Grievance procedures model policy

The aim of this model policy on grievance procedures is to provide a framework that schools can adopt to allow staff to resolve grievances relating to their employment as quickly and as fairly as possible. 

Model policy

Our model policies and policy checklists are designed to assist NEU reps in negotiating the best employment policies on behalf of their members.

Reps should strive to ensure policies are compliant with the NEU models.

Reps should consult members before agreeing new policies or changes to existing policies and should not agree policies that do not meet member expectations, any statutory requirements and NEU minimums.

Policy checklists should be used in conjunction with our model policies and can be used as a guide for reps when communicating with members over whether a proposed policy is acceptable.

If a policy is unacceptable members should consider a collective response which may include taking industrial action. For further advice contact your NEU branch.

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Grievance procedures policy checklist

This checklist should be used alongside the NEU’s model policy on grievances to help you negotiate a policy acceptable to the union. You may not be able to secure everything on this checklist – if that is the case, you will need to consult members on whether the proposed policy is sufficiently positive to be acceptable.

Right to representation

  • Does the procedure state that both parties (the person taking out the grievance and the person whom the grievance is about) should have the right to be accompanied and/or represented by their trade union representative or by a work colleague?

Scope of the policy

  • The objective of the policy should be to ensure that all employees with a grievance relating to their employment can use a procedure that can help to resolve grievances as quickly and fairly as possible.
  • The procedure should facilitate for the matter to be resolved informally before a formal grievance is submitted.
  • Time limits are important in a grievance policy – the NEU model policy sets out what these could be. There should be a balance between the principle of resolving a grievance promptly and that of ensuring sufficient time is taken to find a resolution that allows everyone to return to normal working as quickly as possible.

Formal stage

  • Does the policy set out each stage of the formal process and what is required of the employees involved?
  • Does the policy set out the time limits for each stage, who will be involved (who will hear the grievance and who will make the decision) and how the matter will be investigated?

Appeal stage

  • Does the policy explain how the appeal should be submitted and the timescales for doing so?
  • Does the policy explain the process and who the appeal decision maker will be? The person making the decision should not have already been involved in the grievance process.
  • Does the policy make it clear that human resources (HR) will be available to provide advice?

Collective grievances

  • Does the policy allow for collective grievances to be heard?
  • Does the policy state that a trade union representative can raise a collective grievance on behalf of employees? The principles of the procedure will also apply to collective grievances.


  • Is the equality monitoring of the policy and procedures undertaken annually or, at the very least, biennially? Will the results be shared with the recognised trade unions?

Revised January 2019

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