1. Purpose and scope
1.1 These procedures are to provide ways to handle complaints, suggestions, grievances and whistle-blowing whether by employees, volunteer officials or members of the public.
1.2 The over-riding objectives are the fair treatment of people and improvement of all BWL operations and services, proportionate with available finances. Decisions should always be taken in the light of these over-riding objectives.
1.3 These procedures adopt the following definitions:
- Complaints are expressions of dissatisfaction which might be remedied or improved.
- Suggestions are ideas for improvement.
- Grievances are concerns particularly of employees or volunteer officials with their treatment in connection with their appointment.
- Whistle blowing is the confidential disclosure of concerns in the public interest.
1.4 Where a matter arises in a Division or at a Divisional event, these procedures should be applied locally, with the Divisional Secretary and Divisional Council in place of the Chief Executive and Management Board. If the matter cannot be resolved within the Division it should be referred to the Chief Executive.
1.5 Any departure from these procedures shall not in itself necessarily invalidate the outcome.
2. Quality Philosophy
2.1 Consideration of people is paramount. Our organisation runs on voluntary work and goodwill. We value our external customers (audiences, local authorities, potential members, etc.) and internal customers (lifters, officials, colleagues) alike, and aim to treat them all with respect.
2.2 Although finances are limited, we will aim to provide thoughtful and appropriate services to a good standard: quality without extravagance.
2.3 In order to maintain and assure high standards we recognise the need for written procedures and guidelines with regular updating, dissemination and training, and the importance of delegated personal responsibility.
2.4 In order to be effective we recognise the need for simplicity.
2.5 We will actively seek suggestions for improvement, welcome constructive criticism and take complaints positively as opportunities for improvement.
3. Technical complaints and appeals about decisions in competition
3.1 Referees’ decisions on the day are final, with the exception of disqualification of a competitor after the event, for example after drug testing. Otherwise decisions on passing lifts, timing out, dress etc. are in the hands of the officials of the day, with no later appeal possible.
3.2 Complaints must be made on the day as soon as possible to the Technical Officer according to BWL rules. The Technical Officer shall seek to resolve them on the day and shall report to the appropriate authority (the Divisional Council for Divisional events or the Director of Powerlifting, Weightlifting or Disabled Activities for national events).
3.3 Complaints about the judgment or conduct of the Technical Officer should be referred to the Chief Executive as in part 5 below.
3.4 The Chief Executive should not act as Technical Officer.
4.1 CQIP will be a standing item at Management Board meetings. Each manager will report on steps taken to obtain feedback and on the suggestions and complaints received.
4.2 Managers will present Annual Reports to the Management Board with proposals aimed at improving the future manager’s role.
4.3 Managers will develop a team approach in their specialist areas, e.g. courses, schools, newsletter, referees, etc. Any complaints and ideas for improvement will be discussed in teams, including an annual meeting to agree key points and proposals for the Annual Report.
4.4 Manuals of procedures and guidelines will be maintained for all main activities and services. They should be simple, brief, clear and relevant. They should cover communication, prior preparation and notice, the direct activity, and follow-up afterwards.
4.5 The Governing Council will maintain procedures for considering disciplinary action against appointed managers.
5. Complaints about events and services
5.1 Complaints should be made in the first instance directly to the person in charge or the person delivering the service. That person should respond positively in dealing with the issue on the spot as far as practicable and in reporting potential for improvement to the relevant manager.
5.2 Where the direct approach of 5.1 fails, or where the complainant wishes, the complaint should be made in writing within one week to the Chief Executive.
5.3 The Chief Executive shall then immediately appoint a Coordinator for the particular complaint.
5.4 The Chief Executive shall also, within one week of receiving the complaint, copy it to the Coordinator, to the officials against whom it is made and to other officials present where appropriate, asking for their comments to be sent to the Coordinator within a further week. Allowance may be made for holidays etc.
5.5 The Coordinator shall collect all the responses and copy them to the complainant for any final comment within a further week.
5.6 The Coordinator shall then consider all the responses together and shall produce a short Report giving a view on whether the complaint is justified, advice to the complainant or officials, and improvements for the future. If disciplinary action is recommended, or if the complainant is not satisfied, the complaint will be referred to the Management Board.
5.7 Complaints against the Chief Executive should be referred to the Chairman, who will act as Coordinator.
6.1 Suggestions may be made on the spot, and if not accommodated directly may be reported to the Chief Executive who will appoint a Coordinator, in parallel with paragraphs 5.1 to 5.3 above.
6.2 The Coordinator will then consult with appropriate officers and determine whether the suggestion can be accommodated or can be referred to Governing Council for policy decision. Within one month, the Coordinator will inform the person making the suggestion of the determination, giving reasons if it is not to proceed. In the event that the suggestion proceeds to Governing Council or some other body, the Coordinator will undertake to inform the person of the ultimate outcome.
7.1 Grievances may arise from work performance issues or a result of problems associated with individual terms and conditions of employment or from complaints of racial or sexual discrimination or harassment. Once problems have been raised they should be settled quickly and as near as possible to their point of origin.
7.2 Informal discussions on an issue, problem or grievance will usually take place with an individuals' immediate supervisor during the course of normal day-to-day work and be resolved without recourse to formal procedure. If this is not the case, then the following guidelines should be followed.
7.3 If the matter cannot be resolved between the individual and their immediate supervisor it should be discussed with successive higher levels of supervision until the procedure is exhausted. The Chairman will be the final arbiter. In formal grievance meetings the individual may be accompanied by a work colleague.
7.4 At each stage of discussion with supervision the grievance (and redress/resolution sought) under discussion should be set out clearly by the grievant.
7.5 At each stage a time limit should be agreed for follow-up or further discussion. This will minimise delay if further information needs to be obtained, or if action depends on others not yet involved.
7.6 As the aim of the procedure is to resolve any grievance informally, rapidly and confidentially, no record of discussions for the personal file is needed unless so requested by the individual.
8.1 These procedures are to provide for any person to report serious malpractice, or suspicion of it, in confidence without fear of harassment or victimisation, in the light of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The person may be an employee or volunteer concerned about malpractice by a supervisor or manager, a lifter concerned about malpractice by a coach, or any person for whom the procedures are appropriate.
8.2 Malpractice for the purpose of these procedures may include:
- fraud or financial irregularity;
- corruption, bribery or blackmail;
- criminal offences;
- breach of legal or regulatory requirements;
- harassment, bullying, victimisation or child abuse;
- endangering health, safety or the environment;
- miscarriage of justice;
- the deliberate concealment of evidence in connection with the above.
8.3 Other procedures which might be applicable may be found in the BWL Disciplinary Code, Anti-Doping Procedures, Child Protection Policy, Equity Policy, Code of Conduct (in Standing Orders), and the SCUK Code of Conduct as adopted by BWL.
8.4 Where a matter cannot be dealt with through other procedures, it may be reported in confidence to any one of the Chief Executive, the Chairman or the Clerk to Governing Council, stating the grounds for the suspicions of malpractice.
8.5 The person receiving the confidential report under 8.4 will within one week appoint (or agree to act as) an independent Coordinator who will consider how to proceed. The Coordinator will first offer the Discloser a confidential interview (accompanied by a friend if desired) and may call on the Discloser to provide further written evidence. The Coordinator may need to make discreet enquiries and to assess such evidence as is available in the first instance. On the one hand there is a need to safeguard genuine informants; on the other hand there is a need to protect officers from scurrilous or vexatious allegations.
8.6 In the event of suspected fraud, the auditors and the BWLA solicitors should be informed and advice sought, as it may be necessary to initiate professional enquiries without alerting the alleged perpetrator and perhaps to inform the police.
8.7 In the event of suspected criminal offences, the BWLA solicitors should be informed and advice sought, with a view to informing the police.
8.8 As soon as practicable after the interview, the Coordinator will recommend any appropriate further steps, giving reasons for the recommendation. This may include using the complaints or grievance procedures, or other procedures; or further investigation by a designated body; or reference to an external body or the police; or taking no further action. The recommendations will be made to the Chief Executive (or, if there is reason not to do so, to the Chairman), who will be ensure they are implemented unless there is good reason not to do so. The recommendations will not reveal the identity of the Discloser, but the Discloser will be informed of the outcome and the reasons if no action is taken.
8.9 If the Discloser is not satisfied with the outcome, the Discloser may, after informing the Coordinator, raise the matter with an appropriate external authority or the police. Alternatively, if warranted by exceptional circumstances or suspicion of involvement of all of the Chief Executive, Chairman and Clerk, the Discloser may in the first instance report the matter externally in confidence to a relevant authority, lawyer or the police.
8.10 The Chief Executive, Chairman, Clerk and Coordinator will take all reasonable care to protect the confidentiality of the Discloser. The Discloser is also under obligation to respect confidentiality in respect of any unproven allegation.
8.11 No disciplinary action will be taken against the Discloser on the grounds of making a disclosure in accordance with these procedures, unless there is good reason to believe it was made maliciously or vexatiously. The Discloser may report any perceived consequent detriment through the complaints procedures or through these whistle blowing procedures.