Skegness Triathlon Club
Complaints and Disciplinary procedure
Skegness Triathlon Club has a Code of Conduct, which all members, volunteers and officials are expected to abide by. This policy sets out the procedure by which a complaint can be made, the procedure for handling and responding to complaints and the procedure for dealing with breaches of the code of conduct.
1. A complaint can be made against any member, volunteer or official of Skegness Triathlon Club where the complainant believes the person’s actions amount to misconduct and/or a breach of the Club Code of Conduct.
2. All complaints, including breaches of the Club Code of Conduct, should be reported to the Welfare Officer in the first instance; early informal intervention may remove the need for a formal complaint.
3. Complaints regarding the protection of children or vulnerable adults may be notified to the British Triathlon Federation Lead Safeguarding Officer and may be referred to the police or social services.
4. If the complaint indicates that a crime may have been committed the club has a duty and will report the matter to the police.
5. All formal Complaints will be made in writing to the Welfare Officer, or where the complaint relates to the Welfare Officer, the chair of the Committee will act as welfare officer for the purposes of this policy.
6. The written complaint should include:
a. Details of the Incident
b. The date, time and location that the incident occurred
c. Names of any witnesses or people present at the time of the incident
d. Any available evidence to support the complaint, this is to include a print off or screenshots of the offending material should the complaint relate to breaches of the social media section of the code of conduct.
7. The Club Secretary will keep a record of all written complaints received by the Welfare officer. The record will include the details of the complaint and its resolution, including details of any disciplinary action taken under Section 14 below.
Handling Formal Complaints and Disciplinary Action
8. Any member of the Committee receiving a formal complaint will refer the information to the Welfare officer as soon as practicably possible. The Welfare Officer will:
a. Treat every complaint as confidential.
b. Not discuss any matters with anyone outside of the committee other than to request expert advice.
c. Declare immediately if they have any conflict of interest.
d. Treat each reported incident fairly and equitably.
e. Deal with all individuals with respect, compassion and empathy.
f. Work with the club secretary to convene a committee meeting within 7 days of the complaint being received by the Welfare officer.
9. The Committee will appoint a total of three club officers to a complaints panel to handle the complaint; this may or may not include the welfare officer, but should not include the committee Chair. Careful consideration should be made not to appoint club officers who are, or may become witnesses to the incident(s) where possible.
10. If it is felt the matter requires immediate appointment of the club officers, then the welfare officer may at his/her discretion appoint them prior to the committee meeting.
11. Within 14 days of the complaint being received by the Welfare Officer, the panel will contact the complainant and the person about whom the complaint has been made in writing, to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and outline the complaints process, notifying all parties of the appointed panel members.
12. The panel will seek statements and other forms of evidence from all parties to the complaint, any witnesses named in the original complaint and any other persons as the committee feels is appropriate, with the aim of discovering the facts surrounding the complaint. All parties to the complaint will be given equal right to be heard.
13. Once the panel have gathered sufficient evidence, a disciplinary hearing should be held between the three panel members to assess the complaint and all available evidence.
14. Once the panel have investigated the complaint they will decide on a suitable resolution. If they believe it necessary to do so, the panel may:
a. Issue a verbal warning as to future conduct.
b. Issue a written warning as to future conduct.
c. Suspend the member, volunteer or official from activities or membership for a period of time.
d. Recommend to the committee the expulsion of the member, volunteer or official from activities and membership on a permanent basis.
15. Option ‘c’ can be used by the complaints panel as an interim measure whist the complaint is being investigated should the panel deem it necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances, and in the best interests of the wider club and its members.
16. When deciding on a suitable resolution and considering disciplinary action under Section 14 above, the panel should refer to the record of complaints held by the secretary / Welfare Officer and consider if previous sanctions should be taken into consideration.
Should a member involved in the complaint have received a previous sanction, then the following timescales will apply for this to be taken into consideration:
Verbal Warning – 6 Months.
Written Warning – 12 Months.
Final Warning – 24 Months.
17. The panel will communicate their detailed decision to the Committee at the earliest opportunity after the disciplinary hearing.
18. The outcome of the disciplinary hearing should be notified in writing to the person who lodged the complaint and the member against whom the complaint was made within 21 days of the hearing. (Includes any decision made at point 19).
19. The committee and/or complaints panel may consider updating key witness involved in the complaint as to the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
20. If the panel has recommended the expulsion of a member, volunteer or official from activities and membership on a permanent basis, the Committee must consider the recommendation, and decide whether they wish to action it.
21. The Chairman may initiate the complaints process without a complaint if he/she deems it necessary and proportionate following an incident that may affect the club and its members.
Complaint handling specific to Social Media.
22. In an effort to monitor and control social media platforms relating to the club, the committee will appoint no less than 4 social media admins who are empowered to remove posts (in line with this policy) which may breach the social media section of the code of conduct.
23. Non Members - A social media admin may remove any post or comment from any social media platform controlled by the club and its committee, when the individual responsible for the post or comment is not a club member, should the post or comment be offensive, abusive and inconsistent with the clubs values, then a social media admin may block a non-member from the social media platform after the offending communications are secured.
24. Club Members – A club member who has paid their annual membership fee cannot be blocked from a club controlled social media platform by a single social media admin.
Should a social media admin become aware of a potential breach of the social media section of the code of conduct relating to club member, then the following process will be followed:
a) The social media admin will take measures to secure and preserve any evidence which amounts to or contributes towards the potential breach, this should be done by creating a hard copy or electronic screenshot, the social media admin will ensure that full message threads are secured and not just individual posts that may bring about a potential breach, this is to enable any comments to be read in context to the wider communication thread.
b) The social media admin should bring the potential breach to the attention of a second social media admin, should it be deemed reasonable then at this stage the comments can be deleted, but only after full compliance with 24a above
c) The potential breach will be brought to the attention of the club chairman, or if unavailable the vice chairman.
Only the chairman (or vice chairman) has the power to block a club member from a social media platform controlled by the club or its committee.
The chairman (or vice chairman), assisted by the two reporting social media admins will decide on a reasonable and proportionate resolution.
d) Should the chairman (or vice chairman) authorise the club member to be blocked from the social media platform, then under section 21 of this policy the Chairman should invoke the complaints process to allow the matter to be investigated fully, ensuring the appropriate sanction can be applied.
25. Once the decision of the panel has been communicated, any person who has been issued a sanction by the panel under Section 14 will have 7 days to lodge an appeal in writing with the Chairman.
26. Appeals will be handled by a separate appeals panel, comprising of no less than three club officers who were not appointed to the original complaints panel. The committee will acknowledge receipt of an appeal to both parties and inform them of the appointed appeal panel members within 14 days of being notified of the appeal. Panel members will be appointed by the Welfare officer.
27. The appeal panel will have 21 days to decide whether to uphold the sanction once the appeal is received.
28. Where the sanction is upheld no further action will be taken, and the original decision will stand.
29. Where the sanction is not upheld, the appeal panel will have the power to issue a lesser sanction, withdraw all sanctions or increase the sanction.
Any queries relating to this policy should be directed to the Club Secretary or Welfare Officer.