Dunshaughlin & Royal Gaels Complaints Procedure
This Complaints Procedure is to be used in conjunction with the Irish Sports Council Code of Ethics and Best Practice for Youth Sport and the guidelines for members, team mentors and officials contained in the GAA’s Code of Best Practice in Youth in Sport. The procedure is designed to provide guidance to mentors, players and their representatives on the general principles which apply in the operation of the complaints procedures.
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, which suggests a failure to perform a function or provide a service in line with stated policies and practices. It gives the club the opportunity to put right, something which has gone wrong, or restore a service to the required standard. Complaints will ensure that faults and mistakes are acknowledged and that remedies are provided.
Confidentiality should be maintained in respect of all issues and people in cases of abuse, welfare or bad practice with young members. A guarantee of confidentiality or undertakings regarding secrecy cannot always be given, as the welfare of the young person will supersede all other considerations. It is important that the rights of all concerned in the complaint are protected. All information gathered will be treated in a careful and sensitive manner and will be discussed only with those who need to know. Giving information to others on “a need to know” is not a breach of confidentiality. All persons involved in a protection process (the player, the parents/guardians, the alleged offender, his/her family, mentors) will be afforded appropriate respect, fairness, support and confidentiality at all stages of the procedure. All information in relation to complaints will be stored in a secure place, with limited access only by designated people. The requirements of data protection legislation will be adhered to.
Types of Complaint
A complaint can be expressed in written form or verbal form. If a complaint is submitted in writing it is important that factual information including dates, times, people present or witnessed the matter are included.
If a complaint is reported verbally, then the person to whom the complaint is being raised with, should keep a note of the factual information including dates, times, people present or witnessed the matter are included.
Anonymous complaints or rumours can be difficult to deal with but should not be ignored. In all cases the safety and welfare of the club members (particularly young members) is paramount. The information should be brought to the Children’s Officer and the information will be investigated and handled in a confidential manner.
Informal Resolution of Complaint
The vast majority of complaints are best resolved informally. The club’s first course of action will be to encourage the complainant to speak directly to the person they have an issue with in a
calm and non-aggressive manner. The purpose of the process of informal mediation is to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the issues that have been raised. If the issue cannot be resolved at this stage then a member of the committee or the Children’s Officer (if deemed appropriate) may mediate to try to resolve the issue.
If the complaint cannot be resolved locally then the following steps should be followed:
· Complaint is submitted in writing
· Appointment of an Investigation Committee
· Complaints’ Procedure
· Appeal Procedure
Submitting a Complaint:
All complaints should be submitted in writing to the Club Chairman, Club Secretary or the Children’s Officer.
· The complaint should be acknowledged within 5 working days of its receipt.
· The Mentor/Player/Parent/Guardian against whom the complaint has been made should be notified of the nature of the complaint by telephone and in writing.
· If a complaint made against the mentor is of a serious nature, the mentor should be asked to temporarily step aside as a protective measure during the investigation and a caretaker mentor should be put in place.
· If a complaint is of a suspected abuse (sexual or physical) the statutory authorities should be contacted to receive professional guidance.
· All letters of complaint should be kept safely and confidentially.
· Letters of complaint remain the property of the club. They will remain confidential and will not be read at a meeting or circulated to any person other than members of the Investigation Committee.
Appointment of Investigation Committee:
· Need to state who is authorised to establish an Investigation Committee- suggest Club Chairman
· An investigation committee consisting of the Chairperson, the Children’s Officer and an ordinary member of the club will be set up. If any member of the investigating committee has a vested interest in the complaint, they must step aside from the investigation.
· It is recommended that this committee is put in place at the beginning of the year.
· The investigating committee will deal with all incidents of suspected misconduct including of bullying; however, any complaint concerning child abuse will be referred to the appropriate statutory authorities.
Dealing with the Complaint:
· On receiving a complaint the investigation committee will inform the individuals involved regarding details of the complaint being made. Should they also get a copy of the complaint?
· Each party to the complaint will be afforded the opportunity of providing a response verbally at a meeting with the investigation committee.
· If either party does not attend the meeting, they will be offered the opportunity of providing a response in writing.
· If either party fails to co-operate with the investigating committee, the investigation will continue.may take this factor into account in arriving at its decision
· An player under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
· If a parent/guardian is party to the complaint, player under 18 should be accompanied by an independent adult of their choice.
· In certain circumstances the investigation committee may enlist or co-opt the assistance of subject matter or professional help.
· In delivering its findings, the investigating committee will furnish a written report giving details of the procedures followed, investigation conclusions and recommendations or any actions to be taken.
· The written report will be signed by all members of the investigating committee and returned to the Club Chairman.
· The Clb chairman will ensure all parties to the complaint will receive a copy of the investigating committee’s findings.
· Where it is established that an incident of misconduct has taken place, the investigation committee will notify the Club Executive .The Club Executive will make the decision and decide the member (verbally and in writing) of any sanctions or corrective actions being imposed and the reason why.
· If the member is under 18 years of age, correspondence should be addressed to his/her parents/guardian.
· If either party to a complaint is unhappy with the outcome of the investigation committee they have the right to appeal the decision to an appeals committee (independent of the investigation committee).
· All appeals should be made in writing within 7 days of the issuing of the Investigating Committee’s findings.
· At least one member of the Club Executive will be a member of the appeals committee.
· The appeals committee will have the power to confirm, set aside or change any corrective action imposed by the investigation committee.
· Having exhausted all procedures to resolve a complaint, if any party is still not satisfied with the outcome, the matter will be referred to the Meath County Board Children’s Officer and then to the National Children’s Officer.
· The National Management Committee’s decision on any appeal will be final.
Filing of Complaints:
· All correspondence, reports, minutes and findings will be treated with confidence, securely filed and will remain the property of the Club.
· The provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and 2003 will be adhered to i.e., information will be obtained fairly, it will be kept for one or more specified, explicit and lawful purposes, it be used only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was
given, it will be kept safe and secure, it will be kept accurate and up to date, the data collected will be adequate, relevant and not excessive and finally it will not be retained longer than is necessary.