This policy applies to all staff.
The University recognises that a supportive and developmental probation process is vital in providing the appropriate level of support and training for new members of staff on commencement of their employment.
This policy sets out the University’s approach to probation for new members of staff, aiming to ensure the University meets its commitment to the fair, equal and consistent treatment of staff with regard to the probation period.
A probation procedure is available offering guidance on the implementation of the policy.
The relevant procedure should be read in conjunction with the policy.
2.1 This policy relates to all newly appointed staff, whose terms and conditions of employment state that their appointment is subject to a probationary period. This includes academic staff, support staff, teaching only staff and research only staff.
2.2 The length of the probation period will be stated in the terms and conditions of employment and is dependent on the skills and competencies required for the role. However, the length of probation period will normally be;
2.3 It will not normally be appropriate to apply probation to those members of staff who having satisfactorily completed a period of probation in one post are then transferred to another comparable post within a different department of the University, unless the new role is substantially different and requires a new range of skills and attributes. Similarly, it will not normally be appropriate for academic staff to serve a two-year probationary period, or indeed any staff member to undergo a probationary period, where it is deemed by the University that such a period of probation has been partly or wholly served elsewhere. Where this situation arises advice should be sought from HR.
2.4 In cases where a member of staff has been redeployed to another role within the University, a trial period will be a more appropriate method of ensuring that the redeployment is satisfactory to both the individual and the department. Where this situation arises advice should be sought from HR.
2.5 Staff on probation will not be subject to the performance review process until such time as their probation period is successfully completed.
The policy aims:
4.1 The University aims to secure equality of opportunity in all its activities, and in this respect, the probation process must be objective, clear, transparent and free from discrimination. Head of Departments / Line Managers are expected to have undertaken equal opportunities training; if in any doubt, the Head of Department / Line Manager should contact their HR adviser / partner for clarification or advice.
4.2 The probation process should work alongside the induction process to help create a positive and supportive working environment, allowing new staff to settle into the organisation and learn the key elements of the job within a reasonable and realistic timescale.
4.3 At their induction, new members of staff will be made aware by their line manager of the performance standards expected of them and will be given support, training and feedback necessary to achieve these standards. Line managers will use the probationary period to monitor the success of the new staff member in reaching those standards.
4.4 Clear, comprehensive and accurate records of probation review meetings must be maintained, including how standards are set, what methods are used for measuring them and what timescales are given for reaching them. A Probation Review Form is provided for this purpose and must be signed by the employee and his/her line manager at each review point to provide a formal record of the probationary period. Induction materials may be used to inform the initial probation review meeting i.e. to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the new employee in line with their terms and conditions of employment, their job description and the policies and procedures which must be followed .
4.5 In circumstances where problems arise during a period of probation, the line manager should raise these with the member of staff in a timely manner, and the member of staff must be given an opportunity to respond to any concerns. Line managers should discuss the action required by the member of staff to address the problem and where necessary give clear, unambiguous warnings if standards are not met. The manager should use the Probation Review Form to keep a record of the discussion and ensure that this is signed by both parties (i.e. the line manager and the employee).
4.6 Members of staff have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trades union representative at any formal meetings held to address serious performance issues that have arisen during probation and where dismissal is a possible outcome. This right will not apply in the case of informal discussions between the employee and line manager or at the normal 3, 6 or 9 monthly review meetings.
4.7 Documentation relating to staff will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and related documentation will be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) as appropriate.
Application of the policy will be monitored by the Director of HR. This policy will be reviewed after a period of 4 years.
Approved by HR Policy Committee in October 2008 and by JNCC in February 2009