The Grievance and Disputes Process (SID-CCD01) sets out what should be done in that event that the approaches outlined in the Conflict Resolution Policy and Guidelines proves not be successful.
The Disputes Resolution and Appeals Panel (DRAP) oversee the Grievance and Disputes Process as well as the Disciplinary Process. The members of DRAP are appointed annually by the Board of Scouting Ireland.
The document sets out a Grievance Process and a Disputes Process and reminds the reader that: “Any matter that is raised by any member of Scouting Ireland or any other person that concerns safeguarding issues should be referred immediately to the Safeguarding Manager or Designated Liaison Person in National Office by the recipient of the initial complaint or the DRAP”.
The Grievance Process
The Grievance Process provides members with access to a structured procedure in order to bring forward any grievance that they have with any other member or group of members.
It is specified that “should any member feel that they have a grievance with any other member or group of members then they must” follow the Grievance Process “in the first instance”.
Specific sections are set out for each level of the organisation (Scout Group, Scout County, Scout Province, National).
In essence at all levels, it is specified that:
- A person be appointed to attempt to resolve the grievance by using the Conflict Resolution Policy and Guidelines (SID-CCD02).
- Assistance may be obtained by way of a conciliation service via National Office.
- Advice may be requested (in writing) from the Disputes Resolution and Appeal Panel.
It is notable that:
- At all levels except National provision is made for additional effort to be expended via the executive body at that level (Group Council, County Management Committee, Provincial Management and Support Team)
- At National level the provision is that: “Should any grievance arise (concerning a National matter) between two or more members, any one of which holds an appointment/position at National level, then the DRAP will appoint one of the Provincial Commissioners (with no direct connection to the terms of the grievance) to deal with this matter in the first instance.”
The Disputes Process
If the grievance persists after the Grievance Process has been exhausted, then an adult member may instigate the Disputes Process.
The Process in summary:
- An Official Dispute must be submitted on a specified form and the person(s) against whom the dispute is being raised is/are given Right of Reply. Any response to Right of Reply is included in the file and also sent to the person who instigated the dispute.
- If it appears to the DRAP that the Grievance Process has not been properly followed, then the case will be referred back to the appropriate level for it to be dealt with in accordance with the Grievance Process. When necessary, the DRAP will appoint a Dispute Hearing Panel comprising of three members of the Hearing Pool and set their Terms of Reference.
- The Dispute Hearing Panel will conduct a hearing of the case in accordance with their Terms of Reference and, during the course of the hearing, they may speak with any adult member of Scouting Ireland that may have relevant information. When the hearing is complete the Dispute Hearing Panel will forward their findings, and their recommendations if any, along with all records of the dispute to the DRAP.
- When the DRAP is satisfied that the dispute has been dealt with properly, the decisions of the Dispute Hearing Panel will be notified to all parties to the dispute, the Board, National Office and, where appropriate, to one or any combination of the Group Leader / County Commissioner / Provincial Commissioner.
- If the DRAP considers that there has been a breach of discipline, they may refer the case to the Disciplinary Panel for consideration under the Disciplinary Process (SID-CCD04).
In certain circumstances set out in the policy an individual may appeal the decision of the Dispute Hearing Panel.
- If the DRAP is satisfied that there are grounds for the appeal they will then appoint a Dispute Appeal Hearing Panel and the parties to the dispute will be informed. Should the DRAP refuse leave to appeal the appellant will be notified, and the process is concluded.
- The Dispute Appeal Hearing Panel will re-examine all the evidence already recorded, in conjunction with the grounds for appeal. The Dispute Appeal Hearing Panel may convene an appeal hearing and call any party that they deem necessary to provide further evidence.
- When the appeal hearing is complete the Dispute Appeal Hearing Panel will forward their findings, and their recommendations if any, along with all of their records of the dispute to the DRAP.
- When the DRAP are satisfied that the proceedings have been conducted properly, they will notify the decision of the Dispute Appeal Hearing Panel in writing to the Board who will make the final decision.
- The decision of the Board will be issued in writing to all parties to the appeal, National Office and, where appropriate, to one or any combination of the Group Leader / County Commissioner / Provincial Commissioner.
Grievances and Disputes Involving Professional Staff Members
A grievance / dispute against a member of the Professional Staff will be dealt with directly by the CEO under the appropriate procedures and in accordance with the Employee Handbook, the person(s).
A grievance / dispute raised against the CEO by a volunteer, must be raised with the Board who will then appoint a 3-person panel to deal with the matter and to report back to them.
A grievance / dispute raised against a Volunteer by a member of the Professional Staff, including the CEO, must be referred by the CEO to the DRAP to be dealt with in accordance with the Grievance and Disputes Process.
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 was current when this article was written can be read at these links