Discipline Policy changes from July 2018

06 Sep 2018

DWP Discipline Policy, Procedure and Advice has been improved in response to consultation with PCS. The basic policy and procedures have not changed but amendments have been made to expand on and clarify existing parts of the guidance.

The improvements introduced from 19th July 2018 to disciplinary procedure include:

  • Roles and responsibilities: New Annex1 provides more information on the roles and responsibilities of people involved in both processes to clarify the responsibilities of the Line manager, Decision Maker & Appeal Manager
  • Support available: New Annex 2 covers support available during the discipline process for both employees and managers
  • What employees can expect: New Annex 3 covers what employees can expect in formal disciplinary action

Other procedural changes introduced include:

Key points

Key points which people should read before starting the process (including timescales, record keeping, and workplace adjustments) are listed at the start of the procedures (Procedure1).

Misconduct identified as a result of a grievance

Clarifies what must happen when misconduct is identified as a result of a grievance case (Procedures 1 and 7.10).


The disciplinary process has been set out in a number of Steps to make the process easier to follow (Procedure 2.0).

Moving an employee

New guidance on moving an employee when alleged misconduct has been identified. Explains that the manager should consider the immediate response to the situation & the best person to move without assuming it must always be the complainant or always the alleged offender (Procedure 4).

Notify countersigning manager

New requirement which is the same as the grievance process that managers dealing with a discipline case should notify their countersigning manager who should follow the case up after 40 days. This is to make sure cases are tracked & dealt with within reasonable timescales (Procedure 7.2).

When an independent manager should be appointed

Explanation of when someone other than the line manager should deal with a grievance or discipline case, when an independent manager should be appointed instead & who this might be (Procedure 7.11 & 7.23 / Advice Q31).


Additional guidance on mitigation is provided under Procedure 7.28.

Manager may have an additional 5 days

New section explaining that, in exceptional circumstances, a Decision Maker/ Appeal Manager may have an additional 5 days (a total of 10 days) to consider a case before giving their decision. This is to ensure that more complex cases are not rushed & have been fully considered before a decision is made (Procedure 7.38 & 9.16)

Expanded Appeal Manager Procedure

 Appeal Manager Procedure, under Procedure 9, is expanded to cover:

  • AM actions are set out in steps to make the process clearer to follow
  • Guidance on how a Decision Maker should identify an AM
  • Clarity on the role e.g. to stress that the AM should be independent of the previous process/ to make clear that AMs need to set time aside from their day job to carry out the AM role effectively & within required timescales
  • Additional information on how AM should consider the case egg. taking into account procedural errors
  • Exceptionally, extended time to consider a case (as at 7 above)
  • What an Appeal report should contain


There is a mandatory requirement for Managers, Decision Makers & Appeal Managers to contact CSHR Casework to discuss an appropriate penalty in all cases where the misconduct is serious or gross. This was a new requirement from autumn 2017 to ensure consistency of decisions across the Department.

The proper application of consistency is explained in the Decision Makers Guide paragraphs 3.2 & 3.3 which tells managers that consistency must not be confused with uniformity.

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