Childcare Office

Playworkers Disciplinary Policy

The Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) will strive to maintain a well-motivated, highly skilled and professional Playworkers team. However, occasionally action will need to be taken to encourage improvement in individual behaviour and performance.

If a Playworker is subject to disciplinary action, fair and consistent procedures will be employed. This policy will also work alongside the University of Cambridge Disciplinary procedure. Investigations will be non-discriminatory and apply equally to all Playworkers irrespective of sex, marital status, sexual preference, race or disability.

Playworkers will be given the opportunity to state their case, and be accompanied by a colleague or Trade Union representative of their choice, during any part of the disciplinary process.

Playworkers will not be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct (see below).

Either the Playscheme Co-ordinator or Manager of Childcare Services will conduct investigations after taking advice from the University of Cambridge HR Adviser.

Playworkers have a right to appeal against any disciplinary action taken against them.

The Playworkers Disciplinary Procedure operates as follows:

Informal Discussion

Before taking formal disciplinary action, the Playscheme Co-ordinator will make every effort to resolve the matter by informal discussions with parties concerned. If a satisfactory outcome or improvements are not reached, disciplinary procedures will be formally implemented.

Formal Verbal Warning

The Playscheme Co-ordinator will give a formal warning to the Playworker. The Playscheme Co-ordinator will notify and explain the reason for the warning. The Playworker will further be informed of their right of appeal. A brief note of the warning will be kept on the Playworkers records. After six months it will be disregarded (subject to satisfactory conduct and/or performance).

Written Warning

If, following a formal verbal warning, there is insufficient improvement in standards, or if a further incident occurs, a written warning will be issued. This will state the reason for the warning and that, if there is no satisfactory resolution after a further month, a final written warning will be given. A copy of this first written warning will be kept on record, but may be disregarded after 12 months, subject to satisfactory conduct and/or performance.

Final Written Warning

If the Playworkers conduct or performance remains consistently unsatisfactory, or if the misconduct is sufficiently serious, a final written warning will be given making it clear that any further breach of the standards, or other serious misconduct, may result in the employee's dismissal.

A copy of the warning will be kept in the Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme records, but may be disregarded after 24 months, subject to satisfactory conduct and/or performance. The warning will state clearly that dismissal will result from a failure to comply.

In certain exceptional circumstances, a Playworker may receive a Final Written Warning that will remain on the Universities Holiday Playschemes records indefinitely. This course of action will follow when a Playworker has only avoided dismissal due to extenuating or mitigating circumstances.

Gross Misconduct

If, after investigation, it is deemed that a Playworker has committed an act of the following nature, dismissal will be the normal outcome:

  • Child abuse (for further details refer to the Child Protection policy).
  • Serious infringement of health and safety rules (for further details refer to the Health and Safety policy).
  • Assaulting another person.
  • Persistent bullying, sexual or racial harassment.
  • Being unfit for work through alcohol or illegal drug use.
  • Gross negligence that either causes or might cause injury, loss or damage to persons or property.
  • Theft, fraud or deliberate falsification of the Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playschemes documents.
  • Deliberate damage to Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playschemes property.
  • Being an unfit person under the terms of the Care Standards Act 2000 or the Children's Act 1989.

While the alleged incident of gross misconduct is being investigated, the individual concerned is likely to be suspended, during which time normal pay levels will prevail. Such suspension is not to be regarded as a form of disciplinary action and will be for as short a period as possible. Any decision to dismiss will be taken only after a full investigation.

If the Playworker member has been found to have committed an act of gross misconduct, they will be dismissed without notice.


Playworkers wishing to appeal against a disciplinary decision must do so in writing to the Playscheme Co-ordinator or Manager of Childcare Services as appropriate and within 15 working days of the decision being communicated. Appeals will be dealt with as quickly as possible and within at least 15 days. If possible, somebody will be appointed who was not involved in the original disciplinary action who will hear the appeal and impartially adjudicate the case.

At all stages of the procedure, the right to appeal will be confirmed as part of the warning, suspension or dismissal letter.

Policy reviewed 21 December 2011.