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Guidance

INTRODUCTION

The Capability Policy is designed to deal with those cases where the employee is lacking in some area of knowledge, skill or ability resulting in a failure to be able to carry out the required duties to an acceptable standard.  The expectation is that where this standard is not met, this will be addressed through a supportive, two way framework where employees will be offered support, encouragement, guidance and training to improve their work performance.

The policy should not be applied in the issues of conduct and a distinction must be drawn between a genuine lack of capability and unsatisfactory performance that is attributable to a wilful refusal on the part of the employee to perform to the standards of which they are capable.  This should be dealt with under the Board’s Disciplinary Procedures.

This policy should not be applied in the cases of issues of capability related to ill health impacting on attendance.  However, it does apply in the case of issues of capability related to ill health where such issues impact on performance (as opposed to attendance).

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

All employees must be made aware of the standards of performance required and of the need to perform acceptably to such standards.

Issues of capability must be addressed at the earliest opportunity and (except in more serious cases) on an informal basis in the first instance before resorting to the formal procedures.

Issues of capability must be addressed fairly, consistently and confidentially, irrespective of the position/level within the Board of employees with whom such matters arise.

A failure to deal with such concerns may adversely affect colleagues and standards of patient care and ultimately the efficiency and quality of the service.

Issues of capability must be addressed in a supportive manner with every opportunity to improve within the current role being offered, and where such improvement is not achievable and sustainable, considering exploration of suitable alternative employment opportunities.  Termination of employment on the grounds of capability must only be a last resort

IDENTIFYING A PERFORMANCE ISSUE

The key questions to determine whether there is a capability issue are:

- What are the indications that the employee is not meeting the requirements of the job?

-  Are there factual grounds to indicate inadequate performance, such as not meeting objectives or failure to deliver the requirements of the job?

Some of the common indicators may include:-

-       Complaints about, or criticism of, the employee’s work from colleagues, patients or visitors.

-       There may be factual grounds to indicate unsatisfactory performances such as poor results.

-       The manager’s own observations of the employee’s performance may give rise to concerns.

-       The employee requesting help to overcome a problem.

 The main factors that can affect performance include:- 

-       Lack of awareness/understanding of the standards or performance required.

-       Ill health

-       Difficulties in personal circumstances

-       Organisational Change

-       Bullying or harassment

-       Inappropriate or ineffective recruitment and selection processes

-       A combination of more than one of the above factors.

On the basis of the issues or concerns identified, it may be necessary to put in place additional supervision in order to mitigate risk, whilst any necessary investigation is undertaken and in advance of agreeing a supported improvement plan.  It may ultimately be necessary to place an employee on a short period of paid leave until such times as a supported improvement plan can be agreed and implemented. 

This should be as a last alternative and for as short a period as possible, all effort being made to identify alternatives which will allow the employee to remain at work (through the use of alternative duties or additional supervision).