The third recommendation states:
|(3) To remove the requirement for an Officer Appeals Committee to hear appeals by officers against dismissal.|
(Review of the Officer Appeals & Chief Officer Appointments Processes)
Q1 We are concerned that removing this very important existing procedure will undermine confidence in the fairness of dismissal processes. For instance, if someone has been dismissed (by a Senior Officer) should not they have an opportunity to Appeal to Elected Councillors (who ultimately represent the Employer)?
Q2 How many Officer Appeal Committees (OAC) have there been for each year in the last ten years? What evidence is there that removing this right that it will save “time”?
Q2a) What evidence has been produced to demonstrate that that this “material” change will not make a difference?
Q2b) Why is there no Equality Impact Assessment and has a risk log been produced to accompany this proposal?
Staff, when facing disciplinary procedures, want the Elected Councillors to hear their part of the narrative and believe that Elected Councillors will be more independent. They also want Elected Members to see the whole situation from a dispassionate perspective (and value the Seven Principles of Public Life).
We believe Elected Members would want to “look under the bonnet” and hearing appeals is an opportunity to look at the issues from a different perspective. It also an opportunity for Elected Members to make recommendations, if relevant and necessary. (Staff learn more about the Council’s Constitution.)
Q3 Most Local Authorities have similar “Staffing Committees” to hear Appeals and the processes and rights of dismissed employees to Appeal to Elected Councillors are included in the Constitution. Why is it necessary to remove this important right?
Q4 Does the Committee think that staff being able to Appeal to the OAC, provides further assurance that proper processes are followed -and also provides sufficient assurance that there is appropriate separation from (other parts of) the Senior Leadership Team if the Appeal to Elected Members is removed?