Policy on Managing Poor Performance by sdfsb346f


Policy on Managing Poor Performance

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                NHS TRUST

         ON MANAGING

This Policy was assessed for impact on equality,
including race equality, on 16th November 2005
by the Joint Staff Committee’s Policy Sub Group.


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1.     Purpose and Scope

1.1    The Policy covers areas where the performance of employment duties
       is impaired or prevented as a result of work below an acceptable

1.2    It is important to distinguish the effect on performance because of
       ‘capability’, which is covered by this Policy, and the effect on
       performance because of issues of misconduct or sickness which are
       covered by separate policies. It is recognised that there may be
       uncertainty in some cases e.g. where ‘negligence’, which is a
       misconduct issue and ‘incompetence’ which is a capability issue, may
       both be present.

1.3    The Policy applies to all staff with the exception of Medical and Dental
       staff who are covered by separate guidelines.

1.4    The following general principles apply:

       (a)   ‘Work below an acceptable standard’ includes the performance
             of the job, duties or of a programme of training which falls below
             the standards required by agreed national or local standards
             where these exist.

       (b)   The incidence of work below an acceptable standard shall be
             minimised as far as possible by careful recruitment, selection,
             induction and training, and there should be regular appraisal of
             work performance and objective setting.

       (c)   Standards against which performance is judged should be fully
             explained and be as objective as possible. Training, or other
             methods of support should be made available to rectify poor
             performance. Where practical, a written record should be made
             of training undertaken. Training needs should be regularly
             reviewed in the light of changes in training requirements for the

       (d)   The possibility of health reasons or personal problems having a
             bearing on performance shall be considered and eliminated,
             where possible, by following the principles covered in the
             Sickness Policy including referral to Occupational Health
             Services where appropriate.

       (e)   Each individual’s circumstances will be considered in relation to
             the requirements of the post or training programme.

       (f)   If it becomes clear that continuance of the current post or
             training programme is not possible, other options e.g. alternative
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             employment, shall be considered before termination of the
             contract although it is recognised this may prove difficult.

      (g)    The employee shall always be given the opportunity to be
             represented by a Trades Union/Professional representative or
             friend not acting in a legal capacity in formal meetings.

2.    Procedure – Informal Stages

2.1   In cases where the employees’ standard of work or their performance
      on a training programme appears to be below an acceptable standard,
      the Manager should meet with the employee to:

      (a)    Ensure the employee fully understands the requirements of the
             post in terms of objectives, targets and priorities.

      (b)    Identify any problems encountered in achieving the standards

      (c)    Identify assistance which might improve performance. This may
             include elements of training.

2.2   In many cases improvement will not be instant however realistic
      timescales should be agreed within which a sustained improvement is
      expected, and these will be made clear in writing to the employee. The
      letter should also confirm what the next stage would be and enclose a
      copy of this Policy.

2.3   Whilst it is envisaged that in the majority of cases this will be so
      informal that a discussion will suffice managers are advised to seek
      advice from their Human Resource team at an early stage. Likewise a
      member of staff may prefer to be accompanied by either a colleague or
      staff side representative although their unavailability should not hold up

3.    Procedure – Formal Stages

3.1   Where performance below an acceptable standard is a continuing
      problem and the informal stages of the process have not succeeded in
      raising work performance to an adequate standard, the manager
      should arrange to see the employee formally at a hearing where he/she
      has the opportunity to be represented by a Trades Union, colleague or
      friend. A Human Resources representative may also attend to provide
      advice. In some cases, advice from a member of a professional body
      may also be obtained.

3.2   The purpose of the hearing is to formally establish, as comprehensively
      as possible:

      (a)    The areas where performance is below an acceptable standard.

      (b)    Reasons for the poor performance.

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       (c)    Agree written targets and objectives, including realistic dates for
              achievement, against which the employee’s performance can be

       (d)    Future action should the member of staff fail to make the
              necessary performance improvements, e.g. re-deployment or,
              ultimately, dismissal, as set out in paragraph 3.4 below.

 3.3   In cases where the member of staff has not reached the maximum
       point of their pay Band, they will be informed that payment of their next
       pay increment will be withheld until they reach the required standard.
       Managers will need to be able to justify that there actions are in
       accordance with paras 6,26 and 6.27 of the Agenda for Change
       Handbook. To action this a Change Form will need to be completed.

 3.4   Except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. when patients or clients are
       at risk or performance below acceptable standards amounts to gross
       negligence) no employee should be dismissed for performance below
       an acceptable standard at the first formal hearing and a reasonable
       period shall be allowed for raising performance to a satisfactory
       standard. At this point the employee should receive written notification
       that if their performance does not improve during the agreed period
       they may be dismissed.

3.5    Should performance continue to be below an acceptable standard after
       the improvement period a further meeting should be convened. At that
       meeting, consideration should be given to the following prior to

       (a)    Extension of training/development period where performance
              has shown some improvement.

       (b)    Alternative duties or re-deployment to the level of capability,
              both of which may involve downgrading although it is recognised
              this may prove difficult.

       Should dismissal or downgrading become inevitable, it shall be on the
       grounds of ‘capability’ . The right of appeal against dismissal or
       downgrading should be included in the letter confirming the outcome of
       the meeting to the employee, and will be in accordance with the Trust’s
       Appeals Procedure. Dismissal will be given with statutory or
       contractual notice, whichever is the more favourable

 4.    Suspension

 4.1   In exceptional circumstances (see 3.4) it may be necessary to suspend
       employees on full pay, or they may be moved in the interim to a post
       with different duties pending any further action or enquiry. The
       manager will give written reasons for the suspension the next working

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5.    New Employees

5.1   As a matter of good practice the performance of all new employees, i.e.
      those with less than 12 months’ service, will be the subject of
      continuous review to ensure that performance shortfalls and any
      underlying causes are identified and discussed at the earliest stage.
      Managers will formally review progress regularly with new staff during
      this period. It should be noted that this is not a substitute for Gateway
      review meetings

6.    Staff Representatives

6.1   Staff representatives will be copied into correspondence once identified
      by the member of staff as representing them.

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