As a member, the FBU is proud to provide you with individual representation in disciplinary procedures. Whether you are called as a witness or become the subject of a disciplinary, we are here to provide the best support. Read on for more information.
What is a disciplinary investigation?
Where there has been an allegation of misconduct, a disciplinary investigation is launched by the Service to gather evidence and establish the facts. The procedure is usually organised and co-ordinated by a Fire service manager called the "Senior Point of Contact" or "SPOC" for short . This is when witnesses and the employee accused of misconduct are interviewed.
What is a disciplinary hearing?
This is when a warning or disciplinary action is confirmed, and is carried out by people different to those that handled the investigation.
What if I become the subject of a disciplinary investigation?
Contact your regional FBU immediately. Do not wait for Management to get in touch first. If the first you learn about the situation is from Management, it still essential that you contact the FBU urgently.
I have been called as a witness – what should I do?
As soon as you know you are going to be interviewed as a witness, contact the FBU. Ask to be accompanied by your Union Representative – you should have enough advance warning to arrange this.
As a member, how will the FBU help me during the procedure?
If you are the subject of a discipline complaint and investigation it is your statutory right to have an FBU Representative accompany you to all formal stages (including the investigation) of the procedure.
Informal disciplinary meetings are conducted on a one-to-one basis. However, in exceptional circumstances, if an FBU member feels vulnerable or in some way disadvantaged, they may be accompanied by an FBU Representative with the agreement of the Line Manager.
Why has the person accused been suspended from work?
There are many possible reasons why a colleague is suspended, including:
- Where there is the possibility of gross misconduct, an employee may be suspended to enable thorough investigations.
- There is doubt of the ability of the employee to continue working pending criminal investigations or prosecution.
- The employee is placed on remand.
- Specific circumstances dictate that suspension would be appropriate in a particular case.
What should the employee do when they are suspended?
An employee should be informed of the reasons for the suspension. They should also be told that the suspension is not disciplinary sanction and that they may be asked to attend an investigative or disciplinary meeting.
What are the different types of meetings in the disciplinary procedures?
- Interviews - statements from potential witnesses and the accused
- Investigative - early opportunities for the accused employee to establish facts
- Disciplinary - the hearing to confirm disciplinary action
What are the stages of the disciplinary procedure?
1. The accusation or report of misconduct is formally submitted.
2. Launch of the investigation.
3. The employee is notified in writing that they are subject of an investigation.
4. Witnesses are interviewed and statements are taken.
5. An investigative meeting with the accused person takes place.
6. When the investigation is complete, the manager designated as the "Senior Point of Contact" decides on next steps.
7. Further disciplinary meetings are held where required, according the above formal stages, one to three.
8. The hearing takes place to confirm disciplinary action.
What is the Fire and Rescue Service’s approach to discipline procedures?
The Service’s approach to discipline aims to help and encourage all employees in achieving and maintaining expected standards of conduct, attendance and job performance. For all employees, this means that the result is consistent and fair treatment in dealing with disciplinary issues.
The approach is based on the guiding principle:
In every case, except dismissal, the primary aim is to bring about an improvement in the way that an individual performs and serves the public. Each case should be treated on its merits in the light of the particular circumstances involved.
The Fire Service believes that natural justice should apply to discipline. This ensures the fair, unbiased and lawful hearing for both employees and managers. It is based on the following principles:
- An individual has the right to know the allegation/s against them
- An individual has the right to express their view or give an explanation
- An individual has the right to be treated fairly and in good faith