BBP Volunteer Disciplinary Procedure

Introduction

The Bristol Bicycle Project is dependent on the goodwill and time given by its volunteers. However, if a volunteers’ behaviour or conduct is problematic, then a Coordinator or the Directors’ Group might need to follow this disciplinary procedure.

Principles

  • BBP will endeavour to resolve issues informally wherever possible.
  • At every stage in the procedure, the volunteer will be advised of the nature of the complaint and given access to all relevant evidence.
  • Volunteers will be given the opportunity to state their case before any decision is made.
  • At all stages the volunteer will have the right to be accompanied by a fellow volunteer, member or employee of the project.
  • Disciplinary proceedings, witness statements and records relating to disciplinary proceedings must be kept confidential.
  • BBP may implement the procedure at any of the stages set out below depending on the seriousness of the misconduct in question.
  • Where the co-operative is investigating serious misconduct the volunteer may be temporarily suspended from volunteering, until the investigation is complete. Suspension in such circumstances will not be regarded as an indication of presumed guilt.

Procedure

Minor misconduct

In cases of minor misconduct or unacceptable behaviour, BBP will endeavour to resolve issues informally wherever possible. If a volunteer is behaving in a way that is problematic then the Coordinator of their session or the Volunteer Coordinator will talk to them confidentially about the issue.

When talking to the volunteer the Coordinator will detail what the problem is, what improvement is required, and a timescale for achieving this improvement. A record of the conversation should be kept.

If informal action does not bring about an improvement, or the misconduct or unsatisfactory performance is considered to be too serious to be classed as minor, a more formal disciplinary process will be taken.This procedure applies to all volunteers.

Investigation

Where the case of misconduct or behaviour is of a serious nature, or if there have been a number of minor cases or complaints, the Directors’ Group will be informed and complaints investigated.

  • During the investigation, and until it is complete, the volunteer may be temporarily suspended from volunteering. Suspension in such circumstances will not be regarded as an indication of presumed guilt.
  • The volunteer may need to be interviewed as part of the investigation, and prior to a disciplinary meeting.

The volunteer will be advised of the investigation and will be informed in writing, detailing the allegation, the possible consequences, and inviting them to a disciplinary meeting.

  • If possible, the meeting shall be held within 5 days of the date of the written request.
  • The written request should state that the volunteer has the right to be accompanied to the meeting.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator will consider whether any reasonable adjustments are required for disabled volunteers, such as allowing a support worker or sign language interpreter to attend the meeting.

Disciplinary meeting

No disciplinary action will be taken until the meeting has taken place. The meeting will involve the volunteer, the Director who has led the investigation, and a Disciplinary Panel (usually consisting of two Directors and the Volunteer Coordinator).

  • The Director who has led the investigation should open the meeting with an explanation of its purpose and will read aloud the allegations.
  • The Disciplinary Panel will then ask the volunteer if they wish to take the opportunity to respond to the allegations or concerns, or if there are any mitigating circumstances to be taken into account.
  • The Disciplinary Panel will summarise the main points of the discussion and ask the volunteer if they have anything further to say.

The Disciplinary Panel may then need to hold further interviews, as part of the investigation. Once any further investigation is complete, the Disciplinary Panel will then consider the details heard in private. The Disciplinary Panel shall give the volunteer written confirmation of the decision, normally within 5 working days of the meeting. This will include notifying the volunteer of their right of appeal and the procedure to be followed.

Disciplinary Action

Following a decision to take action at a disciplinary meeting, one of the sanctions set out below may be applied:

Misconduct

Misconduct may be one incident when a volunteer’s behaviour or conduct is of a serious nature, or if there are several incidents of minor misconduct. Misconduct will normally result in a written warning by the Directors’ Group. The written warning will detail:

  • the complaint;
  • the change in behaviour required;
  • the timescale for achieving this improvement, and dates for review;
  • the right to appeal;

A copy of this written warning will be kept, but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 1 year.

Gross misconduct and Dismissal

If a volunteer’s behaviour or conduct remains unsatisfactory, fails to reach the prescribed standards, or if the offence constitutes gross misconduct, the volunteer will be dismissed from their voluntary role and barred from volunteering at any session. The volunteer will be provided with written reasons for the decision, and be advised of the right of appeal. Dismissal as a volunteer will lead to automatic dismissal from the membership.

Appeal

A volunteer may appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel, by informing the Directors’ Group. The volunteer must do so in writing within five working days of receiving written notification of the disciplinary action, stating the reason for the appeal. Any documents submitted in support of the appeal must be attached.

An appeal meeting should be held without unavoidable delay. Volunteers have the right to be accompanied to the meeting.

The Directors’ Group should investigate the application and advise the volunteer of the decision in writing. The decision of the Directors’ Group is final.

Confidentiality

All parties involved will be asked to maintain confidentiality.

Definitions

Poor Performance:

Poor performance includes:

  • negligence or inadequate attention to the requirements of the job.

Misconduct

Examples of misconduct include:

  • acting in way which contravenes BBP policy, such as the Safer Space policy;
  • bad behaviour;
  • misuse of BBP facilities;
  • repeated or serious failure to follow instructions.

Gross misconduct

Examples of gross misconduct include:

  • theft or fraud;
  • harassment or victimisation;
  • physical violence or bullying;
  • deliberate and serious damage to property;
  • serious misuse of the Projects’ property or name;
  • deliberately accessing internet sites containing pornographic, offensive or obscene material;
  • falsification of expense returns
  • serious insubordination;
  • unlawful discrimination or harassment;
  • bringing the organisation into serious disrepute;
  • serious incapability at work brought on by alcohol or illegal drugs;
  • causing loss, damage or injury through serious negligence;
  • a serious breach of health and safety rules.

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