This policy applies to any matter in which a Member engages in any conduct which is inappropriate, unlawful, or behaves in a manner which is unacceptable or opposed to the general interests of Brick Alley or the hobby of Lego or which brings Brick Alley into disrepute. It applies to members, traders, exhibitors and others who may be involved in the provision of our activities or services.
This policy tells you how to make a complaint to Brick Alley Lego User Group. This is the policy that we will follow if your complaint is about someone’s conduct or behaviour. This could be because you think that someone has behaved in a way that is unsafe, unprofessional, discriminatory, offensive or intimidating. It could be because someone has broken important rules or policies.
You have the right to complain and should not be harassed, bullied or put at a disadvantage because of making a complaint. You will receive a proper response to your complaint, regardless of your age, gender, disability, race, religion, nationality, social status, sexual orientation or political persuasion.
Complaints will be dealt with fairly and openly. Unless it would put other people at risk, those affected by a complaint will have a chance to contribute and respond to any investigation. Safety and welfare take priority: we will always give priority to concerns that affect safety and welfare.
We treat complaints as confidentially as possible, but in some cases there may be an overriding legal or safety issue. Sometimes we have to discuss complaints with other individuals/organisations. Eg if we are worried about a risk to a person or to the public, we might need to pass on our concerns to the right authorities. Or it may be we are required by law to disclose information.
How to make a complaint
Ideally, if the complaint is about a behaviour of another member/volunteer, you should try to resolve this informally by speaking to the person directly. However if this does not resolve it, or you feel you cannot address it with them unsupported, then you can raise it more formally.
If you wish to raise a complaint, please contact a member of the committee. If it is possible to address the complaint informally, then we will do so. If this is not possible, then we will have a formal process to use. Complaints must be received within 5 days of the alleged incident in writing with as much detail as possible. Please email the information to the secretary.
What will happen?
We will give an initial response to your complaint within 14 days. We will investigate your complaint fairly. This means that we will discuss the complaint with all of the relevant people. We will try to gather any information that may be relevant to handling your complaint. Sometimes we will need to show some information from the investigation to other people to allow them to respond. This is because we believe in fairness and openness.
You will be given the details of a committee member who will be your point of contact. That person will make sure that you understand the process, and will help to answer any questions or concerns that you have. You will be given an update on the progress of your complaint every two weeks. If there are delays in handling your complaint for any reason, we will keep you informed.
The committee will decide if it is appropriate to manage the complaint in written format, or via a face to face meeting, depending on the nature of the complaint If your complaint leads to formal disciplinary action against someone, we will usually inform you about the outcome. We will not tell you the outcome if that person is a child, or if we believe that telling you would create a risk to other people. In this situation, we will still try to tell you about how you are affected by the action that we have taken.
Possible outcomes of complaints
This might include, but not exclusively:
- Dismissing the case where there is insufficient evidence and the charge is not proven or is deemed to be a malicious complaint
- Warning in respect of misconduct or rule breach
- A change in arrangements for particular activities
- An explanation or apology
- An agreement to communicate or act differently in future (either party)
- Expulsion from membership/volunteering/exhibiting opportunities
- A period of probation for engagement in any group related activities.
- Suspension from office for a specified time (committee members)
- Permanent removal from office (committee members)
- A combination of any of the above
Decisions will be based on a majority vote of the committee. The committee complaints panel will consist of not less than three committee members. The decision taken by the Committee in relation to any sanctions must be reasonable and proportionate in all circumstance.
Complaints against committee members
If the complaint is related to a member of the committee, then we will ensure they are not part of the committee's complaint processes in relation to your complaint. In the case of a member of the committee wishing to make a complaint against another member of the committee, please contact the secretary. If the complaint is in relation to the secretary, please contact the chair. It may be appropriate that the committee member is suspended from duties until the complaint is resolved. This will be decided according to the nature of the complaint.
If you wish to appeal the decision made after the complaint has been fully investigated, this is the procedure. Put your appeal case in writing, submitting further evidence as to why the outcome was incorrect. This must be received within 5 days of the original decision by the committee. The chairperson will appoint an appeal panel consisting of three members. Any members asked to sit on a panel, must decline if they have any conflicting interest/prior involvement in the situation. The aim would be for the panel to review the complaint within 14 days. If there is to be a delay, you will be contacted by a member of the committee or the appeal panel to explain why.
The Appeal panel will have the power to:
- Dismiss the appeal
- Approve the original decision
- Overturn any finding and any sanction imposed by the original Committee panel
- Return the matter for a re-hearing by the Committee
- Substitute an alternative finding
- Reduce or increase the original sanction
- Make an alternative order as it considers appropriate.
Applicable to complaints and appeals
The standard of proof in all cases before the Committee and the Appeal panel is the balance of probabilities. If a person feels they need a support person with them to attend any face to face meetings with the committee, or an appeal panel, this is permissible. This person cannot participate in the proceedings, unless there is a reason for this to ensure equality of engagement in the process.
Written permission will be obtained from any parent/guardian/appropriate adult where a young person (aged under 18) or known vulnerable adult is asked to provide evidence and/or attend a hearing. They must also have a parent/guardian/appropriate adult in attendance at all meetings that may be held in relation to a complaint or an appeal. For the avoidance of doubt, the refusal of the parent, young person or known vulnerable adult to co-operate shall not preclude Brick Alley Lego User Group from taking disciplinary action against the young person or known vulnerable adult.
This policy may be amended by Brick Alley at any time and at its sole discretion and such amendments shall be effective from the date stated. The policy will be reviewed every two years as a minimum.
Chair: R Carter
Secretary: Mim Porter
Policy date 8 th February 2021
Policy review date 8th February 2023