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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Setting up a disciplinary procedure - checklist

You need to have clear rules outlining what will happen if employees commit an offence in the workplace. Our checklist tells you what to include.

  • Contact Acas for their Code of Practice. Your procedures must be fair and transparent and must not discriminate.
  • Put your procedures in writing and communicate them to all employees, for example, through a handbook. Ensure they understand the rules and their rights.
  • Identify what issues your disciplinary procedure needs to cover such as work performance, theft, discriminatory, offensive or inappropriate behaviour.
  • Classify offences: minor offences, repeated minor offences, misconduct and gross misconduct are the most commonly used categories.
  • Provide examples of misconduct; do not try to produce an exhaustive list or be too specific if the offence can be a matter of degree.
  • Describe offences constituting gross misconduct, meriting dismissal. Consider whether an employment tribunal would agree with you.
  • Set up a series of warning steps for offenders: for example, oral warning for minor offences, written warning, final written warning and ultimately dismissal.
  • Set up a procedure for holding formal disciplinary interviews; decide who will have the authority to hold meetings and take disciplinary action.
  • Follow your procedures. Take informal action where possible. Where formal action is required, explain in writing what the problem is, arrange a face-to-face meeting to discuss the problem and allow for an appeal if the employee is unhappy with the outcome.
  • Reserve the right to enter the procedure at a level justified by the severity of the offence (eg an immediate final warning for serious misconduct).
  • Investigate the circumstances before dismissing a member of staff -¬†even in the case of gross misconduct.
  • Set timescales for the stages of the disciplinary process, allowing time for improvements before issuing further warnings.
  • Decide on a record-keeping system and how long warnings will remain in effect before they lapse.
  • Ensure that your procedure respects employees' rights: for example, to be accompanied by a colleague at a hearing and to be treated fairly.
  • Train managers; stress the need to be fair and consistent and to keep written records.
  • Continue to use informal warnings to handle one-off minor offences.

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