Roles and Responsibilities in Managing Performance & Dispute Resolution

This guidance is designed to offer clarity regarding: the main roles and responsibilities associated with the effective implementation of the various managing performance and dispute resolution procedures, covering the below parties:

Heads of Department and Managers
Employees who are subject to informal/formal action
HR Operational Teams
Central HR Department
Employee representatives (including work colleagues and Trades Union representatives)
Chair of Disciplinary/Capability hearing, Grievance Meeting or Appeal hearing/meeting
Workplace Health & Wellbeing
Health & Safety

Heads of Department and Managers

As they are responsible for the effective implementation and management of the procedures, the duties are diverse and include the following:

  • the informal management of a case;
  • conducting or initiating any investigation or activity to establish the facts of a case and notifying the employee of any investigation outcome;
  • deciding whether to seek to pursue informal/formal action;
  • involvement in formal proceedings (for example presenting the management case or being a panel member at a formal hearing);
  • providing support and coaching to affected employees;
  • exploring potential options including reasonable adjustments;
  • seeking appropriate support and advice on procedural and policy matters from Human Resources 

Additional Responsibilities in relation to Sickness:

  • ensuring all members of their department understand and follow the procedures for reporting and certifying absence;
  • ensuring all instances of sickness absence are recorded on MyTeam accurately and promptly;
  • to produce and report upon sickness absence information at both Faculty and Departmental level (as appropriate) on a regular basis (see Guidance on recording and monitoring sickness);
  • maintaining regular contact with employees absent due to ill health (see How to guide: How to maintain contact with absent employees);
  • ensuring return to work discussion/interviews take place after each period of sickness absence, as appropriate (see Guidance on how to carry out a RTW discussion/interview);
  • in liaison with their customary HR Adviser, and where appropriate other specialist support, deciding on how to manage/support absent staff;
  • ensuring records are maintained of actions/decisions taken and stored in compliance with the Data Protection Act;
  • gaining the employee’s consent to any management referral to Workplace Health & Wellbeing;
  • reporting all unauthorised absences of employees (i.e. if staff are absent and do not report in sick) who currently have permission from the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) to work in the UK, to Human Resources immediately.

Employees who are subject to informal/formal action

The University is committed to ensuring that matters are managed confidentially, sensitively, promptly and that the employee is kept informed, and able to access a number of sources of confidential support should they wish to do so via Health & Wellbeing webpages.

Correspondingly, all employees are responsible for:

  • being familiar, and complying with, University policies and procedures;
  • conducting themselves in a way which is commensurate with the standards expected of University staff.

Additional Responsibilities in relation to Sickness:

  • engaging in any informal or formal procedural processes, which may include attendance at informal/formal meetings, attendance at the Staff Occupational Health Service, and observing University processes and timescales;
  • attending work when fit to do so;
  • following correct notification/certification processes and maintaining regular contact with his/her department whilst absent due to ill health;
  • participating in return to work and ‘may be fit to work’ discussions;
  • accepting a referral (and providing consent) to Workplace Health & Wellbeing or other appropriate specialist the University appoints to advise on an issue;
  • accepting reasonable adjustments to working practices and procedures to deal with the challenges created by disease, illness or injury.

Employees are entitled to be accompanied at formal meetings, including any hearing or appeal, by an appropriate representative. Requests to be accompanied at investigatory meetings will be accommodated wherever possible, however it is not anticipated that employees will be represented at suspension meetings. In the interests of fairness and openness, any action will be conducted in line with the principles of natural justice and requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered.

HR Operational Teams

  • support the full and effective application of the policies and guidance by providing advice and support, where required, to Faculty and Departmental managers in dealing with staff;
  • facilitate the provision of training workshops/presentations to support the effective implementation of policies and procedures for those with responsibility for managing and supervising employees;
  • work with Workplace Health & Wellbeing and other appropriate personnel on case management.

Additional Responsibilities in relation to Sickness:

  • support faculties and departments to generate regular reports in relation to sickness absence to enable effective monitoring;
  • liaise with Pensions for any ill health, long term sick, phased return to work cases as to pensioning the pay, or, so that scheme members can be offered the option of making up shortfall for periods of nil pay;
  • notify individuals due to go onto half and nil pay sick pay provision;
  • provide advice and guidance, where appropriate and relevant, to employees on managing sickness absence.

Central HR Department

  • regularly review the effectiveness of the policy/procedure;
  • revise it in line with legislative changes;
  • ensure annual provision of high level management information in relation to sickness absence including estimated costs.


Witnesses may be asked to attend an interview or provide a written statement outlining their understanding of an allegation of misconduct or in relation to a grievance issue. Witnesses will be given reasonable notice should they be asked to participate in the investigation or formal hearing/meeting processes and their role in such situations will be fully explained by an appropriate manager or employee representative.

Support provisions are available. 

Within a formal hearing or meeting the purpose of calling a witness would normally be to contribute to establishing the facts of the case. Witnesses who are to testify to the character of an individual can do so in writing.

Guidance in relation to witnesses can be found within the relevant tookits:


Investigators are responsible for:

  • planning and conducting the investigation process, by which the facts relating to an allegation of misconduct/concerns are gathered, and summarised in an investigation report;
  • presenting the management case at a formal hearing should that become necessary.

Guidance for investigators can be found within the relevant tookits:

Employee representatives (including work colleagues and Trades Union representatives)

Employees may be accompanied by a companion. This may be either; a University colleague, certified workplace trade union representative, or an official employed by a trade union. Representatives must ensure that they are available to attend formal hearings/meetings or appeal hearings within a reasonable period of time, and must have no conflict of interest in relation to the matter or people concerned in the case.

At any hearing or appeal meeting, the employee’s companion will be able to address the hearing/meeting in order to: put the employee’s case forward; sum up the case; respond on the employee’s behalf to any view expressed at the hearing; and confer with the employee. The representative should not usually answer questions on behalf of the employee, but may do so with the agreement of the panel.

Chair of Disciplinary/Capability hearing, Grievance Meeting or Appeal hearing/meeting

The Chair of the Panel typically:

  • leads proceedings during a formal meeting/hearing/appeal;
  • decides on whether witnesses are relevant to the proceedings;
  • informs relevant parties, in writing, as to the outcome of the meeting, hearing or appeal;
  • is instrumental in facilitating the panel’s deliberations and decision making;
  • determines if it would be appropriate for an appeal panel to hear a full or partial rehearing, where relevant.

The Chair receives procedural support from a nominated member of the HR team. Further guidance regarding ‘how to chair a formal hearing’ is available for each of the procedures.

Workplace Health & Wellbeing

Workplace Health & Wellbeing have responsibilities to:

  • provide advice and assistance through identification of workplace risks, and facilitating ways of reducing identified risks, in liaison with relevant parties;
  • advise on wellbeing in the workplace (supported by any relevant risk assessments);
  • assess fitness to work and advice on any rehabilitation programmes;
  • advice on adjustments and reasonable adjustments if deemed appropriate as part of any disability;
  • provide prognosis through gathering of information including, where appropriate third party reports;
  • ill Health Retirement assessment via an Occupational Health Physician.


Responsibilities include:

  • ensuring that an SSP1 form is sent out to employees, where appropriate, so that they can apply for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA);
  • liaising with the Pensions Office of periods of nil pay or phase return to work cases;
  • ensuring full employer pension contributions are maintained for paid sick leave;
  • notify HR Operations when an individual are due to reduce to half pay or nil pay sick pay provision.

Health & Safety

Responsible for:

  • reporting of any accidents/injuries occurring within the work place requiring more than 7 days absence, to the HSE;
  • monitoring accidents/injury data to identify if any proactive intervention may need to be explored.


Responsible for:

  • liaising with HR colleagues and staff regarding ill health, long term sick, phased return to work cases that have been identified by HR so scheme members can be offered the option to make up shortfall contributions where on nil pay;
  • liaising with Payroll for any periods of nil pay or phased return to work cases.