National Disciplinary Committee and National Appeals Committee
1. Disciplinary Offences
1.1 A member of the Union commits a disciplinary offence if that member : (a) acts contrary to the Code of Professional Conduct of the Union; (b) acts contrary to the Rules of the Union; (c) refuses to comply with a lawful instruction of the Union; (d) is knowingly involved in any fraud on the Union or misappropriation of Union funds or property; (e) misuses protected data contrary to the Data Protection Act Licence of the Union ; (f) frustrates any decision or penalty of the National Disciplinary Committee or National Appeals Committee; or (g) in any other way engages in conduct which brings injury or discredit to the Union.
2. Elections for National Disciplinary Committee and National Appeals Committee
2.1 The members of the Union in each of the seventeen Executive Districts of the Union shall elect a member to form the Panel of seventeen members who shall be eligible to serve on either a National Disciplinary Committee or a National Appeals Committee.
2.2 Elections to the Panel for the National Disciplinary Committee and National Appeals Committee shall be for a term which shall not exceed four years.
2.3 Candidates for election to the Panel must have been in standard membership of the Union within the last 10 years and in membership of the Union for at least five years continuously prior to the date of closure of nominations. A member wishing to stand must be nominated by their Local District. A standard member elected to the Panel who becomes a retired member during their term is entitled to continue their term of office until its expiry but shall not be entitled to stand again for the Panel. Officers of the Union and members of the Executive at the date of closure of nominations are ineligible to stand for the Panel for the National Disciplinary Committee and the National Appeals Committee.
3. National Disciplinary Committee
3.1 (a) A complaint made by a member of the Union against a member of the Union, which may consist of one or more alleged disciplinary offences, will be heard by a National Disciplinary Committee consisting of five members drawn from the Panel for the National Disciplinary Committee and the National Appeals Committee.
3.1(b) A complaint may be formulated by the Officers of the Union under 1.1 (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), to be pursued by an employee of the Union. In such case, the procedure to be followed shall be as set out in para 3.3 (a)
3.2 A National Disciplinary Committee shall choose its own Chairperson.
3.3 A complaint under these proceedings may be made by a member of the Union or by an Officer of the Union acting on behalf of the Officers of the Union. If the complaint is formulated by an Officer of the Union, then the Officers of the Union may suspend that member or members from membership of the Union pending the hearing of the disciplinary proceedings. The General Secretary of the Union shall notify the relevant Local District and Branch of any such suspension.
3.3 (a) This paragraph applies where the Officers of the Union become aware of a matter within the scope of paragraph 3.1(b)which in the opinion of the Officers requires further investigation in order that the proper functioning of the Union and standards of behaviour are maintained. In these circumstances the Officers shall request the General Secretary to appoint an investigating officer who shall investigate the circumstances of the case. If in the opinion of the Officers it is appropriate, the Officers of the Union may suspend the relevant member. The investigating officer’s report shall be presented to the Officers of the Union who shall determine whether a complaint should proceed.
Where it appears to the Officers of the Union that the matter can be resolved by training or other process outside the scope of the disciplinary procedure, that route shall be pursued with the member. The time limits for pursuit of a complaint shall not run whilst such alternative process is in train. Should the member refuse such resolution or if it is unsuccessful, the complaint may be pursued further. For the avoidance of doubt the Officers of the Union may instead determine that the matter should proceed immediately to a disciplinary panel.
3.4 The conduct of National Disciplinary Committee proceedings shall be in accordance with the rules of natural justice. The member making the complaint and the member being complained about have the right to a fair hearing, without bias, conducted with reasonable promptness consistent with fair opportunity to present their respective cases. Before a National Disciplinary Committee, the parties may call witnesses of relevance to the matters in dispute.
3.5 The decisions of a National Disciplinary Committee or a National Disciplinary Committee Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee are final subject only to the right of appeal to the National Appeals Committee.
3.6 A complaint made by a member of the Union calling for a matter to be considered by a National Disciplinary Committee must be made in writing to the General Secretary specifying matters which come within one or more of the disciplinary offences referred to above at (a) to (g). The complaint will not be considered unless made within six months of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint unless the National Disciplinary Committee find exceptional reasons for doing so. The complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the written procedures made under these Rules.
3.7 Following consideration of the complaint a National Disciplinary Committee may either dismiss the complaint or find the complaint justified. If the National Disciplinary Committee find the complaint justified they may impose one or more of the following penalties: (a) reprimand and warning as to future conduct; (b) severe reprimand and censure; (c) suspension from the Union for a fixed period; (d) removal from office or accreditation held by the member either indefinitely or for a specified period; (e) disqualification from holding office or role in the Union either indefinitely or for a specified period; (f) exclusion from the Union.
3.8 When it comes to deliberate on the penalty the National Disciplinary Committee will have before it and will take into account any previous decisions of a National Disciplinary Committee or National Appeals Committee relating to the member who has been complained about.
3.9 The decision of the National Disciplinary Committee with reasons shall be sent to the parties to the dispute. The decision will inform the parties of the rights of appeal to the National Appeals Committee.
4. National Appeals Committee
4.1 An appeal from a decision of a National Disciplinary Committee will be heard by a National Appeals Committee consisting of five members drawn from the Panel for the National Disciplinary Committee and the National Appeals Committee. The Panel members who form the National Appeals Committee shall not in any way have been involved in the decision made by the National Disciplinary Committee.
4.2 A National Appeals Committee shall choose its own Chairperson.
4.3 When a National Disciplinary Committee complaint has been found to be justified the member complained about, now called the appellant, has a right of appeal in respect of the finding and the penalty provided that the appeal is submitted to the General Secretary within the time limit and in the manner set out in written procedures. The appeal must be in writing and set out the grounds for the appeal.
4.4 When a National Disciplinary Committee complaint has been found not to be justified the member who has made the complaint, now called the appellant, has a right of appeal limited to the process or procedures by which the decision was made and not relating to the substance or merit of the decision provided that the appeal is submitted to the General Secretary within the time limit and in the manner set out in written procedures. The appeal must be in writing and set out the grounds for the appeal.
4.5 Operation of the penalty of the National Disciplinary Committee shall remain suspended pending the decision of the National Appeals Committee which shall be final.
4.6 The conduct of National Appeals Committee proceedings shall be in accordance with the rules of natural justice. The parties involved in the appeal have the right to a fair hearing, without bias, conducted with reasonable promptness consistent with fair opportunity to present their respective cases.
4.7 The appeal will be dealt with in accordance with the written procedures made under these Rules.
4.8 The National Appeals Committee has full powers to remove any penalty imposed by the National Disciplinary Committee or to replace any penalty imposed by the National Disciplinary Committee with an alternative penalty or penalties as allowed by these Rules save that the National Appeals Committee may not impose a more severe penalty than the penalty imposed by the National Disciplinary Committee.
5.1 The proceedings of the National Disciplinary Committee and of the National Appeals Committee shall be confidential save that the outcomes of each Committee shall be communicated to the Executive and to the parties to the dispute.
6.1 The Executive, taking into account advice from the National Disciplinary Committee and the National Appeals Committee, shall produce procedures for the election of members to the Panels for the National Disciplinary Committee and the National Appeals Committee and for the administration of their cases and the conduct of their hearings including all time limits.
NEU Code of Professional Conduct (Appendix I to the Union’s Rules)
As a membership organisation that represents the interests, and reflects the views, of those employed in education, the NEU expects members to act professionally and in accordance with these Rules both as an individual member and in the capacity of a representative of the Union. Members will conduct themselves professionally and ethically, with respect for others, maintaining an environment in which the Union’s objectives can be pursued productively and creatively. Discrimination and discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated, including discrimination on grounds of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, social class, family status, pregnancy and maternity.
The NEU believes that freedom of speech and respectful debate are part of any properly functioning democracy and that such debate should address issues without threat or hate.
Members will be liable to disciplinary action and sanction according to the provisions of Appendix A in relation to behaviour which amounts to:
- conduct which is contrary to these Rules either as an individual member or in the capacity of representative of the Union;
- fraud on the Union or any misappropriation of its funds or property;
- discrimination and discriminatory behaviour in contravention of the Objects of the NEU and this Code; or
- other professional conduct which brings injury or discredit to the Union.
Unprofessional conduct includes actions which are injurious to the professional honour of another member, including but not limited to the following:
- Taking an appointment from which, in the judgement of the NEU Executive a member of the Union has been unjustly dismissed.
- Making a report which contains criticism of the work or conduct of another member without at the time acquainting the member concerned with the nature of the report, either verbally or in writing. This does not however apply to issues which relate to child protection issues or other legal duties or responsibilities of a member and which it is reasonable at the time for the member to believe that the member concerned will receive a copy of the report in the course of a formal process.
- Censuring or criticising other members in the hearing of pupils and other persons not directly involved in the running of the school.
- For any member to seek to compel another member to perform outside the ordinary workplace hours any task which is not essentially connected with the ordinary work and organisation of the institution.
- For any member to impose upon another member, out of the ordinary workplace hours, an excessive and unreasonable amount of work of any kind.
The right of any member to Union membership and all claims and entitlements to Union benefits shall be reviewed by the Professional Conduct (Criminal Convictions) Committee and the Executive in accordance with Rule 22 where the member is convicted in a Court of Law of any offence which may bring the Association into disrepute.