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L40 Exit interviews 

1. Summary of changes

1.1. This protocol has been developed using the previous content of force policy L40.

2. What this protocol is about

2.1. This protocol provides details of the process on when, how, why and for whom exit interviews should be conducted..

Compliance with this protocol/SOP and any governing policy is mandatory.

3. Detail the protocol

3.1. Exit interviews should be undertaken for two main reasons. It is possible that if employees are contemplating leaving, and if action were to be taken to resolve their concerns or problems at an early stage, it might be possible to retain their services. Equally, it is important that Kent Police learns from the information we gain from those who choose to leave, so that improvements can be made. The comments made and learning gained from such an interview may be of importance to other staff and the force as a whole.

3.2 Who should be sent a questionnaire / interviewed? 

3.2.1. An exit interview questionnaire should be completed by all police officers, police staff including police community support officers and special constables who have given notice either to voluntarily resign or transfer to another force.  A different, shorter questionnaire  should be completed by those who retire, whether naturally or on ill-health grounds.

3.2.2.  If a special constable has not been active for more than 12 months, they should be regarded as having resigned voluntarily and they should be sent the questionnaire.

3.2.3. The questionnaires should not be used in the case of staff who are considering leaving the force but who have not yet resigned. Where managers are aware of such individuals, they should discuss the matter with the individual with a view to establishing the reason for leaving and addressing it if possible.

3.2.4. The questionnaires have been designed for completion without an interviewer. However, if an individual wishes to be interviewed then they should be extended the opportunity of an exit interview as per the paragraph below.

3.2.5  Both types of questionnaire consist of an electronic Lime Survey.

3.3. The questionnaires will be administered in the following way: 

3.3.1. STEP ONE

  • The Business Centre will upon notification that an employee intends to resign, ascertain whether they wish to be interviewed, and if so by whom. If the employee prefers not to be interviewed, they will be sent an electronic link to the appropriate survey. If an interview is requested, the link will be sent to the interviewer, to be completed by the leaver in their presence as a basis for the interview. The interviewer is expected to make arrangements to conduct the interview.
  • In the case of retirements and redundancies, SMTs will be notified by the Business Centre and forwarded a link to the appropriate survey. They will be expected to arrange and carry out the interview.
  • If it is impractical for the leaver to complete the electronic copy, they may be forwarded a hard copy of the questionnaire for completion. In such cases, local personnel staff should transfer the information to the Lime Survey for analysis. 

 3.3.2. STEP TWO - Where an exit interview is requested by the individual

  • Exit interviews will generally be carried out by line managers, or by an SMT member in the case of retirements. However, the Business Centre can upon request, arrange for an H.R. Professional to carry out the interview. This may be appropriate if there are complex or sensitive issues involved.
  • In the case of resignations, the leaver may wish to be accompanied at the interview by a third party or to receive help in completing the questionnaire form. The options available are identified on the form. The representative will be present to support the individual and should not act as the interviewer.

3.3.3. STEP THREE - Exit questionnaire submission process (where an interview takes place)

  • The questionnaire and any interview conducted will be entirely confidential, subject to the provisions of paragraph 3.3.4 below. The individual should be assured that the answers they give would not, in any way prejudice references given by Kent Police. They will also need assurances that the written record of the interview will be held confidentially and separately from their personal file.
  • The questionnaire should be completed at the time of, and as part of, the exit interview. This should not be allowed to detract from the personal nature of the interview.
  • Data from the questionnaire will be automatically downloaded to a database for analysis and quarterly/annual reporting. 

3.3.4. STEP FOUR - Follow up action 

  • Where an interview or questionnaire highlights a grievance, potential grievance or an issue that needs to be addressed, such cases should be referred immediately and confidentially to an appropriately qualifiied HR Professional for action. It may be appropriate to feed back relevant issues to the line manager, as the exit interview ought to be a learning opportunity for all involved.
  • If disciplinary offences such as harassment or discrimination are disclosed, this should be dealt with in accordance with the relevant force policies. If a specific act of discrimination or harassment is brought to the attention of the interviewer during an interview, this cannot remain confidential in these circumstances. Support should be provided to the interviewee and the matter must be dealt with under established procedures.
  • If information is disclosed which suggests that there may be a problem, but an interview has not been arranged, the force should contact the leaver to invite them for interview. The expectation is that the force will want to take action, even if it is just to ask for further explanation.

 4. Equality impact assessment

4.1. This protocol has been assessed with regard to its relevance to race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment the protocol has been graded as having a medium potential impact.

4.2. Attached is the latest equality impact assessment that forms part of the policy review process.

5. Risk assessment

5.1. There is no specific risk assessment or health and safety consideration thought relevant to the content of this protocol. Officers and members of police staff engaged within the process must remain aware that they must follow the protocol correctly. A failure to fully adopt the principles set out in this protocol could have a detrimental effect upon individuals, officers and staff and the reputation or the organisation.

6. Consultation

6.1. This is a format change only, therefore no consultation is necessary.

7. Monitoring and review

7.1. Monitoring will be undertaken by the Head of Resourcing, with a review being undertaken two years after this protocol is in place.

8. Governing force policy

8.1. This HR protocol supports the overarching HR policy L001.

9. Other source documents, e.g. legislation, APP, force forms, partnership agreements (if applicable)


Policy reference: L40 Exit interviews
Policy owner: Director of Human Resources
Contact point: Policy Unit, 01622 652622
Date last reviewed: 02 May 2012
Document last saved: 07 March 2014