How to arrange a Formal Hearing or Grievance Meeting

For all Procedures

(Preparation to be undertaken prior to the hearing/meeting)

The below checklist is for guidance purposes only.

Please ensure that all discussions during this process are fair, appropriate and above reproach.

  • Ensure that a letter has been issued to the employee notifying them of the decision to convene a hearing/meeting.
  • Identify and organise an appropriate panel (see relevant procedure for information on panel composition available on the right hand side).
  •  As well as booking a main meeting room, consider the need to organise separate private spaces where other relevant parities e.g. the employee (and their representative if appropriate), management representatives may adjourn to.
  • Send a letter of notification of the hearing to all the panel members.

  • Notifying employee of hearing arrangements. Ensure at least 7 calendar days written notice of the meeting has been given to the employee prior to date of hearing. For academic, teaching and research staff the notice provided will usually be 21 calendar days in advance of the hearing, unless agreed by all parties that a shorter period would be appropriate.
  • If it becomes necessary to reschedule the meeting send out a further letter notifying the employee as to the new arrangements.

*If appropriate (Not usually required in sickness capability cases)

  • If any relevant witnesses are requested ensure these are contacted, requesting their attendance at the hearing. A relevant witness is one that can contribute to the facts of the case or the surrounding circumstances. Any concerns regarding the ‘relevance’ of any witness should be raised with the Chair of the Panel, who will have the final decision as to whether such a witness will be permitted, after receiving representations from the employee about why the particular witness should be called to give evidence.
  • Initial contact is often made via phone rather than letter, to enable the request to be fully explained to the witness and any queries to be addressed promptly. Details as to any arrangements should then be followed up in writing.

  • Collect evidence/information, documents/statements and ensure that this is forwarded to all parties at least 7 calendar days in advance of the hearing (21 calendar days for academic, teaching and research staff, unless agreed by all parties that a shorter period would be appropriate).
  • Ensure any evidence/information subsequently provided by the employee is forwarded to all parties at least 7 calendar days in advance of the meeting (21 calendar days for academic, teaching and research staff, unless agreed by all parties that a shorter period would be appropriate).
  • (These will often be provided simultaneously)

  • Consider any reasonable adjustments that may have been requested by any of the parties in relation to the hearing.
  • Ensure confirmation is gained from the staff member as to their ability to attend the hearing and confirm if they will be accompanied to the hearing.
  • If the member of staff is anticipated to be absent due to ill health when the hearing is scheduled to take place, the usual expectation is that they should still attend the hearing. Managers may seek to refer to Workplace Health & Wellbeing where uncertain due to the nature of their illness, as to the staff members fitness to participate in any formal process (seek HR advice as appropriate).

  • See How to Chair a Formal Hearing/Meeting guidance, for relevant procedure.
  • Ensure the Chair of the panel has above ‘How to’ guide for the structure of the hearing.