Policy – Grievance & Conflict Resolution

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide an avenue through which ACIPC directors, members, and volunteers can resolve conflicts, disputes, complaints or grievances (“issues”). This policy is designed to set out the process for resolution of issues involving any ACIPC member, Executive Council members &/or Executive Council decisions that are unable to be resolved through respectful debate in Executive Council meetings. This policy applies to all directors, contractors, employees, clients, volunteers, members and Committees and Councils.

Background

ACIPC has been established as a company that functions using a combination of remunerated positions (contractors, and some designated committee positions) as well as a voluntary service capacity.

Scope

This policy applies to, and is binding on, all members and people employed by or representing the college in any capacity; including volunteers, employees, contractors and consultants (hereafter called ‘members and staff’) who are employed by, or undertake activities on behalf of the College.
The exceptions are: Nil

Objectives

The ACIPC Executive Council is committed to reaching a speedy and just resolution of any issues that may arise and that may threaten the harmonious functioning of the EC &/or the College. Through open communication and proactive feedback, the College encourages its members and staff to amicably resolve any issues or concerns that they may have at the earliest opportunity with each other, without the requirement to refer to external organizations or authorities for assistance or mediation.

Definitions

College or The College: Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC).

EC: Executive Council.

Issues: The term ‘issues’ is used throughout this document as an inclusive termreferring to conflicts, disputes, complaints or grievances

Members and Staff: Inclusive term including volunteers, employees, contractors and consultants.

Legal and Policy Framework

Not applicable

Policy Statement

The EC shall nominate a representative from the College as the first point of contact for members or staff seeking to lodge issues including disputes, grievances &/or complaints. The contact point for lodging issues will be available as a link on the college website.

The College encourages all members and staff to raise any issues or concerns that they may have at the earliest opportunity. It is important that issues are identified and dealt with in a fair and timely manner.

While some conflicts will be resolved by an informal discussion between the parties, others will need a process for successful resolution.

If the conflict cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties through informal processes, then mediation or a formal complaint’s process may be necessary. ACIPC directors and volunteers are informed of this process as part of their induction.

No person will be intimidated or unfairly treated in any respect if they utilise this Policy to raise &/or seek to resolve an issue. College members and staff should feel comfortable raising and discussing issues with the EC in accordance with the procedures outlined below.

Principles to be followed:

  • Respect for another’s point of view;
  • Commitment to resolving the issue;
  • Willingness to compromise;
  • Confidentiality;
  • Impartiality;
  • Respect;
  • Prompt action;
  • Freedom from repercussions;
  • Identifying the causes of the conflict; and
  • Instituting changes to College procedures to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

Procedure:

All formal avenues for handling of issues will be fully documented and the wishes of the individual/s raising the issue will be taken into account in determining the appropriate steps and actions. Issues and general complaints not involving an individual or specific EC decisions, are managed by:

Sending an email in the first instance to the ACIPC Operations Manager, opsmanager@acipc.org.au. You can also call to speak confidentially with the Operations Manager on 0407 899 250.

In special circumstances the Operations Manager may decide to accept a formal complaint without requiring it to be made in writing, but this will need to be discussed at the time of the call. A formal complaint should include sufficient detail for it to be assessed and all relevant information should be lodged at the time of submitting the complaint. [Refer to Issue Complaint Form]

The ACIPC Operations Manager will explain the general process, including advising what should be included in a formal complaint, what information the College will or may need, what steps the College are likely to take in the process and relevant timeframes in relation to the review of any formal complaint.

The College may also, as part of that process, identify other pathways which are available to help resolve any issue or concern before a formal complaint is lodged.

The Procedure to manage issues and conflicts related to an individual member/s; and or specific EC decisions:

Members and staff who consider that they have a dispute or grievance should attempt to resolve the matter by informal discussion between the two parties. The two parties should discuss the matter openly to define and clarify the issue at hand so that all parties understand the issue of concern; and work together to achieve a mutually agreeable resolution.

When the dispute is not resolved by informal discussion:

Either party may commence the complaints and appeals process by notifying the Operations Manager (the nominated EC representative) of the issue in writing. The operations manager will arrange a meeting to consult the individuals and investigate the matter within 14 days after the issue comes to the attention of all parties. If possible the matter may be resolved at this point.

The President may be contacted if the operations manager is a party in the issue and an alternative nominated representative will be appointed.

The nominated EC representative is authorized to use their discretion to bring the matter to the attention of the EC as appropriate. 7.1.6. The parties to the issue must, in good faith, attempt to settle the issue at the earliest opportunity with each other, without the requirement to refer to external organisations or authorities for assistance or mediation.

If the issue remains unresolved after the initial meeting, or if a party fails to attend that meeting, then the parties must, within 10 working days, hold a meeting with the support of, and in the presence of a mediator.

The mediation process must be confidential and without prejudice. The mediator:

  • Must be a person chosen by agreement between the parties; who is also approved by the EC or EMT; or
  • in the absence of agreement, a person appointed by the EC or EMT. c.
  • must not be biased, or reasonably be perceived to be biased; and
  • must not have a personal interest in the issue
  • may be a member or former member of the College.

The mediator helps the parties clarify the disputed issues and identify possible options but does not impose a decision. The mediator will act as an independent witness during the discussions and ensure the steps outlined below are followed.

The parties to the dispute must, in good faith, attempt to settle the dispute by mediation.

The mediator, in conducting the mediation, will –

  • Outline the process that is to be followed and establish the role of each person
  • Inform the parties that the process is confidential and without prejudice.
  • Give the parties every opportunity to be heard and ensure that natural justice is accorded to the parties to the dispute throughout the mediation process.
  • Listen and diagnose the problem.
  • Make an accurate record of all conversations (including dates, people involved) and attach any supporting documentation to be included in the complaints register file.
  • If deemed necessary, provide the parties with a written summary of the meeting and clarification of the next steps to be taken in the agreed resolution process.

Conflict remains unresolved following mediation:

If the mediation process does not result in the dispute being resolved, the parties may seek to resolve the dispute otherwise through discussion with the EC or at law. In the first instance, the matter will be referred to the EC for formal intervention and action.

Responsibilities

The Executive Council has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that College members and staff are aware of this policy. Issues must, at all times, be handled respectfully, confidentially and in accordance with natural justice. Usage of electronic media must conform to this policy.

Issue Complaint Form

Relevant Documents and References

Complaints Register;
G5 Code of Conduct;

References:
Constitution & Corporations Act.
Acknowledgement: Wyndham Community and Education Centre Inc.; University of Newcastle
Australia
http://www.effectivegovernance.com.au/
http://www.communitydirectors.com.au/icda/policybank/