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Luton Borough Council

Behaviour at work

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We all have a responsibility to behave well at work. This section explains the standards of conduct you're expected to meet and what happens if you don't, and what to do if you have a problem at work.

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Code of conduct

We have a code of conduct and a set of corporate values that should be followed.

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Read and follow your code of conduct and live our values. As a council we aim to be:

  • collaborative
  • ambitious
  • respectful
  • empowering
  • supportive

This includes colleagues and service users. We also hope you'll be ambitious in your aspirations for the council and the community it serves. You work for a council that CARES.

It's your responsibility to also ensure that you're not placed in a position which risks, or appears to risk, conflict between your private interests and your council duties.

Make sure you notify us of any change in your circumstances that may impact in any way upon your employment or upon the council in general.

Read the code of conduct to find out more about:

  • undertaking work, whether paid or unpaid, outside the council
  • gifts and hospitality
  • commercial confidentiality
  • data protection and more

If you work with children, young people or adults with care and support needs you have a duty to keep them safe. You cannot keep information of abuse given by service users secret, even if you have been told in confidence.

You have a ‘duty to report’ such concerns to the appropriate line manager or other person as set out in our whistleblowing policy.

You must never have a close personal relationship with a child or young person under the age of 18, or 19 if still at school, or with an adult with care and support needs who you meet through work.

Unless there is sound reason to do so, and the action is taken with the express knowledge and approval of a line manager, and the decision is recorded on the service case papers or establishment record:

  • you must not make personal arrangements to see service users, their carers or families when off-duty
  • you must not take service users, their carers or families to your home
  • you must not give your telephone number or address to service users, their carers or families
  • you must neither sell nor buy property from service users, their families or carers

If you're concerned about any practice you see in the council which you think conflicts with the code of conduct you should in the first instance raise it with your manager.

In circumstances where, because of the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved or who is suspected of the malpractice, you can raise matters direct with the council’s monitoring officer by emailing [email protected] or internally LBC Whistle.

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 1998 and our whistleblowing policy can provide safeguards for employees and public officials who disclose unlawful and improper conduct, including breaches of this code.

Public interest disclosures should be made directly to the council’s monitoring officer.

If you drive on council business, or are in receipt of the essential car user allowance, or your job requires a driving licence you must inform your manager immediately if you are disqualified from driving for medical or criminal reasons.

You must disclose to your manager any police investigation, arrest, charge or conviction.

Discuss any issues you may have

We want you to be happy and feel valued at work. If there's a problem, for example, if you're struggling with workload, work conditions or your relationship with colleagues, please talk to your manager and they can support you to resolve the issues.

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If the problem can’t be resolved informally you have the right to raise a formal grievance using the grievance resolution procedure or a complaint under the unfair discrimination, harassment and bullying procedure.

Your manager should ensure that you have a regular check-in with them. That could be an opportunity for you to let your manager know about any problems that you are having that you are unable to resolve yourself.

You don’t have to wait for a Check In though. It’s best to raise any concerns as soon as possible, so contact your manager and ask if you can have a chat with them then or if you can book a time to speak to them later.

Together you can discuss and agree:

  • practical solutions – such as where the problem is a practical issue such as your workstation, working hours, terms and conditions
  • advice, support and guidance from management, either for you or the person you have a problem with, in order to resolve the issues informally
  • training to modify behaviour – again, this could be for you or the other person

The grievance resolution procedure only comes into play when:

  • you're not satisfied with the outcome of conversations with your manager
  • all other informal routes to resolve the matter have been exhausted

When you submit your grievance in writing describing the problem, it's essential that you include possible resolutions that you consider would resolve the issues.

Your manager, or the manager tasked with resolving your grievance, will arrange a meeting with you to explore possible resolutions to the problem you've raised. You can take a union representative or work colleague with you. This will be done within two weeks of you formally registering the problem in writing.

For more information please read the grievance resolution procedure.

In many cases of unfair discrimination, harassment or bullying at work, it may be sufficient to ensure that the unwanted attention or action stops. If you feel you are the target of unfair discrimination, bullying or harassment talk to your manager or a trade union representative and ask them to support you to raise the matter informally with the individual treating you in that way.

It may be possible for them to speak to the individual on your behalf to let them know how their behaviour is affecting you and that you would like it to stop.

For more information please read the unfair discrimination, harassment and bullying procedure.

Dealing with conduct issues

Many conduct issues can be dealt with informally by your manager. If that conversation doesn't resolve things, or there’s a significant or more serious cause of concern, your manager may need to follow a formal disciplinary process.

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In the most serious situations you could lose your job at the council. More information is available in the disciplinary procedure which includes in appendix A, examples of misconduct and examples of gross misconduct.

If you are on probation then any conduct issues may be dealt with under the probationary procedure.

Your manager will:

  • ask you to explain your behaviour
  • advise of ways you can improve your behaviour
  • agree a review date to check how things are progressing, that could be at your next Check In

The disciplinary procedure will only be used if your behaviour/performance does not improve, or if the matter is more serious. No disciplinary action will be taken against you until the case has been investigated. You will be told in writing what the allegations are and be given an opportunity to have your say before any decision is made.

At all stages you have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative, or work colleague. However, there may be exceptional cases where this is not practical, for example immediate suspension for alleged gross misconduct.

You may have to be suspended from work for a while so the matter can be investigated.

You can still see your work colleagues socially, but you can’t discuss your situation with them. You should be contactable during work hours and should still let your manager know if you are unwell or wish to take annual leave. You’ll be paid as normal.

Your suspension will be reviewed regularly.

A suspension is not a punishment. It gives your manager or the investigating manager and HR time to investigate the matter further.

Your manager or the investigating manager (if that is a different person) will write to you to with all the details.

They will tell you:

  • what the allegations are
  • when you will be meeting with the investigating manager to have your say
  • if you are going to be suspended
  • what support is available – for example, from your union

The investigating manager is there to establish the facts. They will find out what has happened and take a balanced view of all the information.

They will:

  • talk to all the relevant people related to your case
  • read any statements and other information
  • keep notes and records of everything that is said

You must cooperate with the investigation as much as you can. You can take a union representative or work colleague with you to any formal meetings.

A different manager will hear the case and make a decision based on the facts presented to them at a disciplinary hearing. You should attend the hearing and can take a union representative or work colleague with you. If you do not attend without having provided a good reason the hearing will go ahead in your absence.

The investigating manager, HR and a note taker will also attend the hearing. In some cases, relevant witnesses from the investigation may also be asked to attend by either party.

The investigating manager will present their case, the facts that they have established during the investigation. They may refer to documentary evidence such as notes from interviews with you or other relevant people, policies and any other written records.

You'll have been supplied with a copy of all of this evidence prior to the hearing. You can also send in written evidence.

After the investigating manager has presented their case and any questions have been asked of them, you will present your case and answer any questions.

Then the hearing manager will adjourn to reach a decision about whether the allegations are upheld and if so, what the sanction will be. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, you could be given a first or final written warning or be dismissed.

The decision will be confirmed in writing and you will be advised of your right to appeal the decision.

You must write to your service director within ten working days of being given the written notification of the disciplinary decision. Your letter of appeal must give details of the grounds for the appeal. These may be:

  • against the findings that the allegation(s) were substantiated
  • against the form of disciplinary action taken
  • that the disciplinary procedure has been applied defectively or unfairly
  • that new evidence has come to light which was not available to the disciplinary hearing – in this case the employee should state clearly what the evidence is and why it is believed that it would alter the original decision

Your letter must make it clear which aspect(s) of the decision you wish to appeal against, and why.

A different manager will hear your appeal - the appeal hearing manager. You must attend the appeal hearing, it will not proceed in your absence. You can take a union representative or work colleague with you.

The hearing manager, HR and a notetaker will attend the appeal. The investigating manager may be asked to attend as a witness. Other relevant witnesses may also be called by either party.

An appeal hearing is not a rehearing of the disciplinary hearing. Only the grounds for appeal will be considered.

At an appeal hearing you present your case first. The hearing manager and appeal hearing manager or their HR representatives can ask you questions. Then the hearing manager will present their case. Then you or your union representative can ask questions of the hearing manager.

Then the appeal hearing manager will adjourn to consider whether to uphold your appeal or not. If your appeal is not upheld you have no further right of appeal.

© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ