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Complaints procedure


This procedure has been developed to protect our children and staff on camp. It applies only to members of staff who are the subject of a complaint, not to children. Complaints about children continue to be handled by the Children’s Secretary.

The Procedure seeks to deal with serious complaints only ( for instance: sexual harassment, breaking Flysheet’s policy on sexual relations with children, aggressive or violent behaviour). It does not deal with the sort of criticism we might all have from time to time about how a camp was run or the quality of the caterer. The majority of such criticism can be dealt with and resolved as it arises on camp. Where not dealt with on camp, it will be handled by the Staffing Secretary, usually by discussion with the parties concerned.

It is our hope that where possible even more serious complaints can be dealt with and resolved as they arise on camp (although it is important that a report be sent by the Camp organiser to the Staffing Secretary about such serious incidents in case they have occurred previously or reoccur in the future). Nonetheless we realise that some complaints cannot be dealt with or cannot be resolved on camp and hence have adopted this policy to deal effectively but fairly with such complaints.

 With this Procedure Flysheet seeks to protect children and staff from harm by taking action where necessary whilst protecting its staff from unfair gossip. Throughout Flysheet has sought to balance the rights and duties of all concerned in the process.

 The procedure

 1. Making a complaint

 When a serious complaint is made to the Staffing Secretary (Staff Sec) or whomever:

 a.     The complaint should be referred immediately to the Staff Sec. unless it is about the Staff See. in which case it should go to another officer.

 b.     The Staff Sec. informs the complaints panel of the complaint.

 The panel is to be made up of three people:‑ The staff sec, the children’s sec and the camp organiser. If one of these is not available then the remainder of the panel will co‑opt another officer to the panel…. ( decides whether the complaint would be handled under this Procedure, or dealt with by the Staff Sec or referred to the Staffing Committee for the action as a criticism.

 2. Staff Sec seeking advice/ appointing an alternate officer

 2.1 Before proceeding further the Staff Sec may seek additional counsel in strictest confidence from other officers, the number should be kept at an absolute minimum (ideally one or two others only). Delay should also be kept to an absolute minimum

 3. Need for written complaints

 3.1 The statement made by the complainant should be written down and confirmed by the complainant (if not already in writing). The Staff See should ascertain if the complainant wants to take it further.

 3.2 If the complaint is made by a third person with indirect knowledge of the subject the Staff Sec may need to make further discreet enquiries e.g. speaking with the ‑victim‑, camp organiser, group organiser etc.

 4. Staff Sec’s discretion to proceed and action following verbal complaint

 4.1 If the statement has been written /confirmed by the complainant, who has direct knowledge of the matter, and complainant wishes to take the matter further then the Staff Sec should proceed to 5. The Staff Sec can however decide to end the process there against the wishes of the complainant (but see 4.3) and will notify the officers and write to the complainant accordingly.

 4.2 If the complainant will not give written confirmation then the Staff Sec will usually end the Procedure there unless: it is of a very serious nature; or relates to children; or, if the complainant was not the victim, investigation results in a written complaint by the victim. The Staff Sec may still decide not to proceed, reporting to the verbal complainant in his/her discretion.

 4.3 In either case if the Staff See decides not to proceed then the complainant may appeal against the decision either to the officers.

 5. Action following decision to proceed.

 5.1 The Staff Sec should write to the complainee outlining the substance of the complaint and, if appropriate, the name of the complainant. The Staff Sec will also give details of the Procedure to be followed and ask for the complainee to make a response to the complaint.

 5.2 Before writing, but only with good reason, the Staff Sec may discuss the matter with others as in 2 above. If so discussions should be done within 14 days (ideally) of receipt of the complaint and then the complainee written to.

 6 The panel (as in I b)

 6.1 This group will:

 a. investigate the nature of the complaint e.g. speaking to the camp organiser group organiser, former Staff Secs, etc

 b. consider any response received from the complainee.

 c. maintain confidentiality at all times.

 6.3 If no response is received from the complainee Panel will write or ring again and explain the course she will follow if no response is forthcoming.

 6.4 In the absence of responses the Panel will consider the matter and recommend appropriate action, see possible recommendations at 7. below.

 6.5 Upon receipt of a response the Panel will then invite the complainee to meet with the Panel to discuss the complaint.

 6.6 In the invitation the complainee will be told:

 a. that s/he may bring a friend with them to this meeting.

 b. the purpose the meeting, which may be simply to discuss the complaint with a view to further investigation or it may be to discuss and decide the outcome of the complaint and what action to take.

 c. the names of the Panel

 d. that the complainee can object to members of the panel, and the Staff Sec. may act on this to substitute a new member ( in his/her absolute discretion ).

 7. Recommendations of the Panel.

 7.1 Possible recommendations of the Panel include ( but are not limited to) finding the complaint unsubstantiated; verbal warning to the complainee that such behaviour will not be accepted again; permanent removal from staff list; suspension from staff list for a period of time;

 7.2 The final decision remains with the Panel who should communicate that decision to the complainee in writing as soon as possible and to other appropriate persons such as the complainant and other officers.

 8. Appeal

 This should be by written request to the Gen. Sec. who will convene a meeting of as many officers as possible, minimum of four, within 8 weeks who will decide how best to proceed. For instance they may approve the Panels decision without discussion. They may overturn it or modify it. They may ask to hear from the complainee in writing or in person. The Gen. Sec. should communicate the decision of the group to the complainee, in writing, as soon as possible.

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