Acceptable Behaviour and Problem Solving Policy

0. Background

0.1. This policy is Oblong’s attempt to be as clear as possible about what are the acceptable boundaries for behaviour, and what the procedure will be when these boundaries are crossed. 

0.2. The processes below may take time, but we believe that it is worth the investment of this time so that people are given the opportunity to listen and learn from each other, and for the outcome to be less likely to lead to future conflict.

 

1. Acceptable Behaviour

1.1. We want to create a safe space for everyone.

1.2. Unacceptable behaviour includes, but is not limited to:
1.2.1. intimidation and harassment 
1.2.2. being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
1.2.3. misuse of internet for pornography or illegal purposes
1.2.4. misuse of Oblong’s property or name in a way that could damage our reputation
1.2.5. not following health & safety guidance
1.2.6. racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination and prejudice
1.2.7. physical violence or assault
1.2.8. deliberate damage to property
1.2.9. theft

 

2. General principles

2.1. In order to promote equality of opportunity Oblong expects all volunteers to adhere to the following –

2.1.1. Respect for others and to treat others equally

2.1.2. Be sensitive to the needs of others

2.1.3. Be friendly and helpful

2.1.4. Not to engage in offensive behaviour within Oblong or at Oblong events.
This includes racism, homophobia, sexism, aggressive and unpleasant behaviour.

2.2. This policy applies to incidents which take place at Oblong, during Oblong activities, or when a connection to Oblong clearly plays a role in the incident. This means:
Both (or all) people involved in the incident have a direct connection to Oblong - i.e. they are Oblong volunteers (not simply Woodhouse Community Centre users); OR
At least one person involved has a direct connection to Oblong, and the subject matter of the dispute is directly related to Oblong 

2.3. This policy applies to all volunteers, including trustees.  For incidents involving a member of staff, the Disciplinary Policy will be followed for the member of staff and this Acceptable Behaviour Policy will be followed for the volunteer.

 

3. Problem Solving Procedure

3.1. If you have complaint about a volunteer’s or staff member’s behaviour, you should talk to them first to try to sort out the problem informally.

3.2. If the person complaining has tried and failed to resolve the issue then they should raise the matter with a Volunteer Co-ordinator personally or put it in writing. If the complaint is about a Volunteer Co-ordinator then the volunteer should approach another member of staff.

3.3. A member of staff will investigate the problem and discuss with the volunteer what action, if any, they would like taken. A member of staff will then investigate the complaint by interviewing the person(s) who has had the complaint made against them and any potential witnesses. If the complaint is about a member of staff, it will be dealt with using the Disciplinary Policy from this point forward. Please ask us if you would like to see a copy of this separate policy.

3.4. At the meeting with the person(s) who have been complained about the member of staff will:

3.4.1. Ask for their version of events

3.4.2. Relay any specific observations about their behaviour

3.4.3. Clarify what is acceptable behaviour in Oblong

3.4.4. Explain what action they are going to take

3.4.5. Explain what will happen if the behaviour continues

3.4.6. If appropriate, discuss with the individual any support or training needs that may help them manage their behaviour more effectively.

3.5. The member of staff will then make a decision either to:

3.5.1. Take no further action

3.5.2. Invite the parties concerned to a mediation meeting

3.5.3. Verbally warn the volunteer(s) who has been complained about that any similar behaviour within a specified time period will result in further disciplinary action being taken by Oblong

3.5.4. Issue a written warning to the volunteer, making clear the unacceptable behaviour, the time limit and the consequences of the warning.

3.5.5. Suspend the volunteer’s participation in Oblong for a specified period of time, making clear the terms of return.

3.5.6. Permanently exclude the volunteer from Oblong. 

3.6. The staff member’s decision will be communicated to all parties within 10 working days of the matter being raised. In the case of a written warning, suspension or permanent exclusion, a written record will be kept on the volunteer’s file and provided to the volunteer.

3.7. If the person(s) being complained about agrees to the proposals made then this will be the end of the matter.

 

4. Appeal

4.1. If the person who is complained about does not agree they can appeal in writing to the Chair of the Directors of Oblong. This should be done within 5 working days of the proposals being conveyed to the parties concerned. 

4.2. The chairperson will ensure that the matter is considered by an Appeals Panel, which will consist of between three and six people, including two directors and a minimum of two users, volunteers.
This panel will be appointed by the Board of Directors.

4.2.1. Anyone involved with the original complaint will be excluded from sitting on the panel.

4.3. The decision of the Appeals Panel will be final.

 

5. Confidentiality

5.1. Every stage of this process must be recorded and kept confidential to the said parties.

 

6. Relevant Legislation

The Equality Act 2010

The Data Protection Act 1998

 

7. Related Policies

Disciplinary Policy (Scheduled for ratification Q1 2015-16)