Grievance and Disputes Policy and Procedure

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1 Policy: G1 Grievance and Disputes Policy and Procedure Version: G1/04 Ratified by: Trust Management Team Date ratified: 8 th August 2012 Title of Author: Alan Wishart Title of responsible Director Director of Organisation Development & Workforce Governance Committee TPF Date issued: 20 th August 2012 Review date: 1 st July 2015 Target audience: All Trust Staff NHSLA relevant? No Disclosure Status Can be disclosed to patients and the public EIA / Sustainability Implementation Plan Monitoring Plan H:\EIA Grievance procedure.doc G1 implementation.xls G1 monitoring.xls Other Related Procedure or Documents: 1

2 Equality & Diversity statement The Trust strives to ensure its policies are accessible, appropriate and inclusive for all. Therefore all policies will be required to undergo an Equality Impact Assessment and will only be approved once this process has been completed Sustainable Development Statement The Trust aims to ensure its policies consider and minimise the sustainable development impacts of its activities. All policies are therefore required to undergo a Sustainable Development Impact Assessment to ensure that the financial, environmental and social implications have been considered. Policies will only be approved once this process has been completed 2

3 G1 Grievance and Disputes Procedure Version Control Sheet Version Date Title of Author Status Comment G1/01 August 2002 Human Resources G1/02 September 2008 Human Resources G1/ Human Resources G1/ Human Resources G1/ Human Resources New policy Procedure reviewed Procedure out for consultation period ending Procedure issued Amended following consultation period. Following endorsement at ED meeting Following approval by the Board on the Changes to composition of panels, more clarify as to what constitutes a grievance and greater emphasis on informal resolution of grievances. Approved TMT August

4 G1 Grievance and Disputes Procedure INDEX Page 1 Introduction 5 2 Scope 5 3 Definitions 5 4 General Principles 5 5 Duties 7 6 Informal Procedure 7 7 Formal Procedure 7.1 Stage Stage Procedure to be Observed at Grievance Hearings 10 9 The Collective Disputes Procedure 9.1 Stage Stage Training Monitoring Supporting Documents Appendices 12 Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Appendix 3 Grievance Form Collective Grievance Form Template letters

5 G1 GRIEVANCE AND DISPUTES PROCEDURE 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 This policy sets out West London Mental Health NHS Trust s procedures for dealing with individual formal grievances and any collective dispute between the Trust and one or more recognised Trade Union, acting on behalf of a group of their members employed by the Trust. The aim is to ensure that such grievances and disputes are dealt with consistently and fairly in line with statutory requirements and best practice as laid down in the ACAS guide to discipline and grievances at work. In addition for individual grievances the aim is to resolve any issues as near as possible to the point of origin. 2 SCOPE 2.1 A grievance/dispute can only be heard if it is related to a management action or decision. It excludes differences between members of staff, which must be resolved between themselves and if unable to do so, by their line manager. 3 DEFINITIONS 3.1 A grievance could be any type of complaint and does not necessarily have to be in writing to constitute a grievance. When a grievance is raised the manager and the employee must attempt to resolve it informally in the first instance. The following areas are excluded from the procedure: a) Dismissal or any disciplinary matters, capability, sickness and absence, redundancy, harassment and bullying, and flexible working. These issues are covered by separate policies which contain their own agreed procedures and rights of appeal. b) Banding issues, which are dealt with in accordance with the usual grading review procedures in Agenda For Change or other relevant pay frameworks. c) Agreements reached with recognised Trade Unions. Complaints from employees who have given notice of resignation within the last three months should not be ignored. Written complaints from ex-employees should be regarded as potential grievances. However, in such circumstances, managers should contact the HR Advisory Service for advice. 4 GENERAL PRINCIPLES 4.1 Everything reasonable and possible should be done by managers and staff to create and maintain harmonious and good working relationships to ensure an efficient service and effective workforce. 5

6 4.2 The emphasis of the policy is to encourage and support local and timely resolution of grievances. It reflects a desire on the part of the Trust and the trade unions to move towards a culture where difficulties between, for example, a line manager and a member of staff or difficulties between two colleagues are flagged up quickly, discussed and resolved. 4.3 Employees must make every effort to resolve their grievances through informal discussions with their line manager. Until they can demonstrate that they have done so, they cannot proceed to the formal procedure. 4.4 The arrangements that applied before the grievance arose (the status quo) shall be maintained, where appropriate, until the process has been exhausted. However, the right of management to re-deploy staff and of staff to request redeployment, should be recognised in exceptional cases in the interests of fair play or patient or staff safety. 4.5 Every attempt will be made to adhere to the time limits set out in the procedure and each action or stage should be recorded in the grievance form in Appendix The HR Advisory Service will be available for advice at all stages of the procedure. A representative from HR must be present at all formal hearings as a member of the panel. 4.7 An employee may be accompanied or represented at all formal stages by a trade union representative or a workplace colleague who is an employee of the Trust. 4.8 With regard to disputes, line managers and local trade union representatives will have made all reasonable efforts to consult on and resolve the issue causing concern to the staff before referring the issue through the formal stages of the Disputes Procedure, including discussing the matter at the relevant Local Partnership Forum and /or the Trust Partnership Forum. 4.9 It is recognised that an individual grievance may become the basis of a collective dispute. In the event of this happening, any outstanding issues remaining from the original individual grievance which have not been the subject of the disputes procedure, can only be progressed following the disputes procedure being exhausted The Trust aims to resolve disputes through a procedure, which is acceptable to all concerned and demonstrably fair and simple to apply. It should suit all staff disciplines and levels, and ensure that all those involved know their respective roles and adhere to reasonable time constraints. Once the procedure is formally invoked, each action or stage should be recorded in writing as per the grievance form in Appendix When a dispute is raised in accordance with this procedure by a recognised union, the Status Quo shall maintain. No form of industrial or management action, included stoppage of work or lockout, may take place prior to the procedures in this document being exhausted The Disputes Procedure will operate in accordance with the Recognition Agreement between West London Mental Health NHS Trust and Recognised Trade Unions. 6

7 5. DUTIES Trust Board Responsibilities To promote harmonious and good working relationships across the Trust, and ensure that policies and processes are in place to resolve individual and collective disputes in a fair and consistent manner and in accordance with best practice and legal obligations. Director of Workforce Responsibilities To have overall responsibility for grievances and disputes, ensuring implementation, compliance and monitoring of the policy and associated processes. To ensure appropriate structures are in place to facilitate effective partnership working with staff side and employees. Manager s Responsibilities To ensure that any grievances raised are resolved promptly and informally where possible. This would include the facilitation of local resolution and the promotion of professional mediation available from Staff Support Services. To deal with any matters raised sensitively and in confidence and seek support from their own line manager and Human Resources. Where matters proceed to the formal process to ensure that the causes of the grievance are thoroughly explored and then resolved in accordance with the time scales stipulated in this policy. Employee s Responsibilities To raise matters of concern informally with their manager in the first instance and to allow them an opportunity to resolve such matters prior to instigating a formal grievance. To seek advice from their Trade Union, professional association or HR representative if they require clarification on any part of the Grievance and Disputes Policy To participate in any mediation or formal processes in a constructive and timely manner, attending planned meetings as required HR Department Responsibilities To provide support and expertise to both managers and staff on the process ensuring adherence to the Grievance and Disputes Policy and compliance with best practice. To ensure the consistent application of the Grievance and Disputes Policy. Staff Side Responsibilities To provide support and advice to members of staff who raise individual concerns To raise any concerns with Management and HR through the appropriate framework 7

8 6 INFORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 6.1 Where an employee feels aggrieved about an issue and has been unable to resolve it as part of the normal supervision process, the matter should be raised under the informal procedure, with the immediate supervisor. The employee should complete the relevant part of the Grievance Form (Appendix 1), outlining the issues of concern, and forward it to the line manager. Every effort should be made by both parties to resolve the matter. However, if, having met and discussed the issue, no resolution is forthcoming; the issue will then proceed to a local facilitation meeting. 6.2 The purpose of the local facilitation meeting is to discuss the grievance issue in an open and constructive manner and seek to resolve it. 6.3 It is the line manager s responsibility to ensure that the local facilitation meeting takes place. The line manager must liaise with his/her manager to arrange for the nomination of an appropriate independent manager to chair the local facilitation meeting. This needs to be done as quickly as possible, but no later than 10 working days from the date the issue was initially raised by the employee. 6.4 This facilitation meeting will consist of an independent manager and the two employees in dispute. The purpose of the meeting is to talk through the issues with the aim of reaching a satisfactory resolution for all involved. If agreement cannot be reached then the manager will made a decision to resolve the issue. The outcome is recorded on the Grievance Form and forwarded to the employees within 5 working days of the meeting. Only if the employee perceives this decision as being unfair can the formal grievance procedure then be used. The grievance must be against the manager who made the decision and not the other member of staff. 6.5 Professional mediation through Staff Counselling and Support Services is also available and should be offered on all occasions if agreement cannot be reached. The mediation process aims to help individuals/groups involved in disputes to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. Mediation is voluntary, confidential and facilitated by two trained impartial mediators. If the professional mediation service is used and is unsuccessful in bringing about an agreement then the employee can proceed to use the formal procedure as per above 7. FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 7.1 Stage I The employee should submit an updated grievance form to the appropriate line manager within 10 working days of having been notified of the line manager/independent managers decision. The relevant line manager and a representative from the HR department will contact the two parties to arrange a grievance meeting within 15 working days. The employee should be given 7 working days notice of the date of the meeting and informed of their right to have a workplace colleague or a trade union 8

9 representative present. There will be only one opportunity for a postponement but the meeting must take place within the specified timescale i.e. 15 days. The employee should be allowed to explain their complaint and state how they think it could be resolved. The management representative will be asked to respond. In some cases the manager hearing the case may have to seek further clarification of the issues involved and if so, may adjourn the hearing in order to clarify these issues and reconvene at a later date. The two parties shall be entitled to bring before the panel such witnesses as deemed necessary to support their case and they are responsible for notifying the witnesses that their attendance is required. If either party fails to attend the hearing, the panel shall consider the grievance in the absence of that party, except where there is an adjournment by consent or the panel decide that in all the circumstances it would be reasonable to adjourn the hearing. After considering the merits and facts of the grievance, the manager will give his/her response in writing to the employee within 5 working days of the grievance meeting with supporting reasons for the decision. This will be recorded on the grievance form. 7.2 Stage II (Appeal Hearing) If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of Stage I, he/she may submit an appeal to the Head of HR Consultancy Service. This appeal must be in writing on the grievance form and outline the reasons for the appeal. This appeal must be submitted within 10 working days of receipt of the Stage 1 outcome. The Head of HR Consultancy Service will arrange a meeting within 20 working days and the employee will be given 10 working days notice of the meeting. There will be only one opportunity for a postponement. The panel will consist of a manager next in line, a non Executive Director and a representative from the HR Advisory Service. The non Executive Director will chair the panel. The paperwork to be considered by the panel will consist of the completed grievance form recording the outcome of the informal procedure including the local facilitation meeting, the outcome of the Stage 1 hearing, and the reasons for the appeal submitted by the employee, and any other related paperwork. This paperwork should be submitted to the head of HR Consultancy Service ten days in advance of the hearing. It will then be circulated to the panel, the employee and the management representative at least five working days in advance of the meeting. The two parties shall be entitled to bring before the panel such witnesses as deemed necessary to support their case and they are responsible for notifying the witnesses that their attendance is required. If either party fails to attend the hearing, the panel shall consider the grievance in the absence of that party, except where there is an adjournment by consent or the panel decide that in all the circumstances it would be reasonable to adjourn the hearing. The panel will give their decision to the employee within 5 working days. 9

10 The decision of the panel will conclude the internal procedure. 8 PROCEDURE TO BE OBSERVED AT GRIEVANCE HEARINGS (FORMAL STAGE 1 AND APPEAL HEARING) 8.1 The employee or staff representative shall state the employee s case and may call any witnesses as previously notified. 8.2 The members of the panel and the management representative shall have the opportunity to question the employee or staff representative and any witnesses called. 8.3 The employee or staff representative may re-examine witnesses on any matters referred to in their examination by members of the panel or the management representative. 8.4 The management representative shall state management s case and may call any witnesses as previously notified. 8.5 The members of the panel and the employee or staff representative shall be entitled to question the management representative and any witnesses called. 8.6 The management representative may re-examine witnesses on any matter referred to in their examination by members of the panel or the staff representative. 8.7 Both sides should have the opportunity to sum up. The employee will sum up first, followed by the management representative. 8.8 Nothing in the foregoing procedure shall prevent members of the panel from inviting the representative of either party to elucidate or amplify any statement they have made. 8.9 The panel may, at their discretion, adjourn a hearing in order to seek clarification on any issue that has arisen. However no new evidence may be introduced at the appeal stage. 9. THE DISPUTES PROCEDURE 9.1 Stage I The staff concerned should put their grievance in writing to their line manager or a senior Trust manager. This can be done through a duly accredited trade union representative if they wish. They should use the grievance form at Appendix 2. The representative will provide full details of the employees/department on whose behalf the grievance is being lodged. If more than one trade union are representing aggrieved employees, they will submit a combined collective grievance. 10

11 A meeting with representatives of the employees concerned and the appropriate manager will be arranged in order to discuss the grievance. The meeting will be held within 20 working days of receipt of the written grievance. The representatives will be given 10 working days notice of the proposed meeting. At least 10 working days in advance of the meeting, the employee and management representatives will be provided with copies of all relevant documents relating to the grievance. This should include the completed grievance form. An appropriate senior manager and a representative from the HR Advisory Service will meet with the employees and management representatives. The employee representatives should be allowed to explain their complaint and state how they think it should be resolved. The management representative will be asked to respond. In some cases the senior manager may have to seek further clarification of the issues involved and if so may adjourn the hearing in order to clarify these issues and reconvene at a later date. The manager should give careful consideration to the issues raised before responding. The manager will inform the employees representatives of the outcome of the meeting within 5 working days, giving reasons for the decision and including the right of appeal against the grievance outcome. This should be included on the grievance form (Appendix 2). 9.2 Stage II (Appeal Hearing) Employees who believe their grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved can appeal to Stage 2, within 10 working days of receiving the written outcome of Stage 1. This appeal must be in writing (on the grievance form contained in Appendix 2) and contain full details of the grievance to date. It should also contain the outcome letter from Stage 1 (if applicable). This should be sent to the Head of the HR Consultancy Service. No other issues apart from those contained in the original Stage 1 grievance can be raised at this stage. A meeting will be arranged within 30 working days. The panel will consist of the Director with responsibility for the service concerned, a non Executive Director and an appropriate representative from Human Resources. The non Executive Director will chair the panel. The employee s representative and the management representative will each forward to the Head of the HR Consultancy Service all relevant documents relating to the grievance. The panel, the employee and management representative will be provided with the paperwork at least 10 working days in advance of the meeting. The two parties shall be entitled to bring before the panel such witnesses as deemed necessary to support their case and they are responsible for notifying the witnesses that their attendance is required. If either party fails to attend the hearing, the panel shall consider the grievance in the absence of that party, 11

12 except where there is an adjournment by consent or the panel decide that in all the circumstances it would be reasonable to adjourn the hearing. The panel may, at its discretion, adjourn the meeting to seek further clarification if necessary. The chair of the panel will inform the employees representative of the outcome of the meeting within 5 working days. If a dispute cannot be resolved at Stage II, it may be referred to ACAS by: Either party involved in the dispute for conciliation Both parties by joint agreement for arbitration. 10. TRAINING The HR Advisory Team will provide advice, training and coaching to managers, as and when required, including training on hearing and presenting grievances. 11. MONITORING The HR Advisory Team will monitor and maintain records of all grievance hearings on the case management system and report on the monthly HR Scorecard. The HR Scorecard will be discussed at the HR Senior Team meetings and within the CSUs in their SMT meetings. 12. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS This policy should be read in conjunction with: The ACAS Guidance on Handling Grievance and Disputes The Trust Recognition Agreement Disciplinary Policies D4 and D4a Whistleblowing Policy W1 Dignity at Work Policy B3 Managing Health and Sickness Absence Policy S8 13. APPENDICES Appendix 1 Grievance Forms Appendix 2 Disputes Forms Appendix 3- Template Letters 12

13 APPENDIX 1 GRIEVANCE FORM To: From: (Supervisor/Line Manager or next in line) (Name) Contact Address: Contact telephone no: Date: Please give full details of your grievance. This must include a full description of the events that has led you to lodging this grievance including action taken to find a resolution to the issue. Please include dates of relevant meetings and names of witnesses if appropriate. Continue on a separate sheet if necessary. What is the outcome you are seeking? Signature: Date: 13

14 Informal Stage Outcome of Informal Meeting with Line Manager: (To be completed by Line Manager) To: From: Outcome of meeting: Signature: Date: I do not accept the outcome as described above and wish to proceed to a Local Facilitation Meeting. My reasons are as follows: Signature: Date: 14

15 Outcome of Local Facilitation Meeting (To be completed by the Chair of the meeting) To: From: Agreement to refer for professional mediation YES/NO Signature: Date: I perceive that this decision is unfair and wish to proceed to a Formal Stage 1 Meeting. My reasons are as follows: Signature: Date: Please submit to the appropriate line manager 15

16 Formal Outcome of Formal Stage 1 Meeting (To be completed by the Chair) To: From: Outcome: If this outcome is not to your satisfaction you are entitled to appeal this decision as per the Trust s Grievance policy. Please submit your appeal, within 10 working days, to the Head of HR Consultancy Service, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, L Block, Southall, Middlesex, UB1 3EU. Signature: Date: To: From: I do not accept the outcome as described above and wish to appeal against the outcome and proceed to a Formal Stage 2 Meeting. My reasons are as follows: Signature: Date: 16

17 Outcome of Formal Stage 2/Appeal Meeting (To be completed by the Chair) To: From: Outcome: Please note this concludes the internal grievance procedure. Signature: Date: 17

18 APPENDIX 2 DISPUTES FORM To: From: (Line Manager or next in line) (Name) Contact Address: Contact telephone no: Date: Please give full details of your grievance/dispute. This must include a full description of the events that has led you to lodging this grievance and the names of the staff that you represent. Please include dates of relevant meetings and names of witnesses if appropriate. Continue on a separate sheet if necessary. What is the outcome you are seeking? Signature: Date: 18

19 Formal Outcome of Formal Stage 1 Meeting (Collective Disputes Procedure) (To be completed by the Chair) To: From: Outcome: If this outcome is not to your satisfaction you are entitled to appeal this decision as per the Trust s Grievance policy. The appeal must be lodged within 10 working days of receiving this letter. Signature: Date: I do not accept the outcome as described above and wish to proceed to a Formal Stage 2 Meeting. My reasons are as follows: Signature: Date: Cc: Head of HR Consultancy Service 19

20 Outcome of Formal Stage 2/Appeal Meeting (Collective Disputes Procedure) (To be completed by the Chair) To: From: Outcome: Please note this concludes the internal grievance procedure. Signature: Date: Cc: Associate Director of HR (Consultancy Service) 20

21 APPENDIX 3 TEMPLATE LETTERS Dear (employee s name), Re: Informal Grievance Meeting This is to confirm I have received your Grievance Form and I would like to discuss the issues you have raised informally. Please meet with me on If this date is inconvenient please let me know and we can rearrange. Yours sincerely Manager 21

22 Dear (employee s name), Re: Informal Grievance Meeting Thank you for meeting with me on..to discuss your grievance informally.. Your grievance concerned I/We discussed. and agreed (give details of proposed action and what has happened since the meeting and the result). or Unfortunately we were unable to resolve the issues contained in your grievance. As discussed I will now arrange a Local Facilitation Meeting with an independent manager. I will contact you with the details as soon as arrangements are in place. Yours sincerely Line Manager 22

23 Dear (employee s name), Re: Local Facilitation Meeting I understand that you have raised a grievance and wish it to be resolved informally. The grievance concerns ( include details). As per the Trust s Grievance and Disputes Policy I have been asked to chair a local facilitation meeting between you and (name of other member of staff) in order to resolve this issue. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss your grievance in an open and constructive manner and to reach an agreement on the way forward. I have invited (name of other employee/s) to attend as (explain why they are present). Or In order for me to fully understand the issues I would initially like to meet with both of you individually in the first instance. Please meet me at. If you have any queries on the above please do not hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely Manager 23

24 Dear (employee s name), Re: Outcome of Local Facilitation Meeting I am writing further to the above meeting held on to discuss your grievance issues. Your grievance concerned.. We discussed. We agreed. You were happy with this outcome and I am glad that we were able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction. Or We discussed I suggested/various options were put forward including... Unfortunately you did not agree with this proposal. After much discussion I therefore decided the best way forward was to I The availability of professional mediation through Staff Counselling and Support Services was also made know to you. Should you perceive that the above decision is unfair you may wish to proceed to Stage 1 of the formal procedure. Please update the grievance form (attached) and submit it to. (name of Manager) with details of why you consider the decision unfair.. This should be submitted within 5 working days of receipt of this letter. Yours sincerely Manager 24

25 Dear (employee s name), Re: Stage 1 Formal Grievance Hearing I am writing to confirm that a formal meeting has been arranged to discuss the grievance issues that you have raised. This meeting will take place on I understand that your grievance concerns.... The panel will consist of (name of Manager and HR rep). You are entitled to be represented by an accredited trade union representative or a workplace colleague. You are entitled to bring witnesses to support your case but it is your responsibility to notify them that their attendance is required. Please confirm that you can attend on the above date. Yours sincerely Manager 25

26 Dear (employee s names), Re: Outcome of Stage 1 Formal Grievance Hearing I am writing to confirm the outcome of the above hearing that was held on (date). I chaired the hearing and (give details of other staff on the panel). You were accompanied by (name of TU rep or workplace colleague) and (give details of anyone else present). The basis of your grievance was that.. The panel considered (give details of what was considered and what was of particular relevance). Therefore your grievance was upheld and I will be recommending that Or Therefore, for the reasons outlined above, I am unable to uphold your grievance. You have the right to appeal against this decision. If you wish to do so please submit your appeal in writing to the Head of the HR Consultancy Service outlining the reasons for your appeal. This appeal must be submitted within 10 working days of receipt of this letter. Yours sincerely Manager 26

27 Dear (employee s name), Re: Stage 2 Formal Grievance Hearing (Appeal Hearing) I am writing to inform you that the above meeting will be held on (date). The panel will consist of (names). You are entitled to be accompanied by a TU rep or a workplace colleague. (Name of previous chair at stage 1) will also be present. The basis of your appeal is that.. Enclosed for your information is the paperwork which will be considered by the panel. 1. The original grievance form. 2. The outcome letter from Stage1. 3. The reasons for the appeal you submitted. You are entitled to bring witnesses to support your case but it is your responsibility to notify them that their attendance is required. Please inform me if you do wish to call any witnesses. If you wish to submit any further information in support of your grievance please note that it must be submitted 10 days in advance of the hearing date. If you have any queries on the above please don t hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely 27

28 Dear (employee s name), Re: Outcome of Stage 2 Formal Grievance Hearing (Appeal Hearing) I am writing to confirm the outcome of the above hearing that was held on (date). I chaired the hearing and (give details of other staff on the panel). You were accompanied by (name of TU rep or workplace colleague) and (give details of anyone else present). The basis of your grievance was that.. The panel considered (give details of what was considered and what was of particular relevance). In the light of the above, the panel did uphold your grievance. I will be recommending that. Or Therefore, for the reasons outlined above, I am unable to uphold your grievance. Please note that this now concludes the internal grievance procedure. Yours sincerely 28

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