The chair of a grievance or disciplinary hearing needs to be suitably experienced and skilled. They need to be objective and neutral with no direct interest in the outcome. They should be able to direct the meeting with sensitivity and pace and in accordance with internal policy and ACAS guidelines. A skilled chair will come to a sound conclusion after weighing up all the evidence and they will be able to demonstrate this should an appeal be made. Consideration needs to be given to having someone available to hear an appeal and this is often where the independent external chair will be most useful.
How It Works
The same level of objectivity and skill is required of the appeal chair and depending on the size and resources of an organisation it can be difficult to appoint someone to hear an appeal. An appeal is a challenge to the original decision and in the interests of objectivity and fairness should be heard by someone who is visibly unimpeded by influence or hierarchy and able to overturn a decision.
To raise an appeal is a legal right and it can be an opportunity for an employer to put right any flaws in the original process of investigation or hearing.
Ahead of the hearing
The chair receives and reads all relevant documents including the original decision in advance.
An appeal is a challenge to the original decision and not an opportunity for the case to be reheard. New evidence cannot be introduced at this stage.
At the hearing
The appellant will be invited to make their case as to why the original decision or process is flawed and to bring any relevant witnesses.
The chair may ask the chair of the original hearing some questions about how they reached the conclusions they reached. This may happen in writing or in person
The chair will carefully consider all the submissions to the appeal and will decide whether the original decision stands, needs to be modified or in extreme circumstances will find the process was unfair and should be restarted with new chairs.
The outcome of the appeal is delivered to the appellant in writing within a week of the hearing.
An appeal is the final stage in a disciplinary or grievance process.
Benefits of using SCD People Solutions as your chairperson
Many years of experience will ensure the appeal is progressed confidentially, comprehensively and remains focused on the grounds of the appeal without being drawn into discussion regarding points that are irrelevant.
An objective, neutral and experienced chair will carefully review the evidence presented in advance and at the hearing. They will not be influenced by anything outside the hearing process, by hierarchy or any other factor that might make it difficult for an internal chair to overturn the decision of a colleague.
Depending on the size and resources of an organisation it can be difficult to appoint someone who is able to take this role. To avoid any suggestion of influence an appeal chair should be at a higher level of seniority than the original chair. If that is not possible they need to be at the same level of seniority and in a different direct line of management.
Is it only appeals that you chair?
No, I am available to chair grievances and disciplinary matters as well. It is always necessary for two people to be available to chair a disciplinary or grievance hearing, one to hear the case and one to hear an appeal should one be raised. The employer would decide, taking their size and resources into account which stage would better deploy an external person.
How can an external person chair an appeal when they have not been involved in the original case?
The role of the appeal chair is to test the decision made by the hearing chair against the evidence submitted by the person making the appeal and to make a balance of probability decision based on the evidence submitted. Complete neutrality streamlines this task.
What Can We Help You With?
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