In the event that any Youth Member, Parent/Carer, Club or FA Official or Coach feels that he or she has suffered discrimination, experienced or witnessed something of concern or that the Club’s Policies, Rules or Code of Conduct has been broken they should report the matter to The Club.
For issues that are straightforward and easily resolved, requiring little or no investigation, a private word to The Team Coach or other Club Official might remedy the issue or concern that has arisen. This is not to undervalue minor concerns, rather in some instances a remedy can be decided upon quickly and to the satisfaction of all (an apology, explanation or other action). For example, it may be some aspect of Club Policy has not been fully understood by a parent, or incorrectly applied by a Coach, or The Club policy itself is unclear or contradictory. A private word with the ‘frontline’ person (e.g. Coach) might be the obvious and simplest approach to take. The Club would expect the issue to be resolved within one week and The Coach or Club Official is required to report to The Chairman and Head Of Football the concern and resolution offered so that this can be agreed and recorded in The Club minutes.
More Serious Concerns
There is always the potential for more serious concerns to arise that require a more significant intervention. In these instances, a more formal process is required so that the club can both record and address the issue or concern. Where a serious concern arises, this should be reported to any member of the Coaching Staff or Club Official who is required to pass this concern onto both The Head Of Football and The Chairman of The Club. Once reported, The Chairman and Head Of Football are collectively responsible for the investigation of the major concern and for applying the following guiding principles:
• The Complainant should be asked to make their complaint in writing to either The Head Of Football or Chairman detailing their complaint, and how they can be contacted so The Club can keep them informed of progress or their complaint;
• That The Club will remain in contact with the Complainant and deal with the complaint constructively;
• The Complainant will receive timely confirmation by phone or email that The Club has received and is dealing with their complaint and that this should not be more than 5 days from receiving the complaint;
• That The Club will investigate the complaint and respond to the complaint within 20 days of receipt (either with a proposed resolution, or details of further actions to be taken);
• That The Club will investigate the complaint by looking at what might have gone wrong and/or what needs to be done to rectify the cause of the complaint. The Club will also assess whether someone has suffered any injustice, and what remedy would be fair and proportionate in the circumstances;
• The Club will consider whether to consult or inform The FA in relation to any breach of FA rules or guidelines;
• Where the complaint indicates a law may have been broken, The Club will inform the relevant statutory authority;
• Complaints that have a general significance across the Club might necessitate wider consultation, (e.g. selection process for matches) which might have implications for the interests of Parents, Youth Members and Coaches but from different perspectives, and therefore involve wider consultation and perhaps even discussion by The Club Committee;
• Sensitive complaints may need to be dealt with confidentially (e.g. that involve a Safeguarding context) and include guidance from specific Officers of The Club, e.g. Club Welfare Officer or from The FA;
• That learning from something that has gone, or is going wrong, and putting right mistakes, is paramount. Seeking to hide mistakes is counter to the wider interests of The Club, Its Youth Members and Volunteers and therefore any investigation should be open, fair and respectful to all concerned.