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Probation for Academic Related Staff (ALC)



The probationary period for Academic Related staff (ALC) is one year.


During the probationary period there is the opportunity to formally review a member of staff's progress. Probationary reviews will allow the Head of Department/School or supervisor to proactively support staff in their professional development by providing guidance on the levels of performance expected of them and coaching and supporting them in reaching these levels. If the University is satisfied with the progress of a new member of staff, the appointment will be confirmed at the end of the probationary period.

Communication and common understanding are key elements of the successful probationary review and it is therefore important that the procedures detailed below are followed.


    1. Job descriptions and further particulars for advertising posts will be detailed in content and will specify the qualifications, skills and experience required of applicants.
    2. During the induction phase (normally during the first week of an appointment), the Head of Department/School or the immediate supervisor will discuss the job description in detail with the new member of staff and any requirements for development, training, special guidance or supervision will be identified.
    3. Probationary members of staff will be subject to appropriate levels of supervision and guidance during their probationary period. Feedback about progress will be given and if any difficulties or unsatisfactory aspects of conduct or performance have been identified, these will be raised and remedial action, such as further training or supervision will be organised as appropriate. It is recommended that these discussions take place at an interim review meeting (4- 6 months after appointment, or at an earlier stage if appropriate).
    4. After 9 months a formal review will take place which will have one of three outcomes:-

(a)   recommendation that the appointment should be confirmed at the end of the probationary period;

(b)   recommendation to extend the probationary period to allow the opportunity to improve performance and/or meet targets set or, in certain circumstances, to allow sufficient time to show competence in more complex and specialised roles.

(c)   recommendation not to confirm the appointment at the end of the probationary period.

  1. The Head of Department will send the recommendation and a copy of the probationary review report to Personnel Services. The normal course of action is that the appointment will be confirmed and the member of staff will be advised of this in writing by Personnel Services.

If a recommendation is made not to confirm the appointment this will require consideration and approval by the Director of Human Resources and the Convener of the ALC Annual Review Group. If the appointment is subsequently not confirmed the member of staff will have the right to appeal against this decision.




The probationer should be made aware that a review meeting is to take place, and given advance warning to allow preparation time. The Head of Department/School or immediate supervisor will provide a copy of any paperwork they plan to use at the review meeting and some background information on Probationary Reviews, if necessary.

The Head of Department/School or immediate supervisor will prepare for the meeting by looking at the job description and further particulars for the post, and consider the performance of the postholder in their various roles.

The Review Meeting

The meeting will be arranged so it can take place without interruptions (i.e. no phone calls etc).

The purpose of the meeting is to review the member of staff since their appointment (or since their last review meeting). The primary aim is to nurture, develop potential etc but, if there are any problem areas, these can be discussed and the necessary remedial action (training, guidance etc) can take place.

The main part of the meeting will be concerned with the period since the member of staff's appointment (or since their last review meeting). The discussions will focus on the key responsibilities of the post (as detailed on the job description) and how these have been performed. It is very useful for the member of staff to assess themselves and to consider their performance first, as they may raise things that the Head of Department/School or immediate supervisor had also identified as areas for discussion.

Consideration should be given to what training has been available over this period, both formal and informal. Indication should be given by the Head of Department/School or immediate supervisor as to whether the duties have been carried out competently and any areas of strength should be highlighted. If there have been any problems or areas of perceived weakness, there should be some discussion as to what they are and what remedial action could be taken (training, support etc). Note should be taken of specific concerns raised by the probationer, or problems that are identified, in addition to those raised by the Head of Department/School or immediate supervisor.

If appropriate, the Head of Department/School or immediate supervisor will also discuss any problem areas not directly related to the ability to do the job e.g. absence, time-keeping etc. A note will be taken as to what these problems are, what action (formal or informal) has taken place so far and what plan of action is agreed at the meeting, with timescales.

The probationer will have sight of the probationary report once it is completed and they will be able to add their comments. A copy of the report will be held in the Department and a copy will be sent to Personnel Services.

Interim Review Meetings

If there is an identified problem, it is particularly important that an interim review meeting takes place at an early stage. It may be that the particular problem has been managed and reviewed over a period of time, outwith the formal review, but feedback on the situation should be included and documented as part of the formal procedure.

Advice from Personnel Services should be sought in these circumstances.


Related Paperwork : Probation Review Form - Academic & Related Staff