Disciplinary policy and procedure

Disciplinary hearings

If an investigation finds that there is a case to answer and it is necessary to consider the matter at a formal disciplinary hearing, we will notify the employee in writing.

We will explain the nature of the allegation against them. We will invite them to attend a formal disciplinary hearing. 

The employee's manager or an alternative manager will conduct the hearing. They will be a manager who has not led the investigation process. This follows the guidance in the local scheme of delegation. 

The manager will arrange for a second manager to attend the hearing, or an HR representative to provide advice on policy and procedure. The manager should consider asking for both if it is a serious or major conduct issue. They must also arrange a note-taker.

Dismissal may be an outcome when:

  • the alleged offence is potentially gross misconduct, or
  • the employee has a current live written or final written warning

In either case, a senior manager with authority to dismiss will chair a disciplinary panel. The panel will consist of:

  • the chair (usually the head of service or someone at an equivalent or higher level)
  • a second senior manager from the same or a different service area
  • an HR representative to provide advice on policy and procedure

The following will apply in disciplinary hearings:

  • The employee will receive written notification to attend a hearing. It will contain sufficient information about the alleged misconduct. It will state that we may take disciplinary action as a result of the hearing. It enables the employee to prepare to answer the case at the hearing.
  • Both parties will provide copies of any written evidence before the hearing. Where appropriate, this will include witness statements. The hearing will rely on all documents submitted in advance to support or dispute the allegation.
  • The notification will:
    • provide ten working days' notice of the hearing
    • confirm the details of the time and venue
    • advise the employee of their right to be accompanied at the hearing
    • request details of witnesses that either party will be calling to the hearing

The employee may bring a companion who is:

  • a trade union representative
  • a work colleague
  • an official employed by a trade union

No other companions will be permitted to attend the hearing.

The manager may make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled employee. They may permit an alternative companion. The employee should discuss this with the disciplining manager in advance.

In all cases the employee must tell the disciplining manager who their chosen companion is. They must do this at least 24 hours before the hearing.

  • If we do not know the trade union official, they must provide documentation from the relevant trade union. It must state that they are a union representative and authorised by that union to represent employees.
  • If employed by us, we will allow the companion reasonable time off without loss of pay. No one is obliged to act as a companion if they do not wish to do so.
  • The employee can request to re-schedule a hearing if they or the companion are unavailable. It must take place within the following five working days. Employees must not fail to attend the re-arranged hearing without justification. They will be advised that managers can consider a case in an employee's absence based upon the written submissions. 
  • The companion can:
    • address the meeting to present and sum up the employee's case
    • respond on behalf of the employee to any views expressed at the meeting
    • confer with the employee during the meeting
  • The companion cannot:
    • answer questions on the employee's behalf
    • address the hearing if the employee does not wish it
    • prevent the employer from explaining their case

The disciplining manager may tell the employee their decision:

  • at the end of the hearing
  • following an adjournment
  • as soon as reasonably possible following the hearing

We will confirm in writing with the employee:

  • the decision, together with the reasons for any warning
  • the duration of the warning
  • what will happen if further offences occur
  • the right of appeal

Disciplinary sanctions

The outcome of a disciplinary hearing may be that:

  • we take no formal action
  • there is a need for action, but a formal warning or dismissal is not appropriate

Any action taken outside of a formal sanction is called management action. The manager will record this on a Record of Action form and in the disciplinary hearing records.