- As adopted by the June 2005 Meeting of PF Council
 

Content

  1. Scope

  2. Offences

  3. Misconduct Neglect and Incompetence

  4. Exceptions to Misconduct

  5. Assumptions and Proof

  6. Gravity and Malicious Prosecution

  7. Terms

  8. Disciplinary Procedure


1. Scope

Except for those members of districts granted federal status that have their own disciplinary and complaints code, members, employees and officers of the Pagan Federation shall be subject to the provisions of this Constitution and the Code of Conduct.


2. Offences

Any Pagan Federation member can be subject to disciplinary action if they deliberately or accidentally:

  1. Act in any way contrary to the aims of Pagan Federation, or
  2. Act in any way that interferes with the Pagan Federation in the pursuit of its aims, activities, business, or in the running of its meetings, or
  3. Act in any way that could bring the Pagan Federation into disrepute, or
  4. Act in contravention of any properly enacted Pagan Federation provision, rule, regulation or code currently in force.

3. Misconduct, neglect and incompetence

3.1    Any Pagan Federation officer may be subject to disciplinary action if they:

  1. Deliberately or accidentally fail to carry out their duties in an appropriate manner and in accordance with the provisions of their job descriptions or the Constitution;
  2. Deliberately or accidentally act in excess of the powers and authorities delegated to that officer;
  3. Deliberately refuse to carry out legitimate instructions issued through the appropriate Pagan Federation channels;
  4. Fail repeatedly to attend sufficient of the required meetings necessary for proper execution of their officer role;
  5. Carry out their duties in a manner involving partiality or favouritism.
  6. Infringe any part of the code of conduct applying to officers

3.2     If any member of the Committee is found guilty of a serious breach of conduct, they shall be disbarred from standing for office for a period determined by the disciplinary decision.


4. Exceptions to misconduct

4.1.     No Pagan Federation officer may be charged with misconduct for refusing to execute instructions which are contrary to, or fall outside of, the provisions of the officer's job description or Constitution, which are illegal, or which are manifestly impossible or contrary to their health.

4.2     No Pagan Federation officer may be charged with misconduct if they have timeously informed their line manager of any infirmity which may affect their ability to perform their duties as specified and not obstructed any attempts by their manager to replace them or otherwise resolve the problems caused by that infirmity.


5. Assumption and proof

All Pagan Federation members and officers shall be considered innocent until found guilty of any charge brought against them under the provisions of this disciplinary procedure. The level of proof required shall be the balance of probabilities.


6. Gravity and malicious prosecution

This disciplinary procedure shall not be used in pursuit of trivial complaints or malicious or vindictive prosecution. To do so wastes valuable Pagan Federation resources and itself constitutes an offence through interference.


7. Terms

7.1     The term 'complainant' shall apply to the Pagan Federation member bringing a charge, and the term 'defendant' shall apply to the member or officer so charged. The term 'Liaising Officer' shall apply to a Pagan Federation Committee member who is neither 'defendant' nor 'complainant', selected from the following in order of preference according to their lack of personal involvement in the case: (a) Complaints Manager (b) General Secretary (c) A Vice President (d) Other committee member selected by the President

7.2     Any officer or member may bring a charge against an officer under paragraph 3.


8. Disciplinary Procedure

The complainant shall submit to the General Secretary a written charge for consideration within 30 days of the alleged offence, or of the discovery of the alleged offence (unless the General Secretary is the subject of the complaint, in which case the charge shall be submitted to another Liaising Officer under paragraph 7). In the first instance the charge shall be submitted for consideration to the Liaising Officer to consider whether or not the disciplinary procedure should be invoked. If the Liaising Officer decides to proceed the disciplinary procedure shall be as follows:

 

8.1 Appointment of Disciplinary Panel

  1. In cases concerning an officer, the Liaising Officer shall liaise with the relevant District Manager (unless the charge is against the DM) of the relevant district concerning the seriousness of the charge, or the President where the charge is against a member of the Committee, or with the Vice President if against the President.
  2. The Liaising Officer shall appoint a Disciplinary Panel to process the complaint.
  3. No person who is the subject of, or who is initiating, a disciplinary action may serve on the Disciplinary Panel considering that action.
  4. The Disciplinary Panel shall consist of not less than two and not more than three members of the Pagan Federation.
  5. Subject to the above, one of Disciplinary Panel shall be:
    1. The defendant’s District Manager, unless the defendant is a Committee member. Where the DM declines the position, it shall be another officer from the same district or, if none are available, a District Officer from an adjoining district.
    2. The President, if the defendant is a member of the Committee
  6. The Liaising Officer may serve upon the Disciplinary Panel as a member.

8.2 Suspension

Regardless of the provisions above about assumption and proof, the Disciplinary Panel shall have the right to consider the seriousness of the charges brought against any member or officer and determine whether or not that person be suspended from their duties, rights or privileges pending further investigation and disciplinary action.

8.3 Notification of the defendant

The defendant shall be informed of the charge within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint. If the Disciplinary Panel has seen fit to suspend the defendant then the Defendant shall also be so notified at this time.

8.4 Submission of defence

The defendant shall be given at least 10 days to provide a written reply to the Disciplinary Panel in answer to the charge. A longer time may be specified at the discretion of the Disciplinary Panel.

8.5 Extra Evidence

If the Disciplinary Panel considers it necessary, they may at their sole discretion call for statements from witnesses and gather other sources of evidence as they see fit in order to ensure a complete and fair consideration of the case

8.6 Hearing

At their sole discretion, the Disciplinary Panel may call for a hearing for the defendant, the complainant, and any relevant material witnesses to give evidence in person to the Disciplinary Panel. The Disciplinary Panel shall not call either the complainant or the defendant without also calling the other. At any such disciplinary hearing, both the defendant and the complainant shall each have the right to be accompanied at the hearing by a single representative or supporter who may question evidence relevant to the charges to be considered. No other persons have the right to attend. The Disciplinary Panel shall exercise discretion as to whether any other persons shall be permitted to attend.

8.7 Oaths

All Pagan Federation members giving written or spoken evidence in a disciplinary case, whether as defendant, complainant, or witness, shall do so under an oath of truth that is acceptable to both the member concerned and to the Disciplinary Panel. If the oath is to be sworn on an object or artefact, the member shall provide it, at the Disciplinary Panel’s discretion.

8.8 Verdict

The Disciplinary Panel shall decide the outcome of the case within 5 days of all the available evidence being acquired and all the arguments being heard. They have the right to choose to do this in closed session.

8.9 Charge proven

If the Disciplinary Panel finds the charge proven, they shall impose a penalty commensurate to the offence, taking into account whether or not the offence was deliberate or accidental.

8.10 Charge not proven

If the Disciplinary Panel finds the charge not proven, any suspension of the defendant shall be lifted unless the Panel finds there is another charge to answer. The Disciplinary Panel shall also have the right and duty to decide whether or not the original charge was a malicious prosecution and, if they so find, to impose a penalty commensurate to that offence on the original complainant.

8.11 Penalties

Penalties imposed by the Disciplinary Panel may include:

  1. Suspension of a member's rights to attend Pagan Federation meetings, functions or events for a predetermined time or until conditions determined by the Disciplinary Panel have been fulfilled;
  2. Suspension of a member's Pagan Federation membership for a predetermined time or until conditions determined by the Disciplinary Panel have been fulfilled;
  3. Expulsion of the member from the Pagan Federation for life;
  4. Removal of the Pagan Federation officer from the post that they occupied;
  5. Debarment from holding specific officer posts, or all officer posts, either for a predetermined time, or until conditions determined by the Disciplinary Panel have been fulfilled, or for life;
  6. The issue of a private censure of the member by the Disciplinary Panel.

8.12 Records

The Disciplinary Panel has a duty to record their proceedings accurately. The Defendant and Complainant may be allowed access to these, subject to the restrictions placed upon the release of such information by the Data Protection Act, at reasonable times during consideration of the case.

8.13 Appeals

All defendants and complainants shall have the right to appeal against the decision of a Disciplinary Panel. They must do so in writing within 5 days of being notified of the verdict and must do so under oath of truth. The only valid grounds for appeal are:

  1. That the Disciplinary Procedure was not conducted in accordance with these rules;
  2. That the Disciplinary Panel was unaware of, or failed to take into account significant facts pertaining to the complaint which were already in its possession, or, that significant facts have come to light since the hearing or other decision. Such facts are to be included in the written appeal;
  3. That a penalty imposed was not commensurate with the offence.

8.14 Appointment of Appeals Panel

  1. The Liaising Officer shall appoint an Appeal Adjudicator to process the appeal.
  2. No person who is the subject of, or who is initiating, a disciplinary action may serve as an Appeal Adjudicator considering that action.
  3. The Appeal Adjudicator shall consist solely of one member of the Pagan Federation Committee. That member shall not also be a member of the Disciplinary Panel who originally considered the case.
  4. The Liaising Officer may serve as an Appeal Adjudicator provided they are eligible.

8.15 Appeals Process

The Appeal Adjudicator shall consider in camera the written application with evidence or grounds for appeal together with the records of the case and come to a decision within 5 days

8.16 Appeal verdict

The Appeal Adjudicator shall have the power to overturn or maintain the verdict of the Disciplinary Panel and the power to quash, reduce, maintain or increase any penalty.

8.17 Confidentiality

All officers and members involved in this procedure have a duty of confidentiality.

  1. Neither the complainant nor the defendant, nor witnesses who may be called to give evidence should discuss the case with each other, or people who might know those involved in the case (outside of their own family or those permitted to accompany them to hearings within this procedure);
  2. Any officers involved in this procedure should only discuss the case with each other, and where strictly relevant to discharging their role in the procedure.

8.18 Communication

A defendant or complainant shall be informed at each stage of the procedure, of the stage reached and the estimated time it will take to reach a decision. If, for any reason, this estimate needs to be altered, the parties should be informed of this, and a new estimate given. Due to the need for confidentiality, a reason may only be given for any delay with the permission of the person who has caused it.

8.19 Delays

It is the duty of the Liaising Officer to ensure that :

  1. As far as possible, a decision by a Disciplinary Panel shall have been made on any complaint within 60 days of its notification to the PF or, in any case, within 90 days.
  2. Where it is not possible to keep to this timetable, the Liaising Officer informs the President and these two will decide whether a new Disciplinary Panel should be set up, or, if not, what information to be given the defendant and complainant for the extraordinary delay.

8.20 Criminal Charges

Where a criminal investigation is involved, this procedure shall be suspended until that investigation is complete. The PF may, at its discretion, suspend the member or officer concerned until the criminal investigation and (if applicable) internal disciplinary action under this procedure is complete.

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