Disciplinary situations include misconduct and/or poor performance. Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that Church personnel raise. The code of behaviour, which reflects a child-centred ethos, will be issued to, and signed by, all Church personnel to indicate their acceptance of its provisions.
Cases of minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance are usually best dealt with informally. Sometimes additional training and advice is what is needed. Where an informal approach is not working, then the formal process may be invoked.
- The Diocese has established a panel of eight nominees from which members of disciplinary committees will be drawn. On receiving a complaint, the parish will appoint a disciplinary committee to resolve the issue. The committee will consist of three nominees from the diocesan panel.
- The complaint should be in writing to the Parish Priest or the Parish Safeguarding Representative and responded to within five working days.
- If the complaint involves suspected abuse or a criminal offence, the Designated Liaison Person will be informed and the reporting procedure described at 2.2 followed.
- The person against whom the complaint is made will be informed of the problem, in writing, including any relevant witness statements. The disciplinary committee will establish the facts by reviewing any relevant paperwork and meeting with all parties concerned, within ten working days.
- The Diocesan Office will nominate panel members and contact them. The Parish will nominate dates for the hearing and provide a suitable room.
- A meeting will be held at which the complaint is explained, evidence is considered and the person against whom the complaint is made is given the opportunity to answer the allegation.
- The member of Church personnel may be accompanied.
- Where it is established that an incident of misconduct has taken place, the committee will decide on an appropriate sanction and inform the person in writing. A further act of misconduct within a set period will result in a final written warning.
- Where the complaint is sufficiently serious, it may be appropriate to move directly to a final written warning e.g. where the actions complained of have had, or are liable to have, a serious or harmful impact.
- The written warning will set out the nature of the problem and the change in behaviour required, with a timescale, and inform the person of the consequences of further misconduct or failure to improve conduct e.g. it may result in dismissal, demotion or loss of seniority.
- A decision to dismiss will only be taken by the Parish Priest. The person will be informed of the reason for dismissal, date of termination, given appropriate notice and right of appeal. Gross misconduct e.g. theft, fraud, violence, gross negligence, may be cause for immediate dismissal without notice.
- Church personnel will be given a chance to appeal against disciplinary action which they consider unjust. The appeal should be in writing and will be dealt with impartially by a committee not previously involved. The person will be informed in writing of the outcome, as soon as possible.
- If it is not possible to solve a grievance informally, it will be raised formally, in writing, setting out the nature of the grievance.
- The parish will establish a committee from the members of the panel and a formal meeting to consider the matter will be held without delay. The complainant will be allowed to explain their grievance and how they think it may be resolved.
- Decisions on what action to take will be communicated in writing and, where appropriate, will set out what action will be taken to resolve the grievance.
- The complainant may appeal if they are not satisfied, following the same format and conditions as for disciplinary process.
Written confidential records of all complaints will be safely and confidentially kept in line with Diocesan and parish policy on confidentiality and record keeping.
(Adapted from the ACAS Code of Practice 1 – Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures 2009)