Catch22 reserves the right to amend this policy, following consultation, where appropriate.
Date of last review: April 2023
Date of next review: July 2024
Catch22 Multi Academy Trust operates a six-month probationary period for all new employees.
The policy is intended to allow both the employee and Catch22 Multi Academy Trust to objectively assess whether the employee is suitable for their role, through objective setting, and providing training, feedback and support.
This policy applies to all Catch22 Multi Academy Trust employees who are in their first role at Catch22 Multi Academy Trust.
It does not apply to contractors, consultants, agency workers or self-employed individuals working for Catch22 Multi Academy Trust. It does not apply to employees who have joined Catch22 Multi Academy Trust as a result of a TUPE transfer.
Catch22 Multi Academy Trust’s Disciplinary, Capability and Managing Sickness Absence Policies do not apply to employees who are in their first role at Catch22 Multi Academy Trust during their probation period.
Where an existing employee is transferred or promoted into a new role that differs in more than a minor way from their previous one, current PEF objectives should be reviewed, and new objectives set. Any concerns regarding performance, conduct, behaviour or attendance should be dealt with in accordance with Catch22 Multi Academy Trust’s Disciplinary, Capability or Managing Sickness Absence Policies.
In cases where an employee is redeployed as an alternative to redundancy and accepts a change to their terms and conditions, they will be subject to a trial period in line with Catch22 Multi Academy Trust’s Redundancy and Security of Employment Policy and Procedure.
Line Managers should:
- explain the purpose and importance of probation;
- effectively induct the new employee in their role and introduce them to Catch22 Multi Academy Trust;
- explain the required standards of performance, conduct, behaviour and attendance;
- set probation objectives and agree any support/training needs by the end of the employee’s fourth week in post;
- hold regular monthly management meetings throughout the employee’s probation period, providing feedback about the employee’s performance and progress, addressing any issues that arise;
- ensure the employee attends the mandatory training for their role;
- hold a probation review meeting by the end of the employee’s fifth month in post.
- understand the purpose of probation and the standards of performance, conduct, behaviour and attendance expected from them;
- highlight, in management meetings, areas that are going well and those that are causing difficulty or affecting their ability to do their job;
- complete the mandatory training which has been identified within their objectives.
How does probation work?
As part of the induction arrangements, line managers should meet with their new member of staff to explain their role, the required standards of performance, conduct, behaviour and attendance and outline initial priorities.
By the end of the employee’s fourth week in post, the line manager should meet with the employee to set 3 – 5 probation objectives.
There are three categories for objectives:
- Development – These objectives relate to personal learning and development targets. The line manager should set at least one Development objective which should outline the mandatory training the employee has to complete during their Probation period.
- Performance – These objectives relate to the employee’s role and should be linked to Catch22 Multi Academies Trust strategic, hub or service objectives.
- Community – These objectives relate to roles/activities that benefit the wider Catch22 Group. This could include collaboration with another service on a piece of work, getting involved in Catch22 events such as the corporate induction, taking on a specific role such as a Change Champion or LinkUp Partner (see our Building One Catch22 Multi Academy Trust booklet for more information).
The line manager should also explore any training and support needs the employee might have during their probation period.
After the meeting, the line manager should record the employee’s probation objectives and any support/training needs on HouRS.
The employee’s performance against these objectives and other standards should be reviewed at monthly management meetings, along with the employee’s wellbeing and support needs. The line manager should provide regular feedback about the employee’s performance and progress and tackle any issues as they arise.
Progress against objectives should be recorded on HouRS during the monthly management meetings.
Probation review meeting
Line managers should hold a probation review meeting by the end of the employee’s fifth month in post.
Two weeks before the probation review meeting, the employee will be asked to complete a final progress update on HouRS and to rate their objectives.
During the probation review meeting the line manager and employee should discuss progress against objectives, to decide whether:
- performance has been sufficient to confirm the appointment;
- more time is needed to assess the employee’s suitability and the probation period needs to be extended.
Alternatively, if the line manager has serious concerns about the employee’s performance, conduct, behaviour or attendance, which cannot be resolved through management meetings and support arrangements, they may decide to progress straight to a final probation meeting without holding a probation review meeting first.
Where a decision is taken to confirm the employee in post, the line manager should notify the People team via HouRS.
Where there are concerns around the employee’s suitability for their role, probation may be extended by up to 3 months. This may be repeated if required.
Where a line manager is considering extending an employee’s probation period, they should consult the Trust’s People Partner before holding the probation review meeting.
Where a line manager is intending to extend an employee’s probation period, they should use the fifth month probation review meeting to:
- identify the targets that have not been met/share concerns and support with factual examples;
- discuss the reasons for the employee’s poor performance;
- set targets for improvement in the form of SMART objectives;
- agree training and support the employee might need to achieve these objectives;
- set a review period (i.e. how long the probation period will be extended);
- schedule review meetings (normally four-weekly);
- state if the employee’s performance does not improve this could lead to a final probation review meeting which could result in the employee’s dismissal.
The outcome of the meeting should be confirmed in writing to the employee within 7 working days.
Final probation review meeting
If the Line Manager has serious concerns about the employee’s performance, conduct, behaviour or attendance, which cannot be resolved through management meetings and support arrangements, they can progress to a final probation meeting. In these circumstances, they should consult the Trust’s People Partner first.
A final probation review meeting may be arranged at any time during the probation period, the Line Manager does not have to wait until the fifth month.
The final probation review meeting should be chaired by an impartial manager at Grade G or above who has not been involved in proceedings previously.
The letter should advise the employee of their right to be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative, LinkUp Partner or workplace colleague if they wish. It is the responsibility of the employee to arrange their own representation and to provide them with copies of all the relevant paperwork. The employee must notify the Chair who will be accompanying them in advance of the meeting. If the employee’s chosen companion is unable to attend the meeting, the meeting will be rearranged at a time/date proposed by the employee provided the alternative time/date is both reasonable and not more than 7 working days after the date originally proposed.
The employee should be provided with copies of any documentation to be considered at the meeting, including management meeting notes etc.
At the meeting the Chair should:
- explain the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the employee’s unsatisfactory performance/attendance/conduct;
- review the concerns that have been raised with the employee about their performance and steps taken to help the employee to improve their performance;
- allow the employee to share his/her views;
- after a short adjournment to consider information provided at the meeting, inform the employee of the outcome of the meeting and state that the outcome will be confirmed in writing within 7 working days.
The outcome of the meeting could be:
- a decision to take no further action;
- a decision to extend the employee’s probation period;
- a decision to dismiss the employee.
An employee who is dismissed under this procedure has the right of appeal. An appeal hearing is not a re-hearing of the case and as such, an appeal may only proceed on the following grounds:
- the proper procedure was not followed and this materially affected the decision;
- the decision reached was not supported by the evidence presented;
- new evidence which is pertinent, goes to the heart of the case, and was not reasonably available at the time, has become accessible.
The employee should lodge their appeal in writing with the Chair of the final probation review meeting (copying in the Trust’s People Partner) within 7 working days of receiving the outcome letter.
An appeal will be acknowledged within 7 working days with a hearing convened if possible, within 7 working days, but if for any reason this is not possible, within a reasonable period, after the appeal is lodged.
The appeal hearing will be chaired by an impartial manager at Grade G or above, who is more senior to the manager who made the decision which is being appealed, and who has not been involved in proceedings previously, supported by a member of the People Team.
Terminating employment will not be deferred to a future date, even if the employee appeals. This means that the appeal hearing may take place after the employee has left Catch22 Multi Academy Trust. If the employee is reinstated; their service and pay will be backdated to the day after dismissal.
The outcome of the appeal will be confirmed to the employee in writing, within 7 working days, explaining the grounds on which the decision was reached. The outcome of the appeal will be final and there is no further right of appeal.