Conducting a meeting under the Procedure

Who should attend?

Only those who have a role within the process should attend:

  • the manager responsible for conducting the meeting and making a decision under section 3 of the Procedure;
  • the employee;
  • the trade union representative or work colleague (‘fellow worker’) accompanying the employee, if any; and
  • (where agreed) – see section on Roles and Responsibilities, the HR Business Partner.

In most cases, it will not be necessary for anyone else to attend, but where questions arise about the availability of funding, the future need for the role etc, it may be necessary for other managers to attend to give evidence. The manager conducting the meeting should be prepared to adjourn the meeting to arrange their attendance.

Postponement

The Procedure allows the employee to make a reasonable request for a meeting to be postponed for up to one week for any reason, eg sickness or if the fellow worker or trade union representative accompanying them is unable to attend on the date notified. Only one postponement will be permitted and, following such a postponement, the employee should be advised that if they do not attend on the re-arranged date, the University reserves the right to proceed with the meeting in the employee’s absence.

However, before proceeding in the employee’s absence, the manager should consider any reasons given by the employee for their non-attendance and take advice from their HR Business Partner about whether or not to proceed in the absence of the employee or whether to re-arrange the hearing again.

Conducting the Hearing

At the commencement of the hearing, the manager should:

  • introduce those present and explain why they are there;
  • explain that the purpose of the meeting is to review the circumstances which may result in the employee’s dismissal and for the employee to make representatives before a decision is made;
  • explain how the meeting will be conducted.

It is essential that the employee has a reasonable opportunity to state their case. Generally, the meeting will follow the following format, although there is a significant degree of flexibility on how the meeting should be conducted.

  1. The manager explains why the continuation/extension/renewal of the fixed term contract is not possible and any steps which have been taken or considered which have led to this view – eg grant applications which are pending or which have been unsuccessfully;
  2. The employee or the person accompanying them may ask questions of the manager on the points he/she has made;
  3. The employee or the person accompanying them may ask the manager to consider alternative options which would enable the employment to be continued;
  4. The manager may responds in the meeting to the alternative options suggested by the employee (and ask further questions related to them) or may indicate that he/she will consider these points and response fully in writing;
  5. The manager should ensure that the employee or the person accompanying them has no further questions or points they wish to make before concluding the meeting;
  6. The manager should advise the employee that they will be notified of the decision in writing within one week of the hearing.

Adjournment

During the hearing, either side may request an adjournment for private consultation. Such requests from the employee should not be unreasonably refused.

Adjournment might be necessary if new information comes to light requiring further investigation or consideration by either side.

Where a hearing is adjourned, everyone present should withdraw (with the exception of the HR Business Partner, if present, whose role is to advise the manager on their decision). This will ensure that no information is disclosed to the manager which the employee and the person accompanying them do not have the opportunity to consider or respond to.

Decision

At the conclusion of the meeting, the manager should complete the pro-forma form PD29, ensuring that they fully consider all the points made by the employee and their representative before reaching his/her conclusion, taking advice from their HR Business Partner if appropriate.

After the meeting, the manager may take one of the following courses of action, according to the circumstances of the case:

  1. Confirm that the employment should end on the expiry date of the current fixed term contract;
  2. Extend the contract for a further fixed term, subject to SR1 approval;
  3. Convert the employment to an open-ended appointment, subject to SR1 approval.

     

The reasons for the decision should be recorded on the PD29 form.

Communicating the Decision

Following receipt of form PD29, where this indicates that the employment should end on the expiry date previously notified in the employee’s current contract, Human Resources will send a notification letter to the employee.

The decision must be confirmed to the employee, in writing, normally within one week of the hearing. Where the decision is that the employment should be terminated, the letter should also advise the employee of the right of appeal and of how they may exercise this right and draw the employee’s attention to the University’s Redeployment Procedure.