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Induction and Probation Procedure for Research and Support Staff
Scope and Purpose
1. This procedure outlines guidance on the induction of all staff new to UCL and for their support, training and assessment within the probationary period. This procedure relates to all groups of staff except Teaching Fellows, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors. A separate procedure exists in relation to the probation arrangements for academic staff newly appointed to a Lecturer role, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/prob_procedure_links.php. A separate procedure also applies to Teaching Fellows, please see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/teach_fellows_ind_proc.php.
2. It is UCL policy that all staff including those on part-time and fixed term contracts (but excluding academic staff specified above) who are new to UCL, undergo a probationary period during which they will be introduced to the main duties and responsibilities of their post, the performance standards expected of them, the colleagues with whom they will be working most closely and the context of their work, within the department, division or UCL as a whole.
3. During the probationary period the onus is on the manager to provide the necessary information and training that will equip the individual to undertake all aspects of their role at UCL† and on the individual, to demonstrate their suitability for the post. Managers must ensure systems are in place to support and monitor the probationer's work throughout the probationary period in order that s/he receives such assistance as is reasonable to fulfil the duties and responsibilities of the post.
4. Probationary periods at UCL are 6 months or 9 months depending on the nature of the role. Teaching Fellows have a two year probation period, see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/teach_fellows_ind_proc.php#extension
5. Support staff in Grades 1- 6 will be subject to a 6 months probationary period. All researchers (including research assistants) and support staff in grades 7 - 10 will be subject to a 9 months probationary period.
6. It is the manager's responsibility to ensure that staff new to UCL (and staff who have moved within UCL and are commencing a new role) are furnished with the information necessary to enable them to commence work and that they are given a copy of, and briefed on, all relevant employment policies and procedures and any other departmental, faculty or UCL procedures relevant to their work. As part of the induction process, the manager should discuss the individual's training needs with them and book them onto any appropriate training courses, including Organisational & Staff Development's Induction courses. New staff must also complete the online diversity training package at https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/ within their first six weeks (you will need to log in to using your UCL intranet username and password and then search for 'online diversity training'.). See appendix 1 for an induction checklist.
† See Induction checklist at appendix 1
7. The induction process should give staff in roles with management responsibilities1 a detailed understanding of the management competencies expected of them (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/competencies/) in their roles. In addition academic, research, and teaching staff should be made aware of their expected contribution as outlined in the document 'Excellence and the UCL community: a shared endeavour' (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/ucl_excellence.php).
8. As the job is explained to the new employee the manager must make clear any service standards relating to the work of the department or area within which the employee works and the performance standards related to their particular post in terms of
- quality and quantity of output
- skills that must be acquired, including expectations of academic excellence and management competency as indicated above
- protocols that must be learnt
- deadlines which must be met and how any changes to deadlines will be communicated
- working relationships that must be developed with other staff and students etc.
9. The manager must also make clear how these standards will be monitored throughout the probation period and the frequency with which they will be formally reviewed.
10. Heads of departments and departmental administrators will be reminded of the requirement to complete these reviews by the Human Resources Division and in the case of fixed term staff with a contract shorter than the length of the relevant probation period, the probation process will be followed for the period during which the individual is employed with UCL.
11. At the first review the manager will formally discuss the probationer's performance with them and summarise their discussion on the relevant form. The probationer will add their comments to the written assessment. A second review will take place at the five month or eight month stage. Please note that the reviews for Teaching Fellows are scheduled to take place prior to 5, 12 and 21 months of service. Where performance is satisfactory, probationary staff will be confirmed in their post on completion of their probation period and the HR Division will write to the individual (copied to the manager) to confirm this. Following the satisfactory completion of probation, the employee's performance will be reviewed in line with the Appraisal, Review and Development Scheme.
12. If the first review is not satisfactory in any way the manager must discuss with the probationer the aspects of performance which need improvement and should set clear objectives and timescales within which they will be reviewed. The probationer should be asked if they consider that any further assistance and/or training is necessary to enable them to complete tasks to the standards expected of them. The probationer should sign the review form and receive a copy of it to confirm that they have been made aware of the improvements required.
13. If at the second review stage, insufficient improvement has taken place, the manager must arrange a further meeting; the probationer should be given 7 working days notice of the meeting and be given the right (in writing) to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative. It is advisable to ensure that a senior manager is present at the meeting, in addition to the line manager who conducted the previous reviews. If termination of the appointment is likely, advice should be sought from the HR Consultancy team prior to the meeting, to ascertain whether an HR Officer should be present. At this meeting a full review of progress should be held and a decision made to either extend the probationary period, or alternatively, to terminate the appointment at the end of the probationary period. Any decision as a result of such meeting should be confirmed in writing to the individual (in consultation with HR).
Extension of Probationary Period
14. It may be appropriate to extend the probationary period if:
- Through the probationer's sickness or other authorised absence e.g. maternity leave, it has not been possible to assess performance.
- The probationer has not performed satisfactorily but the manager has evidence to suggest that performance is likely to improve with a further period of probation.
15. In all cases where probation is extended the following must be discussed between the manager and the probationer and confirmed in writing:
- The reasons for the extension.
- Any assistance/training that will be given in the extension period.
- The period of the extension, the performance standards expected and the way in which performance will be monitored.
- That if performance still fails to meet expectations at the end of the period of extension, employment will be terminated.
16. Probationary periods should not normally be extended by more than two months. Probationary periods for Teaching Fellows may be extended for longer periods.
17. Probationers will have the right to appeal against a decision to terminate their employment for failure to satisfactorily complete their probation period. An appeal must be lodged in writing with the Human Resources Director within 5 working days of receipt of confirmation of termination. The appeal will normally be heard by a senior manager not previously involved with the case. At such an appeal the probationer has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague.
Probation Period and Discipline and Capability
18. UCL's Disciplinary Procedure and Capability Policy apply to staff who have successfully completed their probationary period and to cases of alleged misconduct by Teaching Fellows in their second year of probation. For staff on probation this Induction and Probation procedure applies in relation to under-performance. In circumstances involving alleged misconduct, the probationer will receive written notice of a disciplinary interview which will set out the details of the alleged misconduct. The probationer will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague and will have the opportunity to state their case before any decision is taken. Any case of misconduct during the probationary period may lead to dismissal and gross misconduct may lead to summary dismissal without notice. The probationer will be informed of their right to appeal against a decision to dismiss them on the basis of misconduct and any appeal would be considered by the manager's line manager.
Notice Periods during the Probationary Period
During the probationary period, the following notice periods will apply:
- Support staff Grades 1-6 may terminate the employment by giving one week's notice. UCL will also give one week's notice to terminate the appointment.
- All Researchers and support staff Grades 7 and above may terminate the appointment by giving one month's notice. UCL will also give one month's notice to terminate the appointment.
HR Policy and Planning
On the first day a new member of staff should be provided with information on the following:
- Instructions regarding the emergency evacuation arrangements for the building(s) in which they will be based.
- Health and safety policy of the department, names and locations of first aiders and the procedure for reporting accidents and hazards.
- Details of working hours (including any flexibility and cover arrangements) and local arrangements regarding lunch and other breaks.
- Arrangements for obtaining security passes, identity and entry cards, library card, computer access codes etc.
- Arrangements for contacting the authorised departmental contact in the event of unforeseen absence, sickness etc.
- An up to date copy of the job description for reference throughout the probation period, together with an explanation of the work of the department from the manager.
- Details of how and when salary/wages will be paid
- Where to find facilities such as toilets, kitchen, refectory etc.
- Rules regarding personal use of computing facilities and telephone
- Security arrangements of the building(s) in which they work
Within the first week
- An explanation of the key aspects of the job including important contacts, an explanation of how the job fits within the rest of UCL and copies of all relevant policy and procedure notes either departmental, faculty, UCL wide and from other relevant partner organisations e.g. NHS Trusts.
- Details of key UCL wide policies including Equal Opportunities, and the Induction & Probation Policy
- Arrangements for booking annual leave - including any restrictions on planning leave etc.
- Be booked onto the corporate UCL Induction Course and Safety Induction Course and where appropriate receive a departmental induction to computing systems and contents of the intranet etc.
- Explicit discussion of performance standards and any objectives to be achieved within the probationary period. Staff in roles with management responsibilities should be given a copy of UCL's management competency expectations (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/competencies/). In addition, employees in research, teaching or academic posts should be given a copy of 'Excellence and the UCL community: a shared endeavour' (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/ucl_excellence.php). How they specifically apply to the postholder's new responsibilities and expected performance should be discussed at this stage.
- Information on how performance will be monitored and when it will be reviewed informally and formally.
- An explanation of the UCL facilities available - catering outlets, sports facilities UCL shop, libraries etc.
Within the first month
- discussion of training needs and identification/booking of relevant courses
- review of initial induction period and early feedback on performance
Within the first six weeks
- have completed the online diversity training package at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/equalities/training/diversity_module.php