Initial Stages - Before formal stages are initiated
Where employee performance, conduct or attitude does not meet the standard required by the Board, management will be expected to make a judgement on how the matter is dealt with. If it is found through initial investigations that the matter is one of performance, management will make a decision as to whether it will best be dealt with using the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure or an alternative policy e.g. capability or attendance management.
If management decides to use an alternative policy or procedure initially, it does not prevent instigating the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure at a later stage if it is believed that the alternative policy has not provided a resolution, or if the matter has escalated. This would only happen rarely and the individual would still require to be made aware of the seriousness of any actions.
Dealing with Complaints
Complaints can be made in a number of ways; by the complainant contacting the relevant manager by phone or in person, or a formal complaint made under the official complaints procedure.
Complaints made under the official process will follow the procedure set down (see your local Sector / Service / Health & Social Care Partnership procedure) with a given response timescale. As part of addressing the complaint, the manager may need to speak to staff to clarify their version of events. Where the complaint is of a serious nature it may be immediately apparent that an investigation under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure is required. This remains a separate process from the complaints procedure; however it may be that the response to the complaint is delayed until the investigation is concluded. Alternatively, it may be an outcome of the formal complaints procedure that a formal investigation under the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure is required.
Other complaints that are made more informally may be resolved quickly with some fact finding conversations.
From time to time complaints can be received which are anonymous. The usual advice on this is to ignore such complaints as without a signatory it is not possible to obtain a statement of the issues from the complainant and the evidence may then be treated as having less substance.
Anonymous complaints can be malicious and it is important that an issue isn’t investigated without a sound basis.
Anonymous complaints can also be attempts to bring issues of concern to the attention of the organisation. It may be that the letter contains some information that is both factual and extremely serious (e.g. fraud or patient abuse) in which case the manager does need to act on this by taking advice from HR. Also if patterns or frequency of such anonymous complaints emerge or if there is a concern that there may be some accuracy in the complaint, contact HR to discuss whether and how to look into the issues raised.