Disciplinary Policy – People before process

People before process is about creating a culture of fairness, openness and learning, to make colleagues feel confident to speak up when things go wrong, rather than fearing blame.

When an issue or incident arises, a People Before Process culture looks first at ‘what’ was responsible, before looking at ‘who’ was responsible. The actions of colleagues need to be placed into context early, not at the end of a process, which is what often happens - we should seek to understand how an issue or incident came about before deciding what action should be taken next. 

We are committed to building a culture where people are treated with dignity, respect and compassion, and we should support colleagues to be open about mistakes as this allows valuable lessons to be learnt, which helps to prevent the same mistakes being repeated.

Our Disciplinary Policy should therefore be used as a last resort, with it’s purpose being used to support changes in behaviour and to prevent that behaviour from reoccurring, rather than being used to punish behaviour.

The policy is set within this context and on an understanding that we will always seek to learn from incidents and issues that arise. 

It’s important that the People Before Process guidance within the policy is assessed against the circumstances that arise, after which a view can be taken on the appropriate next steps. The guidance in the policy supports open conversations between colleagues to truly understand what has happened before next steps and actions are considered.

If after reviewing the event (Adverse Incident Review), it is determined that a formal investigation is required under the disciplinary policy, an Employee Relations Consultant will be assigned to give advice and guidance as to how the case is progressed, and a full and thorough investigation will be undertaken by an independent investigating officer, who will then provide a report of their findings. 

The investigation will be overseen by an individual removed from the incident itself, and they will review the investigation report to determine whether the case can be closed with no further action or some lessons learnt, or whether there is a need for a formal disciplinary hearing, where the possible outcomes could be no further formal action, the issuing of a first or final warning, or dismissal.

Where an individual is issued with a formal sanction, they will have the right of appeal against the sanction issued, which will then be heard by an independent panel. The Disciplinary Policy provides further details on the process, the various stages, and potential outcomes/sanctions.

Matters relating to unsatisfactory colleague performance should be dealt with under the Trust’s Performance Management policy and not dealt with through our Disciplinary policy.

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