How to Chair a Formal Meeting
For the Grievance Procedure
The below checklist is for guidance purposes only, as it is recognised that the Chair will need to determine how best to manage any hearing given the individual circumstances of the case.
Please ensure that all discussions during this process are fair, appropriate and above reproach.
- Welcome attendees.
- Request that all attendees turn off any electronic devises to avoid unnecessary interruptions during the meeting and advise that the University expressly prohibits the recording of meetings.
- Introduce those present and their roles, this may include: panel members, HR member supporting the panel, note taker if applicable, etc. If the employee is not accompanied explain that they were offered the right to be accompanied
- Representation of Employee – If accompanied confirm the role of the companion, i.e. that they will be able to address the hearing 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. However, the representative will not usually answer questions on behalf of the employee, but may do so with the agreement of the panel.
If not accompanied note that the employee has been advised of their right to be accompanied but has chosen to attend unaccompanied.
- Confirm with the employee that they have received the letter notifying them of the meeting and any associated documentation.
- Confirm with the employee that they understand that it is a formal grievance meeting which will be conducted in line with the relevant University Grievance procedure.
- Advise of the procedure or if appropriate invite a HR representative to outline the procedure.
- Confirm Documentation provided – Identifying, if appropriate, any other documentation the panel has at their disposal for reference purposes.
- Adjournments - Advise that any party can request an adjournment, via the chair. Identify the location of any separate rooms available to provide the parties with private space during these adjournments.
- Taking of Notes – Advise that the note-taker will take summary notes to support the panel’s consideration. Should the employee want a summary of these notes these can be provided on request. Advise that both the employee and their representative would be welcome to make their own notes.
- Respond to any procedural concerns/queries that may arise.
- Invite the employee to explain his/her complaint/concern and what remedy/resolution they are seeking (this may be done by their representative if they so wish).
- The panel to seek to gain a full understanding of the case, raising any questions with the employee (and management representative/respondent) as necessary, to clarify any points in relation to the information or evidence submitted or gained via investigation if applicable. NOTE: If applicable and where previously agreed with the Chair, witnesses may be called. Also depending upon the circumstances of the case, if applicable, a Management representative/respondent will be given an opportunity to respond to each of the points raised by the employee and make representation to the Panel.
- Employee (and any respondent) to be provided with the opportunity to sum up their case.
- After the case(s) have been explained and the main questioning completed, the Chair may consider whether to briefly adjourn the meeting to give all the opportunity to review what has been said and consider whether there is anything they wish to clarify or to add in closing remarks + enable the panel to review what they have heard and seek clarification on any issues before bringing the meeting to a close.
- If the panel is unable to make a decision as further information/time is required, inform the employee as to when they can expect written notification of the decision (or if further action was deemed necessary what this would entail)
- When closing the meeting, ensure that everyone understands what is going to happen.
- Depending upon whether the panel has been able to make a decision during any adjournment, explain that the staff member will receive confirmation/notification of its decision in writing usually within 7 days of the meeting.
- The Chair will prepare a report summarising the nature of the grievance, the investigation (where applicable), and the panel’s decision, including reasons for this, and any recommendations, and notify the employee in writing as to the outcome of the meeting, usually within 7 calendar days after the meeting (Outcome Letter Template).
NOTE: Where it is identified that further essential information or clarification is required, the Panel may decide to adjourn the meeting to enable further investigation. In such a case, an indication of the timeframe for this should be provided. Once completed the panel should be reconvened.
- Record summary of the discussions, (including any pertinent points, agreed actions, outcomes and recommendations).
- Ensure that the records are factual, unambiguous and constructive (assume that the staff member may see these).
- Write to employee summarising the outcome of meeting and any next steps.
- Store records securely, as these may be subsequently required within later procedural stages and shared with all relevant parties.
- If requested by the employee, a summary of the meeting notes should be provided for their information.