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Informal Stage

INFORMAL DISCUSSION

Prior to any consideration in terms of the Capability Policy, early intervention is encouraged when poor performance is identified, enabling a supportive approach to be taken.  This can involve short informal discussions between the manager and employee to discuss shortfalls in performance as they arise, identifying solutions and support to ensure that the employee is provided with every opportunity to improve their performance.

Early intervention should ensure that every effort is made to assist the employee and encourage their improvement.

INFORMAL MEETING

Where a potential performance/capability issue is identified, the manager should arrange to meet with the member of staff (verbally) for an informal, private one to one discussion, offering advice and guidance on expected future performance and to support the employee in achieving the required standards.  The employee should be clear on the purpose of the meeting and the issues to be discussed.

Whilst there is no requirement to have a staff side representative in attendance at this informal stage, the employee should be provided with adequate notice to allow them to arrange a representative if they so wish.

The key issues to be discussed at this meeting should be:-

-       The standards of performance expected in the role.

-       The particular performance concerns and whether the employee acknowledges and understands that there is a problem. 

-       Possible contributing factors as detailed in Section 3.

-       Possible solutions or a range of solutions

-       Agree a supported improvement plan with specified time limits.

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 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 OF INFORMAL MEETING

The outcome of the meeting should be confirmed by the manager in writing to the employee, normally within 5 working days, and should include the following:-

-       Details of the issues discussed

-       The agreements reached

-       A copy of the supported improvement plan (if completed)

-       The timescales during which satisfactory improvement is expected to be reached and maintained.

-       The employee should also be advised of the possibility of progression to the formal stages of the policy should there be an inadequate improvement within the agreed timescales.

-       A copy of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Capability Policy

 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.

SUPPORTED IMPROVEMENT PLAN/ACTION PLAN

A key outcome of the informal discussion, either during the meeting or after the meeting, should be the development of an appropriate plan to support the individual in improving their performance.

The Supported Improvement Plan should contain the following:-

 

  • The nature and extent of the unsatisfactory performance.
  • The standards of performance required.
  • How reaching and maintaining such standards is expected to be evidenced.
  • Support mechanisms which have been put in place (whether solely for the supported improvement process or as permanent arrangements).
  • Who will be mentoring/supporting the employee?
  • The timescales during which satisfactory improvement is expected to be reached and maintained.

It may be necessary during a Supported Improvement Plan to amend the employee’s duties to enable a focus on certain duties or to ensure a greater degree of supervision.  However, it should be made clear that successful completion of the Supported Improvement Plan will require the employee to reach and maintain the required standards across their full range of work duties and without the need for an increased level of supervision.  Any supports identified as ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equalities Act should be identified as sustainable during the course of the employee’s employment as appropriate.

The Supported Improvement Plan should be signed and dated by the manager and employee to confirm their agreement.  However, a failure by the employee to agree the contents of the plan does not prevent its implementation.

The mentor/manager should meet with the employee, at least on a weekly basis, during the period of supported improvement in order to discuss progress and provide any additional support.  The Monitoring Framework documentation provides appropriate mechanism to facilitate this process.

These meetings, including the details discussed and any additional support provided should be clearly documented in the log within the Monitoring Framework and should be signed by both the mentor/manager and the employee.

NOTE:            The template provided for the Supported Improvement Plan/Action Plan can be used at all stages of the Capability Process.

Monitoring and Review

The timescales for monitoring and review would normally be agreed to take place over a four to twelve week period.  The length of this will depend on a number of variable factors and these must be fully considered before determining the timescales:-

-       The nature of the performance issue.

-       How long it will take to complete the Supported Improvement Plan.

-       The availability of the Mentor.

-       Any planned periods of annual leave

A similar process for monitoring and review can be adopted for all stages of the Capability Process.

Informal Stage - Interim Review Meeting

It may also be appropriate to consider a Mid-Review meeting to take place during the Supported Improvement Plan.  This will provide a defined period for the manager and employee to review and discuss progress, make any amendments to the plan, introduce additional support and potentially consider the extension of the timescales if appropriate.

Final INFORMAL Review Meeting

The final review meeting will take place on completion of the agreed timescale and the employee should be verbally notified of the date and time of the meeting and should be clear on the matters to be discussed. 

The following areas should be discussed:

-       The objective review of the employee’s progress against the Supported Improvement Plan.

-       Feedback from the employee in terms of their progress and also examples/evidence of those improvements.

-       Discussion and a decision on the next step to be taken.

Possible outcomes will include:

-       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 the formal stage of the capability process.

OUTCOME OF FINAL REVIEW MEETING

The outcome of the meeting should be confirmed by the manager in writing to the employee, normally within 5 working days, and should include the following details:-

-       Details of the issues discussed

-       The employee’s position in terms of completion of the Supported Improvement Plan.

-       The employee should also be advised clearly of the decision taken at the meeting as detailed above.

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.