Establishing the facts
A complaint that a Project Team has behaved contrary to the expected manner required by the DoW CoP, must be submitted in writing to CL:AIRE outlining the details. Such a complaint can be made by any individual or organisation and this procedure will be followed to its conclusion.
Complaints will be reviewed by the Investigation Panel, which may –
- dismiss the complaint,
- seek to resolve the issue without requiring more formal procedures, or
- decide to hold a Disciplinary Meeting.
In coming to its decision, the Investigation Panel may call for submissions from either the Complainant or the Project Team / Organisation or both.
It is important to carry out necessary reviews of disciplinary matters without unreasonable delay when establishing the facts of the situation. In some cases this will require holding a Review Meeting with the Project Team before proceeding to any disciplinary meeting. In others, the review stage will be the collation of evidence by CL:AIRE for use at any Disciplinary Meeting.
Inform the Project Team of the problem
If it is decided that there is a disciplinary case to answer, the Project Team should be notified of this in writing as soon as practicable. This notification will contain information about the alleged misconduct or poor performance to enable the Project Team to prepare to answer the case at a disciplinary meeting.
The Respondent and the Complainant shall be notified of the process by which the allegations are to be dealt with.
The Respondent shall be given 21 working days from the date by which CL:AIRE informs of the details of the allegations made by the Complainant, to respond in writing to the allegations (including submitting evidence). No response will automatically trigger the need for a Disciplinary Meeting.
Hold a Disciplinary Meeting with the Project Team
Meetings will be held without unreasonable delay whilst allowing the Project Team adequate time to prepare their response. CL:AIRE shall give 21 days notice of a Disciplinary Meeting. The notice shall be issued in writing and shall outline the allegations. Reasonable steps will be taken to agree a convenient date, time and location for the meeting and arrange any special needs of the required attendees (online meeting facilities may be used if most convenient for all parties).
The following steps will be taken prior to a disciplinary panel meeting:-
- CL:AIRE will inform the Project Team of the names of the disciplinary panellists in the notice given.
- The Project Team will have the right to flag concerns they might have with the individuals nominated for the Disciplinary Panel e.g. prior interactions, points of conflict.
- Equally, the individuals nominated will be informed of the Project Team name(s) who are being called to the meeting and should self-exclude themselves for any of the same reasons.
- CL:AIRE will assess these concerns, and if necessary appoint an alternative individual.
- No further information will be released to any party until no conflict has been confirmed.
The Project Team will make every effort to attend the meeting, at which CL:AIRE will explain the complaint against them and present the evidence that has been gathered. The Project Team will be allowed to set out their case and answer any allegations that have been made. The Project Team will be given a reasonable opportunity to ask questions and present evidence or witnesses.
Allow the Project Team to be accompanied at the meeting
The Project Team has the right to be accompanied by no more than one representative or advisor. They must be agreed in advance of the meeting with CL:AIRE for practical purposes e.g. venue size, accessibility. A request to be accompanied should provide enough time for CL:AIRE to make the necessary arrangements with regards venue size and facilities for the companion’s attendance at the meeting.
The companion should be allowed to address the meeting, to put and sum up the Project Team case, respond on behalf of the Project Team to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with the Project Team during the meeting. The companion does not, however, have the right to answer questions on behalf of the Project Teams, nor address the meeting if the Project Team does not wish it or prevent CL:AIRE from explaining their case.
The Project Team may submit supplementary evidence to the Disciplinary Meeting. This must be received by the Disciplinary Panel not less than 5 working days before the date set for the meeting.
The Disciplinary Panel will determine the procedure to be followed in the presentation of the documentation prior to, during, and in the conduct of the meeting. The decision of the Disciplinary Panel will be final in such matters in determining the conduct of the meeting which shall be in accord with natural justice.
The Disciplinary Panel shall consider the case, may call for independent technical advice, and shall determine whether the complaint against the Respondent has been made out or not.
The Panel may reach a decision in absentia if a Respondent refuses to attend the meeting.
Decide on appropriate action
After the meeting, the Disciplinary Panel will decide whether or not disciplinary or any other action is justified and inform the Project Team accordingly in writing.
If the finding is that the complaint has been made out, the Panel may:
- Issue the Project Team with a written warning and provide advice as to future conduct including requiring training or mentoring; or
- Issue the Project Team with a written warning & suspend them from using the DoW CoP for a specified period and give advice as to future conduct including requiring training or mentoring; or
- Permanently refuse future use of the DoW CoP by the Project Team.
Where misconduct is confirmed, or the Project Team is found to be performing unsatisfactorily, it is usual to give them a written warning and inform the relevant regulator. A further act of misconduct or failure to improve performance within a set period would normally result in a final written warning.
A first or final written warning should set out the nature of the misconduct or poor performance and the change in behaviour or improvement in performance required (with timescale). The Project Team shall be told how long the warning will remain current.
The Project Team shall be informed of the consequences of further misconduct, or failure to improve performance, within the set period following a final warning. For instance that it may result in restriction of future use of the DoW CoP.
If a Project Teams first misconduct or unsatisfactory performance is sufficiently serious (termed gross misconduct), it may be appropriate to move directly to restriction of future use of the DoW CoP without notice for a first offence. This might occur where the Project Teams actions have had, or are liable to have, a serious or harmful impact on the DoW CoP.
A decision to restrict future use of the DoW CoP should be taken by the CL:AIRE Board of Trustees. The Project Team be informed as soon as possible of the reasons for the dismissal, the date on which their use of the DoW CoP will end, and the appropriate period of notice. The restriction will apply to the organisation(s) in question, not individuals e.g. should individuals move to a different organisation not involved, the restriction will not apply to them.