Capability Policy

1.   Capability Policy Statement

Vision Training (North East) Ltd is committed to providing every employee the support, development and direction necessary to assure them productive and rewarding employment with the company and quality of service for the company’s client base. 

2.   Purpose

Vision Training (North East) Ltd will:

2.1          Improve and maintain the standard of work performance of individual employees, through advice, coaching, guidance and support, with the emphasis on developing a series of performance improvement plans, which are mutually agreed (wherever practicable) to reach the required standard expected of the job role.

2.2          Ensure that all employees are treated in a fair, consistent and understanding manner in relation to capability issues, in line with the overarching aims of our equality and diversity policy.

2.3          Ensure that we are a fair employer, meeting all relevant legal requirements regarding any capability related decisions it may take in relation to any employee

2.4          Support and train managers in carrying out their responsibilities for the maintenance of high standards of work performance by all employees. 

2.5          Expect all employees to contribute towards the improvement of the performance and effectiveness of the Company.  In doing so they will help protect the Company, its employees and users of their services e.g. learners from the consequences of poor work performance

3.   Scope

All employees

A work performance issue may arise when an employee is failing in a significant or persistent way to carry out their responsibilities or duties in a satisfactory manner due to capability, (would but can’t) or as a result of misconduct (can but won’t). In cases of misconduct the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure should be used.

In exceptional cases where a performance error or defect has serious consequences (i.e. if it results in the serious jeopardy of the health and safety of users of our services or other employees) the principles/procedure for gross misconduct as outlined in the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure should be followed.

4.   Capability Policy Implementation – Procedures

Vision Training (North East) Ltd recognises that during an employee’s employment their capability to carry out their job role may deteriorate for any number of reasons e.g.

  • The job role, over time, may change and an employee may fail to keep up with the changes.
  • The employee’s health may change and they may no longer be able to cope with the job role.

     

4.1          Managers will

4.1.1      Ensure employees are aware of company rules, practices and procedures and will apply the policy in a fair and consistent manner.

4.1.2      Develop a culture where employees are supported and assisted in achieving the required standards of performance.

4.1.3      Through normal performance management meetings i.e. one-to-ones, supervisions, appraisals etc., address and resolve work performance issues informally and promptly as appropriate.

4.1.4      Record details of all meetings within the procedure with the employee including any targets, monitoring and support.

4.1.5      Keep a copy of the notes of meetings, letters to the employee and any ad hoc verbal feedback given during the monitoring period and place in the employee’s file under “supervision” where this process is used.

4.1.6      If the matter progresses to a Stage 2 – Formal Capability Hearing, to present the details of employee’s failure to meet required standards, including all relevant performance statistics and the outcome of performance improvement plans to date.

4.2          Employees will:

4.2.1      As part of their contractual responsibility, perform at a satisfactory level and be committed to achieving such levels of performance.

4.2.2      Attend any meetings and hearings convened in accordance with the Capability Policy and Procedure.

4.3       Job Role Changes

4.3.1      Before employees can be expected to reach appropriate standards of job performance when the job role changes, the Company accepts they should be provided with appropriate training, guidance and support.

 4.3       Capability Process – Informal Stage (see also flow chart Appendix 1)

 

Informal Actions Initial identification of an employee’s failure to meet the required levels of performance, often arises, through normal performance management meetings i.e. one-to-ones, supervisions, appraisals.

It is expected that the majority of performance related issues will be resolved promptly at this level, except where there is evidence that such an approach has proved ineffective already. If this is the case the manager should then invite the employee to attend an Informal Capability Meeting.

 
Informal Capability Meeting Preparation before the meeting:

  • ·         Manager invites employee to the meeting to discuss the performance concerns that have been identified. NB. Please note there is not a template invite letter for this as it is an informal meeting.
  • ·         Manager collates any necessary information, where appropriate, to demonstrate to the employee where they are not meeting the required standards of performance, e.g. job description/person specification, competencies, supervision notes, appraisals, files, screen prints of data systems, call recordings, documents, letters of complaints etc.
 
During the Meeting:

The discussion should include the following:

  • ·         The manager will present the evidence of the performance issue(s) to the employee and express his/her concerns being sensitive at all times to the fact that unless otherwise identified, issues of performance are not disciplinary in nature, and that the correct approach is therefore one of constructive support, guidance, coaching and encouragement
  • ·         The employee will be given a full opportunity to respond and explain any factors affecting his/her current performance levels. If any underlying medical issues are suggested, it may be appropriate to obtain a report from their GP
  • ·         The manager will give thorough consideration to all the responses made by the employee
 
If as a result of the discussion it is decided that:

1. It is not necessary to take further action under the Capability Procedure the manager and employee can agree any actions and review as appropriate.

2. It is necessary to obtain a medical report, the Informal Capability Meeting should be adjourned whilst medical advice is sought. NB: where an employee declines to allow a medical report from their GP, the manager needs to explain that without such a report management decisions will be made using the information available to them and that the matter will continue to be managed under the Capability Policy and Procedure.

– If an underlying medical condition(s) has been identified and confirmed as having an impact upon the employee’s performance from this point on you should now manage this under the Absence Management Policy.

– if an underlying medical condition(s) has not been identified and/or is not having an impact upon the employee’s performance the matter will continue to be managed under the Capability Policy and Procedure.

3. If it is necessary to take further action under the Capability Procedure, the manager should:

  • ·         Confirm with the employee that their work performance will continue to be monitored under the Informal stage of the Capability Policy and Procedure and they should be given a copy of this document
  • ·         Develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) with the employee, with specific targets and dates. Every effort should be made where possible to agree the details of the plan
  • ·         Advise how they will assist the employee to meet the required levels of improvement
  • ·         Establish the time period within which the specified improvement(s) will be monitored and feedback given on progress, and where applicable to amend the development plan. The time period (as a general rule) will be between 1 and 3 months. However, each case will need to be considered on its own merits and as such it maybe that a shorter or longer monitoring period is required
  • ·         Advise of the frequency of review meetings to monitor progress (at least 2).

 

 
Follow up Action:

  • ·         If the need for further action is identified the outcome of the Informal Capability Meeting will be confirmed in writing to the employee (Template Letter 1), including details of the Performance Improvement Plan.
  • ·         Review meetings should take place during the agreed monitoring period to monitor progress, which should be documented in the ‘Progress’ section of the Performance Improvement Plan. Both the manager and employee should provide input to this. Any targets that need amending should also be made on the Performance Improvement Plan. Furthermore, regular feedback may also be given to the employee during the review period, this may be done verbally (ad hoc meetings, one to ones, supervisions etc.) but a written record should be kept.
  • ·         As a minimum the date(s) for the first review meeting and last review meeting at the end of the monitoring period should be set and included in the letter.
Possible Outcomes of End of Review Period:

  • ·         At the end of the agreed monitoring period the manager will meet with the employee to discuss the progress and inform them of the outcome of the review period. The manager should then confirm the outcome to the employee in writing:

Where performance has reached the required standards an agreement to maintain the standard of performance should be made including how this will be measured (Template Letter 2).

If the performance level remains unsatisfactory; the employee should be invited to a Stage 1 – Formal Capability Meeting (Template Letter 3).

 

 4.4       Capability Process – Stage 1 Formal Capability Meeting (see also flow chart Appendix 1)

The Stage 1 – Formal Capability Meeting should be held with the employee’s Manager and Senior/other Manager as appropriate.
Preparation before the Meeting:

  • ·         Manager invites employee to the Stage 1 – Formal Capability Meeting to discuss the continuing concerns, giving at least 5 working days’ notice (Template Letter 3). The employee should be provided with a copy of the Informal Stage – Performance Improvement Plan and the notes of subsequent   review meetings.
  • ·         The employee is advised that they have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or recognised Trade Union Representative
  • ·         Any documentation that the employee/representative wishes to submit should be provided no later than 3 working days before the meeting. This will avoid delays at the meeting. 
During the Meeting:

  • ·         The discussion should include the following:
    • o   A review of the monitoring period and support given the shortfall in performance
    • o   Agreement (where practicable) of the Performance Improvement Plan and further targets
    • o   Any further training and support that is required and can be provided
    • o   Consideration of any extenuating circumstances that may be affecting the employee’s performance
    • o   Establishment of a further monitoring period (between 1 and 3 months). However, each case will need to be considered on its own merits and as such it maybe that a shorter or longer monitoring period is required
    • o   Review meetings (at least two)
  • ·         The employee should be forewarned that the level of performance is not acceptable and that failure to improve by the end of the review period may result in progressing to Stage 2 – Formal Capability Hearing of the procedure, which could lead to dismissal on the grounds of capability
  • ·         Consideration of alternative employment. Where a suitable vacancy exists the normal recruitment and selection process will apply.
Follow up Action:

  • ·         The outcome of the Stage 1 – Formal Capability Meeting will be confirmed in writing to the employee including the possible outcome if performance continues not to be acceptable (Template Letter 4). A copy of the Performance Improvement Plan will also need to be enclosed with the letter.
  • ·         Review meetings should take place between the employee and their Manager during the agreed period to monitor progress, which should be documented in the ‘Progress’ section of the Performance Improvement Plan. Any targets that need amending during this period should also be made on the Performance Improvement Plan. Furthermore, regular feedback may also be given to the employee during the review period, this may be done verbally (ad hoc meetings, one to ones, supervisions etc.) but a written record should be kept.
  • ·         As a minimum the date for the first review meeting and final review meeting at the end of the monitoring period should be set and included in the letter.
Possible Outcomes of Review Period:

  • ·         At the end of the agreed monitoring period the Manager(s) will meet with the individual to discuss the progress and inform them of the outcome of the review.
  • ·         The Senior Manager should then confirm the outcome to the employee in writing.
  • ·         The employee has now reached, or is shortly expected to reach, the specified levels of performance, and that no further formal action is necessary. However, the decision will remain ‘live’ for 12 months and therefore if satisfactory improvement proves only to be of a temporary nature then the manager has the option of returning immediately to this point in the procedure (Template Letter 5), if the performance concerns are related. Under normal circumstances, where a new area of performance concern has been identified the process should commence at the Informal Capability Meeting.

or

  • ·         The employee has made substantial improvements, but his/her performance is still below acceptable standards. A further review period of between 1 to 3 months will therefore be required (Template Letter 6)

or

  • ·         The employee has made little or no improvement, and has shown few signs that he/she will be capable of meeting the required standard. In such circumstances, a Stage 2 – Formal Capability Hearing will be arranged (Template Letter 7).

 4.5       Capability Process – Stage 2 Formal Capability Hearing (see also flow chart Appendix 1)

  • ·         The arrangements in writing to the employee (with copies to Panel Members and Representative(s) (if appropriate)), giving at least 10 working days’ notice (Template Letter 8). This notice will include:
    • o   a clear statement of the employee’s failure to meet the required standards of performance and the Performance Improvement Plan
    • o   record of monitoring/progress to date (including a copy of all correspondence from the Informal stage and Stage 1 – Formal Capability Meeting including Performance Improvement Plan, notes of subsequent review meetings, GP report (if appropriate)
    • o   the date, time, location of the hearing
    • o   names of the panel members
    • o   the name of the person who will present the management position
    • o   whether the manager intends on calling any witnesses
    • o   the employee’s entitlement to call witnesses
    • o   the employee’s right to be accompanied by a Vision Training )North East) Ltd work colleague or a recognised Trade Union Representative
    • o   notification that a decision may be taken to dismiss on the grounds of capability
Preparation before the Hearing:

  • ·         Any documentation from the employee should be submitted 5 working days prior to the hearing including advance notification to the manager of the number of witnesses (if any) that they plan to call.
  • ·         Any additional information will be distributed to all parties by the manager 3 working days prior to the Hearing.
  • ·         If the employee wishes to attend the hearing but is absent due to sickness or some other reason or their representative is unable to attend, the meeting may be postponed and will be rearranged within 5 working days or as soon as is practicable. The employee should be notified of the date in writing and informed that if they are not able to attend on the revised date the hearing will proceed on this occasion in their absence. If the employee cannot attend personally they will be invited to put their case either through their representative or if that person is not available, an alternative representative, or submit their case in writing in advance by no later than (3 working days in advance of reconvened hearing) (Template Letter 9).
During the Hearing:

Hearing Procedure:

The Hearing Panel will consist of managers who have not had played any previous part in any aspect of the case – Directors of the company

Chairperson

A Director who has the authority to implement all of the possible outcomes of the Hearing.

A Note Taker

As dismissal is a possible outcome of a Stage 2 – Formal Capability Hearing, the note taker will be present.

Management Position

This will normally be presented by the employee’s manager and they will be required to demonstrate what action, support, training, and discussions have taken place with the employee throughout the Informal stage and Formal Stage 1 of the procedure.

Employee/Employee Representative

The employee/employee representative will be required to give an explanation as to why they have not met the required standards of performance.

The Decision

All panel members discuss the employee’s performance history, all related evidence and any relevant Vision Training (North East) policies, procedures and practices, then make the final decision on the outcome.

Immediately after the Hearing, the Chairperson will prepare a detailed Record of the Outcome.

Outcomes of Hearing:

  • ·         No further action. However, the decision will remain ‘live’ for 12 months and therefore if satisfactory improvement proves only to be of a temporary nature then the manager has the option, of returning immediately to the Formal Stage 1 of the procedure, (Template Letter 10), if the performance concerns are related. Under normal circumstances, where a new area of performance concern has been identified the process should commence at the Informal Capability Meeting.
  • ·         Extension of previous monitoring period (1 to 3 months). However, each case will need to be considered on its own merits and as such it maybe that a shorter or longer monitoring period is required. Should the employee not have made satisfactory progress at the end of this period, the Capability Hearing will be reconvened with the same panel following the same procedure (Template Letter 11).
  • ·         Dismissal with contractual notice. In exceptional circumstances, the employee will not be required to attend work during their notice period (Template Letter 12).

 

Follow up Action:

  • ·         The outcome of the Stage 2 – Formal Capability Hearing should be confirmed to the employee in writing by the Chair of the Capability Hearing.
  • ·         Where an employee is dismissed on the grounds of capability the letter should include their right of appeal.

4.5       Capability Process – Stage 3 Appeals Policy (see also flow chart Appendix 1) 

An employee has the right to submit an appeal against formal sanctions i.e. dismissal on the grounds of capability using the Appeals Policy. If the employee wishes to appeal they must do so in writing, outlining the reasons for this, within 10 working days of the date on which the decision is confirmed in writing.

All appendixes referred to in this copy of the document can be found in the paper version, a copy of which can be viewed at the head office.

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