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Formal Stage 1

FORMAL STAGE 1

Escalation to Formal Stage 1 will take place when the informal stage has not resulted in the required improvement in performance despite having being given initial, informal guidance and support.  This stage may also be used in more serious circumstances when a more formal approach is required. 

Matters should not be progressed to the formal stages if it is established that the employee has not had the necessary training, guidance and support required to undertake the job. 

The process for undertaking Formal Stage 1 of the Capability Policy is noted below:

Arrange Formal Capability Meeting - Stage 1

A meeting will be arranged with the employee and at least five working days’ notice should be provided of the meeting.

The letter inviting the employee to the meeting should include the following information:

  • The date, time and location of meeting
  • The stage of the Capability Policy being used
  • Clear details of performance concerns
  • All necessary supporting documentation (including details of any informal approach already undertaken)
  • Who will be attending the meeting
  • The employee’s right to be represented
  • An indication of the possible outcomes of the meeting.

The letter should also highlight that the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Capability Policy is available on HR Connect.

Preparation for Formal Capability Meeting - Stage 1

Preparation is crucial to a successful capability meeting, including gathering all relevant information and documentation relating to the areas of the employee’s work performance that require improvement.  It may also be helpful to consider how these areas of concern relate to the employee’s Knowledge & Skills Framework outline for the post they are undertaking and how these may be addressed.

Format of Capability Stage 1 Meeting

The following areas should be discussed and agreed at the meeting:

  • The employee should be told clearly and precisely the areas identified in which there are concerns over their performance and the improvement in work standard which is required.
  • The employee should be given an opportunity to respond to the points made and to explain any difficulties which may be impacting on their performance.
  • There should be a discussion about the ways and means by which the desired improvement may be achieved.
  • A Supported Improvement Plan (detailed at Section 4.3) should be agreed that details the improvement required, what support mechanisms will be introduced to aid this process and realistic timescales should be set.
  • Consideration should also be given as to whether mentoring, training or coaching would be appropriate and included as part of the Supported Improvement Plan.
  • Discuss whether there are any underlying health issues or personal problems that may have affected performance.
  • The date when the employee’s performance will be reviewed again (a formal review meeting should take place mid-way and at the end of the agreed timescale set).
  • Possible outcomes if the required improvement is not achieved within the agreed timescales.

As with the Informal Stage Meeting, the discussion requires to be sensitively handled, free from interruptions in an atmosphere of trust and open discussion.  Employees must be encouraged to be entirely open and honest in exploring these issues.  Managers must bear in mind that that the aim is to assist the employee to improve their work performance to an acceptable standard.

It is imperative that the problem(s), as perceived by the manager and employee, are fully explored and established and the issues are understood by all.

Outcome from Capability Formal Stage 1 Meeting

The outcome from this meeting should be formally recorded in a letter to the employee within 5 working days of the meeting including a copy of the agreed action plan, either signed at the meeting or to be signed.

The letter will include the following:

  • Clear details of the performance concerns
  • The improvement(s) required
  • An agreed Supported Improvement Plan to achieve improvement
  • Details of how the plan is going to be monitored, providing dates for review meetings if agreed
  • Confirmation of the timescales
  • Potential outcomes including escalation to Stage 2 of the process.

Two copies of the letter should be issued to the employee, along with an acknowledgement slip.  The employee should sign and return the acknowledgement slip along with one copy of the letter, to be retained in their personal file.  They should retain the other copy for their own information.

Monitoring and Reviewing - Formal Stage 1

The timescales for the process of monitoring and review can vary from case to case, but in all formal cases it is important to arrange a mid-way formal meeting to review and assess the progress of the employee at an early stage.

Formal Stage - Mid-Way Formal Review Meeting

The employee should be formally invited to this meeting and provided with at least 5 working days' notice.

The letter should include the following information:

  1. The date, time and location of meeting
  2. Who will be in attendance (the manager may wish to consider asking the mentor to be in attendance if one was identified)
  3. The right to be represented at the meeting
  4. Confirmation that the purpose of the meeting is to review the current Supported Improvement Plan/Action Plan in place and whether any adjustments are required at this point in time

At this meeting the manager should review the employee’s performance to date and constructive feedback should be given. The employee will also be provided with the opportunity to give feedback on the benefits of any support mechanisms provided. Management and the employee should consider whether any further supports or adjustments are required to be made to the Supported Improvement Plan/Action Plan. It should be reiterated to the employee what the next steps may be if they do not meet all objectives within their agreed Supported Improvement Plan/Action Plan at the end of their review period.

The outcome from the Formal Mid-way Review Meeting should be formally recorded in a letter to the employee within 5 working days of the meeting.

Final Formal Review Meeting - Stage 1

A letter should be sent to the employee formally inviting them to this meeting and providing at least 5 working days' notice.

The letter should include the following information:

  • The date, time and location of meeting
  • Who will be in attendance (the manager may wish to consider asking the mentor to be in attendance if one was identified)
  • The right to be represented at the meeting
  • Confirmation that the purpose of the meeting is to review the current Supported Improvement Plan/Action Plan.

At the Final Capability Formal Stage 1 Review Meeting the manager is required to identify whether the desired improvement has been achieved by the employee. The manager will review the Supported Improvement Plan/Action Plan and consider the information provided by the mentor (if one had been identified) and feedback from the employee to allow them to make this decision.

At this meeting the employee will then be advised of the following potential outcomes:

  • The employee has improved their performance and no further action requires to be taken.  Normal supervision and performance management processes will continue.
  • The employee has improved to an extent and the Supported Improvement Plan should be extended to provide the opportunity for further improvement.  The amended timescales should be highlighted to the employee, along with the outstanding objectives to be addressed.
  • The employee has been unable to improve their performance in line with the required standard and should progress to Formal Stage 2 of the capability process.

The outcome from the Final Capability Formal Stage 1 Review Meeting should be formally recorded in a letter to the employee within 5 working days of the meeting.

The letter should include the following:

  • Details of the issues discussed
  • Confirmation of the employee’s position in terms of completion of the Supported Improvement Plan.
  • Details of the outcome – performance has improved, performance has improved to an extent or performance has not improved to the extent required, therefore referred to Stage 2.

 Two copies of the letter should be issued to the employee, along with an acknowledgement slip.  The employee should sign and return the acknowledgement slip along with one copy of the letter, to be retained in their personal file.  They should retain the other copy for their own information.

Please note that if the outcome is that the necessary improvement has been achieved, then the manager should ensure that all capability documentation is removed from the employee’s file 6 months after the date of the outcome letter as long as there have been no further cause for concerns. It is best practice for the manager to inform the employee when such paperwork has been removed.

Formal Stage 2 of the capability process should be used if the desired improvement has not been achieved by the employee at Formal Stage 1. This stage can also be used where evidence exists that there is a genuine factor which renders an employee incapable of carrying out their current role, and all parties are in agreement that redeployment is the only option.