Robert Smyth Academy

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1 Robert Smyth Academy Grievance Procedure for Employees 1. Purpose 2. Scope This procedure is designed to: a) assist the Principal and Governors with their responsibility to ensure consistent and fair treatment of all employees and comply with relevant legislation and the ACAS Code of Practice b) resolve individual employees grievances quickly and fairly. The procedure is recommended for all employees in the Academy, for whom Governors have delegated personnel responsibility. This procedure does not apply to: a) Grievances regarding statutory and voluntary deductions from pay e.g. income tax, pension contributions, national insurance. b) Collective disputes and differences. c) Matters specifically covered by a separate procedure e.g. harassment and bullying, whistle blowing. In the case of grievances on the part of the Principal and/or Vice Principal the procedure will be varied in terms of the appropriate person to hear the grievance. 3. Principles a) All grievances should be dealt with as quickly as possible. b) All grievances should be dealt with as near as possible to the point of origin. c) Whilst the grievance is being considered the status quo will apply. d) All information associated with grievance proceedings will be treated in the strictest confidence. e) Notes should be kept of all meetings. f) The advice of HR can be sought at any stage. g) At the formal stage of the procedure the employee should be advised of the response to his/her grievance in writing. h) There is a right of appeal against the decision of the Principal/Chair of Governors. i) An employee should not be victimised because they have raised a grievance. j) It is advised that Staff Governors should only be involved with this procedure in exceptional circumstances. 1

2 4. Roles and Responsibilities When dealing with a grievance, it is important to establish at the outset who will undertake the necessary roles and responsibilities under this procedure. This must then be communicated to all parties to avoid any conflicts of interest or misunderstandings. a) The Employee The essence of a grievance is that an employee has a complaint or dispute which remains unresolved and is seeking for that to be remedied. The opportunity to raise a grievance is an important feature of an employee's contract of employment. Employees should be aware that vexatious allegations could result in disciplinary action being taken. b) Principal The precise role of the Principal should be determined on a case by case basis and should be clarified to all parties at the outset. In many situations, the Principal will have a key role in facilitating a resolution to a grievance received in the school at Stage 1. However, in other cases it may be more appropriate at this stage for this role to be delegated to another appropriate senior manager or Governor. This would then allow the Principal or Chair of Governors to hear the grievance at Stage 2 if appropriate. c) Trade Unions or other Representatives All workers have a statutory right to be accompanied at a grievance hearing. The companion may be: a. A fellow worker b. A trade union representative with appropriate experience or training in acting as a companion, and who has been certified in writing by the union Their role will be to support and advise the complainant. They will have the right to address any meetings held but not to answer questions unless agreed by all parties. d) Investigating Officer The Investigating Officer will be responsible for conducting a formal investigation into the grievance and presenting findings to the Grievance Panel and Governors Appeal Committee as part of the formal stages of this procedure. The Investigating Officer must be impartial and not implicated with the grievance in any way. Should an employee raise an objection to the choice of Investigating Officer, the concerns must be seriously considered. There may be occasions when it is appropriate to choose an alternative Investigating Officer. 2

3 e) Grievance Panel This panel should comprise three members, for example Principal/Senior Manager(s)/Governors as appropriate. The panel will take responsibility for considering a grievance under Stage 2 of the procedure. The members of a panel hearing a grievance should have had no previous direct involvement in the case in question. f) Appeal Panel This panel should comprise three Governors who will take responsibility for considering an appeal under Stage 3 of the procedure. The Governors included in such an appeal should have had no previous direct involvement in the case in question. Where this presents a problem, for example in very small schools or exceptionally complex cases, membership of the panel should be subject to agreement by all parties. 5. The Procedure 5.1 Stage 1 These procedures recognise the need to resolve grievances as promptly, efficiently and as close to their original source as is possible. If an employee has a grievance relating to their employment, the matter should therefore be raised initially with their immediate Line Manager. The grievance should be raised orally in the first instance. In the event that the grievance relates to the Line Manager who would normally deal with a grievance at this stage, the grievance should be referred to the line manager s own manager. Where a grievance involves or is against the Principal, the matter should be raised with the Chair of Governors who would then assume the role of the Principal as described below. It may be agreed that the nature of the grievance is such that the involvement of a third party (for example another Head of Faculty, Deputy Head or external advisor with counselling/mediation skills) might assist in resolving the matter. The use of a third party to help mediate or facilitate a solution is dependent on the agreement of all persons affected by grievance. Such mediation/facilitation should then be conducted over an agreed timescale after which the situation will be reviewed and a decision made as to whether the matter is now resolved. The line manager will attempt to resolve the complaint informally. They will enquire into the grievance and will discuss it with the complainant and will provide a written record of the discussion and its outcome within 5 working days after the decision. It is intended that most grievances will be resolved at this stage. 5.2 Stage 2 If the complainant feels that the matter has not been resolved through the Stage 1 discussion, the grievance should be put in writing (Appendix A) to the Head Teacher/Governor (or other senior manager designated for the purpose). The notification should be presented on the Grievance Registration Form and specify the 3

4 exact nature of the grievance and append any relevant evidence. An acknowledgement of receipt of the grievance should be sent within 5 working days. Investigating the Grievance An investigation may need to be undertaken to obtain all relevant information surrounding the grievance and to facilitate a reasonable decision on how to proceed. The Principal/Chair of Governors may delegate the role of Investigating Officer to a senior member of staff or other Governor who has not had any prior involvement in the case. Where it is felt that a conflict of interests may arise, the Principal may choose to engage an HR Advisor to conduct an investigation. The investigation should be completed within 20 working days or as soon as possible thereafter with agreement from all parties. To investigate the grievance the investigating officer will need to: a. arrange a further separate meeting with the aggrieved employee to establish the reason for and full details of the grievance. b. interview any other employees involved in the grievance c. arrange someone to take full notes of any investigatory interviews. The Interviewee will be given a copy of the notes of their interview and will be asked to confirm that they represent an accurate account of the interview or indicate any amendments they would wish to make. d. ensure that any employees being interviewed as part of the investigation have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or fellow worker. e. make other parties being interviewed as part of any investigation aware that statement may be made available to the Grievance Panel and that they may be called upon to explain their statements at a formal meeting. The Investigating Officer will need to prepare a formal statement of case for the Grievance Panel. This should be circulated to the Grievance Panel and the aggrieved employee and their representative at least 10 working days in advance of the meeting. In their statement of case, the Investigating Officer should not express an opinion but will provide a summary of the facts of the case. This might include specific details of incidents, documents, interviews and any other relevant material uncovered during the investigation. Convening the Grievance Hearing A formal grievance meeting will then be arranged by the school to fully consider the outstanding grievance complaint. A minimum of 10 working days notice of the meeting must be given in writing. It will be important, therefore, to make the arrangements in consultation with all parties i.e. TU representatives, witnesses, panel members and HR Advisor(s) to ensure their attendance as appropriate. Arrangements should also be made for a suitable person to take notes throughout the meeting. The aggrieved employee is entitled to be accompanied at the meeting by their Trade Union representative or a fellow worker and the meeting should be arranged to accommodate this. This also needs to take into account the rights of the Trade Union 4

5 representative to seek an alternative date within 5 working days of that proposed, in line with Trade Union and Labour Relations Act (TULRA). The Investigating Officer will attend to present the investigation report to the Panel. The parties concerned will make their submissions to the Panel and either party may call witnesses as required. The Panel can choose to invite an HR Advisor to advise as appropriate although they cannot be part of the Panel. All papers relevant to the grievance should be circulated to the individuals attending the meeting 10 working days before the meeting. This means that all such papers must be submitted to the Clerk to the Panel 15 working days prior to the hearing to facilitate their circulation to all parties within the required timescale. Conducting the Grievance Hearing Both parties will be allowed to ask questions, present evidence, call witnesses and be given an opportunity to raise points about any information provided by witnesses. However, as the aim is to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution, the chair may wish to engage in a more flexible discussion and dialogue to facilitate this. If the Panel decides that it needs further information, an adjournment may be arranged for a mutually acceptable date and time. This also needs to take into account the rights of the Trade Union representative to be available and to seek an alternative date within 5 days, in line with TULRA. Grievance Outcomes Possible outcomes open to the panel are: Or a. a decision to uphold the grievance. This will mean that arrangements must be made to implement the employee s desired outcome. b. a decision that the grievance is unsubstantiated. The response should, therefore, include details of the employee s rights to invoke Stage 3 of the Grievance Procedure should they disagree with this decision. The Panel may also wish to make recommendations on other implications arising from the case e.g. training, review relevant policies and/or procedures. The decision and any remedy will normally be conveyed verbally to the employee at the end of the meeting. However, where complex issues are being addressed it may be necessary for the Grievance Panel to reconvene within an agreed timescale to conclude their deliberations. The decision will be confirmed clearly in writing within 5 working days of the meeting, giving the right of appeal to the complainant if they consider that their grievance has not been remedied. A copy of the notes of the meeting should also be provided within 5 working days. 5

6 5.3 Stage 3 Appeal Hearing Right of Appeal The third and final stage of the Grievance Procedure is an appeal to a Panel of Governors. If the employee wishes to exercise their right of appeal against a decision of the Grievance Panel they must notify the Principal of this in writing (Appendix B) within 5 working days of the date of the outcome letter. The written notification must re-affirm the nature of the grievance; the remedies sought and include the grounds for an appeal. Convening an Appeal Hearing The appeal will be heard by the Governors Appeal Panel. This should comprise 3 Governors who have had no previous involvement with the case. The management case will be presented by either the Principal or Investigating Officer who attended the initial hearing against which the appeal is made. Either party may ask relevant witnesses to attend and give evidence. Time off will be granted for witnesses to attend the meeting. The appeal meeting should be convened within 25 working days of the written notification of the appeal. A minimum of 10 working days notice of the time and date of the hearing must be given to all parties. It will be important, therefore, to arrange the appeal in consultation with all parties i.e. TU representative(s), witnesses, Governors and the HR Advisor to ensure their attendance as appropriate. Arrangements should also be made for a suitable person to take notes throughout the meeting. All papers relevant to the appeal should be circulated to the individuals attending the meeting 10 working days before the meeting. This includes the paperwork that was considered at Stage 2. To facilitate this, all such papers must be submitted to the Clerk to the Panel 15 working days prior to the date of the appeal. The complainant s statement of case should reiterate the grounds for their appeal and the outcome sought at the time of the notification of appeal. It should also include written details of any witnesses to be called. Conducting the Appeal Hearing Both parties will be allowed to ask questions, present evidence, call witnesses and be given an opportunity to raise points about any information provided by witnesses. However, as the aim is to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution the chair may wish to engage in a more flexible discussion and dialogue to facilitate this. If the Panel decides that it needs further information an adjournment may be arranged for a mutually acceptable date and time. This also needs to take into account the rights of the Trade Union representative to be available and to seek an alternative date within 5 days, in line with TULRA. 6

7 Appeal Outcomes Possible outcomes open to the panel are: Or a. Uphold the original decision It may be appropriate after considering all of the information presented at the appeal hearing to uphold the original decision taken b. Overturn the original decision It may be appropriate after considering all of the information presented at the appeal hearing to overturn the original decision. The Panel may also wish to make further recommendations on implications arising from the appeal e.g. training, review relevant school policies and/or procedures etc. The decision and any remedy will normally be conveyed verbally to the employee at the end of the meeting. However, where complex issues are being addressed it may be necessary for the Grievance Panel to reconvene within an agreed timescale to conclude their deliberations. The decision will be confirmed clearly in writing within 5 working days of the meeting together with a copy of the notes of the meeting. The appeal process is the last stage of the Grievance Procedure. 6. Grievances against the Principal If the grievance is against the Principal it should be sent to the Chair of the Governing Body who will seek to resolve the matter or be delegated to a recognised Governor (e.g. Complaints Governor). The formal stage will be dealt with by a relevant sub committee of the Governing Body. Any appeal will be dealt with by a panel from the Governing Body which would not include panel members involved at previous stages. 7. Grievances Raised by the Principal The principles of the procedures to address a Principal s grievance complaint mirror those in the standard procedures. However, the matter will need to be addressed by members of the Governing Body at an earlier stage in line with the summary below. The role of the Principal in the standard procedures will also need to be taken by an appropriate member of the Governing Body. Stage One Where a Principal has a grievance, he/she should initially attempt to resolve the matter informally by direct approach to the person concerned. They may, of course, seek personal support from their Trade Union at this stage and, if necessary, through the formal stages. 7

8 Stage Two If the grievance is still unresolved, the Principal may, within 5 working days, notify the Chair of Governors or other nominated Governor, giving full details of their grievance and desired outcome in writing (Appendix A). A Governors Grievance meeting will then need to be convened in line with the Academy s grievance procedures and an investigatory officer appointed if appropriate. The Grievance Panel will comprise 3 Governors with no prior involvement in the case. HR may be invited to attend in an advisory role as appropriate but shall not form part of the Panel. The decision of the Grievance Panel should be confirmed in writing within five working days. Stage Three - Governors Appeal Hearing If the Principal remains dissatisfied with the initial decision reached by the Grievance Panel, he or she may lodge an appeal in writing (Appendix B) within 5 working days of the receipt of written notification of that decision. A Governors Appeal Hearing will then need to be convened in line with the Academy grievance procedures. The appeal notification should reaffirm the grievance; the remedies sought and specify the grounds for appeal against the initial decision of the Grievance Panel. The Governors Appeal Panel should comprise 3 Governors who have had no prior involvement in the case. Again, an appropriate HR Advisor may be invited to attend in an advisory role. The decision of the appeals committee shall be confirmed in writing within 5 working days and is final and binding under this procedure. This policy is reviewed annually. Mrs J D Charter Business Manager 8

9 APPENDIX A ROBERT SMYTH ACADEMY - GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE GRIEVANCE REGISTRATION FORM This form should be completed by an employee registering a grievance at Stage 2 of the procedure and forwarded to the individual with whom the complaint was originally raised. Part 1: Employee s name:. Date:. Stage 1 investigated by (name):... On (date):. Job Title:.. Contact number:. Part 2: What is the grievance about? List each complaint. (If necessary, continue on a separate sheet) Point 1: Point 2: Point 3: Point 4: 9

10 Background to the Grievance, What was the outcome to Stage 1: Who is involved (names, job titles, departments etc.)? When did the above take place? (one-off, several occasions or continuous?) How can the situation be resolved? Should you wish to attach any documents please list below and explain for each, the relevance to the grievance. 10

11 APPENDIX B ROBERT SMYTH ACADEMY - GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE GRIEVANCE APPEAL REGISTRATION FORM This form should be completed by an employee registering an appeal at Stage 3 of the procedure and forwarded to the Chair of the grievance panel. Part 1: Employee s name:.. Date: Stage 2 hearing held on (date):.. Stage 2 outcome letter dated:. Job Title: Contact number:. Part 2: Please list the grounds upon which you are raising an appeal: Point 1 Point 2 Point 3 Please state the desired outcome of the appeal process? Should you wish to attach any documents please list below and explain for each, the relevance to the appeal. 11

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