15 July 2008
The States Employment Board has welcomed the findings of the Professor Upex Report into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Simon Bellwood. The Board’s chairman, Senator Frank Walker, has today (15/7/08) presented a report to the States, detailing Professor Upex’s findings, and accepting his recommendations for improving the States of Jersey’s employment policies, procedures and practices.
Senator Walker says “We should use this opportunity to take on board the recommendations of an eminent professor, with many years of experience in Employment Law. The Board believed it was important to review the dismissal procedures in this case, in as independent and transparent a way as possible.
“We will now take on Professor Upex’s recommendations and improve the way managers and HR staff deal with such cases. We have asked the Director of Human Resources to propose how we can best do this.”
The States Employment Board has agreed that –
- probationary periods should continue to be used, but managers should decide whether or not an employee is to be confirmed in the role no later than 4.5 months from the date of appointment
- investigations under the Serious Concerns and Bullying and Harassment Policies should be conducted by appropriate professionals and within set time limits
- there should be appropriate training, support and guidance for managers in both local employment legislation and in how to conduct investigations into Serious Concerns and Bullying and Harassment
Senator Walker also said in relation to the specific case of Mr Bellwood:
“We fully accept Professor Upex’s view that the dismissal of Mr Bellwood would probably have been found to be unfair had the tribunal case continued. We agree with his observation that had the tribunal continued, the States Employment Board intended to make a case that it had good reason for dismissing him. This remains our view.
“We also note the Professor’s view that even if there were provision for reinstatement under Jersey Employment Law, it would not be something that he would have recommended in this case.
“The States of Jersey made an agreement with Mr Bellwood in “full and final settlement” of the issues between us. Now Professor Upex has completed his report on all the circumstances surrounding Mr Bellwood’s dismissal, and we have accepted all his recommendations. That is now where the matter must rest.” -end-Notes to editors:
Professor Upex's report on States Assembly website
Professor Robert Upex:
- is the Emeritus Professor at Law from Surrey University, and a member of the Industrial Law Society and the Employment Law Bar Association.
- was Foundation Professor of Law at Surrey University from 2000 to 2007, and from 2002-2005 he was Head of the Department of Law.
- was a part-time Chairman of Employment Tribunals from 1985 to 1996 and a part-time Chairman of Social Security Appeals Tribunals from 1988 to 1991.
- was Legal adviser to the Local Government Staff Commission for England from 1994 to 1998.
- from 1990 to 2005 was General Editor of Sweet & Maxwell's Encyclopedia of Employment Law.
- was suggested as a candidate for this review by the Jersey Arbitration and Conciliation Service, and he worked from the JACS offices throughout his review.
The terms of reference for this review were:
- to inquire into all of the circumstances surrounding the termination of Simon Bellwood’s employment with the States of Jersey
- to review and comment on the structure and management of employment practices and procedures in the light of the above and to make recommendations