Working for Derby City Council

Contents

Working in Derby

Derby is a safe, compact city with a clearly-defined centre and distinct, cosmopolitan neighbourhoods. With an internationally recognised industrial heritage and now one of the world's leading aerospace cities, it has a strong identity and yet is surrounded by beautiful countryside.

The city itself includes over 800 hectares of municipal parks and the river Derwent flows right through the centre.

For more information about the city as an exciting place to live and work, see Derby Does It

The Council's structure

We have been a unitary Council since 1997. We employ over 12,000 people and are the largest single employer in the city. The Council is made up of five directorates, Adults Housing and Health, Children and Young People, Neighbourhoods, Resources and Chief Executive's Office.

Derby Homes is the 'arms-length' housing organisation that manages and maintains our housing stock. All other housing services are managed by the Director of Corporate and Adult Social Services.

Political management arrangements

The Council is made up of 51 councillors representing 17 wards. As of May 2012, there are 28 Labour members, 14 Conservatives and 9 Liberal Democrats. There are four Overview and Scrutiny Commissions, plus a Scrutiny Management Commission that support the work of the Cabinet and the Council as a whole.

To give local citizens a greater say in Council affairs, we have neighbourhood forums in every ward. They provide a forum for residents to discuss local issues and petitions with ward councillors and our partner organisations.

City vision

Over the next three years we are committed to improving services. This will be challenging in the face of budget pressures but we will do our best to meet customer needs more effectively and efficiently.

We will be working with our partners from the private, public and voluntary sector to support 'The Derby Plan' for 2011 to 2026 and deliver the city's vision.

Derby – passionate about progress

We will focus on six key outcomes that are based on feedback received from residents, visitors and partners through the '3 wishes consultation campaign' completed in 2010.

  • A thriving sustainable economy
  • Achieving their learning potential
  • Good health and well-being
  • Being safe and feeling safe
  • A strong community
  • An active cultural life.

We are also working towards making improvements in two areas that will improve our services:

  • Good-quality services that meet local needs
  • A skilled and motivated workforce
  • Council Plan for 2011 - 2014

Benefits of working for us

If you become an employee of Derby City Council, these are the benefits you can expect to receive.

Discount Schemes

Lifestyle - a discount scheme offering employees discounts on a huge range of goods and services. Use lifestyle benefits as your home for online shopping at over 1500 popular UK websites. Savings are passed onto you in the form of a discount at the point of purchase, or cash back - money off your purchase.

Cycle2work

This allows employees to get a brand new bike and spread the cost over 18 months, the cost is recovered from your gross salary, giving you tax and national insurance savings.

Employee Passport to Leisure

The employee passport for leisure give employees reduced charges and advanced bookings for a whole range of activities at Council sport centres.

Employee support

Care First

We provide an independent confidential telephone service that's available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They offer a professional counselling, information and advice service. Access to the service is for all employees and their immediate family.

Employee Networks

We have three employee networks that offer help, advice and support in a friendly and safe environment. The networks help to remove barriers to employment and service delivery and help us to promote equality and diversity. We have networks for disabled employees, black employees and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Family Friendly

Many of our jobs are covered by our work-life balance scheme which allows employees to take additional time off, or work more or fewer hours during a working day. The conditions of our work-life balance scheme are dependent on the job you do.

Childcareplus

Childcare Vouchers are a government scheme that gives you a much needed cash boost if you pay for registered or approved childcare. The vouchers are not just for babies but for all ages in between including teenagers up to 15 or 16 if they are disabled. Things that count as childcare include Holiday and School Clubs, Nurseries, Nannies or anything else that is registered and regulated by your regional governing body.

We have schemes to cover paternity, maternity, adoption, and parental leave. In addition to this we have policies to cover bereavement and situations where you may need compassionate or urgent leave.

Pre-contract view of Terms and Conditions of Employment and Key Policies

Derby City Council's policies, terms and conditions of employment are made up of a number of governing bodies and local agreements depending on the type of employment you may be applying for, below is a list and links to these national agreements.

Below is a number of these policies aimed at giving you an insight into Derby City Council's working environment and expectations. It is hoped this will help you make an informed decision as to whether you believe your future could be with Derby City Council.

Derby City Council also has its own set of policies arrived at through Local Agreement:

The Council take very seriously the security and protection of both its citizens and its employees. To help enforce this we operate the following:

Formal Grievance Process

Contents

  1. When should you raise an issue formally?
  2. What should I do on receipt of a formal grievance?
  3. What should I do if the grievance is about another employee or employees?
  4. Who arranges the grievance hearing?
  5. How should I deal with delays to a grievance hearing?
  6. Holding the grievance meeting and the outcome.
  7. What should I do with the documents?
  8. Right of appeal. 

1.  When should you raise an issue formally?

In the first instance grievances should be raised informally unless the issue is very serious.  If you are unsure whether the issue should be raised formally or informally discuss the matter with your manager.  

If an issue has not been resolved through the informal process you should raise the matter formally.  This must be done within three months of the issue arising or the latest incident.  The formal grievance should be submitted in writing to your head of service – or a tier 1 or 2 manager if appropriate. 

The best way to do this is using the grievance e-form on iDerby.  This ensures that: 

the basis of your grievance is clearly set out

  • any supplementary information is provided at the same time
  • the grievance is received speedily and a delivery acknowledgement is automatically generated. 

There is also an option to use a Grievance Form (Word).

However you can raise a formal grievance in an email, memo or other written communication.  If you chose not to use the form provided you will need to provide the following details: 

  • what the issue is
  • what you have done to try and sort out the problem
  • who else has relevant information about your grievance. 

If you are disabled you can submit your grievance in which ever way is most accessible for you.  This could include for example, on a tape, DVD or a braille document.  If you have learning disabilities you could ask someone to help you make a formal complaint or ask your manager to arrange this. 

2.  What should I do on receipt of a formal grievance?

If the grievance was raised on the grievance e-form an automated reply will have been sent to the employee.  Make sure you save any attachments from the grievance e-form.

Whether the form is received electronically or by hand, you must respond within two working days using the appropriate acknowledgement letter.  Before responding, check whether any of these factors need to be taken into account:

  • Is it a grievance?  Is the complaint covered by the grievance process?  For further information, see where the grievance policy can't be used.
  • Is it within the time frame?  Is the grievance outside the 3 month time limit? Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team before turning it down on this basis as it may be appropriate to extend the time limit.
  • Should it be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure?  Serious allegations about another employee may make it more appropriate to deal with it through the disciplinary and dismissals process.  Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team.
  • Is the complaint from more than one employee? Check whether this is a collective grievance.  Ensure a representative has been nominated if this is the case.
  • What informal action has already been tried to resolve the grievance?  If no action has been taken check whether the issue is serious enough to warrant going straight to a formal grievance.  Seek advice from Strategic HR Support team if necessary.  If necessary speak to the employee about making the grievance informal.  Refer to line manager if the employee agrees to an informal grievance.
  • Has the employee left the Council?  If the complaint is from an employee who has already left the council, don't deal with it through the grievance procedure.  Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team before making any response.  A complaint may be the start of a claim, and if a claim is made, any response would be evidence.  It may be a good idea to look into the matter if it concerns something you were not aware of, before deciding whether any further action needs taking, or making any response.
  • Is the employee about to leave the Council?  If the employee raises a grievance at any stage during their notice period, you should still deal with it in the same way as any other grievance.
  • Is the grievance a result of proposed management changes?  If so, you may not have to delay implementing the proposals while the grievance is dealt with.  You can still go ahead while dealing with the grievance.  However, it can be helpful to keep the circumstances as they were before the grievance was raised while the employee is pursuing it.  You need to assess whether implementing the change, while the grievance is dealt with, will aggravate the situation further and potentially adversely impact on future working relationships.
  • Is the grievance related to another Council process?  Where the grievance is related to another process, the employee must present their grievance as part of their case for that other process, so that it is not delayed in any way.
  • Does the grievance appear frivolous? The issue at this stage is not whether or not the grievance should be upheld.  You need to consider whether the employee that has raised a matter that, if true, would amount to a legitimate concern.  Where the initial reading of the grievance shows it to be concerned with a trivial issue, discuss the matter informally with the employee.  They may provide additional information that strengthens their case.  If not, write to the employee making clear why no further steps are being taken.   Explain that they are entitled to resubmit the grievance together with any further evidence or explanation that throws new light on it and demonstrates that a substantive complaint is being made.
  • Does the grievance appear false or malicious?  If it becomes apparent that a grievance raised formally is deliberately false (rather than a misunderstanding) or malicious.  A person raising a grievance in good faith will not be punished.  However if it appears that the grievance was not made in good faith a disciplinary investigation will need to take place.  Seek guidance from HR before taking this step as you must be sure the person is acting in bad faith.  Where this is not the case, manage the situation by ensuring that grievances made without substance do not lead to an excessive waste of time and resources
  • Does the grievance repeat earlier complaints?  If the grievance restates a complaint that is already being dealt with, or that was dealt with in the past you will need to ask the employee how the new grievance differs from the previous one.  What new incident has occurred or what new evidence has come to light?  If it becomes clear that nothing new is being raised reject the grievance.  Seek guidance from HR and make clear in your rejection letter how the grievance has already been dealt with.  If the grievance relates to an ongoing grievance ensure all the evidence is heard together – inform the employee.

Having considered the above information you should send one of the following letters.

*If no grievance form has been received after 10 normal working days, contact the employee again.  If appropriate, deal with it as a formal grievance without a completed form.  Or, if they don’t want to pursue a formal grievance ask them to confirm this in writing.  An email or signed note is acceptable but must be kept on the employee management file.  You may need to pass the information onto their line manager to deal with the issue informally.  Particularly if the issue is one that needs discussing anyway. 

Download the Grievance Management Action Record. This is to provide a factual record of key dates and action taken. It may be used as further evidence if required. Complete as much of the information as you can. 

3.  What should I do if the grievance is about another employee or employees?

Get advice from the Strategic HR Support team before informing the other employee. If the other employee is in your own team, notify them verbally of the complaint first of all.  You should not show them the grievance form, but extract the relevant information about them and follow this up in writing using the Grievance Notification of Complaint Letter Template

If the other employee is not in your team, notify them in writing using the Notification of complaint - letter template. You also need to inform the employee's head of service, as soon as possible, after you have informed the employee.  If you do this verbally, you should confirm this by sending a copy of the Grievance Notification of Complaint Letter Template.

In either case where the complaint is about another employee, you need to inform them immediately you have acknowledged the complaint.  Having a complaint made against you is very concerning – even if it turns out to be a misunderstanding.  You should therefore let the employee concerned know who to approach for support.  If they are not in your team, their manager should support them.  If they are in your team, you need to remain impartial.  So you may find it best to ask another colleague to support them.  Confirm in writing the name and contact details of the employee so that they can contact them if they have any issues or concerns.  You should make clear to all parties that you are not taking sides and that you will remain impartial throughout the process.

4.  Who arranges the grievance hearing?

It is the responsibility of the head of service – or tier 1 or 2 manager who received the grievance - to arranging the meeting.  

Other than in exceptional circumstances the grievance meeting must be held as soon as possible.  The employee must be given a minimum of five working days notice of the grievance meeting date.

You will need to: 

  • ensure any witnesses you wish to call will be available.
  • find out if the employee or their companion requires any reasonable adjustments for the hearing.
  • make everyone aware they are responsible for making their own notes.  If all parties agree, a neutral individual may attend to take minutes of the meeting.
  • book a room for the hearing.

HR may attend formal grievance meetings if you think it will benefit the process.  Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team before your meeting.

Inviting attendees - prepare the Grievance Meeting Invitation Letter 1 template ‌and ensure the following are included...

Send the invitation letter to the employee. You can use the internal mail but if you feel you may come across difficulties, use their home address.

If the complaint is about another employee, they will also need to attend the grievance meeting to respond to any allegations made about them. Invite them using Grievance Meeting Invitation Letter 2.

You can use the internal mail, but if you know the employee is away from work or may come across difficulties, send the letter by first class mail to their home address.  In exceptional circumstances you may wish to consider hand delivery.  If you use hand delivery, ask someone neutral who has no involvement in the case to deliver the letter.  If you feel you need evidence of this you can ask the person to sign to say they have delivered it using the Hand Delivery Receipt - template.

5.  How should I deal with delays to a grievance hearing?

Everyone involved in the grievance procedure has a responsibility to ensure that the process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible. Remember that any delays may add to the natural stress an employee experiences in this kind of situation. You need to ensure that as far as possible, you and anyone else involved in the process do not cause any delays.  Only one postponement will be allowed.

A delay caused by witness or companion absence - The employee is responsible for arranging someone to accompany them and any witnesses they have called to be available to attend.  If the employee's companion cannot attend the original date of the grievance meeting they may offer a reasonable alternative date within seven calendar days.

If the employee's witnesses cannot attend the grievance meeting or a revised date, they may choose to submit witness statements instead.

If the employee offers an alternative date that is not suitable for management, dialogue should take place to ensure a date is confirmed as soon as possible, keeping delays to an absolute minimum.

Delays caused by medical reasons - If an employee is likely to be sick for more than 14 days they should be referred to occupational health using the fitness assessment e-form. This is to assess whether they are fit to attend a hearing. The hearing may then be rearranged in line with advice from occupational health.

Delays caused by reasonable adjustments - If the employee, or their companion, requires reasonable adjustments (for example, a BSL interpreter) and this impacts on the date of the hearing, ensure you act reasonably.  Take this into account when organising a date and keep delays to a minimum.

A delay caused by the employee - The absence of the employee who raised the grievance does not mean you cannot proceed with the meeting.  If the employee cannot attend, their companion can represent them, avoiding any unnecessary delays.  Alternatively, the employee can provide a written statement/statement of case.  If the employee has given no reason for their absence it may be that they no longer wish to pursue their grievance.  However, there may be other factors involved that you are not aware of.  Where an employee fails to attend the meeting and has given no justifiable reason, write to them using the Grievance Meeting Absence Letter template. Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team before using this letter.

The absence of the employee who has had the grievance made against does not prevent you from proceeding with the meeting.  If theemployee cannot attend their companion can represent them, avoiding unnecessary delays.  Where an employee fails to attend the meeting and has given no justifiable reason, write to them using the Grievance Meeting Absence Letter template‌.  Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team before using this letter.

6.  Holding the grievance meeting and the outcome

You should follow the guidance in the Formal Grievance Meeting Information Sheet

If you postpone the grievance meeting for investigation, the officer appointed should follow the process described in disciplinary investigation.  This makes reference to the disciplinary process but the principles of investigation are the same. Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team about conducting a grievance investigation. 

Make a decision and communicate this verbally at the hearing. 

If the hearing is held in the absence of the employee, or a decision is not given verbally and there is an effective date that applies to your decision, make sure they have reasonable opportunity to receive the letter before the effective date. Seek advice from the Strategic HR Support team.

 Confirm the decision in writing to the employee within seven calendar days using the relevant grievance meeting outcome letter...

 If the grievance involves another employee, they also need to be notified of the outcome using Grievance Outcome Another Employee - letter template‌. 

Send this letter by first class mail. In exceptional circumstances you may wish to consider hand delivery.  If you use hand delivery, ask someone neutral who has no involvement in the case to deliver the letter.  If you feel you need evidence of this you can ask the person to sign to say they have delivered it using the hand delivery receipt template. 

Sometimes if the grievance was unfounded, difficult to resolve or took longer than expected it can have a continued effect on the people involved.  If it appears that working relations have been damaged you may want to consider mediation between the parties.  Refer to Strategic HR Support for advice on this.

7.  What should I do with the documents?

All documents relating to the grievance should be sent securely and confidentially to the HR Casework team as soon as possible.  HR will retain copies of all relevant papers and arrange for the case to be recorded on the HR system. 

8.  Right of appeal

Employees have the right of appeal against the outcome of a formal grievance. See our appeals page for more information.

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