1. Scope and Purpose
1.1 This procedure applies to staff employed at Birtley Parish Council under a Contract of Employment. It does not apply to independent contractors working for the Council.
1.2 The Council recognises that from time to time employees may wish to seek redress for grievances relating to their employment. The purpose of this procedure is to encourage open communication between employees and their managers to ensure that questions and problems arising during the course of their employment can be aired and, where possible, resolved quickly and to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
1.3 The procedure is relevant where an individual or a group of employees has a grievance about a matter relating to their employment. Separate procedures covering cases of harassment, regrading and collective disputes are available and should be used in these situations. The Grievance Procedure cannot be used to appeal against action taken under the Disciplinary Procedure as it contains its own appeal process.
Key Principles and Definitions
2.1 This procedure is designed to comply with the Instrument and Articles of Government and with advice from ACAS and other advisory bodies on dealing with grievances.
2.2 At every stage in the procedure an employee who has a grievance, or those against whom a grievance is raised, will have the right to be accompanied by a representative of a recognised trade union or a work colleague.
2.3 Although the timescales in this procedure may be varied by agreement, the overall aim should be to settle the grievance as near to the point of origin and as quickly as possible.
2.4 An employee shall not be victimised or discriminated against as a result of bringing a complaint under the Grievance Procedure.
3.1 The formal stages of the procedure are set out below:3. The Procedure
Stage 1 – Informal Discussions
3.2 If an employee has a grievance relating to his/her employment, the matter should be raised initially with the employee’s line manager (Council Chairman) The grievance should be raised orally in the first instance. In the event that the grievance relates to the line manager who would normally deal with a grievance at this stage, the grievance should be referred to the line manager’s own manager (Unitary Authority).
3.3 The line manager will attempt to resolve the complaint informally. He/she shall enquire into the grievance and will discuss it with the complainant and will advise the complainant of his/her decision in writing within 10 working days after the complaint is received. Most grievances will be resolved at this stage.
3.4 If the grievance is against the line manager, the grievance should be submitted to the Unitary Authority
3.5 If the grievance has not been resolved at Stage 1, the complainant may refer the grievance to the Unitary Authority
3.6 The Unitary Authority officer or his/her representative will, as soon as possible (and in any event, within 10 working days of receipt of the form) arrange a meeting at which all parties to the grievance will attend. The employee may be represented and accompanied at the meeting by a trade union representative or colleague.
3.7 The employee bringing the grievance or his/her representative will be given the opportunity to explain the nature of the grievance, submit verbal/written evidence and call appropriate witnesses.
3.8 The Unitary Authority officer or his/her representative will have the right to ask questions of the parties in attendance.
3.9 The Unitary Authority officer or his/her representative, will consider all of the matters raised at the meeting and will issue a written decision within 10 working days. Copies of the decision will be sent to all of the parties.
3.10 If the grievance is against the Unitary Authority officer or his/her representative, the grievance should be submitted, in writing, to the Chief Executive as described under Stage 3.
3.11 If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the employee at Stage 2, the grievance may be submitted, in writing, to the Chief Executive within 10 working days of receipt of the decision reached at Stage 2.
3.12 The employee will be entitled to have a meeting with the Chief Executive and to be accompanied and represented by a trade union representative or colleague.
3.13 The Chief Executive will consider the grievance and may be supplied with all of the documentation submitted in relation to the earlier stages of the procedure.
3.14 The Chief Executive will issue and send to all parties, copies of a written decision within 10 working days of receiving the grievance in writing. Such decision will be final.
3.15 If the grievance is against the Chief Executive, the grievance should be submitted in writing to the Monitoring Officer.
4. Roles and Responsibilities
4.1 It is the responsibility of all Councillors to ensure that grievances are dealt with promptly and, where possible, matters are resolved effectively.
NALC and CAN staff will normally provide advice and guidance to assist Councillors in resolving the grievance.
4.2 Any Councillor involved in the formal stages of the Grievance Procedure will normally, where practicable, have appropriate training and/or experience in grievance procedures and a thorough awareness of this specific procedure.
4.3 Advice on the application of this procedure is provided by NALC and CAN.
5. Monitoring and Review of the Procedure
5.1 The Unitary Authority officer or his/her is responsible for ensuring the formal monitoring and review of the procedure in line with relevant legislation, Codes of Practice, case law and good employer practice. Any changes to the procedure will be subject to consultation with representatives of recognised trade unions and will be agreed by the Council.
5.2 The Council Chairman will monitor the implementation of the procedure to ensure fair and consistent treatment of employees.
Birtley Parish Council
Appendix A – Procedure for the Conduct of a Grievance Hearing
NB. The employee(s) called to the hearing may be accompanied by a representative of a recognised trade union or a work colleague independent of the situation and, where identified in the procedure, they may contribute on his/her behalf. In the case of a grievance involving more than one employee, the employees should nominate a spokesperson to present the case if not otherwise represented. Either party may request an adjournment at any time.
The Chairman or his/her representative will introduce all those present and outline the procedure for the hearing including the use of adjournments.
The Case for the Grievance
The employee(s) or their representative will present the case in support of the grievance, which may include statements by witnesses.
The Council representative may ask questions of the employee(s) or witness(es).
The Chairman convening the hearing or his/her representative may ask questions of the employee(s) or witness(es).
The employee may re-examine his/her witnesses.
The Response to the Grievance
The Council representative will present the response to the grievance, which may include statements by witnesses.
The employee(s) or their representative may ask questions of clarification of the Council representative.
The Chairman convening the hearing or his/her representative may ask questions of the Council representative or witness(es).
The Council representative may re-examine his/her witnesses.
The employee(s) or their representative will sum up the case in support of the grievance introducing no new evidence.
The Council representative will sum up the case against the grievance introducing no new evidence.
Both parties will withdraw to enable the Chairman convening the hearing or his/her representative to consider the evidence presented and reach a decision.
If it is necessary to recall any representative or witness for clarification, both parties will be recalled.
Communicating the Decision
14 If possible, the decision will be communicated orally immediately after the hearing. If this is not possible, the Chairman convening the hearing or his/her representative will advise both parties of the timescale for reaching a decision and how this will be communicated.