Conduct Procedure - Managers' Guidance

1. Introduction 

The University values not only the skills of its employees but also the way in which its employees carry out their roles: their conduct in their role and towards each other. These values are embedded in the professional behaviour framework and leadership attributes. Good conduct is essential for the efficient and orderly operation of the University’s activities and to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University and its associates.  

The purpose of the Conduct Procedure (Conduct Framework for Staff who have completed their Initial Service Review period: Ordinance 10, section 4) is to provide a constructive framework for dealing with staff conduct to ensure that disciplinary action when necessary is applied fairly and consistently. 

The purpose of this guidance is to assist managers to implement Ordinance 10, section 4, it does not form part of the procedure.  It follows that this guidance should be read in conjunction with the the Conduct Procedure (Conduct Framework for Staff who have completed their Initial Service Review period: Ordinance 10, section 4) and the Operating Principles (Ordinance 10, section 1)

2. Manager’s Responsibilities 

It is the Manager’s responsibility: 

3. Support and Guidance 

HR teams will provide guidance and support to all parties involved in the operation of the procedures prescribed by Ordinance 10, section 4 (see Operating Principles: Ordinance 10, section 1, point 1.6). 

Trade Unions may advise their members on all aspects of this procedure, and may represent/accompany individuals at meetings (see Operating Principles: Ordinance 10, section 1, point 1.12). 

4. Early Action (Ordinance 10, section 4, point 4.2) 

If a Manager has concerns about an employee’s conduct it is in the Manager’s interests to address the concern early. The aim is to resolve the concern before positions harden or patterns of working become entrenched and therefore harder to change and/or start to affect other members of the employee’s team or any other colleagues. Managers are strongly encouraged to address any concerns relating to an employee’s conduct early with the aim of resolving them without recourse to the formal procedure. 

Any informal meetings or discussions (whether as part of regular 1:1 meetings or arranged specifically to address poor conduct) should highlight: 

At an informal meeting managers should: 

Where as a result of early action conduct has improved sufficiently, managers should meet again with the employee to confirm the positive outcome and should confirm this in writing (this could be via email). It will also be necessary for the Manager to ensure that standards of behaviour/conduct are maintained through appropriate review. 

5. Suspension (Ordinance 10, section 4, point 4.3 and Ordinance 10, section 1, point 1.14) 

A Manager may consider that the seriousness or persistence of an employee’s conduct warrants consideration of suspension. 

Managers do not have the authority to suspend employees, this can only be done by the HR Director or nominee. If a Manager considers in any particular instance that suspension might be appropriate they must obtain advice from their Faculty/Division HR Manager who will refer the matter to the HR Director or nominee. 

6. Prior to Taking Formal Action (Ordinance 10, section 4, point 4.5) 

Before taking formal action under Ordinance 10, section 4 it may be helpful for the Manager in discussion with HR to consider the following: 

7. Investigations (Ordinance 10 section 4, point 4.4) 

Not all investigations are the same. Investigations can range from additional enquires being made by the Manager considering taking formal action through to an investigator being appointed to carry out an investigation. It is not therefore possible to prescribe exactly how an investigation should be carried out. The nature of the investigation will depend upon the conduct being investigated and the relevant information already available. A Manager who decides that it is appropriate to gather further information themselves before deciding whether formal action is taken may find the approach in this section useful. These guidelines are therefore suggestions as to how an investigator or manager might proceed with an investigation. 

As a first step the investigator (with advice from HR) should consider the concern that has been expressed about the employee’s conduct and the remit of the investigation which will normally include considering: 

Having established the remit of the investigation the investigator will normally: 

HR will where appropriate: 

Having completed the investigation the investigator will: 

8. Following Investigation 

Where an investigation has been carried out it is for the Manager who commissioned that investigation, having considered the investigator’s report, to decide what if any action should be taken. This may include deciding that:

It is usual for the Manager’s decision to follow the investigator’s recommendation but that will not always be the case. Where a Manager, having considered the evidence gathered by the investigator, considers that a different conclusion may be drawn he or she must seek advice from HR before making a decision on how to proceed. 

9. Taking Formal Action (Ordinance 10 section 4, point 4.5) 

It is important to remember that the employee is likely to be worried about attending a formal meeting under Ordinance 10, section 4. The Manager’s first responsibility is, as far as possible, to put the employee at their ease and conduct the procedure and any meetings in an open and transparent manner. 

(a)  Prior to the hearing (Ordinance 10 section 4, point 4.5.2 - 4.5.3) 

(b)  The format of the hearing 

The Appropriate Manager should explain to all those present at the hearing how the hearing will be conducted. The usual format of the hearing is set out in Appendix 1. 

(c) At the hearing 

At the hearing the Appropriate Manager may: 

(d) Considering the decision 

Appendix 1: Format for a Hearing under Ordinance 10, section 4

The usual format for the hearing will be: