Disciplinary, Complaints & Appeals Procedure

Disciplinary, Complaints & Appeals Procedure

While many concerns can be dealt with in an informal manner to the satisfaction of all concerned, it is advisable that detailed records are maintained in respect of all complaints and that all parties are advised of the club’s formal complaints procedure.

Step One
Any person who has a complaint or concern should bring it to the attention of Ratoath Harps Football Club’s Secretary.
The complaint or concern should be in writing and should outline all relevant details and other parties involved.

Step Two
The complaint or concern will then be brought to the attention of the Chairperson who will convene the disciplinary committee and appoint a Chairperson of that Committee unless the complaint or concern relates to a child abuse matter or criminal offence that meets criteria for formal reporting to the statutory authorities.
(The Chairperson of the Club does not sit on either the Disciplinary or Appeal Committee)

Step Three
The disciplinary committee will furnish any individual/s with details of the complaint being made against them and afford them the opportunity of providing a response either verbally or in writing. In the event of a complaint against a child, the parents/guardians shall be informed and advised of the process.

Step Four
The disciplinary committee will then hear the case of all parties involved and decide if a club rule or regulation has been infringed.

Step Five
The disciplinary committee will then inform those involved of their decision and sanctions, if any, that are to be imposed. This notification should be in writing, setting out the reasons for the sanction. (Written notification will be forwarded to parents should the proceedings involve a club member under eighteen years of age)

Step Six
Any party unhappy with the findings of the disciplinary committee can appeal the decision in writing within a ten-day period.

Step Seven
The appeals committee will then be convened. The appointed chairperson of the appeals committee should be taken from the executive committee and those who have not been on the original disciplinary committee.

Step Eight
The appeal committee will then rehear the case and all evidence, new and old, will be considered. The appeals committee will have the power to uphold or reject the appeal or to vary, alter or set aside any sanction imposed by the disciplinary committee.

Step Nine
The Management Committee will, at its next meeting, give effect to the decisions of the disciplinary committee or, if convened, the appeals committee.
Written confidential records in relation to disciplinary proceedings will be safely and confidentially kept on file.

Anonymous Complaints
Anonymous complaints relating to Child Welfare can be difficult to deal with, however they cannot be ignored. All complaints relating to inappropriate behaviour/poor practice should be brought to the attention of the Chairperson of the Club. In all cases the safety and welfare of the child/children is paramount.

All complaints will be investigated and handled in a confidential manner. A record will be kept of all such complaints and actions taken. Specific advice on dealing with anonymous complaints can be obtained from the local Health Board duty social worker or alternatively the Football Association of Ireland National Children’s Officer (Tel. 0879691422).

Rumours should not be allowed hang in the air. Any rumour/s relating to inappropriate behaviour/s circulating in the club should be brought to the attention to the Chairperson and will be investigated promptly. All ensuing information will be handled confidentially and with sensitivity.

Confidentiality is about managing information in a respectful, professional and purposeful manner. It is important that the rights of both the complainant and the person about whom the complaint has been made are protected. Therefore, appropriate confidentiality will be maintained in respect of all issues and people involved in concerns about the welfare of a child or bad practice within the club.

The following points will be borne in mind:
A guarantee of confidentiality or undertakings regarding secrecy cannot be given, as the welfare of children will supersede all other considerations.
All information should be treated in a careful and sensitive manner and should only be discussed with those who need to know.
Information will be conveyed to the parents/guardians of a child about whom there are concerns in a sensitive way.
Giving information to others on a “need to know” basis for the protection of a child is not a breach of confidentiality.