Chevening Disciplinary Policy and Procedure for award holders
This policy provides a means for Chevening to ensure that its standards are upheld by Scholars and Fellows
Purpose and Scope
- This policy provides a means for Chevening to ensure that its standards are upheld by Scholars and Fellows, and for Scholars and Fellows to have a fair means of explaining circumstances which may have given cause for concern to Chevening.
- This procedure outlines the actions that may be taken when Chevening becomes aware of potential misconduct by a Scholar or Fellow.
- This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following Chevening policies: Chevening Complaints and Anti-fraud Policy and Procedure, the Chevening Code of Conduct for award holders and Chevening Safeguarding Policy.
- Chevening will maintain a register of cases considered under this Policy in a Discipline Register. The Discipline Register will maintain the confidentiality of the parties involved.
Definition of misconduct
- The essence of misconduct under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure is improper behaviour, in the broadest sense, towards any individual, the host university or the Chevening Secretariat, or any action which might otherwise damage the reputation of Chevening or its funders.
- While not an exhaustive list these actions constitute misconduct:
- any breach of the academic or disciplinary regulations of the host university or institution;
- failure to attend the host university or institution in line with regulations or expectations of that university or institution;
- failure to adhere to the conditions of the UK visa;
- sexual or physical harassment;
- violent, indecent, disorderly, threatening, or offensive behaviour or language communicated by any means including digitally;
- fraud, deceit, deception, or dishonesty in relation to Chevening or the host university or institution including, but not limited to, failure to return monies overpaid;
- any conduct which constitutes a criminal offence;
- any intentional action likely to cause injury or impair safety;
- behaviour which damages or has the ability to damage the reputation of Chevening;
- failure to follow rules of Chevening;
- failure to follow the Chevening’s Code of Conduct for Award Holders including behaviour on social media
- repeated minor misconduct;
- failure to comply with a penalty previously imposed under this Policy.
- Not all complaints relating to Scholars’ or Fellows’ alleged misconduct will result in formal disciplinary proceedings. Informal resolution of complaints may be appropriate in instances of alleged misconduct where the misconduct is minor. It may not be appropriate to resolve minor interpersonal disagreements between scholars via a formal disciplinary procedure.
- Allegations of misconduct under this policy should be reported to the Head of Programme Management as soon as reasonably possible after the misconduct has taken place. Complaints must be in writing and can be emailed to email@example.com.
- Scholar and Fellow universities and host organisations are to report misconduct via the organisation’s designated Chevening contact. Chevening also has the obligation to report misconduct of a Scholar or Fellow to the host organisation where a penalty is imposed and as appropriate.
- Complaints received by the British Embassy or High Commission about a current scholar will be forwarded on to the Head of Programme Management.
- Complaints regarding Chevening alumni will be reviewed under the Alumni Charter. Complaints made about alumni for misconduct whilst on award in the UK will be accepted under this policy within time limits set by the Chevening Secretariat.
- If a Scholar or Fellow is suspected of misconduct (as described in this policy) by the Chevening Secretariat, the procedure in section 4 below shall be followed and the complaint will be dealt with in the same manner as an external complaint.
- The Head of Programme Management, in consultation with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), may not investigate complaints that are judged to be frivolous, malicious or vexatious, or made after 12 months and too late for an investigation to take place.
- Where an individual alleges misconduct directed against a person other than themselves, Chevening is unable to investigate without that person’s co-operation, unless other misconduct is also alleged which is supported by evidence. However, where the alleged misconduct could constitute a criminal offence the matter will be reported to the police.
- At any stage of consideration of a complaint, Chevening may rule that the complaint should not be the subject of further action under this policy, but this shall not preclude informal action by way of caution.
- Where the incident involves a staff member or student (including Chevening scholars) at a complainant’s host institution or university, the complainant should report the incident to their university.
- Chevening may report criminal offences to the police for investigation. staff will support Scholars and Fellows to secure the information they need to report incidents directly to the British police or via their university. Any person has the right to report any matter to the police, irrespective of the Chevening’s Disciplinary Policy and procedures.
- Where an investigation by an external party (a university or the police) takes place Chevening will consider appropriate actions and penalties based upon the outcome and actions taken by that party, and will not conduct their own parallel investigation. Temporary measures may be put in place while an external investigation is ongoing.
Receipt of Complaint
- The complainant is the person who makes the complaint. The respondent is the persona against whom the complaint is made.
- A complainant should report their complaint to the Head of Programme Management. Complaints will be acknowledged within 2 working days. After this, the Head of Programme Management or their deputy shall let the complainant know within 10 working days whether the complaint has been accepted for consideration under the Code of Conduct and this policy, and time limits for a decision. The time taken for consideration will depend on the nature and complexity of the case, but Chevening undertakes to respond to complaints with the minimum delay. Where the complaint is dismissed the reasons for this will be outlined in the response.
- Once a complaint has been accepted for consideration, the Head of Programme Management shall be responsible for investigation of the circumstances of the misconduct and for the preparation of any case against the Scholar or Fellow about whom the complaint has been made (hereafter ‘the respondent’).
- The Chevening Secretariat will report criminal offences to the police for investigation.
- Where the incident involves a staff member or student (including Chevening scholars) at a complainant’s university, the complainant should report the incident to their university. If a complainant is directed to report to their university, no further investigation of the case by Chevening will take place. If a university investigation results in penalties, the Head of Programme Management and senior staff at the FCDO may convene a disciplinary committee to determine an appropriate sanction to be applied in relation to the scholarship.
- On receipt of a complaint, the Head of Programme Management, after having made appropriate preliminary inquiries, shall send a written notice of the complaint, together with a copy of the Code of Conduct and this policy, to the respondent and to senior staff members at the FCDO.
- In the written notice the Head of Programme Management shall invite comments and evidence from the respondent and from senior staff members at the FCDO.
- Interim measures, such as a ban on attending events or activities, may be put in place during the process of investigating a reported incident of misconduct, especially where that report raises safeguarding concerns. Measures or penalties may be made permanent after the disciplinary procedure and appeal window has .
- Information about individuals subject to disciplinary proceedings will be kept confidential as far as possible, and information will be disclosed to as few people as possible, and only to those involved in investigating or deciding the matter. It is not normally appropriate to keep the identity of a complainant/s secret during proceedings, as this may undermine the respondent’s ability to defend themselves. If a complainant does not agree to the respondent knowing their identity it may not be possible to investigate their complaint.
- The Head of Programme Management and the senior representative FCDO shall decide whether the case shall be reviewed by a Disciplinary Committee, or if, upon receipt of comments and evidence, and with reference to the Code of Conduct, the case should be redirected or dismissed.
Consideration by the Disciplinary Committee
- Where the Head of Programme Management and the senior representative FCDO determine that the case shall be considered by the Disciplinary committee the Head of Programme Management shall provide the respondent with a summary of the case against them together with a copy of evidence where the complainant agrees this can be shared.
- The respondent will be invited to submit a written statement of defence within X days.
- The Disciplinary Committee shall include a panel drawn from:
- Senior representative/s from FCDO, normally Deputy Head, Scholarships, Tertiary Education and Partnerships (STEP) department (Chair), and where appropriate staff from the relevant British Embassy or High Commission
- Head of the Scholarships Unit (deputy Chair)
- Director People British Council (Observer)
- Senior Programme Policy Manager (Secretariat)
- The Head of Programme Management will present the case. The Head of Programme Management shall not be a member of the Committee and shall not have a vote.
- The Chair of the committee shall guide the discussions and the Chair’s decision in this matter shall be final. In particular:
- The case against the respondent, including their written statement of defence, shall be presented by the Head of Programme Management.
- A statement may also be made in mitigation if the case is found proved.
- The committee shall determine their decision in the case.
- The Chair shall then determine the penalty from the available penalties in section 9.
- A respondent for whom a penalty has been determined under this policy has the right of appeal within 10 working days to an Appeal Committee consisting of:
- Director of Chevening and Marshall or their deputy
- Deputy Director Scholarships, Tertiary Education Partnerships department (STEP) (Chair), or their deputy
- An independent member with relevant experience, to be agreed by the above members
- The Head of Programme Management will present the case on behalf of the Disciplinary Committee. The Head of Programme Management shall not be a member of the Appeal Committee and shall not have a vote.
- The appeal will not take the form of a re-hearing of the case. The grounds of appeal shall be stated in writing in advance by the respondent.
- The Head of Programme Management shall notify the respondent of this right of appeal.
- The Appeal Committee may amend, ratify or revoke any penalty and such decision shall be final and no further representations shall be permitted.
- The details and outcome of the case will be recorded in a Discipline Register.
Penalties / outcome
- The available penalties are:
- Termination of the Scholarship or Fellowship
- Probation involving monitoring of the Scholar or Fellow’s behaviour or performance for specified period; further misconduct could result in termination of the Scholarship or Fellowship
- Restorative or reconciliatory measures, such as a letter of apology or training programmes.
Roles and responsibilities
|Head of Programme Management, Chevening Secretariat
|Reporting/Disciplinary committee/ Appeal Committee||· Response, preliminary enquiries and collection of evidence
· In consultation with FCDO, decision on appropriate steps
· Presents case to Disciplinary committee and appeal committee (non-voting member)
|Deputy Head Scholarships, Tertiary Education Partnerships Department (STEP), FCDO
|Disciplinary committee||· Consultative role in appropriate steps following on from report of incident
· Chair of disciplinary committee and voting member
|Head of The Scholarships Unit
|Disciplinary committee||Voting member of disciplinary committee, deputy Chair|
|Senior staff from relevant British Embassy/High Commission, for example Deputy/Head of Mission||Disciplinary committee
|Voting member of disciplinary committee or Appeal committee. The same individual may not sit on both committees.|
|Director of People British Council
|Disciplinary committee||Disciplinary committee (Observer status)|
|Senior Programme Policy Manager
|Disciplinary committee||Disciplinary committee (Secretary)|
|Director of Chevening and Marshall
|Appeal Committee||Review of case and final decision|
|Deputy Director Scholarships, Tertiary Education Partnerships Department (STEP), FCDO
|Appeal Committee||Review of case and final decision|
|Date of review||September 2023|
|Date of next review||March 2024|