Probationary procedure

1. Policy statement

1.1 All employees commencing employment with the London Borough of Harrow will be subject to a probationary period of 26 weeks regardless of previous Local Government service.

1.2 The employee's performance and conduct should be closely monitored throughout the 26 week probationary period to ensure that he / she meets the required standard for the post.

1.3. Managers should discuss the employee's performance with him / her regularly throughout the probationary period and should consider any training or additional support necessary to enable the employee to reach the standards required.

1.4 Recommended formal review times are 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 24 weeks. These formal review meetings should include feedback on the employee's performance and enable the employee to state his / her view. The aim of the meeting should be to set standards and to find constructive solutions to any problems which may have occurred.

1.5 Where there are concerns relating to the employees performance he / she may be accompanied by a TU rep / work colleague at the formal review meetings.

2. Confirmation of appointment

2.1 Provided the probationary period is satisfactory the employee will receive a letter at 26 weeks confirming his/her appointment with the Council.

3. Extension to probationary period

3.1 The probationary period may be extended by 8 weeks beyond the 26 weeks period in exceptional cases but only where a genuine opportunity exists for the employee to improve sufficiently to warrant confirming their appointment.

4. Performance not satisfactory

4.1 The employee must be notified in writing within 26 weeks if his / her performance is not satisfactory. If this results in his / her employment being terminated he / she must be formally notified within the 26 week period. It should be noted that the necessity to give notice may extend the employment beyond 26 weeks. Where an employee's failure to successfully complete their probationary period results in dismissal, the employee has the right to appeal against the decision (see 6 below).

5. Procedure

5.1 The Conduct procedure is not applicable to employees on probation.

5.2 Employees whose performance or conduct is considered unsatisfactory and who are covered by a probationary period will be subject to the procedure detailed on the attached flowchart.

5.3 In cases of serious misconduct. (Serious misconduct is defined as an occasion where an employee commits an offence which it is not appropriate to deal with under the formal review and which does not relate to the individuals capability to perform the duties of the post. This will usually be a specific incident and not an ongoing performance problem) e.g. abusive or threatening behaviour at work, discrimination or harassment against member of the public or Council employee, falsification of Council documents e.g. time sheets etc.

Employees within their probationary period will be subject to the following procedure:

  • The Manager / Supervisor will determine the facts and present these to the Head of Service / Senior Manager at a meeting convened for that purpose. The meeting shall be convened within 10 working days of the issue arising, unless varied by mutual agreement.
  • The employee will be able to present his / her case and be represented by a Trade Union representative.
  • The employee will be given 2 working days notice of the date of the meeting.
  • The Head of Service / Senior Manager will determine the appropriate action and will confirm his / her decision within 5 working days of the meeting.

5.4 If employment is confirmed, a written warning given during the probationary period will count as a corresponding warning for the purposes of the Council's Conduct procedure and will remain on the employee's personal file for the appropriate period.

5.5 Employees warned within their probationary period do not have a right of appeal.

6. Dismissal - Internal appeal

6.1 Employees with more than 4 weeks service who are dismissed within their probationary period will have a right of appeal internally but will not have access to an Industrial Tribunal. All employees who allege that their dismissal falls within the terms of the Equality Act or certain provisions under the Employment Rights Act have access to an Industrial Tribunal.
6.2 Employees with less than 4 weeks service do not have the right to appeal.

6.3 An appeal against dismissal during the probationary period will be heard by the Departmental Director or Head of Service.

6.4 An employee must register his / her wish to appeal, in writing, within 8 week days of receiving written confirmation of the decision to dismiss, stating the grounds for the appeal.

6.5 The appeal should normally be heard within 10 week days of the appeal being registered.

6.6 An HRD Advisor will attend the appeal to provide general advice and guidance.

6.7 The Head of Service and HRD representative at the appeal must not have been previously involved in the case at an earlier stage.

6.8 The result of the Appeal will be conveyed to the appellant immediately after the hearing and will be confirmed in writing by the Chair of the Appeal Panel within 5 week days.

Note: Week days = Monday to Friday

7. Forms