Purpose and Scope
Blind Mums Connect aims to provide consistently good support to its members, and requires high standards of conduct from volunteers. This procedure sets out the action which will be taken in the event of an accusation of non-compliance with Blind Mums Connect guidelines or policies, and where conduct is not at the required level. This procedure applies to all volunteers, group facilitators and breastfeeding peer supporters, and our aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all.
Whether the complaint or grievance is made by a member of the volunteer team, (internal complaint), or an organisation member or professional, (external complaint), the process remains the same.
The volunteer will be expected to stand down from duties which involve contact with members, for the duration of the investigation.
The investigation is designed to establish the facts quickly and to deal consistently with disciplinary issues. No disciplinary action will be taken until the matter has been fully investigated.
At every stage during the investigation the volunteer will have the opportunity to state their case and be represented or accompanied, if they wish, at any meeting by a member of the committee or another volunteer.
Following the investigation, the individual will either be subject to actions as detailed below or cleared of any inappropriate action or behaviour. All parties will then receive, in writing the outcome of the investigation and action to be taken. If the volunteer is cleared, her duties will resume as normal.
If the investigation finds conduct or behaviour has been deemed unsatisfactory:-
If conduct or behaviour is deemed unsatisfactory, the volunteer will be given a written warning. Such warnings will be recorded, but disregarded after 6 months of satisfactory conduct. The volunteer will also be informed that dismissal/suspension of membership may be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement or change. Where the first offence is sufficiently serious, because it is having, or is likely to have, a serious harmful effect on Blind Mums Connect, it may be justifiable to move directly to dismissal.
A non-exhaustive list of examples that would warrant a written warning include
- Not adhering to Blind Mums Connect Policies, Code of Conduct or guidelines
- Breaking confidentiality
- Aggressive behaviour to a member or another volunteer
Where the conduct or behaviour involves two or more volunteers, but no external complainant, both (all) volunteers will be required to attend a mediation meeting within 4 weeks of the initiation of the disciplinary procedure. This will take place at a time, date and location agreeable to all parties but primarily at the convenience of the mediator. The mediator will be the Secretary, and at her discretion, other members of the complaints team may be asked to attend that meeting. The mediation may take place by teleconferencing or Skype, for access reasons.
On completion of the mediation, all parties will be given a written copy of the agreed actions, including what behaviour must specifically be stopped.
If either party refuses to attend mediation they will be issued with a written warning immediately. If a written warning has already been issued, this may result in dismissal or suspension of membership.
Where the conduct or behaviour involves a volunteer and an external party, the volunteer may be required to undertake further mentoring/supervision, as deemed appropriate. In all cases the outcome will be communicated in writing and the volunteer will be monitored for the period specified and if the volunteer fails to comply within the specified time period a written warning will be issued or, if a written warning has already been given, then dismissal may be considered.
Dismissal or Suspension of Membership
If the conduct or behaviour has failed to improve, is repeated within the specified timeframe or mediation has been refused, the volunteer will be dismissed at the discretion of the committee. Their membership may also be suspended at the discretion of the committee.
If, after investigation, it is confirmed that a volunteer has committed an offence of the following nature (the list is not exhaustive), the normal consequence will be dismissal without notice.
Theft, fraud, deliberate falsification of records
- Fighting, assault on another person, violence and abusive behaviour
- Deliberate damage to the property, reputation or interests of Blind Mums Connect
- Serious incapability to perform the volunteer role, to the required standard
- Serious incapability through alcohol or being under the influence of illegal drugs
- Serious negligence which causes unacceptable loss, damage or injury
- Bullying of any kind, including malicious damage to property or reputation
- Breach of the confidentiality policy
- Inappropriate use of data obtained through access to members personal records
- Acts of incitement or actual acts of discrimination, harassment or victimisation
- Indecent behaviour
Whilst the alleged misconduct is being investigated, the member will be asked to stand down from volunteer duties involving contact with members. Any decision to dismiss will be taken by the Blind Mums Connect management committee, only after full investigation and report by the complaints team, and agreement by committee majority.
If the volunteer or complainant is not satisfied with the outcome they may appeal the decision to the Chair of Blind Mums Connect. The Chair’s decision is final.