If an individual’s capability for doing a particular job is to be challenged as being unsatisfactory, then one would expect as a starting point a clear definition of what capability in that job entailed. In the case of some jobs, this may be relatively straightforward, for example sales staff are likely to be made aware that a specific level of sales must be achieved over a given period. Similarly, customer services representatives in a call centre may be required to deal with a set number of calls per day. However, when it comes to professional jobs in particular, defining a satisfactory level of performance becomes much more problematic, partly because the indicators of successful performance are more nebulous and partly because the boundaries of the job itself are less sharply defined. Although the Teacher Training Agency has set out areas in which teachers must be competent and outcomes which they are expected to achieve, no attempt has been made to define teacher incompetence in the way in which one might, for example, define unsatisfactory attendance. Even the outline procedure itself stipulated only that:
Lack of capability is defined as a situation in which a teacher fails consistently to perform his or her duties to a professionally acceptable standard.