- As adopted by the June 2005 Meeting of PF Council
 


Problem Occurs

The Problem brought to the attention a PF official or Line Manager or in writing to the General Secretary within 30 days of the relevant event.

  • Official alerts their line manager e.g. RC (Regional Co-ordinator) alerts DM (District Manager); or DM alerts DLO (District Liaison Officer)

  • Line manager passes notification of complaint and forwards the written testimony from the complainant to the General Secretary within 30 days of the relevant event (when the problem occurred)

  • General Secretary passes information to Complaints Manager (CM) if CM personally involved in the case, to another Liaising Officer (C&D Code section 7).

The following action takes place within 10 days of receipt of the written notification of complaint or problem:

  1. If CM not acting as LO, CM passes records of any previous problems notified for same person to LO.

  2. LO scales problem into one of the following categories:

  • Minor misconduct:     Persistent problems of a procedural nature, such as delays or other paperwork failures, and minor breaches of the CoC. These are unlikely to trigger the complaints procedure and will be dealt with by the appropriate line manager. LO will log the problem and when dealt with. If the further minor misconduct arises subsequently, (whether or not of the same nature), the LO will decide whether the complaints procedure will be used. Complaints of minor misconduct will be retained for no longer than one year, unless the problem involves discrimination or harassment on the grounds of sex, race, religion, age or disability, in which case the records are retained for 6 years from the date the complaint is settled.

  • Serious misconduct:     Anything that is neither minor nor gross. The complaints procedure is triggered but the less serious within this category should be completed as a paper review, where there is sufficient evidence to allow that. That will be the decision of the LO. Records will be retained for three years, unless the problem involves discrimination or harassment on the grounds of sex, race, religion, age or disability, in which case the records are retained for 6 years from the date the complaint is settled. If personal injury to any officer or member is involved, records are to be retained for 12 years from the date the complaint is settled.

  • Gross misconduct:     E.g. deliberate destruction of PF property, theft of PF funds, criminal judgement for destruction of sacred sites, bodily harm of PF members arising at a pagan event, serious discrimination or harassment of PF members. Gross misconduct is cause for immediate suspension of duty pending use of the C&D code. Records are retained for 6 years from the date the complaint is settled. If personal injury to any officer or member is involved, records are to be retained for 12 years from the date the complaint is settled.

  1. The LO sets up a disciplinary panel and gives them whatever documentation s/he possesses.
  2. The Disciplinary Panel writes to both the complainant and the defendant to inform them of the following. 
  • The nature of the complaint

  • The level at which the problem is being treated (minor, gross or serious), and whether it is intended to hold a hearing. If there is a hearing then both the main parties shall be heard if possible. However, if a hearing date acceptable to all parties cannot be arranged within 30 days of the Disciplinary Panel being appointed, then the Panel shall accept written evidence in place of a personal hearing. If either the complainant or defendant is ill during this period, the Panel may – at its discretion - defer matters for another month

  • a timeline for the presentation of the case including if necessary a date for the hearing

  • If no hearing is being considered then the defendant is given 10 days to respond in writing

  • If the defendant is being suspended prior to the matter being resolved, s/he is informed in writing at this stage.

Preferably, the entire process, from start to finish, is completed within 30 days or receipt of the written complaint. However, this will not always be possible. The timescale per the code is:

  • 30 days from event to written complaint (max)

  • 10 days to appoint LO, set up disciplinary Panel and write to complainant and defendant

  • a maximum of 45 days normally (75 in extraordinary circumstances) to collect evidence from defendant and witnesses and have hearing with complainant, defendant and other witnesses

  • 5 days to make decision & issue letters to the principal parties of the decision

  • 5 days for them to make an appeal

  • 5 days from appoint for Appeals Adjudicator to make decision

  1. The Panel appoints someone among themselves to ensure all documentation is then disseminated to all parties involved a minimum of 2 weeks before the hearing date. This is a minimum and should be extended if documentation is extensive.

  2. The Panel can decide to interview witnesses, if the witnesses are amenable to giving evidence to the Panel within the required timescale, and a mutually acceptable time and place. Alternatively, the Panel can ask for written statements from witnesses, which can be considered as evidence as long as they are received within the timescale set down by the Panel.

  3. A decision must be made by the Panel and a penalty (if any) imposed within 5 days of the hearing or whatever other meeting the Panel has convened to decide on the case. The defendant and complainant are notified immediately in writing and the papers are passed to the LO who retains them until the time limit for making an appeal has expired before passing them to the CM. If an appeal is made, the LO passes the papers directly to the Appeal Adjudicator.

  4. If there is an appeal, the Appeal Adjudicator should be appointed preferably within 5 days, and the LO should :

  • Notify the complainant and defendant of the name of the AA.

  • Pass the papers to the AA The AA should notify their decision directly to the main parties in writing and pass the papers back to the LO, who passes them to the CM.

  1. All judgements must be based on what is reasonable. Although a person may feel their complaint is justified, that may not mean it is reasonable. Common sense and a sense of proportion must be applied in each case.

  2. At all stages of the procedure, it is the duty of the LO to keep both of the main parties informed of the stage the procedure has reached and what will happen next and within what timescale. Where this becomes the duty of the Disciplinary Panel, the LO should check the information given is sufficient. Both the complainant and the defendant must be kept informed, and kept informed to the same level about the same things i.e. one should not be told more about the progress of the complaint than the other at any stage, but each should be told what stage the procedure is at, with relevant deadlines for progression to the next stage, and the rights of each party at each stage.

  3. Where one of the main parties becomes ill during the proceedings they should immediately inform the LO or the Disciplinary Panel (these two should keep each other informed). The LO and the Disciplinary Panel can then decide between themselves how far the timescale should be altered and what information needs to be given to the other parties to the complaint.

  4. Upon leaving the post of CM, the retiring CM passes his/her records to the new CM within 7 days of leaving the post. If no new CM has been appointed, the records shall be passed to the General Secretary within 7 days. During the time the CM has the records s/he has the responsibility of keeping them in accordance with these guidelines and the Data Protection Act’s requirement that nothing will be retained longer than is necessary.

Events Calendar

July 2017
S M T W T F S
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31