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These probationary arrangements expired on 30 September 2021.  For the University’s revised probationary arrangements which apply from 1 October 2021, please follow this link.

The following procedures belong to the Career Management Scheme for Contract Research Staff

Related documentation: probationary report for contract research staff (form PD/PROB/CRS)


1. Introduction

Probation is a formal arrangement at the start of employment whereby new members of staff have the opportunity to confirm their suitability for the role. In order for the probationary period to be used effectively, the new member of staff must be made aware of the the standards against which their performance will assessed and the duties and responsibilities attached to the appointment as indicated in paragraph 1.3 of the Career Management Scheme: Recruitment and Equality of Opportunity (Part 1:The Employment of Research Staff). It is the responsibility of the Head of Institution or her/his nominee or the Principal Investigator to ensure that proper induction takes place in accordance with the guidance outlined in the paragraphs pertaining to Staff Management in the Career Management Scheme (Part 1: The Employment of Research Staff).


2. Role of Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator is responsible for managing the probationary period and for reviewing the performance of the new member of staff. Where problems are identified these should be brought to the attention of the Head of Institution at the earliest, appropriate opportunity.


3. Length of probationary period

The length of the probationary period should relate to the complexity of the role and the cycle of the work to be done. It should allow sufficient time to become accustomed to the new working environment and allow time for improvement if problems are identified. The probationary period will normally be six months although this may be shorter for employment of less than 1 year's duration. Probation periods may be extended but this should only occur when there are mitigating circumstances such as serious illness or where external factors have prevented important duties being performed during the probation period.


4. Progress reviews

Progress reviews should take place at regular intervals to be established under Part I, paragraph 2.3 of Staff Management (Career Management Scheme). It is suggested that reviews take place more frequently during the first month and then monthly if progress is satisfactory. The tone of the reviews should be constructive, giving positive feedback on what is going well and helpful advice on how to make any desired improvements.


5. Review criteria and dealing with problems

Regular reviews should identify problems at an early stage. Reviews should ensure that new members of staff understand the requirements of the post, any improvements which need to be made and the methods by which improvements are to be achieved. This may include an increased level of supervision, guidance or training. Each review is to be documented and signed by the member of staff. If problems are not resolved, the member of staff should be informed that, unless there is an improvement, the appointment will not be confirmed. Reviews should include consideration of the extent to which the member of staff demonstrates:

  • the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the post
  • an ability to produce work of an acceptable quality and quantity
  • an ability to communicate and work in co-operation with others
  • satisfactory attendance and time-keeping


6. Final review

Approximately two months before the date on which the probationary period is due to end, the Human Resources Division will send a reminder (Form PERA02/2) to Heads of Institutions to inform them of the requirement to make a final review of performance.

Note that a final reminder (Form PERA03/2) will be sent fourteen days prior to the probation end date if the appointment has not been confirmed by this point.


7. Confirmation of appointment

Where performance during probation has been satisfactory, the Head of Institution or her/his nominee will notify the Human Resources Division that the appointment is confirmed (by completing and returning Form PERA02/2 or PERA03/2 as appropriate) and the central staff record will be amended accordingly. The Head of Institution or her/his nominee will inform the member of staff that probation has been satisfactorily completed.


8. Termination of employment

Where performance during the probationary period has not been satisfactory the Head of Institution or her/his nominee will contact the appropriate HR Business Manager/HR Adviser for guidance prior to informing the member of staff that employment is to be terminated. Reference should be made to the review documentation accumulated under the paragraph above — Review criteria and dealing with problems. It is not necessary to wait until the expiry of the probationary period to terminate the employment providing the member of staff has been made aware of the problems and given an opportunity to improve performance with appropriate support. Where employment is to be terminated, the member of staff will be given 4 weeks notice of the termination date and will be informed of the right to appeal and given guidance on the procedure for submitting an appeal.


9. Action plan following confirmation of appointment

Where the appointment is confirmed following the probationary period the member of staff and Principal Investigator will agree work objectives to be achieved in the following period and an action plan covering longer-term development needs.