Drugs and Alcohol


1 – About this policy

Derbyshire House is committed to providing a safe, healthy and productive working environment. This includes ensuring that all staff are fit to carry out their jobs safely and effectively in an environment which is free from alcohol and drug misuse.

The purpose of this policy is to increase awareness of the effects of alcohol and drug misuse and its likely symptoms and to ensure that:

(a) All staff are aware of their responsibilities regarding alcohol and drug misuse and related problems.
(b) Staff who have an alcohol or drug-related problem are encouraged to seek help, in confidence, at an early stage.
(c) Staff who have an alcohol or drug-related problem affecting their work are dealt with sympathetically, fairly and consistently.

This policy is not intended to apply to “one-off” incidents or offences caused by alcohol or drug misuse at or outside work where there is no evidence of an ongoing problem, which may damage our reputation, and which are likely to be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure.

We will not accept staff arriving at work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, especially staff whose ability to work is impaired in any way due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs. We will also not accept staff who consume alcohol or take drugs (other than prescription or over the counter medication, as directed) on our premises.

This policy covers all employees, officers, consultants, contractors, volunteers, casual workers and agency workers. This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.

2 – Personnel responsible for this policy

Our board of Trustees has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy but has delegated day-to- day responsibility for overseeing its implementation to Sharon Smith, the Registered Manager.

All managers have a specific responsibility to operate within the boundaries of this policy, to ensure that all staff understand the standards of behaviour expected of them and to take action when behaviour falls below its requirements.

Managers will, if appropriate, be given training in:

(a) The nature and causes of alcohol and drug problems.
(b) The effect of alcohol and drug misuse on workplace safety and performance.
(c) The assistance that can be provided by outside agencies.

  1. Identifying a problem

If you notice a change in a colleague’s pattern of behaviour you should encourage them to seek assistance through the manager. If they will not seek help themselves you should draw the matter to the attention of your manager. You should not attempt to cover up for a colleague whose work or behaviour is suffering as a result of an alcohol or drug-related problem.

If you believe that you have an alcohol or drug-related problem you should seek specialist advice and support as soon as possible.

4 – Alcohol and drugs at work

Misuse of alcohol and drugs can lead to reduced levels of attendance, reduced efficiency and performance, impaired judgement and decision making and increased health and safety risks for you and other people. Irresponsible behaviour or the commission of offences resulting from the misuse of alcohol or drugs may damage our reputation and, as a result, our business.

You are expected to arrive at work fit to carry out your job and to be able to perform your duties safely without any limitations due to the use or after effects of alcohol or drugs (whether prescribed, over the counter or illegal). The use of drugs also includes the use of controlled drugs, psychoactive (or mind-altering) substances formally known as  “legal highs” and the misuse of prescribed or over-the-counter medication.

You should not drink alcohol during the normal working day, at lunchtime, at other official breaks and at official work-based meetings and events. Drinking alcohol while at work without authorisation or working under the influence of alcohol may be considered serious misconduct.

You must comply with drink-driving laws and drug-driving laws at all times. Conviction for drink-driving or drug-driving offence may harm our reputation and, if your job requires you to drive, you may be unable to continue to do your job. Committing a drink-driving or drug- driving offence while working for us or outside working hours may lead to action under our Disciplinary Procedure and could result in dismissal.

If you are prescribed medication you must seek advice from your GP or pharmacist about the possible effect on your ability to carry out your job and whether your duties should be modified or you should be temporarily reassigned to a different role. If so you must tell your line manager without delay.

5 – Searches

Derbyshire House reserve the right to conduct searches for alcohol or drugs on our premises, including, but not limited to, searches of lockers, filing cabinets and desks, bags, clothing and packages .

Any alcohol or drugs found as a result of a search will be confiscated and action may be taken under our Disciplinary Procedure.

6 – Drug screening

Derbyshire House reserves the right to request drug screening for any member of staff when there is reasonable cause to suspect that the individual has been under the influence of drugs at work or that their work has been affected by drug misuse. Wherever possible, drug screening will be conducted by an external provider. Arrangements will be discussed with affected members of staff at the start of each screening programme. Failure to co-operate with this request may lead to action being taken under the disciplinary procedure.

7 – Managing suspected substance misuse

Where the manager considers that a deterioration in work performance and/or changes in patterns of behaviour may be due to alcohol or drug misuse they should seek advice and assistance from the trustees.

If your manager has reason to believe that you are suffering the effects of alcohol or drugs misuse, they will invite you to an investigatory interview.

The purpose of the interview is to:

(a) discuss the reason for the investigation and seek your views on, for example, the deterioration of your work performance and/or behaviour; and
(b) where appropriate, offer to refer you for medical and/or specialist advice.

If you arrive at work and a member of staff or visitor believes a staff member is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they should immediately contact Sharon Smith, The Registered Manager, in order that you can be provided with assistance and an investigation can be undertaken.

If, as the result of the meeting or investigation, the manager continues to believe that you are suffering the effects of alcohol or drugs misuse and you refuse an offer of referral to appropriate treatment providers the matter may be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.

8 – Providing support

Alcohol and drug-related problems may develop for a variety of reasons and over a considerable period of time. Derbyshire House is committed, in so far as possible, to treating these problems in a similar way to other health issues. We will provide support where possible with a view to a return to full duties.

This may include:

(a) Referral to appropriate treatment providers, where necessary in conjunction with your GP.
(b) Time off work to attend treatment.
(c) Adjusting your duties or other support as recommended by your GP or specialist during treatment and for an agreed period thereafter, subject to operational requirements and feasibility.

If you do not finish a programme of treatment, or your recovery and return to work does not go as planned, the home’s manager will meet with you to decide what further action if any should be taken.

9 – Confidentiality

We aim to ensure that the confidentiality of any member of staff experiencing alcohol or drug-related problems is maintained appropriately. However, it needs to be recognised that, in supporting staff, some degree of information sharing is likely to be necessary.

If you seek help with an alcohol or drug-related problem and you wish to keep matters confidential from your manager and colleagues, this will be respected unless there is reason to believe that this could put you, your colleagues or anyone else at risk or carries some other material risk for the business. In those circumstances you will be encouraged to inform your manager.