The Disputes Resolution and Appeals Panel (DRAP) is appointed annually by the Board of Scouting Ireland to oversee the Disciplinary Process as well as the Grievance and Disputes Process.
The Disciplinary Panel (DP) consists of three individuals appointed to that role by the Board on the recommendation of the DRAP.
An Investigation Officer (IO) is responsible for conducting all fact finding and evidence gathering on disciplinary cases and is appointed to that role by the Board on the recommendation of the DRAP.
A Specified Officer is a person holding any of the following Appointments: Group Leader, County Commissioner, Provincial Commissioner, Department Manager, member of DRAP, the CEO
A Specified Officer may make a complaint on any matter relating to a disciplinary issue concerning an individual adult member of Scouting Ireland to the DP. A list of possible grounds for such a complaint are set out in the policy document and it is stated that the list in not exhaustive.
Where appropriate, the DP may request the member to voluntarily step aside from all or specified Scouting activities pending investigation of the complaint. If the member refuses to do this when asked, the DP may invoke the Procedure for Suspension without Prejudice (BOD-MA-002).
The DP sets out the IOs Terms of Reference, including the procedures to be used. Following the investigation, the IO presents the DP with a full report as well as all materials relating to the investigation.
The DP may meet with the subject(s) of the investigation to discuss the findings, they then prepare a report of the investigation. The report includes the DPs opinion as to whether any allegations were proven as well as their findings and any recommendations (including any recommended sanction).
The report is then furnished to the subject(s) of the investigation, who may lodge an appeal within 21 days. The DRAP shall refer any appeals to an Appeals Committee who will decide how the appeal will be conducted. The Appeals Committee shall report its determination as to whether the appeal ought to be upheld or dismissed and present its findings to the appellant and the DP. If the appeal is dismissed, the Appeals Committee invites the appellant to make submissions on the content of the report before it rules on any sanctions or on any recommendations.
The final report is furnished to the appellant, the DP and DRAP for information and to the Board for action. If the report recommends that membership, an appointment, or a position should be terminated, cancelled, withdrawn, or suspended the member is informed of this recommendation in writing by the Board. The member is afforded the opportunity to submit mitigating circumstances, within 21 days, as to why the recommendation should not be acted upon by the Board.
The Board considers any mitigating circumstances put forward by the member before making their final decision on whether to accept, modify or reject the DPs recommendation. The Specified Officer decides if it is appropriate to share the outcome with any interested party, for example the person(s) who raised the initial matter with them. All recordings and other materials from the Disciplinary Process takes is held on file during the process, including any appeal, and then for a further 6 months.
The Disciplinary Process sets out to “cover any matter relating to a disciplinary issue concerning an individual adult member of Scouting Ireland” and lists a number of possible grounds for referral to the process. The list is extensive and wide-ranging, and it is stated that the list in not exhaustive. This means that a wide variety of matters may be referred to the process including a range of matters which, on the face of it, might be better dealt with under The Conflict Resolution Policy and Guidelines or The Grievance and Disputes Process. It appears to give enormous discretion to the Specified Officers to decide if an issue, which they perceive or which is brought to their attention, should lead to an attempt at Conflict Resolution, be pursued as a Grievance, be raised as a Dispute, or be referred to the Disciplinary Panel. Also there appears to be no provision in the Disciplinary Process to enable the Disciplinary Panel to refer matters out to those processes.
Sanctions include removal of a person from a role and/or membership of Scouting Ireland, recommendations for such sanctions must be referred to the Board for approval. Also: “Any other sanction which the Disciplinary Panel or the Appeals Committee deems appropriate in any particular case”, these sanctions may be imposed without reference to the Board.
If you need support with the subject matter you should contact your Group Leader, County Commissioner, Provincial Commissioner or local support staff in the first instance.
The official and current version of the relevant documents can be found at scouts.ie
This is the definitive source which should be used for reference and guidance at any point in the future
The versions which were current when this article was written can be read at these links