Grievance resolution

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DELORAINE HOUSE INC

2.12 Conflict and

Grievance Resolution

1.0 Purpose

The Deloraine House Inc is committed to creating and maintaining constructive, productive and supportive working relationships with all who work in or use the House.

We want everyone to communicate openly and respectfully with one another, recognising different points of view and dealing with them constructively. The presence of conflict, if dealt with effectively, offers an opportunity for individual and organisational learning including the identification of policies and practices that need to be improved. If left unresolved, conflict and grievances can lead to a stressful, and in the worst cases, a poisoned environment.

The purpose of this policy is to guide Board of Governance members and other members, staff, tutors, volunteers and house users in resolving conflict and grievance issues if and when they arise.

While this policy can be used to assist in dealing with issues concerning bullying, harassment and discrimination, if such issues arise, refer in the first instance to the House Anti-Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying policy.

This policy does not apply to alleged criminal activity, suspected corruption, and reportable conduct involving children or young persons under 18 years of age, which must be reported promptly and directly to Tasmania Police.

2.0 Policy

The Deloraine House Inc will provide and maintain a positive environment in which all are able to work and interact constructively together.

The Deloraine House Inc will establish procedures to support timely, fair and effective conflict and grievance resolution.

In the first instance, the Deloraine House Inc will encourage Board of Governance members, staff, volunteers, members, house users and others to resolve directly with each other at the earliest opportunity, and to their mutual satisfaction, any conflict or grievance issues or concerns that they may have.

If informal conflict and grievance resolution between the parties themselves is not acceptable to a person involved, not possible for other reasons, or cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, a formal conflict and grievance resolution procedure will be implemented.

A person requesting formal conflict and grievance resolution must do so in writing in the

manner designated in this policy. A person must be offered independent support to put things in writing if they require it.

All formal conflict and grievance resolution requests will be investigated fully and promptly, and all parties will be kept informed of progress.

The formal conflict and grievance resolution procedures available will be fully documented and provided to those involved at the outset of the process. Then, the wishes and concerns of all parties will be taken into account in determining the procedures appropriate to the circumstances.

The Deloraine House Inc will maintain confidentiality as far as is possible. Only the relevant parties will be involved in investigation and resolution procedures.

Parties to the conflict and grievance resolution will be encouraged to observe confidentiality.

A person raising a conflict or grievance issue may, at any time, withdraw in writing from pursuing the matter.

No person will be intimidated or unfairly treated in any respect if they use this Policy to resolve an issue.

A clear and accurate written record will be kept of the details of any formal conflict and grievance resolution requests and the procedures, actions and outcomes of the resolution process, including dates and signatures of those involved.

Members of the Board of Governance or other members, the House Manager, staff, tutors and volunteers are obliged to take immediate action in addressing a conflict or grievance if the physical or mental health and safety of any of the parties is perceived to be at risk.

If threats to persons are made, or members of the Board of Governance or other members, the House Manager, staff, tutors or volunteers perceives a possible danger to a party or to other employees, including the possibility of one party being a danger to themselves, external professional assistance must be sought immediately.

3.0 Procedure

3.1 Appointment of a Grievance Officer

If the issue cannot be resolved by the Staff Liaison Officer, the Board of Governance have agreed that an external Grievance Officer be appointed from Relationship Australia.

If another member of the Board of Governance is approached with a Conflict/Grievance issue, the issue needs to be directed to the Grievance Officer for the following steps to be undertaken.

3.2 Informal conflict and grievance resolution

Step 1. Open and honest communication is essential for resolution of conflicts and grievances within the House. The person/s with a concern is encouraged to raise concerns with those involved at the first sign of an issue developing. In other words, sit down and talk about the issue sooner rather than later.

Step 2. At this meeting, aim to:

  • Be accepting that the other party’s view of the situation may be different. At this stage, simply seek agreement that there is a problem and what the nature of the problem is; not agreement with the other party’s view.
  • Listen actively to each other’s point of view, allowing time for each person to have their say. It is very important to stay calm during this process and concentrate on issues.
  • Make a commitment to working it out. Agree on a timeframe and a course of action.

Step 3. If it helps, working together, write down the issues to assist with separating behaviours and issues from the emotions involved. Ask questions like, “What are the facts or behaviours involved? How do they make me feel? What would I like the outcome to be?”

Step 4. Working with good will:

  • Decide your agreed actions, including who will be involved and in what way, the timeframe, how you will know that the matter is settled, and any other things that the parties agree are necessary. There may be a benefit in putting all this in writing and signing off on it.
  • Organise to meet again informally at some point to check with each other that things are now resolved.

Step 5. If the people who are in conflict feel unable to deal with the issues by themselves, but want to pursue an informal process, an independent person that they both trust can be invited to sit in on the discussion to help them deal with the issues.

In summary the informal conflict and grievance resolution process is as follows:

  • Initiate a discussion
  • Identify the “real” conflict
  • Listen to all points of view
  • Recognise and respect feelings
  • Explore ways to resolve the conflict
  • Mutually agree on what is to be done
  • Check that everyone is satisfied with the resolution

3.3 Formal conflict and grievance resolution

All people involved in this formal process will retain the right to contact an external agency for advice, support or assistance at any stage of the process, including any dissatisfaction with resolution of the complaint.

Step 1. If informal resolution procedures do not reach an outcome to the satisfaction of all parties involved, the person with concerns (the notifier) should be directed to first discuss the situation with the House Staff Liaison Officer appropriate for the particular circumstances. The notifier will also be given a copy of the Conflict and Grievance Resolution Policy.

Step 2. If the person with concerns wishes to proceed, the Staff Liaison Officer will request they complete, sign and date the Conflict and Grievance Notification Form, with supporting documentation if appropriate, detailing their view of the situation, and submit it to the Staff Liaison Officer. A person must be given independent support to put things in writing if they require it.

Step 3. The Staff Liaison Officer will offer assistance to the person with concerns, talk about the problem or grievance and how they would like to see the complaint resolved, and explain the formal conflict and grievance resolution procedures that are available. In consultation with the notifier, the Notification Form may be amended if the notifier requires and/or agrees to the revision, for example to make sure the issues are clear or that abusive language or put-downs are not included.

Step 4. People will reasonably expect to know if their behaviour or their decision is a problem for another person or group. Therefore, once finalised and signed, a copy of the Notification Form will be provided to the other parties identified on the form as being involved in the conflict or grievance. All parties must be provided with a copy of the Conflict and Grievance Resolution Policy at the same time as they are provided with the Notification Form.

Step 5. The Staff Liaison Officer will check that all documents which define how the House should operate, such as the House policies and procedures, Codes of Conduct, the Constitution or Model Rules, the Strategic Framework and the Funding Agreement, are being properly followed and applied. In some cases, these will provide the basis for resolution of the conflict. During this time, the Staff Liaison Officer may seek the advice of the Department or the Tasmanian Association of Community Houses.

Step 6. If Step 5 does not lead to a resolution or requires further action, the Staff Liaison Officer will investigate the circumstances and details of the notification and consult with all relevant

parties. Meetings held to investigate or resolve a complaint will only be open to the parties and the Staff Liaison Officer, though the parties may have an advocate or supporter present. Meetings may be with the parties individually, together or both. To encourage openness, no legal representation will be permitted. For the same reason, minutes or written records of what is said during meetings will not be taken but agreed outcomes of the meetings or any resulting agreement will be documented and signed and dated by all the parties.

Step 7. If a clear resolution, agreed to by all parties, does not arise in Step 6, the Staff Liaison Officer will prepare a draft written report on the investigation within ten working days of receiving the Notification Form.

Step 8. The Staff Liaison Officer will forward a copy of the confidential draft report to all the parties involved, requesting a written response to any factual errors and comment on any recommendations contained with the report within ten working days.

Step 9. Once the Staff Liaison Officer has checked and confirmed any changes to the draft report, the Staff Liaison Officer will meet with all the parties together to discuss and finalise a resolution to the conflict or grievance. In some circumstances, this may be the final step and the end of the matter. If so, the Staff Liaison Officer will implement Step 12 of these Procedures.

Step 10. If deemed necessary by the Staff Liaison Officer, or if requested by any party to the conflict or grievance, an independent mediator may be appointed to assist in resolution of the matter and help the parties restore a positive working relationship in the future. The mediator should be trained or otherwise have the necessary skills to support the parties reach a mutually agreed resolution.

Step 11. If a mediated approach fails to resolve the matter, an arbitrated approach can be undertaken. The arbitrator will investigate the matter and make a decision or determination of what should be done and what the consequences for the parties should be. The arbitrator may be an external person brought in by the House or, depending on circumstances, the Board of Governance, or the Manager. If the resolution directed by the independent arbitrator necessitates it, arrange or apply whatever sanctions are required under the Constitution, Policies and Procedures, or Funding Agreement. In writing, describe clearly the expectations about future behaviour and outline the consequences of unwanted or unacceptable behaviour.

Step 12. Once the parties have agreed to recommendations of the Grievance Officer for resolution, or the mediated or arbitrated resolution, the details of the resolution of the conflict or grievance will be fully documented in writing and signed and dated by all parties. The complete file, including the conflict and grievance notification form with any supporting documentation, documentation of relevant factual information, analysis of the information, the conclusion, and the signed and dated resolution will then be held for a minimum of two years in confidential storage.

Step 13. When a conflict or grievance cannot be resolved by this House policy and procedures, the parties and/or the House should seek resolution through the relevant industrial or legal processes available.

4.0 DOCUMENTATION

Documents related to this policy
Related policies 2.6 Anti-Discrimination Harassment and Bullying
Forms, record keeping or other organisational documents Grievance Notification Form
Reviewing and approving this policy
Frequency Person responsible Approval Signature
3 years Chairperson
Policy review and version tracking
Review Date Review Details Next Review Due

Grievance Notification Form

Deloraine House Inc

REQUIREMENTS
You must complete a copy of this Notification Form and provide it to the House Staff Liaison Officer if you are seeking a formal procedure for resolution of a conflict or grievance. Advice or help to complete the Form and put your concerns in writing is available. Discuss this with the House Staff Liaison Officer.

The House Staff Liaison Officer will review the Form and clarify any details with you, including revising the Form if you require and/or agree to the revision. Once finalised and signed, a copy of the Notification Form will be provided to the other parties identified below as being involved in the conflict or grievance. All parties must be provided with a copy of the Conflict and Grievance Resolution Policy at the same time as they are provided with the Notification Form.

Other than the parties involved and the Staff Liaison Officer, the Notification Form must be kept in confidence.

DETAILS
Notifier’s Name:
Address:
Phone Number: Mobile Number:
Email:
Please provide a very brief description of the conflict or grievance, including dates where these apply. This information will be used to help identify the appropriate procedures for dealing with the complaint.

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Name of other person(s)

or group involved in the conflict

(the respondent):

Contact details

of the respondent(s)

[if known]

What steps have you already taken to try to resolve this conflict or grievance with the other person(s)?

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Is your complaint, or any matter related to your complaint, already being dealt with or has it been dealt with elsewhere? If so, please describe briefly.

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Do you have any special needs that require consideration? For example, wheel chair access, interpreter, child care (indicate times), visual/hearing disability, help to put things in writing etc.

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Signed: Dated:
Received by:
Signed: Dated: