Stage 1 - Initial Action
This stage of the process is prior to an investigation taking place, this is an opportunity for the NP to investigate the allegation and decide on the required action.
A formal allegation should be submitted in writing to the Ethics & Integrity Officer, providing full written details regarding the allegation, including confirmation of the individual(s) against whom the allegation is being made (referred to as the respondent) and the exact nature of the complaint with any and all evidence available to them. S/he (or nominee) will in turn acknowledge receipt and allocate this to a Named Person (NP) (one of 5 Faculty Directors of Research & Innovation), usually within three working days.
The NP will undertake an initial assessment of the allegation, in consultation with a relevant Faculty HR Manager. Both the NP and Faculty HR Manager can seek confidential advice as appropriate to determine any initial action that may need to be undertaken to:
• ensure that any potential or actual danger/illegal activity or risk is prevented or eliminated,
• ensure that any contractual, legal, regulatory or professional body obligations are fulfilled at the appropriate time, through the correct mechanisms; and
• consider if it can be resolved informally or for it to proceed to formal investigation.
As this preliminary stage is not intended to pre-empt any subsequent Formal Investigation, once the NP is satisfied that the matter is sufficiently serious and has sufficient substance, this should be referred to a Formal Investigation.
If it is found the allegations are judged to fall outside the scope of research misconduct the NP supported by Human Resources, will write to the complainant to inform them of this decision, the reasons for this and any other potential actions. For example, this may result in the issue being referred to the respondents Head of Department for consideration under the disciplinary or capability procedure, mediation, informal action etc. depending upon the circumstances of the case.
If you are the NP you can find a responsibilities checklist here that will guide you through the necessary steps for any research misconduct allegation at the initial action