Complaints Procedure

General principles

It is our intention that the football club should be run in an open and honest manner.

Any individual involved in the club must feel able to register a complaint or concern safe in the knowledge that it will be dealt with fairly and that they will be safe from victimisation or reprisal.

It is our overriding belief that disagreements where they occur are best dealt with amicably within the club itself, preferably by discussion between the aggrieved party and the person believed by them to be the cause of the issue or concern. The committee should only be involved as a last resort.

However, the committee recognises that on occasions (especially where a matter of sensitivity or criminality has been alleged) an informal process is not appropriate and that a formal procedure is required.

Stage 1 – Informal review

Anyone with a concern or complaint should in the first instance approach the club official they believe to be responsible. Any discussion should be held in private and in confidence. It is recommended that training times are avoided if there is any possibility of the conversation becoming prolonged or disruptive.

All club officials are charged with making themselves available for such discussions and to listen to concerns with an open mind. Where agreement is reached steps should be taken to remedy the issue as soon as is practicable.

Where agreement cannot be reached then the procedure will proceed to stage 2.

Stage 1 can only be by-passed where a matter of sensitivity is involved or criminality is alleged.

Stage 2 – Formal review

For stage 2 to begin a complaint or concern must be submitted in writing to a member of the club’s management committee.

The committee member concerned must ensure that a copy of this is passed to the Club Secretary for acknowledgement and filing. Acknowledgement of any formal complaint should be made in writing.

Any complaint that involves a child welfare issue should also be copied to the Club Welfare Officer.

Through informal discussion the committee will consider the next course of action. Where the complaint is considered serious enough a formal process will begin.

A nominated member of the committee will inform the person(s) against whom the complaint has been made and provide details of the allegation or complaint. The accused person will be invited to provide a written statement in response; ideally to be received within one week.

Upon receipt of the accused person(s) statement additional written statements from other relevant persons or witnesses may be requested to provide corroborative evidence; again ideally these should be received within one week.

Based upon the evidence gathered a decision will be made by the Committee either:

  • To call a meeting of the Club Committee (minimum of two members) and invite the various parties to attend with the aim of negotiating a resolution. At least one week‘s notice will be given of such a meeting to allow all concerned to prepare. Anyone who is asked to attend such a meeting will have the right to invite any person that they require to assist or to represent them.
  • Or to institute formal disciplinary proceedings where a breach of club rules or codes of conduct has been proven.

Occasionally, the committee may opt to attempt a common sense resolution if they feel that the circumstances permit prior to any formal meeting being held.

The committee will attempt to communicate their collective decision as soon as is reasonable. Their findings and decisions will be communicated in writing to those affected.

Once their decisions have been communicated any parties involved have one week in which to exercise their right of appeal.

Stage 3 – Appeal

Any appeal must be addressed in writing to the Club Chairman and will be made on the basis that the outcome will be binding on all parties.

The submission to the Chairman must clearly explain why the outcome of stage 2 was flawed or wrong.

Upon receipt of the written appeal the Chairman will review the situation and determine whether there is a clear case of error or not. If the appeal is considered frivolous or without merit it may be rejected without further review.

Where the Chairman considers that the appeal has merit he or she will appoint three other suitable members of the club, one of whom should be a committee member, to review the appeal.

The Appeal Committee will arrange a formal meeting with the appellant, the accused person(s) (should they not be the appellant), any witnesses that the Appeal Committee considers necessary and any person that the appellant/accused person(s) wishes to invite to assist or represent them.

The date of such a meeting will be set at least one week in advance to allow for adequate preparation by all parties.

The Appeal Committee will either uphold the original decision or reject it. Exceptionally they may consider it appropriate to modify the original decision in which case such a ruling may itself become subject to appeal.

The Appeal Committee’s decision will be communicated in writing to all relevant parties; ideally within one week.