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Club Policies

Grievance and Complaints Policy

Principles

Mornington Chasers Running Club is a friendly, 'open to all' club. As such, we expect that all club members shall make every effort to be inclusive and to encourage other runners of all abilities. In line with this friendly ethos, the club wishes to run its disciplinary procedure on an informal basis for the most part, but accepts that from time to time a formal complaint may be necessary, , for example due to inappropriate behaviour or comments (such as sexism) by a member towards other members, or towards the general public while participating in club activities. Only club members can make a formal complaint about other club members' behaviour except where the behaviour has caused offence to a member of the public and/or brought the name of the club into disrepute. Non-club members shall have the right to informal resolution only. If the matter is a safeguarding issue or a criminal matter, this MUST be reported to the club Chair, or in his/her absence, the club Secretary at the earliest opportunity. We would also encourage members to report suspected criminal behaviour to police authorities.

Informal

1. Informal resolution - face to face

The majority of complaints can be handled informally. It is most often the case that the person who has caused offence has no idea that their actions or words have caused harm in any way. Therefore in most cases the Committee encourages the aggrieved party to speak informally to the person who has caused offence in order to make them aware of the situation. In the majority of cases, the offending party will be apologetic and not have realised that their actions were harmful in any way. Usually there should be no further action here. However, the Committee recognises that in some cases the member making the complaint may not feel comfortable in a face to face discussion with the club member who caused offence, and in such cases the club member making the complaint should contact the welfare officer or other member of the Committee.

2. Informal resolution - committee member

The club member making the complaint may approach a Committee member with the problem. The Committee member shall determine at this stage whether the person wants it to be handled formally or informally. If formally, refer to the procedure below. If informal, the club member accepts that the Committee Member shall deal with the matter in the way that they best see fit depending on the nature of the incident. Words of advice to the offending party and potentially the aggrieved party shall resolve this issue.

Formal

Process

  1. If a club member or member of the public wishes to make a formal complaint, this MUST be submitted in writing [by email or letter], within 3 months of the offence. The Club secretary or other committee member shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 7 days. The club aims to respond to any complaint promptly, and aims to inform you of an outcome within 2 months of receiving the original complaint.
  2. The Chair shall make the whole committee aware and appoint 2 members of the committee to investigate the complaint. The investigation may include face to face interviews or written submission from a number of parties. Any person interviewed shall have the right to have another club member present with them at the time of interview. The complaint shall be decided on balance of probability - that is, that something is more likely to have happened than not.
  3. To determine the case, the club has a number of options:
    1. Inform/disclose to a third party. In exceptionally rare circumstances, it may be necessary to pass a matter to the Police or a third party such as a Mediator if members of the Committee are themselves involved in the complaint. Should Police be involved in the complaint, the club shall suspend the membership of the alleged offending party until the matter is resolved. This is a neutral act to protect the club and the club member from further harm.
    2. Uphold the complaint.In this case, the Committee shall decide that the complaint is upheld. The Committee will aim to ensure that the person making the complaint is notified of the outcome. This may include a written apology or other communication in person or by email. The club member who has caused offence shall receive either:
      1. verbal warning as to their behaviour
      2. written warning
      3. in certain cases it may be necessary to remove membership from someone, but this is either a last resort (e.g. if inappropriate behaviour continues by the offending member after prior verbal or written warning) or only for use in exceptional circumstances (e.g. a proven theft, harrassment of a club member).
    3. Partially uphold the complaint. It may be that the complaint is based on several premises and that one or more of these are likely to have happened but some did not or it was unclear what occurred (one person's word against another). In these cases, the club shall acknowledge such fault as it finds and should consider an apology on behalf of the club. It is likely that a cautionary word with the offending party will be sufficient to resolve this.
    4. Reject the complaint. In some cases, the complainant will have been wrong or the complaint unsubstantiated. In these cases, the club shall write to the person with their findings. No further action shall be required.

The investigating officers shall present a brief summary of the case and their recommendations to the Chair (via the Committee) who shall have the final say on any sanction recommended (unless the Chair is the alleged offender or complainant, in which case an alternative member of the Committee shall have final say such alternative member to be agreed by the Committee). This shall then be conveyed to all parties at the earliest opportunity. Note that in some circumstances, if requested and appropriate to the circumstances, the Committee will maintain the anonymity of the person making the complaint.

Any changes to club rules that may arise from an investigation would have to be passed through the normal constitution change process.