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Informal Approaches

This section describes the informal approaches which managers can use.  This list is not exhaustive and you may wish to agree with the aggrieved party an approach not described.

Informal Meeting with employee

The most common approach is a one-to-one meeting with line manager and employee, with a frank discussion of the issues/concerns and appropriate consideration of resolutions by the manager.

Refer to template letter in tools and template section.

 This meeting may also highlight that some of the approaches below are required to assist in resolving the grievance including the use of mediation or facilitated meetings.  Although these approaches are described in the informal section, it does not preclude these approaches being used at the end or any stage of the process. For example in some instances following a grievance, a recommendation could be mediation between parties.

Facilitated Meeting

This may involve bringing all relevant parties to the grievance together with the manager controlling a focused discussion, aimed at highlighting the concerns and finding a suitable resolution between all parties. Trade Unions often have a role to play in these meetings, in assisting the manager to reach an informal resolution.

Mediation

“Mediation is where an impartial third party, the mediator, helps two or more people in dispute to attempt to reach an agreement.  Any agreement comes from those in dispute, not from the mediator. The mediator is not there to judge, to say one person is right and the other wrong, or to tell those involved in the mediation what they should do. The mediator is in charge of the process of seeking to resolve the problem but not the outcome.

 NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have a Mediation Procedure and a number of trained mediators. If you wish to access a mediator, please refer to the MEDIATION PROCEDURE section.

Although the use of mediation is encouraged in the organisation it is important to fully consider the extent of the concerns raised and whether this is the most appropriate means to address the grievance.

 If it also important to note that

  • Mediation is voluntary and will take place only where all parties involved in the dispute agree to participate.
  • The process can be stopped at any point by any participant, including the mediator.
  • The mediator will be impartial and independent to the situation and parties involved.
  • Every individual involved will keep information about the mediation confidential and not disclose it to a third party, nor use it for any other purpose other than mediation. The only exception would be if there was a legal duty to disclose information that was shared at the meeting.
  • The mediation framework, including any written agreement, is non-contractual in status, binding by honour only. To encourage employees to participate in mediation and to emphasise its use at informal stages of disputes, ACAS advise that the content of mediation discussions and agreements should not be used in any formal process.

 Outcome of the Informal Stage

The grievance policy states managers should seek to resolve the matter within 2 working weeks of grievance being raised. Often depending on the approach it may take more than 2 working weeks, in which case this should be agreed by all parties and confirmed in writing.  

It is recommended that a written record is kept of any discussions under the informal stages of NHS GGC Grievance Policy and Procedure. This should take the form of a letter confirming an informal approach has been agreed as the way forward to progress the concern and should also cover if you have agreed to go out with the time limits expressed in the policy. Depending on the circumstances will dictate how you record informal stages and advice can be sought from the HR department

 For example, if you decided to use mediation as an approach to resolve the issue informally you could confirm this in a letter and arrangements for appointing a mediator.  If mediation is successful you would then confirm that the process is complete and they have advised they will not be progressing to formal stage.

If the employee remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal stage, they will have four working weeks from the date of the decision to notify the next in line manager that they wish to initiate the formal stage of the process.