Mud Island Community Garden
Grievance & Complaints procedures
Approved by committee
21st January 2023
This policy is intended to facilitate the satisfactory resolution of any grievances or complaints that arise in relation to the operation and activities of Mud Island Community Garden (MICG). The values informing this policy are respect, fairness, problem-solving and personal accountability.
The following grievance and complaints procedure has been developed to provide MICG Members and members of the public with a clear avenue through which issues may be raised and satisfactorily resolved. It may be invoked in the event of concerns arising with, for example, operational issues, organisational decisions, Member’s behaviour or any related operational matters which may require some level of investigation and resolution.
The procedure has been designed to ensure that, insofar as is possible, such matters may be addressed to the satisfaction of those concerned. Furthermore, it is intended to preserve the culture of MICG and protect the best interests of all. In this respect, all personnel (complainant and accused) will be afforded every opportunity to present their position and have it heard. The same level of respect and support will therefore be provided to all relevant parties.
The procedure aims to ensure equity and an appropriate level of responsiveness in the review, investigation and resolution of any grievances which may arise.
- Grievance and Complaint Procedure
A grievance or complaint procedure refers to the process by which a Member or member of the public raises concerns or a compliant relating to MICG operational issues.
3.2 Informal Grievance and Complaint Procedure
Prior to initiating a formal grievance or complaint procedure, and depending on the seriousness of the issue, Members or members of the public are encouraged to raise and discuss the matter, in a mature and non-threatening manner, with the person concerned.
If the issue remains unresolved, the Member or member of the public is encouraged to request that the MICG Chairperson to organise a restorative meeting between all affected parties with the aim of resolving the matter. The MICG Chairperson will organise this meeting as soon as practicable. (See Appendix I for the format for this restorative meeting). In an informal grievance or complaint procedure, all parties must voluntarily participate in a restorative meeting.
If, following a restorative meeting, the issue remains unresolved, the formal grievance or complaint procedure may be invoked.
3.3 Formal Grievance or Complaint Procedure
MICG will prioritise resolution of grievances or complaints. Every effort will be made to ensure that timelines are agreed at the first formal meeting. Where agreement is not forthcoming, MICG reserves the right to stipulate associated arrangements. Timelines for meetings and decisions may be changed at each stage by mutual consent. At the end of each stage of the procedure, where the issue has not been resolved, the Member or member of the public will be advised by the Chairperson of the next stage in the process to be commenced.
The concerned Member or member of the public will raise the matter with the Chairperson. The Chairperson will investigate the grievance or complaint and do his/her best to resolve the matter as soon as possible. If they have not already done so, this may include requiring relevant parties to participate in a restorative meeting, facilitated by an external expert (See Appendix I).
Failing resolution at Stage 1, the grievance or complaint should be outlined in writing and forwarded to the Secretary. The Secretary will review the investigation undertaken, and may seek additional information. They will endeavour to resolve the matter within agreed timelines.
If the matter remains unresolved, full details of the grievance or complaint will be considered by two further members of the Garden Committee, or members of the garden if approved by the committee, who will volunteer for the role and who will be agreed by the whole Committee at a Meeting to be convened by the Chairperson as soon as possible following Stage Two. A meeting between the two Members and the complainant will then be held as soon as possible. This initial meeting will aim to clarify the issue and identify potential solutions.
The complainant will be invited to present details of the issue and other personnel/witnesses may be requested to input into the investigation. The complainant will be invited to provide inputs and requested to work with two Members to work towards resolution of the matter.
All parties will be afforded the opportunity to present appropriate records and/or documentation as it relates to the issue under investigation. The two Members will consider the case and reach a decision. The decision of the two Members will be final and binding on all parties and will be notified in writing to the complainant and all people concerned as soon as possible following their investigation of the matter.
- Record Keeping
At all times throughout any grievance or complain procedure, a written record of all meetings will be kept and this will include details of the grievance or complaint, responses provided, areas of agreement and the outcome(s) of each meeting. The person who raised the concern and the respondent will both be asked to consider and sign the record of the meeting. Copies of the record will be provided to all those involved in the process.
5 Appeals Procedure
- The complainant will be informed of his/her right to appeal, and how to exercise that appeal, at the final stage of the formal Grievance and Complaint procedure.
- All appeals will go to the Community Garden Committee (excluding any Committee Member who has previously been involved in the Grievance and Complaint procedure).
- The complainant may be accompanied by a representative throughout the Appeals Procedure.
- The appeal should be made within seven working days of the decision by the two adjudicating Committee Members by notifying a member the Garden Committee (who has already been involved in the Grievance and Complaint procedure) in writing of the request to appeal.
- The appeal will be considered by the Garden Committee as soon as possible but no later than 20 working days from the receipt of the notification from the complainant.
- The appeals process provides the opportunity for the Garden Committee to consider any new evidence not previously presented and to consider whether decisions made throughout the Grievance and Complaint procedure were appropriate and reasonable. The decision of the Garden Committee in relation to the appeal will be final and binding.
Appendix I – Format for Restorative Meetings to Address Grievances and Complaints
The RP Facilitator will be a person who has undertaken restorative practices facilitation skills training and who all parties to the restorative meeting agree to have as the facilitator for that meeting.
The RP Facilitator will meet with each person involved individually to prepare them for the restorative meeting.
The RP Facilitator welcomes everyone and checks that everyone understands the process.
- Everyone is asked:
- What happened?
- What were you thinking of at the time?
- What have you thought about it since?
- Who has been affected and in what way??
- How could things have been done differently?
- Everyone is given an opportunity to say three sentences in response if they wish.
- Everyone is then asked: What do you think needs to happen next?
The Facilitator takes notes of any suggested actions.
- The Facilitator summarises all suggested actions and facilitates specific, measurable, achievable agreements and next steps.
- The Facilitator thanks everyone for their participation and closes the meeting.