Oliva U3A Complaints Procedure
In any organisation, complaints will occur from time to time and it is important that members know where to turn for help, advice and support, so that whatever the issue, it can be dealt with quickly, objectively and appropriately.
In the first instance, complaints should be directed towards the Committee of the Oliva U3A.
For this purpose the relevant committee members are Vice President, Group Co-ordinator, Secretary, Membership Secretary and Treasurer. All their email addresses can be found on the website,
This may include complaints from members about an issue that has arisen or complaints from an external organisation or individual. Depending on the nature and source of the complaint, the Committee will make a decision as to how best to approach reaching a resolution. In dealing with complaints the Oliva U3A Committee will ensure:
- All actions will be documented.
- Complaints will be dealt with quickly and fairly.
- The Oliva U3A Committee will try to de-escalate the situation and settle issues without having to resort to formal action, where possible.
- Confidentiality will be maintained.
- Decisions made will be based on the facts and evidence gathered. In most cases, it is hoped that complaints can be dealt with informally as detailed below:
The Group Co-ordinator or designated Committee Member will first attempt informal resolution, by holding an informal discussion with each party concerned. The purpose of this would be to understand the problem and hear each party’s views. The parties may decide to put their concerns or complaints in writing, and for the sake of clarity this is often helpful.
The Group Co-ordinator or Committee Member will seek to summarise the situation with both parties, be clear about any required changes to ensure it does not happen again and clear the air.
If the Group Coordinator or designated Committee Member feel that there is a case to answer but that nevertheless it is a minor issue, then it should be made clear to the relevant parties that there must be no repeat of the sort of actions/behaviour which led to this problem. If that outcome is accepted by both parties, then no further action is necessary.
If the Group Co-ordinator or designated Committee Member feels that the situation warrants a more formal approach or a specific course of action, e.g. exclusion from an interest group, or if the person raising the complaint wishes to lodge a formal complaint, the Group Co-ordinator or Committee Member will refer the matter, in writing, to the President of Oliva U3A Committee stating that this is a formal complaint.
This will include a summary of the complaint, any steps already taken to deal with the issue and any action that the parties involved consider necessary to resolve it. If it requires more or informal resolution does not resolve the matter then the following process will be implemented.
The Group Coordinator will appoint a Complaints Investigating Officer to manage the formal complaints process. This can be the original Investigating Officer.
The Committee will inform the complainant that additional support has been requested and the reasons why. The member will be asked to put the complaint in writing giving specific dates and times, where possible. A letter or email will be sent to the complainant confirming receipt of the complaint.
The Investigating Officer to gather information relating to the complaint. This will include the letter of complaint and any supporting documentation or other member statements.
The result of these investigations must not be disclosed to any other Officers at this stage, in order to not bias any appeal. The Group Coordinator will appoint a sub-committee of three Committee Members to hear the complaint. The timetable for the date of the meeting to hear the complaint will be short, within 14 days The sub-committee will then consider the matter, taking into account any mitigating circumstances and agree what action to take. This could include, for example, a change of procedures, a change of venue for monthly meetings or whatever outcome is deemed the most appropriate as a solution.
The sub-committee decision will be communicated in writing to both the member or Committee Member who raised the complaint and the member or Committee Member against who the complaint has been made. Both parties will be informed as to the outcome of the investigation in respect of whether the complaint has been upheld or not upheld.
If the complaint has been upheld, the letter will also specify what action will be taken as a result.
Right of Appeal
A right of appeal should be offered providing it is lodged within a 7 day period from the date of the subcommittee decision being provided to the complainant and the member or Committee Member against whom the complaint has been made. The appeal needs to be lodged in the form of a written representation for the Committee to consider. An appeal can be lodged either by the person who made the complaint or by the person against whom the complaint has been made. The appeal can include a request for a right of reply as well as written representations. For the appeal, the President will convene a meeting of three Committee Members (including him/herself). This should not include those who were involved in the in the initial investigation.
The person raising the appeal will be offered a verbal right of reply, if s/he wishes to take this up then s/he will be asked to attend a meeting with the appeal panel. Where the verbal right of reply involves the member or Committee Member against whom the complaint has been made, s/he will be offered the option to attend with a companion who may also speak in a personal capacity. The whole issue will be summarised and the person making the appeal will be given the opportunity to speak. The appeal panel will review the decision based only on the facts included in the original hearing, taking into account any mitigating circumstances, and then make a final decision, which must be communicated in writing to both parties.