1 Children and Young People s Services Disciplinary Procedure and Notes of Guidance for Employees based in Schools/Colleges Raising Standards Together
2 LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE Recommended Disciplinary Procedure for Employees in Schools/Colleges 1. Purpose 2. Scope This procedure is designed to: a) Assist Governors with their responsibility to ensure consistent and fair treatment of all employees. b) Help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain satisfactory standards of conduct and job performance. In deciding what principles to follow, Governors will need to decide which, if any, powers they wish to delegate to the Head Teacher/Principal. This responsibility should not be delegated to other members of staff. The following code contains the City Council s recommendations. Scope of the Procedure This procedure is recommended for all employees in Schools/Colleges except contractor s employees:- Principles a) No disciplinary action should be taken until the case has been fully investigated. b) At every stage in the procedure the employee must be advised of the nature of the allegations against him/her and must be given the opportunity to state his/her case before any decision is made.
3 c) At all stages, the employee has the right to be accompanied by his/her Trade Union representative, a colleague or a friend at any disciplinary hearing or investigation. d) No employee should be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct. e) An employee has the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty imposed beyond oral warning stage. f) Although normal disciplinary standards should apply to their conduct as employees, disciplinary action against a Trade Union official can be construed as an attack on the Union. Such problems can be avoided by early discussion with another senior or full time official of the appropriate Trade Union. g) Disciplinary and appeal hearings should take place within the normal working day of the employee. h) If the disciplinary hearing is adjourned, the newly arranged hearing should be arranged within 5 working days unless otherwise agreed by both parties. 3. The Procedure It is often appropriate for minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance to be dealt with on an informal basis; in serious cases it may be necessary to consider suspending the employee while an investigation is conducted if that is necessary to make the investigation effective. In all circumstances the suspension will be on full pay. Stage 1 Oral Warning If conduct or performance does not meet acceptable standards the employee will be given written notification of a disciplinary hearing at least 10 working days prior to the meeting. Following the hearing a warning may be issued by the Head Teacher/Principal and the employee notified of their right of objection. In the case of the Head Teacher/ Principal the hearing would be conducted and any warning issued by the Chair of Governors. In accordance with ACAS advice a note of the oral warning will be kept but it will be spent after a period of between 6 to 12 months. Satisfactory conduct or performance. This stage should normally be undertaken by the Head Teacher/Principal in the case of Staff other than the Head Teacher/ Principal and by the Chair of Governors if the Head Teacher/ Principal is the member of Staff concerned.
4 Stage 2 Written Warning If the offence is a serious one or if a further offence occurs following an oral warning a hearing will be convened and the employee notified in writing of the hearing no later than 10 days prior to the hearing. At this stage and onwards the involvement of the Governors Disciplinary Panel is essential. If following the hearing a written warning is issued by the Head Teacher/Principal or Clerk to Governors on behalf of the disciplinary panel a copy of the warning will be kept on the employees personal file and should be removed after a pre-determined period by the disciplinary panel subject to satisfactory conduct and performance. The right of appeal must be clearly notified to the employee. (see 4 below) Stage 3 Final Written Warning If there is still a failure to improve and conduct or performance is unsatisfactory or if the misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant only one warning the employee shall be notified of the disciplinary hearing no later than 10 days prior to the hearing. It may be necessary, following the hearing, to issue a final written warning. The warning must clearly state the details of the complaint, that dismissal may result if there is no satisfactory improvement and also advise of the right of appeal. A copy of the final written warning will be kept on the employee s file but will be spent after a pre-determined period (determined by the disciplinary panel) of satisfactory conduct and performance. The advice from ACAS would be that the pre-determined period should be no longer than 1 year s satisfactory performance. Stage 4 Dismissal If the decision is to dismiss the employee, the dismissal may be:- With notice, or payment in lieu of notice, in accordance with the employee s contract of employment: or In cases of gross misconduct, without notice (summary dismissal). 4. Appeals An employee who wishes to appeal to a panel of the Governing Body following a disciplinary decision should inform the Clerk to the Governors in writing within 15 days of the receipt of the letter confirming disciplinary action.
5 LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT Notes of Guidance Disciplinary Procedure For Head Teacher/Principals And Governors 1. Disciplinary Rules Each School/College should ensure that written disciplinary rules which identify standards of conduct are made available to all staff. The rules would normally cover such issues as time keeping, holiday arrangements, use of School/College facilities, performance requirements misconduct, health and safety and absence reporting. 2. Misconduct There are two types of misconduct, gross misconduct which is of the kind which an employer cannot reasonably tolerate and which is of such a nature that employment may be terminated without notice and without going through a warning procedure. Misconduct other than gross should concentrate on how the employee should improve. 3. Informal Procedure Unsatisfactory work or minor misconduct would normally be dealt with, initially, by the Head Teacher/ Principal (Chair of Governors) on an informal basis, i.e. counselling/advising. Where this is the case, it must be made absolutely clear to the individual that the informal procedure is being used. It is essential that a reasonable period of time is allowed for improvement to be made and guidance and supervision given. It may be appropriate to provide some element of formalised training and/or support at this stage. If the informal procedure does not produce an adequate improvement within an agreed time scale the employee must be informed that the formal disciplinary procedure will need to be followed.
6 4. Performance Performance is much more difficult to define. The most important point to bear in mind is that the approach of both employer and employee must be positive. Not only should the employee do all that can be done to meet the needs of the employer but the employer should do all that can be done to help and guide the employee to achieve the standard expected. The member of staff should be told in what way performance is regarded as unsatisfactory; how this might be improved, what standards should be aimed for and achieved and what help and advice is available and who can provide it. Reasonable opportunity and time in which to demonstrate and sustain improvement must be given. During this time the employee s performance is monitored and assessed, and the person fulfilling the supportive role should also bear in mind that help and advice, where necessary, should be given. The aim should always be to improve the performance level. However, should the informal procedure prove to be inadequate it will be necessary to move into the formal procedure. 5. Formal Procedure Repetition of warning There may be occasions when more than one warning is issued. In these circumstances the second warning would be for circumstances unrelated to those for which the first warning was issued. Stage 1 Oral Warning for Allegations of Less serious Misconduct or Unsatisfactory Performance a) Definition Less serious misconduct is defined as that which is likely to result in a formal oral warning. This will also usually be the first formal step in cases of unsatisfactory performance. b) Procedure Where it is either inappropriate to use the informal procedure, or this has not brought about the required improvement, the Head teacher (Chair of Governors) should convene a disciplinary hearing, as follows:- i. Notice of the Hearing The employee must be informed, in writing, of the specific nature of the allegations and of the date, time and place of the hearing, giving a minimum of 10 working days notice. It must be made clear that the hearing forms part of the formal disciplinary procedure. The employee must be informed of his/her right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, colleague or friend. The letter should be handed to the employee or sent by recorded delivery.
7 All reasonable requests for adjustment of dates should be agreed by both parties. If, in the opinion of the Head Teacher (Chair of Governors) the employee is unreasonable in failing to agree an early date for the hearing, the hearing may be held in his/her absence. This should only rarely be the case and all reasonable requests for an adjustment of dates should be considered. ii. At The Hearing The Head Teacher (Chair of Governors) accompanied at the meeting by a member of the senior management Team/Governor, should put allegations to the employee. The employee must have the opportunity to respond. If the Head Teacher (Chair of Governors) is not satisfied with the response, the employee can be issued with a formal oral warning and advised of the improvement required and that any further misconduct or failure to improve performance will lead to further disciplinary action. iii. After The Hearing c) Objection The Head Teacher (Chair of Governors) should make a full note of the hearing showing (if applicable) the reasons for the warning. A copy of this note will be sent to the employee within 7 working days of the hearing together with a letter, in duplicate, confirming the warning and informing the employee of his/her right to lodge an objection. The employee will retain one copy and sign and return the second copy to the Head Teacher (Chair of Governors) to indicate his/ her understanding of the contents. The employee may request that his/ her trade union representative/colleague/friend is supplied with copies of the note and the letter. The note of the oral warning will normally be kept on file for a period of between 6 to 12 months. The recipient of an oral warning may object in writing to the warning stating the reasons for his/her objection. The written objection should be given to the Head Teacher/ Principal or in the case of a Head Teacher/ Principal, the Chair of Governors. Any such objections shall be noted and placed in the employee s personal file along with a copy of the note of the meeting. If information emerges which factually proves that the evidence on which an oral warning was given is unsafe the oral warning will be rescinded.
8 Stage 2 Written Warning 6. Allegations of Serious Misconduct or Failure to Respond to an Oral Warning a) Definition Serious misconduct should be defined as that which is likely to result in a written warning. This will also usually be the form of action where an employee commits a further act of less serious misconduct, or fails to improve his/her performance within a reasonable period of time, following the issue of a formal oral warning. b) Procedure Disciplinary cases which fall into this category should be considered by a Committee of Governors. i. Composition of Committee The committee should comprise of 3 or 5 governors. Ideally, the Committee should represent a cross-section of the governing body. The gender and/or ethnic origin of the employee and/or the nature of the allegations, may be relevant in determining the composition of the committee. Where allegations concern racial or sexual harassment, the Governors will have present at the hearing a person with the appropriate experience to advise the committee. Information about people with the necessary experience/ expertise can be obtained from the Director of Education. ii. Notice of the Hearing The Clerk to Governors should ensure that the employee is given written notice of the hearing at least 10 working days prior to the hearing; At the same time the employee must be supplied with copies of any report, complaints or statements, (including any statements by witnesses who are not able to appear) to be considered at the hearing and the names of any witnesses to be called. iii. Before the Hearing Any written evidence from the employee or his/her representative (including any statements by witnesses who are not willing to appear) and the names of any witnesses to be called must reach the Clerk to Governors at least 5 working days before the hearing. The name and status of any representative should be confirmed at this time. This information must be passed onto the Governing Body.
9 In cases where witnesses are not able to attend the hearing, consideration should be given to the employee represented, being present when statements are taken from witnesses. The Clerk to Governors will supply the committee members with written evidence and the names of any witnesses on both sides at least 5 working days before the hearing. iv. At The Hearing Stage 1 The case against the employee will be made by the Governors nominated representative who may call witnesses. The witnesses may be questioned by the employee or his/her representative and by members of the committee. The case for the employee will be made with, where appropriate, witnesses. Questions of the employee and any witnesses should be made by the Governors and the panel. Both sides should sum up their statements before withdrawing while the committee decide whether there is a disciplinary issue. The Clerk to the Governors will also withdraw but may be required to return to the meeting to advise the Governors on procedural matters. Note: Witnesses should normally only be present while they are being questioned but this may be varied with the agreement of both parties. Witnesses may be recalled for further examination. During any further examination of evidence or witnesses, both parties must be present. The parties shall be recalled and informed whether action is to be taken. If the committee considers the allegations are not proven, no further action will be taken. The decision should be confirmed in writing normally to the employee and his/her representative normally within 5 working days of the hearing and certainly within 10.
10 c. Appeal Stage 2 If the allegations are found to be proven, wholly or in part, the Governors nominated representative and then the employee or his/her representative may take representations as to the most appropriate form of action to be taken. The parties shall be recalled and informed of the decision and the reason(s) for it. Note: Either party of the committee may request an adjournment at any time during either Stage 1 or Stage 2 of the proceedings. v. After The Hearing The Clerk will make a full note of the hearing showing (if applicable) the reason for the disciplinary action taken. Within 5 working days the Clerk will send a copy of this note to the employee together with a letter which must indicate the action, which may include the possibility of dismissal, that could result from a further misconduct or failure to reach a satisfactory level of performance within a reasonable period of time. The employee will have a right of appeal to an Appeals Committee of governors. See paragraph 9 below regarding the Appeals Procedure. d. Duration of Warning If the employee completed 12 months satisfactory service following the issue of a warning all record of the warning will be removed from the employee s file. However, in certain cases of serious misconduct, the warning may be quoted in any reference provided for the employee even though it has been removed from the personal file. This will be communicated to the employee. It may not, however, be referred to in any subsequent disciplinary hearing other than following a finding of guilt (see Proposed Procedure for Disciplinary Hearing Appendix 6, No. 10). Under no circumstances should warnings or any papers relating to the disciplinary hearing be recorded on a database or in any other electronic recording system.
11 7. Final Written Warning Failure to Respond to a Written Warning Definition If, following the issue of a written warning, an employee allegedly commits a further act of misconduct or fails to improve his/her performance within a reasonable period of time, the disciplinary procedure will be repeated. If dismissal is a possible outcome, the advice of the Director of Education or his senior representative must be sought and he/she will be entitled to attend the hearing. If the allegations are proven, wholly or in part, the outcome may be one of the following: - a final written warning - withholding of an increment - demotion e.g. removal of or reduction of responsibility points - dismissal A final written warning should indicate that any further action of misconduct or failure to improve performance within a specified period of time may lead to dismissal. The procedure in paragraph 6b would then be repeated if necessary. See paragraph 6d regarding the duration of any warning. The notification procedure is in accordance with paragraph 6b (v). Gross Misconduct a) Definition Gross misconduct is defined as misconduct of such a nature that the continued presence of the employee at the school/college can no longer be tolerated and which may lead to summary dismissal. Examples of offences of gross misconduct are theft, fraud, deliberate falsification of records, fighting, assault on another person, deliberate damage to authority property, disqualifications as a result of rehabilitation of offenders regulations and harassment. b) Criminal Offences and Financial Irregularities If the alleged offence appears to involve criminal liability, the Director of Education should be informed immediately. It will then be decided whether the matter is to be referred to the Chief Constable. Where suspected irregularities affect cash or other school property the Chief Financial Officer must also be notified.
12 c) Suspension Suspension is not of itself a disciplinary action but should be used as a way of protecting the employee from further allegations during a period of investigation and preventing further incidents occurring. In the event of alleged gross misconduct the Director of Education should be consulted; the Head teacher (Chair of Governors) may then suspend the employee, without notice, to enable the allegations to be investigated. Where suspension is appropriate it is without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation and hearing. The Head Teacher (Chair of Governors) will notify the Chair of Governors (Governing Body) and the Director of Education of the suspension and confirm the suspension in writing to the employee. During a period of suspension the employee will receive full pay. Either the Chair of Governors or the Governing Body may decide to end a suspension. d) Procedure 8. Dismissal The procedure will be as described in paragraph 6b above. The advice of the Director of Education or his senior representative must be sought and he/she will be entitled to attend the hearing. In cases where previous warnings have been ineffective, or for gross misconduct, the panel of Governors may decide to: a) Demote the employee to an alternative post within the establishment, or b) or c) In the case of teachers or APT&C staff, withhold an increment, Dismiss the employee (see below) In cases of theft, fraudulent claims, acts of damage by intent or gross negligence or any other offence involving school funds or property, an appropriate amount will be recovered from the employee concerned. If the decision is to dismiss the employee, the dismissal may be: with notice, or payment in lieu of notice, in accordance with the employee s contract of employment; or in cases of gross misconduct, without notice (summary dismissal). If the employee does not exercise his/her right of appeal against the decision to dismiss, the Director of Education will be informed of the decision, including the reason(s) and, if the person is employed solely to work at the school/college, he will issue a formal notice of dismissal within 14 calendar days.
13 9. Appeal Against Disciplinary Action An employee may appeal against any form of disciplinary action beyond a formal oral warning to an Appeals Committee of Governors. All employees must be made aware of this right and the agreed timescales in which the appeal must be lodged. i. Composition of Committee The Appeals Committee should comprise 3 or 5 Governors, who did not sit on the Committee which heard the original case. The number of Governors on the appeals panel must be the same as the membership of the initial panel. Ideally, the Committee should represent a crosssection of the Governing Body. The gender and/or ethnic origin of the employee and/or the nature of the allegations may be relevant in determining the composition of the Committee. The Governors will, where allegations concern harassment, have present at the hearing a person with the appropriate expertise to advise the Committee. Information about people with the necessary experience/expertise can be obtained from the Director of Education. The advice of the Director of education or his representative, who should not be the same person who advised the original Committee, should be sought and he/she will be entitled to attend the hearing. ii. Notice of Appeal Written notice of appeal must reach the Clerk within 15 working days of the employee receiving notification of the right of appeal. iii. Notice of the Hearing The employee should be informed in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing, giving at least 15 working days notice and of his/her right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, colleague or friend. The letter should be handed to the employee or sent by recorded delivery. iv. Procedure Before the Hearing At least 5 working days before the hearing, the employee should submit to the Clerk a written statement of the grounds of the appeal setting out any essential findings of fact with which he/she is dissatisfied and giving the names of any witnesses he/she wishes to call. The Clerk to the Governors should be notified at least 5 working days before the hearing of the names of any witnesses to be called by the Governors nominated representative.
14 The Clerk to the Governors will provide the Committee members with a copy of the note of the original hearing, together with a copy of the employee s statement and the names of witnesses to be called on both sides, at least 3 working days before the hearing. At the Hearing The procedure will be as in paragraph 6 b) iv. above. If the allegations are proven, wholly or in part, the penalty originally imposed may be confirmed, reduced, removed or exceptionally increased. After the Hearing The Clerk to the Governors will make a full note of the hearing and confirm the decisions of the Appeals Committee to the employee as in paragraph 6b) v. If the decision is to dismiss the employee, the Director of Education will be informed, with reasons and if the person is employed solely to work at that school, he will issue a formal notice of dismissal within 14 calendar days. The letter of notice will make reference to the right to complain to an Industrial Tribunal, where applicable. 10. Time Limits Most time limits in this procedure are expressed in working days. These are deemed to be Monday to Friday whether or not during term time and every effort should be made to adhere to them. Any departure from the term time limits should be agreed between the parties.
15 MODEL LETTER ORAL WARNING Appendix 1 Dear DISCIPLINARY HEARING HELD ON (date) I am writing to confirm the outcome of the Disciplinary Hearing which you attended on (Date). After considering the evidence carefully, it was confirmed that the allegations against you had been substantiated and that you would be given an Oral Warning. Two copies of this letter are attached. Would you please sign the top copy to signify that you have read and understood its contents and return it to me in the envelope provided. The allegations were:- (insert) The objectives to be achieved and the process and time scale of minuting are:- (insert) You do not have the right to appeal against the above decision: You may however write down your reasons for objecting to the warning. The witness statement will be placed on file along with the comments of the hearing. If you wish to exercise this right, you should let me have your written statement, within five working days of receipt of this letter. You may, of course, seek help from your Trade Union Representative or someone else if you wish. If there is anything which you do not understand, please contact: Yours sincerely
16 MODEL LETTER WRITTEN WARNING Appendix 2 Dear DISCIPLINARY HEARING HELD ON (date) I am writing to confirm the outcome of the Disciplinary Hearing which you attended on (Date). After considering the evidence carefully, the Disciplinary Panel was satisfied that the allegations against you had been substantiated and that you would be given a written warning. Two copies of the letter are attached. Would you please sign the top copy to signify that you have read and understood its contents and return it to me in the envelope provided. The allegations were:- (insert) The objectives to be achieved and the process and time scale of the minuting process are:- (insert) You have the right to appeal against the decision. If you wish to exercise this right, you should advise the Clerk of the Governors in writing, within 15 working days of receipt of this letter. You must also at that time submit a written statement setting out the grounds on which your appeal is based. You may, of course, seek help from your Trade Union representative or someone else if you wish. If there is anything which you do not understand, please contact: Yours sincerely
17 MODEL LETTER FINAL WRITTEN WARNING Appendix 3 Dear DISCIPLINARY HEARING HELD ON (date) I am writing to confirm the outcome of the Disciplinary Hearing which you attended on (Date). After considering the evidence carefully, the Disciplinary Panel was satisfied that the allegations against you had been substantiated and that you would be given a final written warning. Two copies of the letter are attached. Would you please sign the top copy to signify that you have read and understood its contents and return it to me in the envelope provided. The allegations were:- (insert) The objectives to be achieved and the process and time scale of minuting process are:- (insert) You have the right to appeal against the decision. If you wish to exercise this right, you should advise the Clerk of the Governors in writing, within 15 working days of receipt of this letter. You must also at that time submit a written statement setting out the grounds on which your appeal is based. You may, of course, seek help from your Trade Union representative or someone else if you wish. If there is anything which you do not understand, please contact: Yours sincerely
18 SUSPENDING AN EMPLOYEE Appendix 4 Dear SUSPENSION FROM DUTY Further to your interview with (names/designation) on (date), I confirm that you are suspended from work on full pay until further notice pending investigation into the allegation(s) that: (insert) (reason(s)) These matters may be dealt with at a disciplinary hearing which will take place once these allegations have been thoroughly investigated. If that happens, since the interview will be of a disciplinary nature, you will be entitled to be accompanied by your Trade Union (or other) representative. You will remain on suspension until the investigation has been completed and a decision taken as to how the matter should be progressed. If you become ill, you should liaise with (name) as though you were at work. During the period of your suspension you must not enter the school/college or contact the following people (if appropriate) without the prior permission of (name). A second copy of this letter is enclosed. I would be grateful if you would sign it to signify that you have read and understood its contents. If, on the other hand, there is anything which you do not understand, please contact (name) (telephone number). Yours sincerely Enc. Second Copy: I have read and understood the contents of this letter. Signed: Date:
19 Appendix 5 STANDARD LETTER GIVING NOTICE OF DISCIPLINARY HEARING Dear DISCIPLINARY HEARING I am writing to advise you that you are required to attend a disciplinary hearing which will be held at (time) (date) (venue). Please report to the (person/place) on arrival. The Disciplinary Panel will be:- NAME DESIGNATION The Disciplinary Panel will consider the following allegation(s): (insert) The case against you will be presented by: (name and designation) who will call the following witnesses: (insert) The following documents will also be referred to and a copy of each is enclosed with this letter: (insert) A copy of the Authority s Disciplinary Procedure and details of how the Disciplinary Hearing will be run are also enclosed. If you intend to submit any written evidence, a copy of this together with the names of any witnesses you intend to call should be sent to me by (date). You have the right to be represented at the Disciplinary Hearing by a trade union representative or a work colleague and I urge you to exercise this right.
20 (If gross misconduct is alleged): I must advise you that if the disciplinary Panel is satisfied that the above allegations have been substantiated, they could be regarded as gross misconduct and you could be dismissed without notice. It is, therefore, vital that you attend the disciplinary hearing and again, I would strongly advise that you are represented. If the above arrangements are not convenient please provide me with the reason for this telephone (number) or in writing, as soon as possible and provided the reason is acceptable, I will rearrange the hearing. (If the hearing is not at the employee s workplace, consider offering transport). A copy of this letter and documents are also enclosed for your representative. A further copy of the letter is enclosed. I would be grateful if you would sign to signify that you have read and understood its contents and that you will attend the disciplinary hearing. It would also be helpful if you would include the name of your representative if applicable. Please return the signed copy of the letter to me in the envelope provided. Yours sincerely Enc. Second Copy I have read and understood the contents of this letter and confirm that I will attend the disciplinary hearing at (time) on (date) at (venue). It will be helpful if you could advise me of the name of your representative. Signed:. Date:. Name of Representative
21 Appendix 6 LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT PROPOSED PROCEDURE FOR DISCIPLINARY HEARING 1. Introduction by Chair of Panel 2. Statement by Management 3. Questions by Employee of Management 4. Questions by Panel of Management 5. Statement by Employee 6. Questions by Management of Employee 7. Questions by Panel of Employee 8. Decision Management and Employee asked to leave whilst decision is made about whether there is an issue for which disciplinary action should be taken. 9. Panel decision to Management and Employee/Representative about whether disciplinary action is appropriate. 10. Management asked to comment about previous record and seriousness of offence within the organisation if the panel intend to proceed with disciplinary action. 11. Details of mitigating circumstances from employee where panel intend to proceed with disciplinary action. 12. Management and Employee asked to withdraw whilst panel determine what disciplinary action to take. 13. Panel decision to Management and Employee.
22 Appendix 7 LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT PROPOSED PROCEDURE FOR APPEAL HEARING 1. Introduction by Chair of Panel 2. Statement by Management 3. Questions by Employee/Representative 4. Questions by Panel. 5. Statement by Employee/Representative 6. Questions by Management of Employee 7. Questions by Panel of Employee 8. Summing up by Management 9. Summing up by Employee/Representative 10. Decision Management, Employee and/or Representative asked to leave whilst panel make decision. 11. Decision made known to Employee/Representative and Management Representative.