Committee Responsibilities

Complaints and Member Relations Procedures

There may be times when your committee receives complaints about members of your Club/Society. Or, there could be instances when the committee becomes aware of misconduct occurring amongst members without necessarily receiving a complaint. Similarly, a complaint could be made directly to the SU about your Club/Society or its members.

To help you deal with these issues, the Clubs and Societies Complaints and Member Relations Procedures are outlined below. These are a set of processes which help to ensure that all matters regarding Club/Society complaints and misconduct are handled in a consistent and fair way. This covers:

Complaints made to the SU about Clubs/Societies or their members

When an individual wishes to formally complain about a Club/Society (including its members or committee), they will usually address their complaint directly to the SU using the process here. If it is deemed appropriate, an investigation into the complaint may take place.

In these cases, the General Club and Society Complaints Procedure will be followed, and all parties will be required to abide by the Principles for Participants.

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General Club and Society Complaints Procedure

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After considering the complaint, the SU Executive Management Committee may handle the issue using one or more of the options below:

  • Dismissal of the case

  • Conditional discharge wherein no further action is taken provided that the Club/Society fulfills any conditions laid down

  • A written warning

  • Payment for any loss or damage that resulted directly or indirectly from the Club/Society misconduct

  • Referral of the matter to the University

  • Exclusion of the Club/Society from the facilities of the SU or University

  • Any other penalty, as determined by the Committee

There is an appeals mechanism available to Clubs/Societies which is outlined in the General Club and Society Complaints Procedure above.

Member Relations issues within Clubs/Societies

The Member Relations Procedures have been developed to help Clubs and Societies to consider internal conduct and behaviour issues at a local level. The SU can offer lots of structured guidance and support to help give your Club/Society committee members the confidence and ability to handle these issues. You should immediately contact the Clubs and Societies team when handling any kind of Member Relations issue.

The procedure is essentially divided into three stages:

  • Stage 1 - Informal Resolution. The Committee makes every effort to resolve the matter internally and informally. The vast majority of Member Relations issues can be dealt with in this way.

  • Stage 2 - Formal Procedure. The Chairperson of the Club/Society initiates a formal investigation into the issue, which results in a written report. The Chairperson then considers the report and can dismiss the case, impose a sanction, or call a meeting called a 'hearing' to help them come to a decision. 

  • Stage 3 - Appeal. A member who has been subject to a Stage 2 formal procedure can contact the SU Director to appeal the outcome. An Appeal Panel can then uphold, dismiss, or amend the outcomes of the Stage 2 procedure. The decision of the Appeal Panel is final.

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Complaints regarding Club/Society activity and governance

In the event that a complaint concerns the procedural activity of your Club/Society, a slightly different process should be used. This process would consider issues such as the Club/Society failing to uphold the SU Constitution, the Club/Society going against a University or SU policy (such as the Health and Safety Policy, or Equality and Diversity Policy), or the Club/Society being run in a disorderly manner. 

This process follows a similar structure to the Member Relations Procedure, but with some important differences:

  • The Club/Society becomes aware that a complaint has been received and immediately informs the Clubs and Societies team.

  • Stage 1 - Informal Resolution. The Committee makes every effort to resolve the matter internally, making sure to take records of any relevant documents or meetings. Supporting resources for this can be found in the Completing an Investigation guide. The Committee communicates with the complainant in writing to let them know when Stage 1 is complete, including details of any resolution or agreement reached.

  • Stage 2 - Formal Procedure. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1, they can move into Stage 2. The Committee may then initiate a formal investigation into the issue which results in a written report. The Chairperson then considers the report and can dismiss the case, impose a sanction, or call a meeting called a 'hearing' to help them come to a decision. 

  • Stage 3 - Appeal. At the completion of Stage 2, the complainant has the right to contact the SU Director to appeal the outcome. An Appeal Panel can then uphold, dismiss, or amend the outcomes of the Stage 2 procedure. The decision of the Appeal Panel is final.

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Helpful resources for dealing with Member Relations issues and Complaints

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