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Complaint Handling Process – Formal

Complaint Handling Process – Formal

 

Characteristics of serious complaints include:

 

  • Unlawful behaviour
  • Repeated pattern or entrenched behaviour
  • More than one person impacted
  • More than one person perpetuating the behaviour
  • Person complaining is unable to address the issue/power imbalance
  • Not resolved at informal level.

 

Examples of serious issues:

  • Angry/volatile spectators
  • Bullying (hazing, cyber bullying, ostracising behaviour by an individual or a group)
  • Sexual harassment
  • Racial harassment and vilification
  • Homophobia
  • Extremely inappropriate coaching style (profanities, aggressive or threatening gestures)

 

A formal process usually requires a written complaint asking the club to respond.

 

Relevant options for resolving serious complaints range from:

  1. Mediation
  2. Management Committee hearing and decision
  3. Escalation within the sport (Football Brisbane/Football Queensland)
  4. Referral to an external agency (Police)

 

Option 1: Mediation

 

This option is suitable when:

  • The person complaining requests it and the person being complained about is likely to agree
  • The allegations don’t, or are unlikely, to warrant any form of disciplinary action
  • The acts are not likely to be disputed.

 

Steps to follow:

  • Explain to the complainant and the person being complained about that mediation may help them understand and explore their issues and find resolution with the help an independent third party.
  • Get agreement from both parties that they are willing to meet with a mediator to try to sort out the issue.
  • Contact a mediation agency to discuss the issue and arrange mediation if appropriate.
  • Appoint a mediator
  • Olympic FC’s Committee will monitor the situation and review policies and procedures if required.

 

Option 2: Management Committee Hearing & Decision

 

This option is suitable when:

  • Mediation is not possible
  • The parties disagree about what has happened
  • There is a potential detriment to either party
  • This matter is one better resolved at this level
  • The matter is unlikely to require an external investigation (e.g. child abuse, assault).

 

Steps to follow:

  • Respond to any complaint and explain the process the committee will take in dealing with the complaint
  • Inform the person being complained about of the allegation and the process the committee will take in dealing with the complaint
  • Appoint committee members who don’t have a conflict of interest (may be the Risk Management Subcommittee) to hear the complaint
  • Ensure both parties get to tell their side of the story before any decision is made by the Committee. Both parties may have to attend a meeting or provide information to a nominated representative prior to the hearing.
  • Decisions must be based on facts and could include dismissal of the complaint, disciplinary action, referral to a state sporting organisation for further advice, investigation or arbitration.
  • Keep both parties informed throughout the process
  • Review policies, codes of behaviour etc. and communicate to members to prevent further issues.

 

Option 3: Escalation within the Sport

 

This option is suitable when:

  • There is a possible conflict of interest, or a close relationship, between the people on the management committee and any parties of the complaint
  • It is beyond the skills of the Committee and specific expertise or experience may be required to manage the complaint
  • The complaint has been unable to be resolved at the club level
  • The issue is more serious than first thought.

 

Steps to follow:

  • Refer to Football Queensland’s grievance policy
  • Contact FB or FQ to discuss the complaint and ask how they can support
  • Keep parties informed of the process
  • Protect the person complaining and the person being complained about from victimisation
  • Manage gossip or demands by people who know about the complaint
  • Implement any recommendations and review club policy and procedures.

 

Option 4: Referral to external agency

 

This option is suitable when:

  • The person complaining chooses this option (this can happen any time during the complaint process)
  • The issue appears to be very serious
  • Where the complaint involves harm to a child
  • Where the issue may be criminal or unlawful
  • When an external investigation is required
  • Whenever you are unsure and need to seek advice.