Issues Resolution Policy
  • 25 Mar 2021
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Issues Resolution Policy

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Purpose: To provide a formal system for members of the Orange Sky family to raise concerns which may arise in the course of their working relationship.

Scope: This policy applies to all members of the Orange Sky family, namely board members, employees, volunteers and contractors.

Introduction

This policy deals with issues and complaints regarding, for example, the decision of a leader, the behaviour of another employee or volunteer, or the impact(s) of a policy on the employee or volunteer that he /she perceives as unfair.

It should not be confused with issues and incidents relevant to the operations of Orange Sky which occur on shift e.g. near misses, equipment breakdown, work injuries, property damage, workplace health and safety issues or other issues concerning interactions with our friends. These issues are dealt with under the Risk Assessment and Incident Reporting Policy.

Issue Resolution

This process can be accessed by any employee or volunteer who has an issue or grievance with Orange Sky or one of its employees or volunteers including (but not only) alleged breaches to:

  • Code of Conduct Policy
  • EEO and Antidiscrimination Policy
  • Fitness for Work.

Orange Sky is encouraged to undertake proactive action to resolve the issue. Courses of action include:

  • Internal Issues Resolution Procedure; or
  • External Complaints.

Internal Issues Resolution Procedure

This procedure covers Issues and complaints regarding EEO, discrimination, harassment, bullying and other issues which may arise. There is a five step procedure for Internal Complaints and volunteers must complete an Issue Resolution Form at Step 2 when instigating a formal process.

Our complaints procedure is:

Impartial – Both sides have a chance to tell their side of the story. No assumptions will be made and no action will be taken until all relevant information has been collected and considered.

Free of repercussions – No action will be taken against anyone for making a valid, truthful complaint or helping someone in making a valid, truthful complaint. Disciplinary action, including possible termination, may ensue against volunteers who make deliberately false and/or malicious complaints.

No victimisation – Orange Sky will take all necessary steps to ensure that no victimisation occurs against anyone who makes a complaint.

Timely – All complaints will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Confidential – You can feel secure that if you do make a complaint under this policy, it will remain as confidential as possible. The only people who will have access to information about the complaint will be the person making the complaint, the investigation officer, and where necessary, the person about whom you have complained. In some situations, some details of a complaint will also have to be told to potential witnesses. Volunteers involved in any way with an investigatory process (including complainants, respondents or witnesses) who breach confidentiality requirements explained to them prior to, during or after the investigation process will face disciplinary consequences for their actions; including potential termination.

The procedure is as follows:

Step 1: Personal resolution
Orange Sky hopes to resolve most issues quickly and directly and operates on the basis that all members of the Orange Sky family treat each other as they wish to be treated themselves, with dignity and fairness. The individual who has witnessed a breach of policy, been discriminated against or harassed is encouraged to address the situation directly assuming he/she feels confident to do so. In this instance, the person should approach the person who has allegedly breached the policy or created the issue to discuss the behaviour he/she is unhappy about and why. He/she should also state what outcome is sought (e.g. the unwelcome behaviour must stop).

This step is not compulsory, but is strongly recommended to ensure that minor issues are resolved informally between the parties.

The person can raise their concerns with their Team Leader, Service Coordinator/Leader or a Contact Officer who will discuss options and provide information about the choices available.

Step 2: Formal complaint
If Step 1 does not resolve the issue, the volunteer may lodge a formal complaint via the Issues Resolution Form and contact their Leader or Contact Officer (if for example, the issue involves their Leader). All details of the complaint must be formally recorded in the Form, including full details of the alleged incident(s), time, place, and all people involved.

Depending on the nature of the information disclosed, the Team Leader or Contact Officer can decide the appropriate action to take. This may include immediate action (e.g. removal of unsuitable material, changing the volunteer roster) or speaking with the respondent to attempt to resolve the issue in a simple manner.
Where the above actions have not resolved the issue or it is a serious/complex matter, an Investigation Officer will be appointed. This may also be appropriate where the Respondent denies or disputes the allegations.

Step 3: Investigation
An investigation will be conducted by an Investigation Officer whose role will be to:

  • Discuss the issue with the Complainant with reference to the Issues Resolution Form;
  • Inform the allegations to the Respondent and provide them an opportunity to respond;
  • Undertake the investigation in a timely manner which may include taking evidence or witness statements from other parties (including parties nominated by the Respondent in defending the matter);
  • Seek evidence and facts (not opinions and feelings) that will support or refute the allegation made by the Complainant;
  • Undertake comprehensive record keeping.

4. Recommendations and decision
On completing their examination of the matter the investigator will assess the information and present any findings and recommendations to the COO and Board. The COO and Board will make a final decision on how the complaint should be resolved.

5. Action
The decision of the COO and Board will be actioned, and the Complainant and Respondent will be advised of the outcomes.
Where the complaint has been substantiated, outcomes may include:

  • Counselling;
  • Disciplinary action, including termination;
  • An apology;
  • Training in EEO or other matters.

External Complaints

Employees and volunteers are encouraged to utilise the internal issues resolution procedure. However, an individual who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed may make a complaint to an external organisation such as the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Fair Work Commission.

Accountabilities

Role

Accountability

SLT and Board

  • Ensure that there is consistent interpretation of Orange Sky Policies
  • Communicate commitment to the relevant policies and ensure employment decisions/work environment comply
  • Monitor the work environment to ensure that acceptable standards of conduct are observed at all times
  • Model appropriate behaviours
  • Treat all complaints seriously and take immediate action to refer complaints or report conduct in breach of the policy
  • Make a genuine attempt to resolve issues and seek a fair and mutual resolution
  • Engage an independent third party where applicable
  • Treat all documentation and knowledge of complaints/issues confidentially
  • Review policy at least annually

Service Leaders/Coordinators and Team Leaders

  • Act as a first point of contact for volunteers wishing to raise issues that have occurred
  • Ensure the volunteer raising the issue understands the Issue Resolution process
  • Ensure the volunteer has put the matter in writing using the Issues Resolution Form if raising the issue formally
  • Seek assistance/guidance from the Volunteer Community Manager or Program Manager if they do not feel that they are the best person to deal with the complaint (e.g. there is a conflict of interest or if the complaint is complex/serious)
  • Follow procedures and treat volunteers in a fair manner when approached with a complaint/issue
  • Model appropriate behaviours

Volunteers

  • Understand their obligations and rights in relation to relevant policies
  • Follow the issue resolution procedure should they have a complaint
  • Make a genuine attempt to resolve issues informally prior to engaging in formal issue resolution in Step 2
  • Ensure the issues are clearly documented via the Issue Resolution Form when seeking formal resolution
  • Offer support to anyone who is being discriminated against
  • Maintain confidentiality during complaint investigations
  • Model appropriate behaviours

Contact Officers

  • Act as a first point of contact for volunteers wishing to raise issues that have occurred that are contained in this policy
  • Understand the volunteer’s role as described above
  • Model appropriate behaviours

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