The formal resolution stage of the Resolution Framework™ is designed for managing more serious and complex cases which may require investigating and determination by a senior manager at a formal resolution meeting. The outcomes of formal resolution can range from a third and final reminder, a resolution action plan or, in the most serious cases, dismissal. This page explains more and it sets out the support available to your organisation.

What Does Formal Resolution Involve?

A formal approach should be considered as an option for the most complex and serious issues ie situations which achieve a high score using TCM’s innovative Resolution Index™.  These may include allegations of bullying, harassment, discrimination, fraud and gross misconduct. The four boxes below highlight a key stage in the formal resolution stage of The Resolution Framework™. For additional details relating to each stage, please use the short enquiry form at the bottom of this page and we will be in touch.


Following the resolution triage assessment, the Resolution Index™ may have identified sensitive/complex issues. In these cases, an investigation may be needed prior to the formal resolution meeting. The investigation will be conducted by a trained, objective member of staff. (internal or external). The purpose of this process is to discover all the facts, which are analysed rigorously and objectively and presented in a fair and reasonable manner.

TCM delivers fully accredited investigation skills training to three levels:

  • Core Investigations Skills™. For managers and people professional who need to understand the fundamental elements of an investigation. Duration = one day
  • Practical Investigation Skills™. Designed for managers and people professionals who are required to undertake investigations into allegations such as bullying, harassment, discrimination and misconduct. Duration = two days.
  • Advanced Investigation Skills™. An advanced course for investigators who are a required to investigate serious and complex allegations of fraud, serious misconduct and fitness to practice etc. Duration = three days (or longer as required)

Our sister site The Investigation Company offers additional resources.


In some cases, such as in serious allegations of misconduct, it may be necessary to suspend an employee. The Resolution Framework™ provides detailed guidance for managing suspensions in accordance with the Acas Code and best practice. The decision to suspend an employee is a serious one and the following guidance should be considered:

  • Always seek alternatives to suspension in the first instance.
  • Your Resolution Centre should always be notified prior to an employee being suspended.
  • Ensure that the decision to suspend is made by more than one person to reduce the risk of bias. The 2nd person may be someone from the Resolution Centre.
  • The decision to suspend an employee should be made clearly and in writing. Ongoing communication should be maintained with the suspended employee throughout the period of the suspension.
  • Suspension is not a punishment and it should last for the minimum period possible.
  • The suspended employee should be provided with access to a full range of emotional and psychological wellbeing support throughout the period of their suspension.
Formal Resolution Meeting

Traditionally, this process has been referred to as ‘the hearing’. However, the evidence we have collected at TCM over the past 20 plus years is that many employees (plus many managers and people professionals) perceive this term to be a highly adversarial term. People tell us that it reinforces a parent/child dynamic within teams and across cultures. The term ‘formal resolution meeting’ is less adversarial, it promotes adult to adult interactions, it draws on leading indicators rather than lagging indicators and it focuses on the outcome  – resolution.

The Resolution Centre will appoint a chair for the formal resolution meeting. They should be from outside of the team where the issue has presented, and be at an appropriate management level. Full training must be provided to anyone who is required to chair a formal resolution meeting.

The employee has the right to be accompanied to the formal resolution meeting. They also have the right to appeal the outcome of the formal resolution meeting. The aim of the formal resolution meeting is, wherever possible to seek a restorative approach for addressing the issues. This may include:

  • referring the case back for mediation (this is useful where the parities have refused to mediate or where mediation was initially unsuccessful).
  • providing additional coaching for the parties to assist them to resolve the issues.
  • Issuing a third and final reminder (this is equivalent to the old final written warning).

However in more serious cases the chair has the authority to issue a range of sanctions up to and including dismissal. The process for dismissing an employee fairly and avoiding costly errors is set out clearly within the Resolution Framework™.

Appeals and case reviews

In line with natural justice and the Acas code, all employees have the right to appeal the outcome of the formal resolution meeting. The appeal should be heard by an independent appeal chair. This person should be suitably trained and with adequate seniority. TCM provides appeals chair training. Please complete the enquiry form at the end of this page to receive additional information.

Case reviews

With a focus on gathering and acting on learning and insights from cases, TCM’s Resolution Framework™ also includes provision for regular case reviews to draw out ‘lessons learned from cases. These case reviews are undertaken by the cross functional Resolution Centre and the insights and learning can be used to drive cultural, systemic and institutional change. The outcome being that your Resolution Framework™ will play a vital role in shaping your organisational culture and for driving continuous improvement and contributing to your ‘corporate memory’.

Throughout the process of integrating your Resolution Framework™, TCM will provide detailed guidance to support appeals and case reviews.


We wanted to remove, where possible, the stress, length of time, challenges and detrimental impact that the grievance process can have on all individuals involved. Our Resolution Framework offers a supportive and proactive approach for resolving workplace issues. Overall, we’ve found it makes sense commercially by saving time and it’s had positive effects for employee wellbeing, a win-win.


Got a question?

If you would like to know more about Formal Resolution, or you have a question about any aspect of the Resolution Framework™ for that matter, please let us know. Complete this short form and we will delighted to assist.

We love answering questions about the Resolution Framework™!