or store data about living people and gives rights to those people whose data has been collected. The law applies to data held on computers or any sort of storage system, including paper records. On 6 April 2010, the Information Commissioner s Office was given new powers to issue monetary penalties requiring organisations to pay up to 500,000 for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act. 6.1 Links to Relevant National Standards There are no links to national standards. 6.2 Links to other key policy/s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure The aim of this policy is to correct inappropriate conduct creating a working environment where the highest standards possible may operate. To protect the rights of the individual employee by affording them balanced consideration in any disciplinary proceeding, ensuring the right to representation by a Trade Union Representative or workplace colleague and making available the right to appeal against disciplinary decisions made. To protect the rights of management to exercise the authority delegated to them by the Trust in organising and supervising work, setting and maintaining standards of behaviour and efficiency. Bullying and Harassment Policy The purpose of this policy and procedure is to support a working environment and culture in which bullying and harassment is known to be unacceptable and where individuals are confident enough to bring complaints without fear of victimisation or reprisal. 6.3 References ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (2009) and_grievance_procedures-accessible-version-jul-2012.pdf Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust s Play Fair: The Trust s Equality Strategy Version 3.0 September

9 7.0 Roles and Responsibilities for this Policy Grievance and Disputes Policy Title Role Responsibilities Director of Workforce & Organisational Development Staff Side Human Resources Department Line Managers Employees 8.0 Training Executive Lead Advice and Support Implementation Operational Adherence - Lead responsibility for the implementation of this policy - Allocation of resources to support the implementation of this policy - Any serious concerns regarding the implementation of this policy are brought to the attention of the Board of Directors - Provide guidance and support to staff in line with the Trust policy - Provide guidance and support in the implementation and interpretation of this policy - Ensure compliance in line with relevant employment legislation and best HR practice - Provide appropriate training and development to managers in the implementation of this policy - Monitor the implementation, compliance and effectiveness of this policy - Ensure compliance with this policy with the aim of trying to resolve any concerns from employees at the earliest stage and as quickly as possible, within the timescales outlined in this process - Ensure this policy is applied fairly and consistently, ensuring no discrimination takes place - Maintain effective employee relations, adopting a reasonable approach to resolving any concerns employees may have - Liaise with Human Resources for guidance and interpretation of this policy - Discuss any concerns with their immediate line manager as soon as possible with the aim of resolving any concerns at the earliest stage, where appropriate - Follow the guidance and procedure outlined in this policy - Maintain effective employee relations, adopting a reasonable approach to resolving any concerns - Contact Trade Union representatives or Human Resources for guidance of this policy as appropriate What aspect(s) of this policy will require staff training? Managing for Excellence programme Which staff groups require this training? Line managers Is this training covered in the Trust s Mandatory and Risk Management Training Needs Analysis document? No, staff will receive specific training in relation to this policy where it is identified in their individual training needs analysis as part of their development for their particular role and responsibilities If no, how will the training be delivered? Training will be delivered internally Who will deliver the training? Learning and Development How often will staff require training As required Who will ensure and monitor that staff have this training? Workforce Development Group Version 3.0 September

10 9.0 Equality Impact Assessment Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is committed to ensuring that the way we provide services and the way we recruit and treat staff reflects individual needs, promotes equality and does not discriminate unfairly against any particular individual or group. The Equality Impact Assessment for this policy has been completed and is readily available on the Intranet. If you require this policy in a different format e.g. larger print, Braille, different languages or audio tape, please contact the Equality & Diversity Team on Ext or Data Protection and Freedom of Information This statement reflects legal requirements incorporated within the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act that apply to staff who work within the public sector. All staff have a responsibility to ensure that they do not disclose information about the Trust s activities in respect of service users in its care to unauthorised individuals. This responsibility applies whether you are currently employed or after your employment ends and in certain aspects of your personal life e.g. use of social networking sites etc. The Trust seeks to ensure a high level of transparency in all its business activities but reserves the right not to disclose information where relevant legislation applies Monitoring this policy is working in practice What key elements will be monitored? (measurable policy objectives) Where described in policy? How will they be monitored? (method + sample size) Who will undertake this monitoring? How Frequently? Group/Committee that will receive and review results Group/Committee to ensure actions are completed Evidence this has happened Number of formal grievances received by Group/ type/ equality breakdown 4.0 Process and Appendices Audit undertaken by Human Resources Team Human Resources Department Annually Group Management Boards Workforce Development Group Sign off of action plans arising from audit findings Compliance of timescales 4.0 Process and Appendix 1 Audit undertaken by Human Resources Team Human Resources Department Annually Group Management Boards Workforce Development Group Sign off of action plans arising from audit findings Version 3.0 September

11 Appendix 1 Grievance/Dispute Flow Chart INFORMAL PROCEDURE The member of staff/group representative should meet with the immediate line manager as soon as possible to try and resolve the matter informally. If it is not possible to reach a mutually acceptable solution, Stage One of the formal procedure should be followed. FORMAL PROCEDURE STAGE ONE If the informal procedure has failed to address the matter satisfactory, the member of staff/group representative(s) should complete the Grievance Notification Form and submit this to the next line of management (Service Manager level or above, as appropriate). The manager and a HR Representative should meet with the employee/group representative(s) within ten working days of receipt of the Grievance Notification Form. Following the meeting, the outcome (including a summary of the key considerations and conclusion) should be confirmed in writing within five working days of the meeting. FORMAL PROCEDURE STAGE TWO (APPEAL) Where staff remain dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage One of the formal procedure, the matter may be referred in writing within ten working days of receipt of the Staqe One outcome to the Director of Workforce and Learning. In order for the appeal to be registered, the letter should include the grounds for appeal and the desired outcome. The grievance will be heard by a Director and Senior HR Representative and if relevant, an appropriate professional lead within 30 working days, following the process outlined in Appendix 3. Management and Staff-side cases should be exchanged and circulated to panel members at least 3 working days prior to the hearing. The manager and HR representative who heard the grievance at Stage One will present the management case. The outcome should be confirmed in writing within five working days of the hearing. NB: In the event of a grievance being raised during or as a result of another process (for example, Disciplinary Policy, Capability Policy or Absence Management) please see Section 4.6 of the Policy. NB: Working Days are based on Monday to Friday and do not include weekends or bank holidays. Version 3.0 September

12 Appendix 2 NOTIFICATION OF GRIEVANCE / DISPUTE Please refer to the full Grievance/Disputes Procedure prior to completion of this form. NB: If concerns relate to bullying and harassment please refer to the Trust s Bullying and Harassment Policy, or seek further advice from HR. Name of employee/trade Union lodging grievance/dispute:... Name of Trade Union/Staff Representative (if applicable):... Job Title:... Department/Service Area:... Contact Telephone Number:... Work Address: I/We have informally discussed my/our grievance with my/our immediate line manager named below: Name:..... Job Title:... and I/we remain aggrieved. In accordance with the Trust s Grievance and Disputes Procedure I am now informing you of the following matter. Nature of Grievance/Dispute (Please provide an outline of the issue to be addressed and the stage at which the grievance is being lodged) Version 3.0 September

13 Nature of Grievance/Dispute Cont/- Desired Outcome (What do you want to happen to resolve the matter?) (Please continue on a separate sheet if necessary) Signature:... Date Completed:... Management/Human Resources Completion Lead HR Specialist Date Received HR Signature Date Completed Comments: Version 3.0 September

14 Appendix 3 Procedure to be Followed at a Grievance Hearing 1. Staff side state the Grievance and call witnesses (if appropriate). Staff side question witnesses. Management side question witnesses. Panel question witnesses. Staff side have the opportunity to re-examine witnesses on any matter referred to. Management question staff side on their case. Panel question staff side on their case. 2. Management side respond to the Grievance issues raised and call witnesses (if appropriate). Management side question witnesses. Staff side question witnesses. Panel question witnesses. Management side have the opportunity to re-examine witnesses on any matter referred to. Staff side question management side on their case. Panel question management side on their case. 3. Staff side representative given the opportunity to sum up their case. 4. Management side representative given the opportunity to sum up their case. NB: In summing up neither party may introduce new matters. 5. The Panel consider the grievance and associated issues raised. Both parties advised of the outcome of panel s deliberations or to be advised of the action to be taken and expected timescale for receipt of a decision. NB: Either Party or the Panel may request an adjournment at any time. Version 3.0 September

15 Policy Details Title of Policy Unique Identifier for this policy State if policy is New or Revised Grievance and Dispute Policy BCPFT-HR-POL-03 Revised Previous Policy Title where applicable Policy Category Clinical, HR, H&S, Infection Control etc. Executive Director whose portfolio this policy comes under Policy Lead/Author Job titles only Committee/Group responsible for the approval of this policy Month/year consultation process completed * N/A Human Resources Director of Workforce & Organisational Development Head of Employment Services Workforce Development Group January 2015 Month/year policy approved March 2015 Month/year policy ratified and issued September 2015 Next review date September 2018 Implementation Plan completed * Equality Impact Assessment completed * Previous version(s) archived * Disclosure status Key Words for this policy Yes Yes Yes B can be disclosed to patients and the public Employee complaint, Work related matter, Concern, Problem * For more information on the consultation process, implementation plan, equality impact assessment, or archiving arrangements, please contact Corporate Governance Review and Amendment History Version Date Details of Change V3.0 Sep 2015 Full review of policy and new policy format V2.0 Oct 2012 New sections added to the policy V1.0 Dec 2011 New policy for BCPFT Version 3.0 September

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