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AGM 11th November 2017

The 2017 AGM will take place on the 11th November from 14:15 at the Deaf Institute, where the new committee will be elected. There will be a walk before, and a social afterwards.
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Complaints Procedure and Exclusion Policy

Complaints will be handled in a timely, fair, transparent and confidential manner. The purpose of the complaints procedure is to encourage members to interact positively with each other and with the MAD Walkers group as a whole. It provides a means of addressing issues or behaviours which could otherwise adversely affect other members or their enjoyment of MAD Walkers activities.

The complaints procedure applies in respect of complaints made by or in relation to all members (including Committee members and Event Organisers).

Careful consideration will be given at a preliminary stage as to whether or not any particular complaint is appropriate for MAD Walkers Committee to deal with. Informal resolution may be encouraged in first place. It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of complaint situations that may be considered, however, the primary purpose is to cover issues or behaviour on MAD Walkers activities such as:

  • Walks, socials or weekends away
  • At, or on the way to and from, MAD Walkers Events or other Ramblers groups or meetings and related communications, or behaviour towards other members (including by email, phone or similar communication)
  • Behaviour that could bring MAD Walkers or the Ramblers into disrepute or is contrary to MAD Walker’s Guiding Principles, Code of Conduct or the charitable aims of the Ramblers.

The Committee’s general policy is not to get involved in private disputes arising between members outside of MAD Walkers Events.

This complaints procedure should be read in conjunction with the Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct for MAD Walkers. It is recognised that undue delay in addressing complaints is undesirable for all concerned. It is the Committee’s wish to ensure that such matters are dealt with in a timely manner, whilst adhering to the procedures.

No member will be expelled for a first offence unless it is considered to be sufficiently serious as to constitute gross misconduct. In the case of a formal complaint, a written record will be kept and held on file by MAD Walkers.

How to make a complaint

Complaints should be raised in a timely fashion. This would typically be within 8 weeks of the relevant date as the next Committee meetings will be at most 8 weeks after the relevant date.

Complaints may be raised with the MAD Walkers Chair in confidence either orally, via email to the chair@madwalkers.org.uk, or in a letter handed directly to the Chair. In the case of complaints raised orally, a formal document, anonymous if necessary, will be required if this is brought to the attention of Committee.

Please include your name, as held by the Ramblers Association and your current membership number on any correspondence. You membership status will be checked at the earliest possible time.

In the case of an email or letter, please mark them as private and confidential and for the attention of the Chair.

Similarly, any member who is aware of a concern or behaviour which, even though it does not directly involve them, could affect the enjoyment of other MAD Walkers members, may bring it to the attention of the Chair in confidence.

If a complaint concerns the MAD Walkers Chair, then it can be submitted to any other member of the Committee.

How will complaints be handled

Informally - Minor matters may be dealt with by the Chair or relevant Events Coordinator who will seek to resolve matters informally in the first instance.

Formally - If a complaint cannot be resolved informally then the Chair will refer the matter to the Committee. The Committee will investigate the matter and gather the information from all parties, and in particular will ensure that any member who is the subject of a formal complaint is given the opportunity to give their side of the story. The Committee may appoint a panel of two or more Committee members (which would generally include the Chair) to investigate such matters and recommend a conclusion to the Committee for final approval. Alternatively, the Committee may refer a complaint to the Greater Manchester and High Peak Area Executive Committee or the Ramblers Association Complaints Procedure through the CEO’s Office, if it concludes that would be a more appropriate way of dealing with that particular complaint. Where a complaint is dealt with by the Committee or a panel, it may decide any of the following outcomes:

  1. Complaint not upheld - That a complaint is not upheld – for example, if the complaint does not appear to be justified – in which case the complaint will be dismissed.
  2. Noted - Matter noted for future reference but no action taken
  3. Oral warning - A member may be asked to make appropriate adjustments to their behaviour to prevent the issue arising in future.
  4. Formal written warning - A formal warning may be issued by email or in the form of a letter that a member’s behaviour must be adjusted if they wish to remain a member of MAD Walkers. A formal written warning may be issued either if the behaviour in question has persisted despite a previous oral warning, or if the issue is sufficiently serious to merit a formal written warning in the first instance.
  5. Expulsion - In the case of a failure to heed a formal written warning, or in the case of gross misconduct, a member may be expelled from MAD Walkers if their expulsion is approved by a majority of at least two-thirds of the Committee who will vote in a blind ballot in relation to the proposed expulsion. Any member who is expelled will no longer be permitted to participate in MAD Walkers activities. The individual will be informed by email or by letter that his or her membership of MAD Walkers has been withdrawn and that he or she is no longer permitted to attend any further MAD Walkers Events. Expulsions will be notified to Area and the Ramblers. Examples of gross misconduct may include physical abuse, serious or repeated discrimination, sexual harassment, theft, fraud, deliberate falsification of records, malicious damage to MAD Walkers property, serious breach of the Guiding Principles or Code of Conduct, serious negligence which causes unacceptable injury, loss or damage, or causing a serious risk to the safety of other members. (This list is not exhaustive).

The Chair shall be responsible for general oversight of the complaints procedure, for ensuring it operates fairly, and for communicating the outcome of a formal complaint to the parties involved. The Chair shall be kept up to date by other Committee members on all developments relating to a formal complaint. Details of complaints are confidential to Committee at all times.

Appeals Procedure

If a member who has been the subject of a complaint has a serious concern as to the fairness or proper conduct of the handling of that complaint under the complaints procedure, they may inform the Chair that they wish to appeal. This should be done in writing, stating the grounds on which their appeal is based. Appeals should be raised in a timely fashion. This would typically be within 8 weeks of the relevant date as full Committee meetings occur approximately every 8 weeks. The Chair shall arrange for the case to receive an independent review by one or more suitable persons within the Ramblers who are not part of the MAD Walkers Committee and not involved in the matters in question (for example, Greater Manchester and High Peak Area Executive Committee or the Ramblers Complaints Procedure). Where the initial decision was to expel the group member, they will be suspended from all MAD Walkers Events pending the outcome of the appeal.

Conflicts of Interest

Committee members must declare if there is any conflict of interest (for example if they are personally involved in the matters to which the complaint related, or in a relationship with someone who is) and should not be involved in hearing complaints where such a conflict exists.

Criminal Action

At any stage if the behaviour in question involves a potential criminal offence, the matter may be referred directly to the police.

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The Ramblers' Association is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company registration no. 4458492. Registered charity, England & Wales no. 1093577. Registered office: 2nd Floor ,Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London. SE1 7TW
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