Presentation on theme: "Another fine mess I’ve got myself into"— Presentation transcript:
1 Another fine mess I’ve got myself into Lionel Thatcher, Advisor SLCC
2 A complaint from a member of the public A complaint from a councillorA complaint from a member of staffA settling of old scores (perhaps after an election and change of regime)Following a grievance or disciplinary relating to a staff member, at which accusations about you were madeYou have upset a member of Council who has decided to get evenSomething within the Council has gone wrong – and you’re the figurehead
3 Or – highly unlikely, I know – YOU HAVEN’T DONE YOUR JOB PROPERLY!!
4 S101 of The Local Government Act 1972 ………………..a local authority may arrange for the discharge of any of their functionsa)By a committee, a sub committee or an officer of the authority, orb)By any other local authority……………………………………You will note that does NOT include a councillor
5 Call SLCC and speak to an Employment Support Officer Perhaps you are a member of Unison or another Trade Union?If so, tell them what has happened – and take their advice
8 GROSS MISCONDUCT (may lead to dismissal) Such asTheft or FraudFightingWorking DangerouslyMalicious damageSerious incapability through alcohol or illegal drugsFalsification or unauthorised removal of Council records or propertySerious insubordination
9 MISCONDUCT (conduct which initially requires disciplinary action other than dismissal) Such asPersistent latenessUnauthorised absenceFailure to meet required standards of workPoor performance, which could be a capability matter.
10 THE DISCIPLINARY HEARING It is not open to the Press or publicThe Panel should be impartialIt may be conducted in a quasi-judicial mannerThe accusations should be known before the HearingReplies to the accusations should also be supplied prior to the HearingThe Council may call witnesses, as may you.The Council will make their submission and you, or your representative, may question the Council and their witnesses.You will reply and you will be questioned. Questions put to you must be answered by you, not your representative.You may receive the Panel’s decision that day or, more likely, it will communicated to you later.
11 And after the Disciplinary? Clearly, if the Panel find in your favour, that’s an end to it!If they don’t, you may either accept their findings or appeal.
12 Possible findings of a Panel are In your favour, so no actionA verbal warningA first written warningA final written warningOrdismissal
13 EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALSOnly when you have been employed for 12 months by the employeryears from April
14 SLCC will not be able to represent you at Tribunal We will support you as much as possible and the ESO could supply a witness statement if requiredBUT you may need to be represented by a solicitor and, at the Tribunal, by a barristerThis is expensive
15 CHECK YOUR HOUSEHOLD INSURANCE POLICY DO YOU HAVE LEGAL COVER?IF SO, THIS MAY FUND THE ACTION
16 THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU PROCEED TO TRIBUNAL It is expensiveIt can be time-consuming and stressfulEven if you win, the rewards may not be that greatAnd if you lose, costs could be awarded against you
17 Bullying in the Workplace: a survival guide WelcomeBullying in the Workplace:a survival guideLed by Lionel Thatcher, Advisor SLCC
18 What is Bullying?“Bullying may be characterised as a pattern of offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour; an abuse of power or authority which tends to undermine an individual or a group of individuals, gradually eroding their confidence and capability, which may cause them to suffer stress.”ACAS definition
19 Why is Bullying a problem? Bullying costs UK employers £2bn/year (CIPD)Bullying causes inefficienciesRedress is through employment tribunals or courts of law; constructive dismissal, breach of contract or personal injury claims, criminal law under Protection from Harassment act
20 1. Have a Policy 80% of UK employers have a policy “Dignity at Work” policy template on SLCC websiteCovers all parties to the council“Zero tolerance” approachDefine bullying so that it can be recognizedOutline the process (tie in with Grievance policy)
21 2. Encourage Dialogue Keep talking Set up Staffing or Personnel CommitteeEncourage formal performance appraisal processKeep it factual and objective.Encourage Members to attend training on performance management.
22 3. Assert yourselfYou are less likely to suffer if you can be assertive.Assert your rightsEncompass these rights for everyone in your policySeek out self-help books/training and strive for a self-development goal.
23 4. Keep a Diary Objective and factual evidence key Note down details in a diary or journalThis will assist in the need for evidence and be useful to assess whether there is a pattern developingIf there are witnesses ask for them to make a note of the events too
24 5. Identify an AllyFind someone to talk to and to support you; a Member, a colleague or a fellow clerk in your network?The Society’s Regional Advisors should be notified and you may be passed on the Employment Advisor if you require specialist help.
25 6. Put it in writing Confronting the bully can make the issue worse Refute allegations in writingComplaints should be put in writing to the perpetrator and copied to Chair and/or Personnel Committee (but not all Members)Keep the complaint factual and objective without reference to emotions.Point out what you want to change and how that will benefit you and the council.
26 7. Use the Grievance Process Written complaint triggers Grievance ProcedureStatutory right to be accompanied or representedAsk to know who’s on the hearing panelDecide a desired outcome – what would make things better?You need to exhaust this internal procedure before you progress to an Employment TribunalNb limitations of Code of Conduct now
27 8. Consider MediationMay be appropriate to enlist the services of a professional mediator to build trust.There is a cost to this kind of service – ACAS charge £2k to provide two consultants to a council for 2 days.
28 9. See your GPStress/related medical problems are symptoms of bullying.Make appointment to see your doctorCounselling may help you cope with the effects of bullyingDon’t be afraid to take sickness absence – a break from the workplace can help
29 10. Seek Specialist Advice Advice is available from your SLCC Advisory ServiceAdvice notesYour CALC/OVW may also be able to intervene and adviseACAS on or