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Dealing with a complaint

Dealing with a complaint

1 Forming a complaint 

All complaints should be submitted in writing either to the Children's Officer or to the Chairperson

No action can be taken on 'hearsay'.

'Hearsay' should be noted in a record book.

Club/County Chairperson should be notified of the complaint. All complaints should be responded to within 5 working days by the Children's Officer.  If, in the opinion of the Chairperson/ Children's Officer, there are grounds for concern, the Statutory Authorities should be contacted immediately to receive professional guidance (see Dealing with Suspected Abuse).  Written records of all complaints should be kept safely and confidentially.

The Mentor/Officer/Player/Parent against whom the complaint has been made should be notified of the complaint and the nature of the complaint, by telephone and also in writing

- The letter of complaint remains the property of the Body to whom it was submitted i.e. the club/County Board, etc. The letter should be treated as confidential; therefore it is not read at a meeting or distributed to any person, this includes the person against whom the complaint is made.
If the complaint is against a Mentor, this Mentor should be asked to temporarily step aside until the complaint has been investigated.

- This is to protect the players and the mentor

- A care-taker mentor should be put in place

If complaint is submitted at Club level it is the responsibility of the Club to deal with the complaint

If the complaint is submitted at County Board Level the County Board must take responsibility to deal with the complaint


2 Appointment of Disciplinary/Investigation Committee

The *Investigation Committee should consist of the Chairperson, the Children's Officer and an ordinary registered member of the club.     

- If the Children's Officer, Chairperson or any other member of the Investigation Committee is in any way connected to the complaint they should step down from the Committee

- If the Children's Officer is involved, the Chairperson should contact the County Children's Officer to seek advice on dealing with the complaint

Regular turnover of this committee is recommended.

The issue of confidentiality is important.  Information is on a need to know basis.

*It recommended that this Committee is put in place at the beginning of the year

 3 Complaint Procedure 

It is the responsibility of the Investigation Committee to resolve problems relating to the conduct of its members. A complaint of any incident of suspected misconduct, including bullying, but does not
relate to child abuse should be dealt with by the Investigation Committee.

The Investigation Committee should inform the individual with details of the complaint being made against him/her and afford him/her the opportunity of providing a response verbally at a meeting with the Investigation Committee

- If he/she does not attend the agreed meeting, offer him/her the opportunity of providing a response in writing

- If he/she fails to co-operate with either opportunity the Investigation Committee must continue with the investigation of the complaint and note in their report the opportunities offered and the responses received.

It is recommended that the Disciplinary Committee meet with all parties involved, affording each party the same rights and opportunities.

- An underage player must be accompanied by parents/guardians

- If parents/guardians are involved in the complaint, the underage player should be accompanied by an independent adult of their Choice

The Disciplinary Committee should form a written report outlining the procedure followed, findings, conclusions and any disciplinary actions or recommendations to be taken.

All parties should receive a copy of this report. This report should be signed by all the Disciplinary Committee members and kept on record

The Disciplinary Committee should, as soon as possible, inform the Management Committee of the conclusions of the investigation process

4 Sanctions

Where it is established that an incident of misconduct has taken place, the Investigation Committee should notify the member of any sanction being imposed.   

The notification should be made in writing, setting out the reasons for the sanction.

- If the member is under 18 years of age, correspondence should be addressed to parents/guardians.

5 Appeal Procedure

If the member against whom the complaint was made is unhappy with the decision of the Investigation Committee s/he should have the right to appeal the decision to an Appeals Committee (independent of the Investigation Committee). 

Any appeal should be made in writing within 7 days after issue of the decision of the Investigation Committee. The Chairperson of the Appeals Committee should be a member of the Management Committee or elected by the members at an AGM. 

The Appeals Committee have the power to confirm, set aside or change any sanction imposed by the Investigation Committee. 

If any party is not satisfied with the outcome, the matter can be referred to the National Children's Officer 

However efforts to resolve the issue at local level should be exhausted before the National Children's Officer is engaged in attempts to resolve the matter. 

The National Management Committee will hear any Appeal submitted at National level, with their decision being final. 

Filing of Complaints

- Written confidential records of all complaints should be safely and confidentially kept.

- Club/County procedures should be defined for the possession of such records in the event of election of new officers

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