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This procedure is designed to support staff and managers in dealing with problems regarding performance which may arise from time to time and which leads to the employee not fulfilling the expected requirements of the role or could arise from the employee’s inability to fully perform the role.
It aims to:
Where poor performance is due to a failure to maintain adequate standards of behaviour rather than a lack of skills or application, it should be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure. Capability is defined for the purposes of this procedure as all matters related to an employee’s skills, aptitudes or competences and their application.
Where poor performance is linked partly or wholly to a qualifying disability under the Disability Discrimination Act, the requirements of that Act for reasonable adjustments to the workplace or the job will be taken into account. Where poor performance is linked partly or wholly to medical problems, the University’s procedures for dealing with absence from work due to ill-health should be used as appropriate.
This procedure applies to all employees of the University, other than the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar.
Employees have a contractual responsibility to achieve an acceptable level of performance at work and will be supported and encouraged to reach that level. Managers should set realistic and achievable standards consistent with the employee’s contract and the university’s policy on academic workload planning. These should ensure that employees understand what those standards imply in terms of the quality and quantity of work and the time and costs associated with the expected outputs. Any shortfalls in performance should be discussed promptly with the employee concerned and the causes of the shortfall identified. Consideration should be given to whether it is due to inadequate training, supervision or guidance and if appropriate measures should be taken to provide additional support.
Please follow the Induction guidelines.
The University has established a structured approach to personal review which operates on an annual cycle. New employees should be given appropriate targets and support training on a shorter time scale, such that managers and employees alike can be satisfied that adequate progress is being made towards the expected performance levels. The PDR is not an appropriate meeting to bring up performance concerns for the first time, however, it is wholly appropriate to refer to on-going performance issues during such a meeting although the PDR is not a performance management meeting.
Line managers should meet on a regularly with employees on an individual basis to discuss performance, current work and current work issues, plus any other relevant topics. Poor performance should be raised at these meetings or at an earlier meeting if a one tone is not imminent. How regular a one to one meeting is held is for the line manager and member of staff to decide but where there are performance concerns the regularity of these meetings is likely to increase for the individual concerned.
Problems of poor performance should be dealt with promptly and equitably.At each point in the procedure, the employee will be given a full explanation of the perceived weaknesses or deficiencies in performance.
An employee has the right to be accompanied by a fellow employee, friend or trade union representative at each stage of the formal procedure.
Documentation relating to the use of this procedure will be treated as confidential and will only be made available to those directly involved.
The Director or Deputy Director of Human Resources will be informed by the Link HR Business Partner about the progress of any case which reaches the formal procedure and may offer advice and/or guidance in order to maintain consistency and fairness in the application of the regulations.
In cases where capability is affected by ill health and the employee does not wish to take sick leave, they should advise their line manager of the health problem. The line manager should consider whether it is possible to adjust the employee’s workload and/or working conditions in the light of these problems.
Throughout the procedure, the work of the employee will be considered in the light of any adjustments that have been agreed by their manager.
If an employee is unable by reason of ill health to perform their duties satisfactorily, allowing for any adjustments that may have been agreed with their manager, they are required to take sick leave. Presenting themselves for work commits the employee to performing their duties to an acceptable standard.
If during the capability process both parties feel that there would be value in seeking mediation then this could be considered.
When a line manager has concerns about the performance of a member of staff, they may wish initially to consult more senior colleagues and the link HR Manager about the most appropriate means of dealing with the perceived problem.
The line manager will then:
Before agreeing a programme of action, the employee may wish to consult with a trade union representative or a friend. The manager and the employee may agree mutually to involve others in reaching a mediated agreement on a programme of action.
A programme of remedial action should set targets and dates for meeting objectives a competent holder of the post could reasonably be expected to meet. For most administrative and organisational issues, targets of between one week and three months duration will be the norm, but the nature of academic work patterns and job requirements are such that longer–term targets may need to be set. The consequences of not meeting the required standards within these time-scales should be outlined. The programme will also include details of when monitoring meetings will be held and how standards will be re-assessed. The programme will normally be a written document, a copy of which is to be retained by the manager and the employee. Where a trade union representative has been involved, they will also receive a copy of the programme.
If agreement cannot be reached, the line manager should consult with the link HR Manager for advice. The line manager may then impose a programme of action or refer the matter immediately to the formal stages of the procedure. The employee may have recourse to stage two of the grievance procedure if they consider the programme to be unacceptable.
If the necessary improvement in performance is achieved within the set time-scale, no further action will be necessary and all copies of the documentation involved should be forwarded to the link HR Manager for retention on the employee’s personnel file for the following twelve months. At the end of this period they will be removed.
If performance continues to be unsatisfactory, the manager should initiate the formal procedure set out below, in consultation with the link HR Manager. In cases where the manager is confident that an employee’s performance, whilst not completely satisfactory, will reach the required level within a reasonable time period, no further action need be taken.
The line manager having sought advice from the link HR Manager will verbally inform the employee as to the aspects of their performance that are considered to be unsatisfactory, and will arrange a meeting to discuss how they should be addressed and this will be followed up in writing. At least five working days notice of the meeting should be given, and the employee may be accompanied by a fellow employee, friend or trade union representative. The employee may ask for this meeting to be postponed for up to a further ten working days if the person who they wish to accompany them is not available on the date proposed.
At the meeting, the manager will:
The only evidence admissible under the Capability Procedure is evidence from an identified individual regarding matters of which they have first-hand experience. Hearsay evidence is not acceptable, whatever its source. It is expected that individuals who have provided evidence will normally be available to answer questions, except in circumstances where they are prevented by factors beyond their control.
The manager may decide to adjourn to gather further information. In such cases, subsequent meetings will follow the procedure as above:
The option of a transfer to another post may be considered at the meeting where this might offer an effective means of securing an appropriate level of performance and/or contribution from the employee concerned. The details of the discussion of this option and any outcome should be covered in the letter.
Subsequent performance will be monitored as set out in the letter, and periodically reviewed in meetings between the employee and the manager. The manager will keep notes of these meetings detailing the assessment of progress and any further agreed actions. A copy of these notes will be forwarded to the employee and their representative.
If performance improves within the agreed time-scale, no further action is necessary and all copies of the documentation should be sent to the link HR Manager for retention on the employee’s personnel file for 18 months. At the end of this period it will be removed.
Before commencing the formal part of the capability procedure, authorisation for this action must have been sought and granted by the Dean/Director. If an employee’s performance over the agreed time-scale continues to fall short of the required standard, the relevant Dean or Director, in consultation with the link HR Manager, will refer the case to a formal Capability Review Panel. The Panel will consist of either the Director or Deputy Director of Human Resources (if either of them has been involved in the case at an earlier stage they will not be eligible to be a member of the review panel) and another Dean or Director.
The Directorate of Human Resources will inform the employee in writing that the case has been referred to a Review Panel. Other details to include:
The letter of notification will also identify the areas in which the line manager considers that performance continues to fall short of the expected standards and the supporting evidence and of the possible outcomes from the Review Panel including compulsory transfer to another post and dismissal.
The Panel may be postponed for up to a further ten days by mutual agreement.
The Panel will:
The Panel may take one or more of the following courses of action, according to the circumstances of the case:
A decision of the panel (other than a recommendation to dismiss) may be appealed to the Registrar. Appeals must be lodged with the Director of Human Resources within five working days of the decision of the panel, and will be considered at a mutually convenient date within 15 working days of receipt.
The Registrar will consider all the written evidence, including the record of the panel hearing. The employee, their representative or friend and the chair of the panel will be asked to meet together with the Registrar to make a submission in support of their respective cases.
The or Registrar may confirm the decision of the panel, substitute an alternative decision, or ask the Director of Human Resources to convene either the same panel or a new panel to re-consider the case.
The employee will be notified of this recommendation in writing by the Director of Human Resources (or their nominee). The recommendation will be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor or the nominated deputy, and the employee will be invited to make representations to the Vice-Chancellor, either in writing or orally before the Vice-Chancellor reaches a decision on the recommendation. The employee has five working days from the notification of the Capability Panel’s recommendation to notify the Director of Human Resources if he/she wishes to make representations, and the representations will be made within a further ten working days from the date of the notification.
In order to come to a decision on the recommendation, the Vice-Chancellor or the nominated deputy will receive the full set of documentation that was available to the members of the Capability Panel, together with any written representations from the employee. If the employee has opted to make oral representations, they will be made through the procedure set out in Appendix 1. Supplementary information may be sought from any of the parties, and any such information shall also be communicated to the employee and the Director of Human Resources.
f the recommendation for dismissal is approved, the employee will be notified and informed of the right of appeal. If an appeal is lodged the dismissal does not take effect until the appeal has been heard, but the employee will be suspended without pay from the date of the letter of notification of the Vice-Chancellor’s decision. In the event of a successful appeal any pay that has been withheld will be reinstated.
The employee will have up to 30 minutes to make representations to the Vice-Chancellor, supplementing or supporting the information covered in the written documentation provided from the capability hearing.
The Vice-Chancellor may ask whatever additional questions they think are necessary to obtain a sufficiently sound basis for making a decision to confirm or turn down the recommendation for dismissal.
The Chair of the Capability panel shall be invited to attend and may be invited by the Vice Chancellor to clarify any point arising from the written documentation or oral representations.
Updated March 2012
One Independent Governor of the University and two others who are either Deans, Directors or other members of the Senior Management Team, nominated by the Director of Human Resources. The Committee will be chaired by the Governor member.
A senior member of University staff, normally from the Human Resources Directorate, who has not previously been involved in the case, will act as Secretary to the Committee.
If significant new evidence comes to light in the course of the hearing, the Committee may instruct the Director of Human Resources to arrange a re-hearing of the case by a differently constituted Capability Panel. This shall take place within 15 working days of the instruction being received by the Director.
If the employee is unable to attend an appeal hearing, the Committee will normally seek to set another mutually convenient date, but may decide, taking account of all the circumstances, to proceed in the employee’s absence.