Section 08: Conduct and performance

8.1    Code of conduct

The reputation of the Board is dependent to a certain extent on the high standards of work, conduct and appearance of its staff. Your job puts you in a position of trust and responsibility. You must ensure that your conduct does not limit the effectiveness or reputation of the diocese.

8.2    Email policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Board's email system can operate efficiently and without the Board being exposed to any potential liability. Therefore, any breach of this policy, depending on its seriousness, may be matter for disciplinary action.

Whilst the Board does accept that on the odd occasion there will be a need for personal use, please note all email messages are records of the Board and the Board reserves the right to do with them as it sees fit.

You should be careful regarding the content of emails, which may be forwarded on both outside and inside diocesan offices. You should be aware that all the Board's policies apply to email messages, and the Board may find itself vicariously liable for defamatory information for which you are responsible.

Do not create email congestion by sending trivial messages or unnecessary copying/forwarding of emails e.g. humorous stories etc. Any chain mail letter received must be deleted immediately and not sent on to any person either within diocesan offices or outside.

If you are going to be away for half a day or more, you should use the email facility which alerts people to the fact that you will be absent for a period of time. Using that facility, you should provide contact details for a person or persons who are competent to deal with matters in your absence.

Messages should be addressed only to those people who need to receive that information. Do not use email as an easy way to flood people with unnecessary information. The 'to' distribution button must only be used for people directly affected by the contents of the email. Use 'cc' for people who simply need to be informed about what is going on.

It is imperative for the purposes of GDPR that when sending emails to a group of recipients, you use the ‘bcc field’ for addresses. This prevents the addresses of the whole group being circulated to all recipients.

8.3    Email signature guidance

Employees of the Board are required to use a standard email signature for all email, both external and internal. This will be covered during your induction.

If at any time you need help with your email signature, you can contact the Communications Team.

8.4    Information technology (computer software) policy

Whilst access from diocesan computer terminals to the Internet is normally unrestricted, employees are expected to use the system responsibly for the purposes of their work. The Board needs to ensure as far as possible that the system remains operational and secure. In pursuance of this the Board will provide relevant software on the network to minimize the risk of infections from computer viruses and other unwanted intrusion. Employees should be vigilant when using the diocesan network, particularly when accessing email and the Internet, helping prevent attacks on the integrity of the system by:

  • Not opening emails from people and addresses with whom they are unfamiliar;
  • Not opening email attachments unless they are known to have come from a recognized bona fide source;
  • Not downloading and/or opening files from Internet sites unless they are known, 'trusted' sites (i.e. other diocesan sites or Government agencies etc.);
  • Not downloading and/or opening files onto the network for general use without express and prior permission of the Director of Finance.
  • Not accessing or downloading inappropriate data (e.g. racial or pornographic material) that could give serious offence to others and render the employee to disciplinary or legal action. Bear in mind that sites accessed are retained on the system and can be seen by others, in connection with which the Board reserves the right to read the contents of any file on any network/system, hard drive or other computer media owned by the Board;
  • Not downloading onto the network/system unauthorised data files, 
  • Not trying to disinfect a suspected virus or prevent an authorized intrusion but reporting the occurrence immediately to the Finance Director.

Software Policy

Current software legislation requires the board not only to ensure that every program loaded onto its computers is licensed but also to be able to prove that is it licensed. In order to comply with this, the Board must hold a valid licence for every software program being used on machines it owns, whether permanently networked or portable. Adherence to the following policy will ensure compliance with software legislation:

  • Only authorised software is to be loaded on any diocesan computer, 
  • The loading of software must be carried out only by the IT Consultant;

8.5 Document policy

The Document Policy is designed to ensure that we communicate clearly and consistently, and in a way consistent with our Christian character.

What is covered by this policy?

All documents produced in the course of our work, including web pages, word processed, spreadsheets, pdfs, powerpoint; video and social media posts.


Implementing the style guide results in documents that are most accessible or adaptable for those with particular needs or dependent on assistive technology.

When creating content for the diocesan website, web pages are preferred over all other document types as users can have their own accessibility and browser settings set to meet their particular needs.

Structuring documents using Heading (etc) styles helps organise contents and navigate more easily.


The policy covers the use of logos, fonts, colour which may be revised from time to time. It is designed to add authority to your work and build a visual identity that makes it easy for others to recognise the support that the diocese is making to their lives/ministry/project/context.

Writing style and conventions

Guidance is provided to further ensure consistency (eg in abbreviations, capitalisation, and a good tone).

You should endeavour to keep all documents updated to conform to current the style guide which is available in the Communications section of the diocesan server and at If in doubt or difficulty, consult the Comms team.

8.6 Social media policy

Who is covered by this policy?

Employees of the Lichfield Diocese Board of Finance (LDBF) are subject to this Social Media Policy.

The Social Media Policy is designed to ensure that we communicate within the law and in a way consistent with our Christian character.

What is social media?

Social Media, in this policy, refers to all online communication in a public space, from blogging to Twitter and Facebook. Engagement through a computer or smartphone screen should not change our understanding of confidentiality, responsibility, good manners and Christian witness.

1.      Public Domain

The law views anything shared online as being in the public domain. Sharing thoughts and reflections with friends using social media or email might feel personal and private; but if more than one person can access what we have written, it is highly likely that the law would class it as "published". It is subject to the law touching libel, copyright, freedom of information and data protection. If we wouldn't say something in the local newspaper we shouldn't say it online.

2.      Permanence

Anything said on the Web can be assumed to be permanent. Even if we delete a comment made on a website, it could still have already been seen by other people, re-published, or had a screenshot picture taken. It is easy to say something in the heat of the moment that we regret later, but it could remain permanently online for all to see.

3.      Security

It is absolutely not safe to assume anything electronic is secure. Privacy settings on social media tools might mean comments going only to accepted "friends" or "followers" but there is no guarantee that they will not pass (repost) them outside trusted circles.

4.      Gossip

Social media can pose a risk to confidentiality and be intrusive. Social media does not change our fundamental understanding about confidentiality in the life of the Church. When telling a story about a situation which involves someone else, it is always useful to pose the question "Is this MY story to tell?"

Furthermore, we should ask if the story is likely to cause distress, inconvenience, upset or embarrassment to others if they discovered it had been shared in this way. If in any doubt at all, it should not be shared online.

5.      Representatives

If we are church employees, anything we do or say in the public domain will be interpreted by the public as representative of attitudes and behaviour in the Church. Controversial, hasty or insensitive comments can quickly attract the attention of the

media. In the web environment, the person pressing the keys is ultimately responsible for their own online activities, but they can tar a lot of others with their own brush in the eyes of the media. News providers are always on the watch for gritty church-related stories via social media.

6.      Separation

Keep a clear separation between personal and corporate accounts. If you tweet as yourself, mark the account clearly as ‘my own views’ so there is no suggestion your opinions represent a wider church or organisation. If you tweet from an account representing a church or organisation, then make sure you avoid expressing personal opinions. Any account which carries the logo, address or website of a church or organisation should be seen as a corporate account and only speak for that organisation.

7.      Real-Time relationships

Interactions in the virtual world need to be transparent. Healthy boundaries and practices must be adhered to just as they should be in the physical world. In the virtual world, ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ can mean anyone with whom you are willing to communicate through that medium. In the physical world, friend can mean much more in terms of intimacy, self-disclosure, mutuality and expectations for relationship.

8.      Safeguarding

Laws regarding mandated reporting of suspected abuse/neglect/exploitation of children, youth, elders and vulnerable adults apply in the virtual world as they do in the physical world.

Very clear boundaries must be maintained when communicating with children and young people. The law and diocesan policies on Safeguarding apply in communications with children and young people by whatever means, and Safeguarding guidelines apply fully online.

Communications should be public and in the view of whole groups, not individuals. Private messages should not be exchanged with young people via social media.

8.7 Bullying policy

The aim of this procedure is to protect Board employees from bullying and to enable them, if necessary, to make a complaint or assist in an investigation without fear of reprisal. Implementation of this policy is the duty of all staff and all staff are expected to comply.

The Board defines ‘bullying’ as follows; 

“the persistent, demeaning and downgrading of employees through words and actions that gradually erode self-confidence and undermine self-esteem.”

The Board of Finance operates a zero tolerance policy to all forms of bullying.

Examples of bullying

You may not always realise that your behaviour constitutes bullying, but you must recognise what is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. It is the perceptions of the recipient that determine whether any action or statement can be viewed as bullying. Therefore, we have listed for you some examples of bullying, although the list is not exhaustive.

  • Derogatory remarks;
  • Insensitive jokes or pranks;
  • Insulting or aggressive behaviour;
  • Ignoring or excluding an individual;
  • Public criticism;
  • Substituting responsible tasks with menial or trivial ones;
  • Constantly undervaluing effort.

All bullying complaints brought to the Board's attention will be treated with confidentiality and impartiality. All legitimate allegations will be taken seriously and fully investigated and any person found bullying would be subject to the Board's disciplinary procedures.


You should report the complaint to your immediate line manager. (If your complint is about your Line Manger you should see the HR team. The complaint can be formal or informal. You should choose the preferred option to resolve the problem in the first instance.

You should, however, where possible make a written record of:

  • Any incidents of bullying;
  • Name of the individual who is bullying;
  • The nature of the bullying;
  • Dates and times when the bullying occurred;
  • Names of any witnesses to any incidents of bullying.

Once this complaint has been received, a full investigation will be carried out. Care will be taken during an investigation to treat all employees involved with consideration.

The CEO will consider whether it is appropriate to attempt to resolve the issue informally. If so a meeting will be arranged at which the person who is bullying will be told by either the individual who is being bullied or the CEO that the behaviour is offensive and unwanted and must stop.

A note of the meeting and the alleged bully’s response will be placed on the alleged bully’s personnel file, but will not be referred to again unless the alleged bully is involved in a further allegation of bullying, whether or not the same victim.

Where informal methods fail, or if the CEO considers the problem is sufficiently grave, the issue will be addressed in a formal disciplinary hearing under the Board's Disciplinary Procedure.


If you are unsure of how to deal with the situation, please speak to the HR Team, which would be in strict confidence;

You have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative at all stages of this procedure if required;

If you bring a complaint you will not suffer victimisation for having brought the complaint;

If you were unhappy about the way your complaint has been handled or you may wish for it to be reconsidered, you should make use of the grievance procedure;

If in certain incidents the person who is alleged to be bullying is your immediate line manager, you would then report the complaint direct to the CEO;

No person will suffer any adverse employment consequences as a result of reporting a breach of this policy, unless such a report shall be found to be either false and unfounded or false or vexatious.

8.8 Harassment policy

The following procedure informs you of the type of behaviour the Board finds unacceptable and what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Implementation of this policy is the duty of all staff and all staff are expected to comply.

The Board defines ‘harassment’ as follows:

“improper, offensive and humiliating behaviour, practices or conduct which may threaten a person’s job security or create an intimidating, unwelcoming and/or stressful work environment causing personal offence or injury”

Harassment is unwelcome, unreciprocated and offensive to the recipient. The determining factor is how it is received – not how it was intended by the person initiating the behaviour.

You may not always realise that certain behaviour constitutes harassment but you must recognise what is acceptable to one person, may not be acceptable to another, therefore the Board has listed for you some examples although the list is not exhaustive.

Examples of behaviour which could constitute sexual harassment include:

  • Insensitive jokes and pranks;
  • Comments about appearance;
  • Unnecessary body contact;
  • Offensive letters/memos/emails;
  • Questions or inferences about a person’s private life and sexual activities;
  • Lewd remarks, glances or staring;
  • Unsolicited/unwanted gifts;

Examples of behaviour which could constitute racial harassment include:

  • Racial comments/abuse;
  • Racist jokes/ridicule on racial grounds;
  • Pranks;
  • Derogatory nicknames;
  • Verbal threats or other threatening behaviour;
  • Offensive letters/memos/emails;
  • Offensive publications;
  • Facial expression or offensive gestures;
  • Deliberate exclusion from conversations;

All harassment grievances or complaints brought to the Board's attention will be treated with confidentiality and impartiality. All legitimate allegations will be taken seriously and fully investigated and can be treated as a gross misconduct disciplinary offence which could lead to summary dismissal.

Harassment complaint procedure

If you the victim of minor harassment you should initially make it clear to the harasser that their behaviour is unacceptable/unwanted.

You should also keep a record of any incidents which occur, including dates, times and locations.

If the incident was witnessed, ask the witness to make a note of what they saw. If the behaviour persists, report the issue to your line manager without delay.

However, if these steps have no effect, you should adopt the following procedure:

You should report the complaint to your immediate line manager (who in turn would report to the CEO). Where possible the written complaint should include:

  • Name of the harasser;
  • The nature of the harassment;
  • Dates and times when the harassment occurred;
  • Names of witnesses to any incidents of harassment;

Once this complaint has been received, a full investigation will be carried out which may include the temporary suspension of the alleged harasser.

Following a full investigation, any person causing personal harassment will be subject to the Board's disciplinary procedure, which may lead to dismissal.

If you are unsure of how to deal with a situation, please speak to the HR Team. All conversations will be carried out in strict confidence.

  • An individual has a right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative at all stages of this procedure if required;
  • If you bring a complaint you will not suffer victimisation for having brought the complaint;
  • If you are unhappy about the way your complaint has been handled or you may wish for it to be reconsidered, you should make use of the grievance procedure;
  • Prevention is better than cure – if everyone knows what the expected behaviour standards are, there should not be the need to invoke formal disciplinary proceedings on most occasions;

No person will suffer any adverse employment consequences as a result of reporting a breach of this policy, unless such a report shall be found to be either false and unfounded or false or vexatious.

8.9 Whistle-blowing policy

A Whistle-blowing Policy and the accompanying procedure is designed to enable members of staff to raise concerns internally and in a confidential fashion about fraud, malpractice, health and safety, criminal offences, and failure to comply with legal obligations or unethical conduct. The policy also provides if necessary, for such concerns to be raised outside the organisation.

It is intended to demonstrate that the Board:

  • Will not tolerate fraudulent or malicious behaviours;
  • Respects the confidentiality of staff raising concerns and will provide procedures to maintain confidentiality so far as is consistent with progressing the issues effectively;
  • Will provide the opportunity to raise concerns outside of the normal line management structure where this is appropriate;
  • Will invoke the Board's disciplinary policy and procedure in the case of false, malicious, vexatious or frivolous allegations;
  • Will provide a clear and simple procedure for raising concerns; which is accessible to all members of staff.


This procedure is separate from the Board's adopted procedures regarding grievances.

  • Employees should not use this procedure to raise grievances about their personal employment situation;
  • This procedure is to enable members of staff to express a legitimate concern regarding inappropriate behaviours within the Board;
  • Inappropriate behaviours are not easily defined; but can include allegations of fraud, financial irregularities, corruption, bribery, dishonesty, criminal activities, failing to comply with a legal obligation, creating or ignoring a serious risk to health, safety or the environment, malicious gossip that undermines our organisation


Employees who wish to raise a concern under this procedure are entitled to have the matter treated confidentially and their name will not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator of inappropriate behaviour without their prior approval. It may be appropriate to preserve confidentiality that concerns are raised orally rather than in writing, although members of staff are encouraged to express their concern in writing wherever possible. If there is evidence of criminal activity then the Police will in all cases be informed.

The Investigation

A member of staff will be at liberty to express their concern to the CEO.

Any concern raised will be investigated thoroughly and in a timely manner, and appropriate corrective action will be pursued. The member of staff making the allegation will be kept informed of progress and, whenever possible and subject to third party rights, will be informed of the Resolution;

A member of staff who is not satisfied that their concern is being properly dealt with will have a right to raise it in confidence with Directors of the Board.

External Procedures

Where all internal procedures have been exhausted, a member of staff shall have a right of access to Directors of the Board.

It should be noted that under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, there are circumstances where a member of staff may be entitled to raise a concern directly with an external body where the employee reasonably believes:

  • That exceptionally serious circumstances justify it;
  • That the Board would conceal or destroy the relevant evidence;
  • Where they believe they would be victimised by the Board;
  • Where the Secretary of State has ordered it.

Malicious Accusations

False, malicious, vexatious or frivolous accusations will be dealt with under the Board's Disciplinary Procedure.

Protection from Reprisal or Victimisation

No member of the staff will suffer a detriment or be disciplined for raising a genuine and legitimate concern, providing that they do so in good faith and following the Whistleblower procedures.

8.10 Grievance procedure

This procedure should be dealt with in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice.


The Board recognises that from time to time, employees may wish to discuss grievances relating to their employment. We encourage communication between members of staff and their managers in order to provide a fair and open environment, and to ensure that questions and problems arising during the course of employment can be aired and where possible, resolved quickly and to the satisfaction of all concerned. The Board recommends that you use this procedure freely and you will not be subject to any detrimental treatment for exercising this right. Separate procedures apply for the Board’s Harassment and Whistleblowing Policies, details of which are set out elsewhere in this Handbook.


If you have a grievance that does not relate to harassment or whistleblowing you should adopt the following procedure:

  • Where you have a grievance arising from your employment you should initially raise this with you immediate manager through discussion, and then follow it up in writing. Your immediate manager will arrange a meeting with you, consider your grievance, and give you a decision within 5 working days;
  • If your grievance is not resolved to your satisfaction, you should then speak to the CEO, again through discussion, which should be followed up in writing. The CEO will arrange a meeting with you, consider your grievance, and then give you a decision within 5 working days;
  • If your grievance is still not resolved to your satisfaction, you should then refer the matter to the Chairman of the Board, and the Bishop of Lichfield. They will discuss your grievance with you, and thereafter make or take any decision as may be necessary;
  • Any decision made by the Chairman and Bishop in respect of any grievance is final.

Please note: If you wish, you have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative at any grievance meeting.

8.11 Disciplinary procedure

This procedure should be dealt with in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice.

1)      Purpose and scope

This procedure is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain a satisfactory standard of conduct, attendance and job performance. The aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all.

2)      Principles

  1. No disciplinary action will be taken against anyone until the case has been investigated properly.
  2. At every stage in the procedure the employee will be advised of the nature of the complaint against him or her and will be given the opportunity to state his or her case before any decision is made.
  3. At all stages the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, employee representative or work colleague during any disciplinary interview.
  4. No employee will be dismissed for the first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct when the penalty will be dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.
  5. An employee will have the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty imposed.
  6. The procedure may be implemented at any stage if the employee’s alleged misconduct warrants such action.
  7. Suspension with pay may occur during an investigation or where misconduct is alleged. The Board has complete discretion as to whether or not to suspend an employee. Suspension is a temporary measure and is not to be regarded as disciplinary action or penalty of any kind.
  8. The Board will investigate any conduct matter and any other situation where appropriate. It will allow the Board to decide whether disciplinary action is required. An investigation will usually involve an investigatory interview with the employee concerned: this is not a disciplinary hearing and there is no right to be accompanied at it. Any failure to assist an investigation and be entirely open and honest during it will be treated very seriously and may be treated as misconduct or gross misconduct.

3)      The procedure

Before any disciplinary action is imposed, you will be invited by letter to attend a disciplinary hearing. In this letter the nature of the disciplinary matter will be explained in as much detail as possible and any relevant evidence which the hearing will consider will be enclosed with the letter (including copies of witness statements and any other relevant documents). The letter will set a time, date and location for the hearing which will be reasonable for all those attending.

  1. After a reasonable period following your receipt of the letter the disciplinary hearing will be held.
  2. If the matter is connected with capability then details of any shortfall in performance will be outlined in order that you may understand the exact nature of the complaint and be able to respond in an appropriate and relative manner
  3. If this is a conduct matter, the details of the conduct and any allegations will be put to you in full, in order that you may comment and fully state your case.
  4. If the matter is connected with absence, timekeeping or some other factual matter of this kind, then the details of this will be produced in order that the matter concerned can be discussed fully.
  5. The manager holding the hearing may adjourn the hearing and undertake further investigations if required.
  6. The outcome of the disciplinary hearing may be stated to you at the end of the hearing or sent to you later in written form, but in any event it will always be set out to you in writing within a reasonable period following the hearing. This letter will remind you of your right to appeal, which is detailed below.
  7. The statutory minimum procedure will be followed in cases of dismissal or imposing some other disciplinary penalty that is not suspension on full pay or a warning (defined overleaf).

4)      Disciplinary stages

Informal Action

Cases of minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance are usually best dealt with informally. A quiet word is often all that is required to improve an employee’s conduct or performance.

If informal action does not bring about an improvement, or the misconduct or unsatisfactory performance is considered to be too serious to be classed as minor, the Board will provide employees with a clear signal of their dissatisfaction by taking formal action. A record of the improvement note will be kept for 6 months, but will then be considered spent - subject to achievement and sustainment of satisfactory performance.

Formal Action

Stage 1 - First warning: misconduct

If the conduct does not meet acceptable standards the employee will normally be given a written warning. This will set out the nature of the misconduct and the change in behaviour required. The warning should also inform the employee that a final written warning may be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement or change. A record of the warning should be kept, but it should be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after a specified period (eg, six months).

Stage 2 - Final written warning

If the offence is sufficiently serious, or there is a failure to improve during the currency of a prior warning for the same type of offence, a final written warning may be given to the employee. This will give details of the complaint, the improvement required and the timescale. It will also warn that failure to improve may lead to action under Stage 3 (dismissal or some other action short of dismissal), and will refer to the right of appeal. A copy of this written warning will be kept by the supervisor but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 12 months (in exceptional cases the period may be longer) subject to achievement and sustainment of satisfactory conduct or performance.

Stage 3 - Dismissal

If conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory and the employee still fails to reach the prescribed standards within the life of a final written warning, the employee will normally be dismissed. Only an Officer of the Board can take the decision to dismiss. The employee will be provided, as soon as reasonably practicable, with written reasons for dismissal, the date on which employment will terminate and the right of appeal.

Statutory discipline and dismissal procedure

If an employee faces dismissal - or certain action short of dismissal such as loss of pay or demotion - the minimum statutory procedure will be followed. This involves:

  • step one: a written note to the employee setting out the allegation and the basis for it
  • step two: a meeting to consider and discuss the allegation
  • step three: a right of appeal including an appeal meeting.

The employee will be reminded of their right to be accompanied.

5)      Gross misconduct

Gross misconduct may include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • A serious or wilful breach of the Board’s rules or of your terms and conditions of employment.
  • Being absent from work without leave (including deliberately walking out of work without express permission).
  • Grossly indecent/immoral behaviour.
  • Attending work when drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs.
  • Fighting, physical assault or the threat of physical assault.
  • Deliberate falsification of any records, including time sheets, overtime sheets and absence/sickness records, in respect of yourself or any other employee.
  • Undertaking private work on the premises (at any time) or doing anything other than authorised work for the company on company premises in working hours without express permission.
  • Theft of money or property, whether belonging to the Board, another employee or a third party.
  • Damage to the Board’s property or other person’s any property on the Board’s premises.
  • Serious negligence and/or conduct that breaches of the Health & Safety rules and/or anything else that might endanger the lives of, or be likely to cause harm, to employees or any other person (regardless of whether such harm is actually caused).
  • Gross insubordination and/or refusal to carry out legitimate instructions given by a supervisor/manager.

This list is not exhaustive and is for illustration only.

If, on completion of an investigation and disciplinary hearing, the Officer of the Board is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred, the result will normally be summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice unless there are extraordinary mitigating circumstances present.

(6)     Appeals

An employee who wishes to appeal against a disciplinary decision should inform the CEO in writing within five working days. The Diocesan Bishop will hear all appeals and his decision is final. At the appeal any disciplinary penalty imposed will be reviewed but it cannot be increased.

(7)     Definitions

For the purposes of this Procedure ‘Officer of the Board’ shall mean the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Board but not the Diocesan Bishop or Area Bishop.

8.12   Capability procedure

  • If a manager considers an employee’s performance is unsatisfactory, the manager will arrange a meeting with the employee, giving appropriate notice.
  • This meeting will cover the aspects of work that are unsatisfactory and need to be improved. The manager will ensure that the employee is clear about the required standard of work and any specific targets.
  • An employee’s request to be accompanied will be accommodated, subject to it not unreasonably delaying the scheduling of this meeting. The person accompanying the employee would be able to address the meeting, make opening and closing
  • statements, ask questions and confer with the employee although they are not able to answer questions on behalf of the employee.
  • The manager should discuss the reasons for the unsatisfactory performance and offer support, guidance, additional supervision, and/or training. (In some cases this may include jointly exploring opportunities for the employee to apply for and move to a different job within the organisation where there are major concerns about the employee’s suitability for the current job).
  • The support that is offered by the line manager during the meeting should be clearly stated, including details of by whom and by when it will be given. The manager will need to offer continuing support and encouragement.
  • The matters discussed and the planned action should be confirmed in writing to the employee.
  • The employee will be informed that their performance will be monitored over a reasonable and defined period, the length of which will depend on individual circumstances and the relevant factors, which may include the type and availability of training and the frequency of occurrence of the work causing concern.

Monitoring Period

  • At the end of the monitoring period the manager will need to decide whether or not the employee’s performance is satisfactory. If it is satisfactory, the manager will discuss this with the employee and they should be encouraged to maintain the improvement. The outcome of this discussion will be confirmed in writing.
  • If there has been some, but insufficient, progress the manager should meet the employee and explain those areas that have improved and those that still require improvement. The monitoring period will be extended and all issues discussed will be confirmed in writing to the employee.
  • If there has been no significant improvement (either at the end of the original or extended monitoring period), the employee will be required to attend a formal Capability Interview to further discuss the performance problems.

8.13   Equal opportunities policy

Our commitment

The diocese is committed to providing equal opportunities in employment and to avoiding unlawful discrimination in employment and against other stakeholders.

This policy is intended to assist us to put this commitment into practice. Compliance with this policy should also ensure that employees do not commit unlawful acts of discrimination.

The law

It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly in recruitment or employment because of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Staff should not discriminate against or harass a member of the public in the provision of services or goods. It is unlawful to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers to using services caused by disability. The duty to make reasonable adjustments includes the removal, adaptation or alteration of physical features, if the physical features make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of services. In addition, service providers have an obligation to think ahead and address any barriers that may impede disabled people from accessing a service.

Types of unlawful discrimination

Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic. An example of direct discrimination would be refusing to employ a woman because she is pregnant.

In limited circumstances, employers can directly discriminate against an individual for a reason related to any of the protected characteristics where there is an occupational requirement. The occupational requirement must be crucial to the post and a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criterion or practice is applied that is discriminatory in relation to individuals who have a relevant protected characteristic (although it does not explicitly include pregnancy and maternity, which is covered by indirect sex discrimination) such that it would be to the detriment of people who share that protected characteristic compared with people who do not, and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Harassment is where there is unwanted conduct, related to one of the protected characteristics (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity) that has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity; or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It does not matter whether or not this effect was intended by the person responsible for the conduct.

Associative discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed for association with another individual who has a protected characteristic (although it does not cover harassment because of marriage and civil partnership, and (according to guidance from the Government and ACAS) pregnancy and maternity).

Perceptive discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed based on a perception that he/she has a particular protected characteristic when he/she does not, in fact, have that protected characteristic (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity).

Victimisation occurs where an employee is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or a promotion because he/she made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because he/she is suspected of doing so. However, an employee is not protected from victimisation if he/she acted maliciously or made or supported an untrue complaint. There is no longer a need for a complainant to compare his/her treatment with someone who has not made or supported a complaint under the Equality Act 2010. For example, if a blind employee raises a grievance that the employer is not complying with its duty to make reasonable adjustments, and is then systematically excluded from all meetings, such behaviour could amount to victimisation.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments is where a physical feature or a provision, criterion or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with someone who does not have that protected characteristic and the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable the disabled person to overcome the disadvantage.

Equal opportunities in employment

The diocese will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy.

Person and job specifications will be limited to those requirements that are necessary for the effective performance of the job. Candidates for employment or promotion will be assessed objectively against the requirements for the job, taking account of any reasonable adjustments that may be required for candidates with a disability. Disability and personal or home commitments will not form the basis of employment decisions except where necessary.

The diocese will consider any possible indirectly discriminatory effect of its standard working practices, including the number of hours to be worked, the times at which these are to be worked and the place at which work is to be done, when considering requests for variations to these standard working practices and will refuse such requests only if the diocese considers it has good reasons, unrelated to any protected characteristic, for doing so. The diocese will comply with its obligations in relation to statutory requests for contract variations. The diocese will also make reasonable adjustments to its standard working practices to overcome barriers caused by disability.

The diocese will monitor the ethnic, gender and age composition of the existing workforce and of applicants for jobs (including promotion), and the number of people with disabilities within these groups, and will consider and take any appropriate action to address any problems that may be identified as a result of the monitoring process.

Customers, suppliers and other people not employed by the organisation

The diocese will not discriminate unlawfully against customers using or seeking to use goods, facilities or services provided by the organisation.

Employees should report any bullying or harassment by customers, suppliers, visitors or others to their manager who will take appropriate action.


The diocese will provide training in equal opportunities to managers and others likely to be involved in recruitment or other decision making where equal opportunities issues are likely to arise.

The diocese will provide training to all existing and new employees and others engaged to work at the organisation to help them understand their rights and responsibilities under the dignity at work policy and what they can do to help create a working environment free of bullying and harassment. The organisation will provide additional training to managers to enable them to deal more effectively with complaints of bullying and harassment.

Your responsibilities

Every employee is required to assist us to meet our commitment to provide equal opportunities in employment and avoid unlawful discrimination.

Employees can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, the organisation for any act of unlawful discrimination. Employees who commit serious acts of harassment may be guilty of a criminal offence.

Acts of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation against employees or customers are disciplinary offences and will be dealt with under our disciplinary procedure.

Discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation may constitute gross misconduct and could lead to dismissal without notice.


If you consider that you may have been unlawfully discriminated against, you may use the diocese's grievance procedure to make a complaint. We will take any complaint seriously and will seek to resolve any grievance that we uphold. You will not be penalised for raising a grievance, even if your grievance is not upheld, unless your complaint is both untrue and made in bad faith.

Use of the diocese's grievance procedure does not affect your right to make a complaint to an employment tribunal. Complaints to an employment tribunal must normally be made within three months beginning with the act of discrimination complained of.

Monitoring and review

This policy will be monitored periodically by the diocese to judge its effectiveness and will be updated in accordance with changes in the law. If changes are required, we will implement them.

Information provided by job applicants and employees for monitoring purposes will be used only for these purposes and will be dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Page last updated: Tuesday 1st February 2022 8:09 AM
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