Bath Spa University HR

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Bath Spa University HR

Bath Spa University is the UK’s university of choice for creativity, culture, enterprise and education, and is home to students and staff from over 80 countries.  By choosing to work at Bath Spa University you will be joining a high quality university, connected to a network of international partners with a history dating back to the 1850’s.

These dedicated web pages will give you all the information you need to apply to work for Bath Spa University and provide further information on what it’s like to work with us.

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If you have any queries about a vacancy please contact the HR Admin team at or on 01225 876338.

Please note that this guidance deals specifically with employee capability and conduct in the workplace. Separate guidance on dealing with student conduct can be found on our website under Student General Regulations.

Introduction and Background

At some point during their employment with BSU any line manager may be required to deal with performance issues as a result of an employee’s capability or conduct. When considering whether to instigate capability or disciplinary (informal or formal) proceedings, it is important to carefully consider the perceived reasons for the employee’s decline in performance or conduct and to ensure you understand the differences between the two.

Difference between capability and conduct

It is important to understand and make the distinction between (prolonged) poor performance that may be due to a lack of capability/competence (skills, ability, aptitude or knowledge), and which the employee is willing to, or ‘can’, address through support and training, as opposed to misconduct, where the employee has the ability to improve but fails to, or won’t, attain the required standard(s) of behaviour or performance.

A lack of capability exists where despite an employee’s best efforts, he or she is simply unable to perform the job to the required standard as set by the University.  In this scenario it is the agreed University standard that is relevant, and not the manager’s personal opinion of the employee.  BSU recognises that employees do not choose to perform their work badly, to make mistakes, and fail to complete tasks or to have poor relationships with others. However where such issues do arise it is the line manager’s role to discuss these concerns with the employee as early as possible.

Further clarification on the differences between capability and conduct can be found in the University’s Capability Procedure

as follows:

“Conduct is within the employee’s control and as such, issues of conduct will be dealt with via the Disciplinary Procedure.  Capability, on the other hand, refers to the capacity and ability of the employee to perform their job.  Without adequate capability, the best efforts and motivation from the individual will not be enough”.

Some examples of behaviour(s) that may be dealt with under the Capability Procedure are:

  • Sustained decline in volume of work
  • Noticeable decline in the quality of work i.e. errors, mistakes, omissions
  • Decline in attendance due to intermittent sickness, exceeding BSU trigger points
  • Regular instances of poor timekeeping
  • Concerns about teaching quality