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Community Member Grievance Procedure
This document is designed for community members experiencing difficulties with other community members and sits alongside DoES Liverpool’s Safe Spaces Policy. Both are to be followed by organisers and directors in response to one or more incidents.
Most difficulties can be settled through the normal channels of communication. We encourage and expect non-formal options to have been explored before making a complaint and where possible before a complaint becomes formal. Please refer to section 1.1 Where this is not possible, the purpose of a community member Grievance Procedure is to provide for the orderly resolution of joint problems in a fair and open way. Please refer to section 1.2
This Procedure aims to settle grievances fairly, promptly and consistently. Although this Procedure sets out the basic requirements for fairness for most grievances, DoES Liverpool reserves to right to modify the Procedure as may be needed to ensure fairness in a particular grievance. If DoES Liverpool does modify the Procedure all parties will be informed.
1.1 Informal Discussions
All community members are encouraged to avoid unnecessary use of formal action by giving early attention to any issues and aiming to raise these informally, which also ensures they are tackled and resolved quickly. In the first instance, if any community member has a grievance about another community member they should discuss it with them informally, as soon as possible, with the person themselves, or with an appropriate person at DoES Liverpool. Their grievance will be taken seriously, and everything will be done to try to resolve the issue informally. The majority of concerns are likely to be resolved at this stage. All initial enquiries, or enquiries directed to persons involved will be dealt with informally; if you’re unhappy with the way the issue is handled or if the problem persists then please make a formal complaint. The person informed will seek to fully understand the complaint, if not clear, and communicate with all involved. They will then decide on and support an appropriate response and set of actions. All complaints will be dealt with confidentially. Once a formal complaint has been made against an individual, neither party should make contact with the other to discuss the matter, outside of an agreed conversation, until the matter is agreed as resolved by both parties.
1.2 Formal Complaints
If a community member feels that the matter has not been resolved through informal discussions, they should put the complaint in writing to one of the grievance team by picking one of the people named in the grievance team on the People wiki page or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org [note] This may be followed with a meeting or written conversation to allow an opportunity for the community member to explain their complaint(s) and share how they would like them addressed. If an in person meeting, the community member may be accompanied if they wish. Following this meeting, the grievance team member supporting this process will give a written response, usually within five working days of the conversation or enquiry, outlining how the complaint(s) will be responded to. If the complaint requires further meetings or investigations, the working days limit may need to be extended. The response will follow this meeting and include a reference to the right of appeal.
If the community member feels the issue has still not been resolved satisfactorily, they should raise the matter, in writing, to the Directors. The community member will be invited to a meeting, usually within a week, where they can discuss the matter and establish how best to resolve the situation. The community member has a right to be accompanied to this meeting by a friend, family member, or other member of the community. Legal representation at this stage is not permitted. The directors will give a written response within five working days of the meeting outlining how the complaint will be responded to. If the complaint is against a member of staff or another community member, or requires further investigation, the Directors may need to carry out further meetings or investigations. In this case, the working days limit above, may need to be extended. The response will follow this meeting and include a reference to the right of appeal.
1.3 Right of Appeal
If the community member wishes to appeal against any grievance decision, they should do so in writing within five working days of the decision. The Directors may choose to set up an Appeals Sub-committee to hear the community member’s appeal. The community member should be given the right to be accompanied to any appeal meeting. The appeal decision will be final.
1.4 Sensitive allegations, bullying, discrimination and harassment
These matters should not be dealt with by informal action. Bearing in mind that these allegations may be made informally, indirectly, or from non-standard sources they shall be handled supportively, sensitively, and as far as possible in confidence. 1.5 Genuine grievances Community members have a duty to raise only genuine grievances. Wilfully misleading or false allegations or grievances may lead to exclusion from DoES Liverpool.
DoES Liverpool Grievance Procedure
The directors/organisers have the authority to ban anyone from entering the space, and to strip anyone of their membership, but must only do so in circumstances where this is best for the space as a whole.
We will only ban repeat offenders who persistently fail to follow the rules set out in the Safe Spaces Policy. Throughout the process every effort will be made to keep clear and constructive communication between the Directors, the offending party, and any other affected parties.
This policy applies to both members and non-members who use the space. A person may be banned from the space if they are in violation of the Safe Spaces Policy, if they are causing persistent annoyance, or if they have the potential to harm other users of the space. Before the formal banning procedure is entered into, the directors/organisers must make every attempt to resolve the issue informally.
However, in the case of direct physical violence, aggression, or abusive behavior deemed likely to cause harm towards any person in the space, a member has the authority to immediately ban the offender until the grievance team have reviewed the complaint. The member must refer the case to the grievance team immediately.
Other than in exceptional circumstances, the offending party must be given at least two official written warnings before being banned. At every stage, it must be made clear to them where they are in this process. Each official warning would expire after a year.
At every stage, the grievance team must make their reasoning available to the offending party. If a person is banned, then this will be announced on the Google Group to inform the community.
By default, a ban will be for a year. At their discretion, the grievance team can issue a reduced ban period. Bans of more than one year may only be issued in extreme circumstances; these must be reviewed yearly. Following a ban a person may apply for access back to the space and this will then be reviewed by the grievance team who may decide on a probationary period during which the person may have reduced accessor other conditions.
If the offending party is a member, the ban will trigger the process to remove the member. When a person is banned, their right to access the space is revoked. Any entry to the space without the prior, express permission of Directors will be considered trespass. Moneys paid for services or deposits will be forfeited, although this would be capped at a single month’s payment if the person has paid for multiple months up-front. Arrangements will be made to return personal items and equipment to the banned person.
By default, bans will include being banned from contributing to any digital community resources, with the sole exception of sending emails to DoES Liverpool representatives to discuss procedural matters regarding the ban.
At the end of the ban period, the grievance team may add a probationary period at the start of the resumed membership.
The Directors must seek feedback from the community to ensure this process remains fair and balanced. At the time of complaint, a small group of directors and organisers will be delegated to manage the situation.
If you email the grievance team your email will be received by some grievance team members on their personal email address. For clarity we want to point out that DoES Liverpool has no control over those email accounts.