Internal Dispute Policy and Disciplinary Procedure
For the Investigation and Resolution of Internal Club Disputes
The Bicester Millennium Cycling Club acknowledges the requirement to have a clear policy and procedure for the investigation and resolution of internal club disputes. This policy is underpinned by the club’s Constitution and the British Cycling Code of Conduct and Equality Policy. An “internal club dispute” is a dispute involving an alleged breach of the club’s rules by one or more club members, any or none of whom may be an officer of the club.
The responsibility for the resolution of disputes rests with the elected Committee who will ensure that every effort is made to resolve a dispute through an informal and amicable agreement. This policy aims to reflect that all persons involved in a dispute will be treated fairly, with respect and without prejudice or discrimination.
This Internal Dispute and Disciplinary Procedure is only applicable to breaches of the club rules by members of Bicester Millennium Cycling Club. The Committee does not have the power to consider complaints against non-members, members of other clubs, or members of the general public.
1. Reporting of an Internal Dispute
1.1 In the event of a breach of the club rules or a dispute between club members occurring during club activities, or activities in which members are representing the club, it may be necessary for a club official to take immediate action. Officials have the authority to temporarily exclude any club member from the activity where the situation occurred. Officials are Committee members and Ordinary members who are acknowledged by the Committee to be leading an activity (such as a Ride Leader, Time Trial or Race organiser, Social Event organiser, Coach, Team Captain, etc).
1.2 The excluding official is required to submit a written report to the Committee within 5 days of the exclusion. This may take the form of an email or other text communication which allows the report to be recorded.
1.3 Any club member can similarly make a written complaint to the Committee about any incident involving any other club member regardless of whether action was taken at the time.
1.4 On receipt of a written report the Committee will, where practicable, make every effort to resolve the dispute by informal discussions between the parties involved.
1.5 Where a matter cannot be resolved informally, or where it may be necessary to apply sanctions to a member, the Committee will set up a Panel to address the dispute.
1.6 The Committee may temporarily suspend or exclude a member from any or all club activities, pending the outcome of the Panel decision.
2. Dispute Panel Procedure
2.1 The Panel shall consist of three persons who have not been involved in the dispute. These will normally be members of the Committee, but ordinary members may be asked to serve if the Committee feels that they have knowledge or experience that is relevant.
2.2 All matters between the Panel members shall be decided by a majority decision.
2.3 The Panel members shall appoint one of their number to act as the Chairman.
2.4 The Panel shall receive all written reports and ask for written statements from the parties involved in the dispute. The Panel may also ask for written statements or talk to any witnesses if it is deemed relevant to the settlement of the dispute. Statements should be provided and considered within 5 days of the request unless extenuating circumstances prevent this.
2.5 The Panel will consider whether they have enough evidence to make a decision without a hearing. If this is the case the Chairman shall inform the parties of their decision.
2.6 The parties and the Panel have the right to request a hearing in person.
2.7 The Chairman shall arrange the date and place of any hearing and notify the parties of the arrangements at least 14 days in advance of the date set. The notified date shall not be changed unless one or more of the parties has a compelling reason for not being able to attend.
3. Hearing Procedure
3.1 The hearing procedure shall be flexible and it is the responsibility of the Chairman of the Panel to ensure that the hearing is conducted in an orderly and effective manner. All matters of procedure will be decided by the majority vote of the Panel.
3.2 The hearing should allow each party a reasonable opportunity to give and call evidence, address the Panel and present their case. The Chairman shall have the discretion to limit the number of witnesses and statements to ensure the proceedings are conducted within a reasonable time.
3.3 The Panel shall not be bound by the judicial rules of the courts of England and Wales governing procedure or the admissibility of evidence.
3.4 Witnesses shall be provided with an area outside of the hearing room and not take any part in the hearing other than giving evidence and responding to questions from the parties or the Panel.
4. Decision Procedure
4.1 The Panel shall come to a decision as soon as reasonably practicable.
4.2 Where the views of the Panel differ, a majority decision shall be accepted.
4.3 The Chairman shall, in any event, notify the parties and the Club Secretary in writing of its findings and decisions within 5 days of such decisions being reached.
4.4 The Club Secretary shall record the Panel’s decisions in the next Committee minutes, except for a verbal reprimand which should not be recorded.
5. Powers of the Panel
5.1 The Panel is able to administer the following sanctions:
6. Appeals Procedure
6.1 The parties to the dispute have the right to appeal against the Panel’s decision.
6.2 An elected committee member who was not party to the dispute and did not serve on the Panel shall be appointed by the committee to review the case.
6.3 The review shall consider whether the Panel acted fairly, considered all the evidence available and reached a decision that was justifiable. This may or may not include the taking of further statements from the parties or witnesses.
6.5 The outcome and decisions of the appeal process shall be communicated to the parties and the Panel and will be considered final.
7. Considerations regarding children
7.1 Any person under the age of eighteen (a “child”) who is a party to a dispute or who has been called as a witness shall normally be accompanied by a parent, a person with parental responsibility or other responsible adult. The Club Welfare Officer shall be asked to advise in any case involving a child, and the Chairman of the Panel shall have the sole discretion as to whether a child is permitted to present or defend a case or be questioned as a witness and may order that the child be assisted or represented by a responsible adult.
7.2 The Chairman of the Panel shall give due consideration to any child attending a hearing as a party to a dispute or to give evidence and in particular to the welfare of the child.
7.3 No child aged fourteen or under shall be expected to attend a hearing to give evidence in person. Any evidence should normally be given as a written statement with the assistance of the Club Welfare Officer or other person acceptable to the child and the responsible adult. Questions and responses may be relayed by a Panel member. If the child becomes distressed the Panel shall rely only on the written evidence.
7.4 A child over the age of fourteen and their responsible adult shall only attend a hearing as a party to the dispute or to give evidence in person provided they wish to do so, and the Chairman has consulted with the adult and child and is satisfied that they both understand the nature of the hearing and what will happen and that the child is competent to attend.
7.5 If there is a disagreement between adult and/or child and the Chairman on any of the considerations above, the Chairman shall decide whether to allow written, video or other forms of evidence by the child, or whether the Panel should hear evidence or complaints in private, without the other parties being present. If no agreement can be reached, then no evidence can be submitted.
7.6 After the hearing the Chairman shall inform the responsible adult of the Panel’s findings and decisions and shall discuss whether the Chairman or the responsible adult shall inform the child.