COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE


Athenry Football Club Complaint Resolution Process


Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction over something believed to be wrong or unfair.


Grievance: An official statement of a complaint over something believed to be wrong or unfair.


A complaint is raised by a member of the club, a parent of a member of the club, or a volunteer with the club in regard to a situation relating to the club and to which the club has some level of control over.


1. Principles -

- It is recognised that perceived grievances are best resolved as close to the source as possible.


- It is recognised that perceived grievances are best resolved informally through direct contact between the relevant parties. 


- The further the process goes the more difficult it becomes to find an amicable solution.


- A formal grievance resolution / disciplinary process will only be initiated where grievances cannot be resolved informally through informal discussion and / or mediation. If the problem cannot be resolved through direct contact between the relevant parties the club will offer to mediate.


2. Mediation

- Mediation is an informal grievance resolution process facilitated by a mediator.


- In the event that the situation cannot be resolved through informal discussion and the relevant parties agree to enter into a mediation process, the club will appoint a mediator. The mediator's job is to help the parties resolve the problem through a process that encourages each side to air disputes, define the issues clearly, and agree on a satisfactory solution.


- The mediator will normally be an existing officer of the committee, or a nominated 3rd party who has the relevant skills in this area to help ensure a satisfactory outcome. 


- If a satisfactory solution can be reached through mediation the complaint resolution process is therefore complete. The agreed solution will be noted and monitored to ensure implementation.


- If a solution cannot be reached through mediation a formal complaint can be made to the club.


- If a complaint involved suspected abuse or criminal offence, then any internal club process will be stopped, and details passed on to the appropriate statutory authority as soon as possible. 


3. Formal grievance resolution / disciplinary process


- Where grievances cannot be resolved informally or through mediation Athenry FC will entrust resolution / disciplinary matters and investigations to a disciplinary subcommittee.


- A disciplinary subcommittee is a three-person committee normally made up of at least one officer of the committee, the Child Welfare Officer if the grievance relates to a child member, and another member(s) of the club that may have experience in this area.


- All formal complaints are required to be made to the club Secretary and / or Child Welfare Officer in writing.


- Athenry FC will review any submitted complaints within 5 working days and respond in writing within 7 working days.


- If informal approaches to resolution have not been attempted and are warranted the club will suggest these approach to all relevant parties.


- If a complaint involved suspected abuse or criminal offence, then any internal club process will be stopped, and details passed on to the appropriate statutory authority as soon as possible.


Disciplinary Process / Problem Resolution Steps

Step 1 : Complaints and/or concerns brought to club secretary in writing.


Step 2 : Convene Disciplinary Subcommittee.


Step 3 : Disciplinary Subcommittee review complaint and make decision on appropriateness of formal process.


Step 4 : Disciplinary Subcommittee arranges a hearing and inform all parties in writing, and affords the opportunity to reply and ensure access to fair process.


Step 5 : Disciplinary Subcommittee hears the facts and evidence of case of and decides if a rule or regulation has been infringed.


Step 6 : Disciplinary Subcommittee informs all parties in writing of sanctions, if any, according to the rules.


Possible Sanctions

A disciplinary committee may recommend the following sanctions:


- An instruction


- A reprimand


- A warning


- A suspension from membership


- An expulsion ban from the club and club activities January 2020


4. The Disciplinary Committee (Terms of reference)


- The disciplinary subcommittee is authorised to recommend sanctions for any breach of the rules.


- The committee should have the final decision.


- The disciplinary subcommittee shall be a three-person subcommittee with at least one officer.


- Members of the disciplinary subcommittee shall decline to participate in any hearing concerning a matter where there are grounds for questioning their impartiality.


- The members of the disciplinary subcommittee shall ensure that disclosures made to them remain confidential to the disciplinary body unless they are of a criminal nature in which case they must inform the statutory authorities.


- The members of the disciplinary subcommittee of the club may not be held personally liable for any deeds or omissions relating to any disciplinary procedure.


- The disciplinary subcommittee shall notify any member or official of any disciplinary charge being brought against them.


- The disciplinary subcommittee shall set a date for a hearing giving at least seven days’ notice unless a shorter period is necessary due to the nature of the offence. Any person charged shall be entitled to attend and present or be represented at a hearing if they so wish.


- The disciplinary subcommittee shall determine the procedures for the hearing and nominate one of their members to act as Chairperson. The disciplinary subcommittee may adjourn a hearing and reconvene if necessary.


- The disciplinary subcommittee shall ensure a copy of its decision is sent to all parties to the procedure within 7 days.


Peter Gilhooley

(Chairperson Athenry Football Club)