Section 8: Support Staff Handbook

Expand All

It is the policy of the University to ensure that fair and effective arrangements exist for dealing with disciplinary issues, and to ensure that uniform standards are developed throughout the University with regard to both work and behaviour.

The following procedures apply to all staff employed in the University's support staff scales and grades, other than those on probation, procedures for whom are given in section 8.3. The procedures recognise that it is the employer's responsibility to avoid the need for disciplinary action wherever possible by providing guidance and constructive criticism, and to take whatever disciplinary action is necessary promptly and consistently.

The formal procedures allow a member of staff to be accompanied at his or her request by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University. It is also the University’s normal custom to permit a member of staff to be accompanied in situations outside the formal procedures, if he or she believes there is a need for this. Requests for such representation should be directed to the Departmental Administrator*.

* Note: in some departments, faculties and other units the role of Departmental Administrator may be carried out by an equivalent person with a different title.

Wherever practicable the formal procedures should be preceded by private and informal counselling, and in the case of apprentices, are to be invoked only after the Apprenticeship Partnership Working Group appoints a suitable person, typically the Apprenticeship Scheme Leader, to conduct an inquiry in relation to any performance issues involving an apprentice.

The support staff disciplinary and grievance procedures will apply to apprenticeships as relevant and appropriate. University HR should always be consulted before an apprentice is dismissed.

The formal procedures are designed to deal with situations where the members of staff concerned know clearly what is expected of them by way of standards of work or behaviour.

They require that periods of time are specified between certain interviews. The period should in no case be less than one month or more than three months.

Normally where an employee has completed a period of one year during which he or she has maintained the necessary improvement then previous warnings, both oral and written, should be reviewed in discussion with the employee with a view to removing the record of any formal warning from his or her file in his or her presence.

Records so removed from an individual personal file will be held on a highly confidential and restricted basis by University HR in the University Offices, to be retained for three years, in the event that they may be required for an employment tribunal or similar external proceedings. Records so retained will only be accessed by members of University HR in the event that the records may be material to a claim raised at an employment tribunal or similar external body and the records may only be made available to those directly involved in such proceedings. Records retained for these purposes in University HR will be destroyed automatically after a period of three years.

Certain disciplinary issues may also involve an employee in criminal proceedings. In such cases the University reserves the right to suspend, with or without pay, or dismiss the employee according to the circumstances of the case. Criminal offences outside work will be dealt with in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice.

8.1.1 Arrangements for dealing with medical capability matters

The University does not regard medical capability as a disciplinary matter. However, where an employee’s sickness absence renders him or her incapable of satisfactorily carrying out his or her duties, with the result that the employing department cannot continue to sustain his or her employment, the formal procedures set out below will be used as a medical capability procedure to warn the employee of his or her position and, where necessary, to terminate employment. In such cases correspondence with employees will, of course, refer to medical capability and not to misconduct or poor performance.

Back to top

If any disciplinary action beyond informal counselling is contemplated against a trade union official or accredited representative, University HR should always first be consulted

8.2.1 Formal warnings

Disciplinary action involving, for example, dismissal or suspension may in certain serious situations not be preceded by formal or informal warning. Normally, however, it is anticipated that the first stage of the formal procedure will be a formal warning, issued in the course of a formal interview by the head of department or his or her nominee. The employee will have the right to state his or her case and to be accompanied at his or her request by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University. The formal warning, if given, will be confirmed in writing to the employee, will specify the reasons for which it is given, and will specify the period of time allowed for the necessary improvement to be made. (The period allowed for improvement should in no case be less than one month or more than three months.) A copy of the formal warning should be sent to University HR which will inform the appropriate union official.

If a first formal warning is not effective in producing the necessary improvement in work or behaviour, the head of department or his or her nominee should issue a second and final warning. The procedure will be as for the first formal warning, but the warning itself and the written confirmation should make it clear as to what further disciplinary action will be taken if the necessary improvement is not achieved within the specified period. The type of possible further disciplinary action should be clearly stated. Suspension without pay should be considered as an alternative to dismissal, but if either suspension without pay or dismissal is subsequently to be put into effect then the provisions of paragraph 8.2.4 below should be followed.

 

8.2.2 Serious misconduct or alleged serious misconduct

In cases of serious misconduct or alleged misconduct the employee(s) must not be dismissed instantly: rather the head of department, or the duly authorised person acting on his or her behalf, should normally suspend the employee concerned on the currently appropriate rate of pay pending an investigation and subsequent hearing. (The currently appropriate rate of pay is the basic pay to which the employee would be entitled under the terms of his or her contract were he or she not suspended. The currently appropriate rate of pay would normally be full pay; but it may for example be, or change during suspension to, half pay or no pay under the provisions of the University's sick pay scheme). All cases involving such suspension should be reported at once to University HR, which will in turn notify the appropriate union representative. The subsequent hearing should normally be held within five days and the employee concerned will be informed of the complaint against him or her. The employee will have the right to state his or her case and be accompanied at his or her request by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University.

Following the hearing described above, University HR should be consulted before disciplinary action (if any) is taken. The head of department, or the duly authorised person acting on his behalf, will then inform the employee concerned, in writing, of (i) the disciplinary action (if any) which will be taken (see paragraph 8.2.4 below if this is to be dismissal) and (ii) the employee's right of appeal (see paragraph 8.2.5 below).

Examples of some acts at work for which after the due processes of investigation and hearing the disciplinary action of summary dismissal (i.e. dismissal without notice and without payment in lieu of notice) may result include theft, violence, wantonly endangering the safety of others, sexual or racial harassment (see paragraph 8.2.3 below), wilful damage to university property, and incapability through alcohol or being under the influence of illegal drugs.

 

8.2.3 Unacceptable behaviour at work which causes deep personal offence

Unacceptable behaviour at work which causes deep personal offence, including in particular racial or sexual harassment, will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence and may constitute gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal. Concerns relating to this form of behaviour should be pursued informally via senior members of staff in the complainant's department, trusted colleagues, union representatives or University HR. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the relevant grievance procedure should be pursued. Any disciplinary action taken as a result of such a complaint will be treated in accordance with the disciplinary procedure set out above.

In the case of harassment, concerns may also be raised informally with 'Confidential Advisers' nominated by your head of department in accordance with the University's Policy and Procedure relating to Harassment or with members of the Advisory Panel serving the whole University. The names of 'Confidential Advisers' should be publicised within your department. Members of the Panel may be contacted by telephone on a number specially designated for this purpose (tel.: 01865 (2)70760).

 

8.2.4 Suspension without pay or dismissal

If a department intends to dismiss an employee or suspend an employee without pay, then that employee must have been interviewed by the head of department, or, in his or her absence, the person acting on his or her behalf, at some stage in the immediate proceedings leading up to that disciplinary action. The employee must have had the right to state his or her case and to be accompanied by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University, and - in the case of dismissal - the employee will be given the reasons for dismissal in writing normally within seven days.

University HR should be consulted before the employee is interviewed. Where dismissal takes place, the employee, unless summarily dismissed, will normally receive payment in lieu of notice.

 

8.2.5 Appeals against disciplinary action

In the course of any interview which results in disciplinary action, whether that be formal warning, suspension, summary dismissal, or dismissal, the employee should be advised of his or her rights of appeal both orally and by being given a copy of these appeal procedures.

A person who is summarily dismissed and who appeals will be regarded as suspended without pay and if his or her appeal is upheld he or she will receive such back pay as the appeal body shall decide.

Notification procedure

Appeals against disciplinary action must be notified in writing to the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days of written confirmation of such action. The appellant should specify in writing their grounds for appeal, and the reasons why they are dissatisfied with the outcome at department or divisional level.

The Director of Human Resources will advise the Head of Department or Division as appropriate and make arrangements for the servicing of the appeal by an HR Business Partner (HRBP).

Appeal panel constitution under Statute XIV regarding a dismissal

Appeals notified in respect of a summary dismissal or dismissal arising from disciplinary action will be heard by a panel consisting of two members of the Personnel Committee and one member of Council who is not himself or herself a member of Personnel Committee.

If there are any grievance appeals related to the dismissal, the panel constituted under the Statute XIV regulations has the authority to deal with these at the same time.

Appeal panel constitution regarding a formal warning

Appeals notified in respect of a formal warning will be heard by a panel consisting of three members of staff, at grade 8 or above, (the panel chair will be more senior than the person who considered the original disciplinary hearing). They will have a balance of role types and one, if appropriate, may have experience relevant to the case being heard. The panel members will be eligible for membership of Congregation, external to the department concerned, and nominated by the Director of Human Resources. One will be asked to act as chair.

Appeal hearing

The appeal panel should, wherever possible, meet within one month to hear the case and all parties concerned should receive adequate notice, normally 5 days, of the hearing.

In some cases it may be appropriate for the appeal panel to gather information, via the HRBP, prior to the hearing. The employee should provide copies of any information which they consider relevant to their appeal, including any witness statements, according to the timescale set out by the HRBP. The department or division will normally respond within 10 working days to the grounds for appeal, setting out the steps taken to resolve or determine the matter and the rationale for the decision(s) with which the employee is dissatisfied.  The HRBP will ensure that all those involved receive any new material as soon as is practicable.  Normally, witnesses will be invited to attend the hearing and it will be at the discretion of the appeal panel chair whether any witness needs to attend to clarify anything from their witness statement.

The employee may invite a union representative or a full time officer of the employee's trade union (if he or she is a member) or a colleague, from within the University, to accompany them to the appeal hearing. The employee should advise the HRBP servicing the appeal hearing of the person who will accompany them, in good time before the hearing. The employee’s manager may also be accompanied by a colleague from within the University.

The appeal panel will review the grounds of appeal to decide whether the findings and/or outcome of the initial decision were appropriate and proportionate, and whether it was conducted through an appropriate procedure.

Outcome

The outcome of the appeal will be notified in writing to the department or the division concerned and to the appellant normally within 10 working days of the hearing. The outcome will be to uphold or revoke the original decision or to substitute a different, but not greater, penalty.

The decision of the appeal panel is final and there shall be no further appeal within the University.

Back to top

Procedures for dealing with work or conduct issues in respect of all university and support staff on probation.

See also Section 3.2

If a problem relating to a probationer's work or conduct is identified at any stage of the probationary period, the probationer should normally first be given private and informal counselling, with a view to establishing the cause of the problem and advising appropriate remedial action.

If this informal counselling does not resolve the problem, or if the problem is sufficiently serious to warrant formal action without the need for prior informal counselling, a formal interview should be arranged between the department and the postholder to consider the situation. The probationer should be advised in advance of the aspects of his or her work or conduct which are causing concern and that he or she may be accompanied at the interview by a union representative, or a colleague of his or her choice from within the University. At the meeting the departmental representative(s) will set out their concerns and the probationer will have the opportunity to state his or her case. If, on the evidence available, the department believes that a formal warning is appropriate, this should be given in the course of the interview. This warning should be confirmed in writing to the post-holder. The letter should make clear that if the necessary improvement is not achieved within a specified period (which may involve an extension of the probationary period) the appointment will not be confirmed and the probationer dismissed with appropriate notice. This will therefore constitute a final warning.

Following any formal warning, departments should monitor the situation and, within or at the end of the period specified for improvement (as appropriate), should formally review the progress of the probationer. This should culminate in a formal interview at which the department will give its view of the probationer's progress and the probationer, who may be accompanied by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her own choice from within the University, will have the opportunity to state his or her case, before any decision is taken concerning his or her employment.

In cases of alleged serious misconduct the probationer must not be dismissed instantly: rather the head of department, or a duly authorised nominee acting on his or her behalf, should normally suspend the probationer on the currently appropriate rate of pay pending an investigation and any subsequent hearing. The currently appropriate rate of pay is the basic pay to which the probationer would be entitled under the terms of his or her contract were he or she not suspended (the currently appropriate rate of pay would normally be full pay; but it may for example be, or change during suspension to, half pay or no pay under the provisions of the University's sick pay scheme). All cases involving such suspension should be reported at once to University HR. The subsequent hearing should normally be held within five days and the probationer concerned will be informed of the complaint against him or her. The probationer will have the right to state his or her case and be accompanied at his or her request by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University.

In cases of alleged serious misconduct, following the hearing described above, University HR should be consulted before disciplinary action (if any) is taken. The head of department, or a duly authorised nominee acting on his or her behalf, will then inform the probationer in writing of the disciplinary action (if any) which will be taken. In cases where serious misconduct has been substantiated dismissal may be summary; i.e. dismissal without notice and without payment in lieu of notice.

Examples of some acts at work for which after the due processes of investigation and hearing the disciplinary action of summary dismissal may result include theft, violence, wantonly endangering the safety of others, harassment (as defined within the University's Policy and Procedure on Harassment and Bullying), wilful damage to university property, and incapability through alcohol or being under the influence of illegal drugs.

If the head of department or an authorised nominee decides to dismiss the probationer, the probationer will have the right of appeal to a panel constituted under Personnel Committee procedures. Any such appeal should be notified to University HR within ten days of written confirmation to the postholder of the department's decision to dismiss. The postholder may be accompanied at the hearing of any appeal by the panel by a union representative, or colleague of his or her own choice from within the University.

Back to top

Any employee who has a complaint arising out of his or her employment should seek to have that complaint addressed by using the appropriate university's procedure for his or her staff group.

It is expected that the majority of such complaints will not develop into formal grievances but will be dealt with and satisfactorily resolved through informal discussion, as described below.

However, whenever the formal procedures are used, the employee has a right to have his or her complaint carefully and impartially considered and to receive, after appropriate consideration and discussion, a final response which will either:

  • explain to the employee why a situation complained of must stay as it is or a decision complained of will remain unaltered, or
  • change the situation or decision complained of to address the employee's concerns, or
  • provide details of an alternative solution which is acceptable to the employee and which is considered by his or her line manager and department to be appropriate, taking account of the complaint raised and the impact of the proposed solution on any other affected party.

Where two or more employees within the same department have identical complaints about a particular situation, their complaints should be dealt with simultaneously by means of the individual grievance procedure described below. This procedure is not available where employees have a grievance affecting more than one department. In these circumstances collective grievances that cannot be resolved by informal discussion may be raised under the procedure for resolving differences.

Dealing with complaints of harassment, including bullying, and with complaints involving a public interest disclosure

The individual grievance procedure should not be used for dealing with complaints of harassment, except in circumstances where this is the expressed preference of the employee alleging harassment. The University has a separate Policy and Procedure on Harassment, including bullying. Advice in cases that might result in complaints of harassment is available from independent harassment advisers. Details of the harassment advisory service are available on the central Equality and Diversity website, or by telephoning the confidential helpline (01865 (2)70760).

The University also has a separate procedure for complaints involving a public interest disclosure, which may be accessed on its website.

The grievance procedure has two main stages:

Informal departmental stages (Section 8.4.1)

Formal stages (Section 8.4.2)

Advice on structuring a departmental grievance meeting, which will be helpful at both the informal and formal stages, is available.

8.4.1 Individual grievance procedure for all university support staff

Informal departmental stages

Raising a grievance is a formal step and invokes the formal procedure. The University recognises that some employees may not wish to use a formal procedure and does not wish to deter employees from seeking to resolve concerns informally. The use of informal discussion in any case where an employee has concerns arising out of his or her employment is, therefore, strongly encouraged.

Discussion with line manager

An employee who wishes to raise a concern informally should, in the first instance, raise his or her concerns with the appropriate line manager. It is hoped that in many cases it will be possible to achieve a solution with all those concerned considering a situation with mutual respect for one another and a genuine desire to resolve the matter.

Discussion with the departmental administrator                    

In some cases an employee’s concerns may involve his or her line manager in which case he or she may find it helpful to seek advice from the departmental administrator or equivalent. The departmental administrator may, in any case, be able to assist at this early stage with the resolution of an employee’s concern. He or she will, therefore, invite the employee to advise whether he or she wishes temporarily to delay further procedures in order that the administrator can attempt to resolve the matter. If the employee accepts this proposal, a time scale and steps to be undertaken by the administrator will be agreed.

An employee who is concerned about a particular aspect of his or her employment may also find it helpful to discuss the matter with a staff representative.

Informal review by an independent person

Where it is decided that an intervention by the administrator is not appropriate, or where such an intervention has not succeeded, the administrator will offer, with the agreement of the employee concerned, to find an independent person, normally from within the department but outside the employee’s immediate work area, to consider the employee’s concerns and to work with him or her and those against whom his or her complaint is directed, with a view to making recommendations that might, if adopted, resolve the matter without the employee needing to invoke a formal grievance procedure. The employee will, if he or she wishes to pursue this route, be asked to agree the person to be appointed and has the right to request an alternative if he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that the person suggested by the administrator is not appropriate.

The University’s structures vary from department to department and it is, therefore, not possible to be prescriptive about who should take the role of the independent person, although normally he or she will be a member of the academic or senior academic-related staff. It will be important that he or she has sufficient authority to propose satisfactory solutions and to engage the trust and confidence of the parties concerned. It will, of course, also be important that those appointed to deal with matters at this stage have both reasonably detailed knowledge of the operational circumstances in which all the employees concerned work and are able to look impartially at the concerns of all parties.

The administrator, in appointing an independent person, should be sensitive to the nature of the complaint and to any personal characteristics of the concerned employee, such as his or her sex, ethnic or national background, age, faith, or disability. The administrator will ask the employee whether or not there is any such characteristic that he or she would particularly value in the independent person to be appointed and will use his or her best endeavours to meet any suggestions made.

Where there is good reason to do so, for instance where the department is relatively small, or where many people in the department have already been involved in the matter to which the grievance refers, an independent person may be appointed from another department.

As it may be possible for the head of department or equivalent to become involved if a grievance were to be formally pursued, it is not advisable for him or her either to act as an independent person or to be materially involved at the informal stages.

The independent person will choose his or her preferred method of working, wherever possible in consultation with the parties concerned. This will depend on the nature of the concerns and may include one or more of the following methodologies:

  • informal discussions with the parties singly to discover more detail about each of their concerns and about those aspects of the matter about which each of them feels most strongly,
  • if acceptable to the parties, informal discussions with the parties together to explore the issues, discuss those points on which each feels most strongly, and address the potential for a mutually satisfactory solution,
  • formal meetings with the parties together to confirm a mutually acceptable solution arrived at in informal discussions.

It is expected that the independent person will make his or her report in writing to the parties and to the departmental administrator within one month of being appointed. The report will, in addition to setting out the background to the concerns and brief details of the methodologies used to try to resolve the matter, set out the independent person’s recommendations for resolving the matter.

Further meeting with the administrator

After consideration of the independent person’s report and taking any further steps considered appropriate, the administrator will call a meeting with the employee to discuss the outcome of the informal stages. This may be to confirm that his or her concern has been addressed through the independent person’s intervention. The administrator will advise the employee of his or her right to use the formal procedure (Section 8.4.2) if he or she is dissatisfied with the outcome.

8.4.2 Individual grievance procedure for all University support staff

Formal procedure

Where an employee believes that it is either not appropriate to deal with a matter informally, or when an attempt at informal resolution has not been successful, and he or she wishes still to pursue the matter, the procedure set out below should be used.

Employee representation

At each stage of the grievance procedure the employee has the right to be accompanied at any meeting by a union representative, or by an accredited elected representative or other colleague of his or her choice from within the University.

When arrangements for a meeting are being made it will be for the employee to arrange for the representative or person accompanying him or her to attend. If the employee's representative is unavailable at the proposed time the meeting may be postponed, normally for no more than five working days, in order to facilitate his or her attendance.

The member of staff should also give advance notice to the person chairing the meeting of the name of any person accompanying him or her.

Record keeping

Written records, which will be agreed with and made available to the employee, will be kept at each stage of the formal procedure. Employees should note that, when a grievance is formally raised, it is not possible for documents and complaints to be kept "off the record"; those complained about are entitled to know the details of the complaint and to respond to it.

Timescales

The timescales set out in the formal procedure are indicative of what is required for a complaint to receive an appropriately prompt response. Where it becomes apparent that additional time is required this should be discussed with the employee concerned. Employees should note that, where an aggrieved employee has chosen not to follow the informal procedure, it will be more likely that additional time will be required to manage the formal stages.

The departmental stage

The objective of the departmental stage of the formal grievance procedure is to deal with a complaint locally and promptly to ensure, after the complaint has been clearly set out, and carefully and impartially considered, that, whenever possible, a final response is made which resolves the matter as set out in the introduction to the individual grievance procedure.

Bringing a formal grievance

The employee must set out his or her signed grievance in writing to the departmental administrator or equivalent ("the administrator").

Where the administrator has already been informally involved in addressing the matters forming the grievance, and the employee concerned so wishes, the administrator may appoint a nominee to undertake the following steps (that will otherwise be undertaken by the administrator). Where the complaint is against the administrator the head of department or equivalent (or, where he or she is not available or has already been involved, another senior member of staff in the department) will nominate an impartial alternative to take on the administrator's role in respect of progressing the grievance.

Preliminary meeting with the administrator

The administrator will invite the employee to a meeting at which the employee will, where this is not already clear, be invited to explain the basis for his or her grievance in order that the administrator can inform the investigation that will then be undertaken. The administrator will, where necessary, offer to arrange assistance for the employee with the written presentation of his or her grievance.

Once informed in writing of the basis of the employee's grievance the administrator will request a written response from any other party he or she considers appropriate. Written responses should normally be returned to the administrator within five working days of receipt of his or her request.

Departmental meeting

Once the responses to the grievance have been received the administrator will arrange a meeting to hear the grievance, which will be chaired by the head of department or equivalent or, where he or she is not available or has already been involved, by another senior member of staff in the department. Departmental meetings will normally be convened with five days' notice to the parties concerned.

  • The head of department or equivalent, or his or her nominee, will be advised by University HR as to the procedure to be followed in dealing with the employee's appeal. University HR will, in appropriate cases, on request, provide an officer to advise the head of department or equivalent and to make a formal record of the meeting.
  • The head of department or equivalent, or his or her nominee, may, if he or she thinks it appropriate to do so, consider alternatives to either upholding or not upholding the grievance and discuss these with the parties during the course of drawing up his or her report.
  • The head of department or equivalent, or his or her nominee will write to the parties, normally within five working days of the meeting, setting out his or her findings and resolving the grievance as described in the introduction to the individual grievance procedure.

The head of department or equivalent's report (or the report of his or her nominee) will also inform the complainant of the means by which he or she may progress a grievance to the final university stage should he or she remain dissatisfied with the decision reached.

The final university appeal stage

It is expected that the great majority of grievances will be satisfactorily resolved within the department concerned. Where, exceptionally, a grievance cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant within his or her department, a final university appeal stage may be invoked.

If a grievance appeal relates to an appeal of a member of staff who has been dismissed as a consequence of disciplinary action, it should be heard under the arrangements in Statute XIV. All other grievance appeals should be heard as follows.

Notification procedure

Appeals against the outcome of a grievance must be notified in writing to the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days of written confirmation being received. The appellant should specify in writing their grounds for appeal, and the reasons why they are dissatisfied with the outcome at department or divisional level.

The Director of Human Resources will advise the Head of Department or Division as appropriate and make arrangements for the servicing of the appeal by an HR Business Partner   (HRBP).

Appeal panel constitution

Appeals notified in respect of a grievance will be heard by a panel consisting of three members of staff, at grade 8 or above, (the panel chair will be more senior than the person who made the decision that is subject to appeal). They will have a balance of role types and one, if appropriate, may have experience relevant to the case being heard. The panel members will be eligible for membership of Congregation, external to the department concerned, and nominated by the Director of Human Resources. One will be asked to act as chair.

Appeal hearing

The appeal panel should, wherever possible, meet within one month to hear the case and all parties concerned should receive adequate notice, normally 5 days, of the hearing.

In some cases it may be appropriate for the appeal panel to gather information, via the HRBP, prior to the hearing. The employee should provide copies of any information which they consider relevant to their appeal, including any witness statements, according to the timescale set out by the HRBP. The department or division will normally respond within 10 working days to the grounds for appeal, setting out the steps taken to resolve or determine the matter and the rationale for the decision(s) with which the employee is dissatisfied.  The HRBP will ensure that all those involved receive any new material as soon as is practicable. 

Normally, witnesses will be invited to attend the hearing and it will be at the discretion of the appeal panel chair whether any witness needs to attend to clarify anything from their witness statement. The employee may invite a union representative or a full time officer of the employee's trade union (if he or she is a member) or a colleague, from within the University, to accompany them to the appeal hearing. The employee should advise the HRBP servicing the appeal hearing of the person who will accompany them, in good time before the hearing. The employee’s manager may also be accompanied by a colleague from within the University.

The appeal panel will review the grounds of appeal to decide whether the findings and/or outcome of the initial decision were appropriate and proportionate, and whether it was conducted through an appropriate procedure.

Outcome

The chairman of the panel may, if s/he thinks it appropriate to do so, consider alternatives to either upholding or not upholding the grievance and discuss these with the parties during the course of drawing up his or her report.

The outcome of the appeal will be notified in writing to the department or the division concerned and to the appellant normally within 10 working days of the hearing.

The decision of the appeal panel is final and there shall be no further appeal within the University.

Back to top

Membership of a trade union is not a condition of employment in the University. Participation in activities within working hours is only permitted in accordance with the terms of any facilities agreement made by the University, and with the consent of your head of department. The attention of members of staff is drawn to the following arrangements that exist for the representation of the various staff groups.

The University has recognised the following as the only trade unions entitled to engage in collective bargaining on behalf of their respective staff groups:

  • Unite (previously known as Amicus) in respect of staff employed in technical grades and in the Estates Directorate Works Yard;
  • Unison in respect of staff employed by the University in clerical, library, and ancillary posts, and in the parks and gardens.

The University has agreed to accord Unite and Unison a number of facilities as recognised trade unions.

The Joint Committee for University Staff (JCUSS) consists of equal numbers of members appointed by the University and by Unite and Unison together. The joint committee meets termly (and on such other occasions as either side requests) to consider and discuss matters relating to the terms and conditions of employment of university-graded support staff. The terms of reference of this committee are set out in section 8.6. Its chairman is currently Revd Dr Judith Maltby (Vice-Chairman of the Personnel Committee). The University’s joint secretary is Mr John Dickson (University HR) and the employees’ joint secretary is Mr Les Hill (Chemistry).

Contacting Unite (previously known as Amicus)

The Acting Secretary of the University Branch of Unite is Mr Peter Belk (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics), who has an office at Clarendon Lodge, 20 Parks Road (Tel. Oxford (2)82647). An answerphone message may be left on the same number.

Contacting Unison

The members of the employees’ side have an office at 16 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2HY, where, by appointment, clerical, library, ancillary, parks, and gardens staff may consult their representatives. Queries from Unison members should be referred either to their Unison departmental representatives or the employees’ Joint Secretary (see above).

Back to top

8.6.1 General Principles

The aim of this agreement is to foster a positive and constructive relationship between the University and its recognised trade unions, and to provide a mutually understood method of discussion with a view to reaching agreement about issues affecting those staff who fall within the purview of this agreement.

Until the procedure provided for in this agreement has been exhausted, neither party shall be free to take any other action and the status quo will be maintained. The parties further agree that inter-union disputes, should they arise, shall be an appropriate subject for this procedure, but will not be the subject of industrial action, and every effort will be made to settle them in accordance with TUC procedures.

The parties to this agreement accept the obligation to arrange discussions under the machinery provided as quickly as practicable, with the aim of settling issues as near as possible to the point of origin. The necessary facilities to enable officers of the recognised trade unions and other staff representatives to carry out their responsibilities are described in Appendix A.

8.6.2 Recognition

The University recognises the Joint Committee for University Support Staff (the JCUSS) as the appropriate and sole bargaining agent in respect of all employees other than those employed in the University's academic and academic-related grades. (Support staff who were assimilated onto the new University grades 6 and 7 will be covered by this recognition agreement.)

The University further recognises Unite and Unison as the only trade unions entitled to engage in collective bargaining on behalf of these staff. The recognised trade unions shall, in addition to the normal facilities for representation of individual members, be accorded such other facilities as are defined in this agreement and as may be agreed in the future.

All local conditions of employment shall be covered by this machinery. Matters negotiated nationally between the Universities' and Colleges' Employers Association (UCEA) and the recognised trade unions will not, however, be a matter for local determination except so far as questions of local application and interpretation may arise.

8.6.3 The Joint Committee for University Support Staff

Membership

The JCUSS will consist of (i) seven persons appointed by the University, including two members of the Personnel Committee, one of whom will be the Vice-Chairman (Employee Relations) of the Personnel Committee and will act as chairman of the JCUSS; (ii) six representatives of the support staff of whom three are to be nominated by Unite and three are to be nominated by Unison; normally, one of these six is to be nominated from among support staff employed in clinical departments.

Joint secretaries

The employee representatives will appoint a joint secretary from amongst their number, for a term of two years rotating between Unison and Unite, and the University will appoint a joint secretary and a senior lead officer from amongst the officers of University HR. The Joint Secretaries will prepare and distribute the agenda and related documents at least one week before each meeting and will prepare the minutes, including a record of agreed action points, normally within three weeks after each meeting.

The Joint Secretaries will discuss more general matters (including those related to conditions of service) as directed by the joint committee or by their respective officers. They will attempt to clarify the aspirations of those whom they represent and, where possible, to recommend outline agreements. However, the Joint Secretaries are not empowered to reach binding agreements. If they fail to agree a recommendation, issues will be referred to the Joint Committee, which may consider whether the appointment of a small working group might be appropriate.

Meeting arrangements

The JCUSS will meet once each term, normally on the Tuesday morning of week four. A scheduled meeting may be cancelled by agreement of the joint secretaries if there is insufficient business to merit a meeting, or where, in the opinion of the chairman, matters raised for discussion could more effectively be dealt with in the first instance by the joint secretaries. Where a matter arises that is so urgent that it cannot await discussion at a scheduled meeting either of the joint secretaries may request of the chairman that a special meeting be arranged; a special meeting will normally be held within 10 working days of such a request.

Remit

It will be the duty of the JCUSS (i) to consider and discuss with a view to reaching agreement matters referred to it by the parties to this agreement and (ii) subject to the approval of the Personnel Committee and together with other recognised joint committees, to make arrangements for employees generally to be informed and consulted about the University's personnel policies and practices as envisaged in the Agreement on Consulting and Informing Employees.

 

8.6.4 Procedure for resolving differences

The procedure described under this heading will not apply in the case of disciplinary issues, which will be dealt with in accordance with the University's disciplinary procedures.

Formal individual grievances or grievances relating to two or more employees within a department will be raised within the grievance procedure for University support staff.

The parties agree that informal channels of communication within departments and institutions represent the first and preferable method for resolving problems. Both the University and the staff representatives will, therefore, endeavour to facilitate and support this approach wherever practicable, particularly through informal contact at joint secretarial level.

Collective disputes regarding issues of general application affecting more than one department will be referred by either Joint Secretary and, subject to the agreement of the chairman, will be dealt with by the JCUSS or by a subcommittee appointed by the JCUSS for the purpose. At this stage the full-time officer(s) of the recognised trade union(s) will have the right to be received by the JCUSS and, if necessary, the committee will adjourn at the request of the employees' side to enable full-time officer(s) to attend.

It is accepted that in any situation in which there is a difference of opinion between the university and employee representatives, any party may wish to refer back to the body appointing them, in which case there will be provision for an adjournment of discussion of that issue for a mutually acceptable period.

In the event that an issue remains unresolved, it will be open to either side to register a 'failure to agree', either as a minuted statement during the course of a meeting of the JCUSS or a subcommittee of the JCUSS or by written communication addressed to the relevant Joint Secretary. In this event neither side will take action to affect the status quo for at least 14 days after the date on which the failure to agree was registered. Within this period it will be open to the parties to agree mutually to refer the matter for conciliation. Such a referral would normally be made to the independent Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), on the understanding that the service will be asked only to conciliate, rather than to mediate or arbitrate, on the issue in question.

Ratification of decisions

Under the University's governance arrangements, any alterations to conditions of service, or to the provisions of this agreement, which have been negotiated within the JCUSS must be formally ratified before implementation by the Personnel Committee and, where appropriate, by Council. Where such ratification is not forthcoming, the matter in question will normally be referred back no more than once to the Joint Committee for further consideration and (where appropriate) resubmission to the Personnel Committee in a modified form. If the issue still remains unresolved, it may be dropped by mutual agreement; alternatively the procedure for resolving differences, if it has not already been invoked, may be followed.

8.6.5 Termination or amendment of the agreement

This agreement may be amended by mutual agreement at any time, and may be terminated by any party giving three months' notice in writing to that effect.

Back to top

 
1 Start 2 Complete
List of site pages