We Are Community Incorporated Policies

Policy Name: Complaints Handling
Date: 23rd March 2019
Policy Number: WAC001
Review: 3rd October 2019
1 Purpose
We Are Community welcomes all feedback that may improve the quality of its work, enhance the trust and confidence of stakeholders, ensure the safety of its staff and volunteers, identify areas of work that may need to be improved, and ensure it learns from the feedback provided through this process.
We Are Community will respond constructively to all internal and external complaints. This policy applies to all Management Committee members, Members, staff, and volunteers and will provide protection to anyone reporting a complaint.
We Are Community defines a complaint as:
“A grievance made against We Are Community or against one or more of its Management Committee, staff, volunteers, partner organisations or anyone else acting officially on its behalf, where the organisation has allegedly failed to meet a requirement or legitimate expectation. The complaint might be related to We Are Community’s use of resources, values, particular individuals’ conduct/behaviour, legal requirement, or any other expression of dissatisfaction with the organisation’s performance.”
2 Scope
The following principles will guide We Are Community’s complaints handling process:
• Visibility: information about the process for making a complaint will be clear and well publicised to our stakeholders on We Are Community’s website.
• Accessibility: the process for making complaints is easily accessible to all stakeholders. Complaints should be addressed to We Are Community’s Chair and will be accepted in written form.
• Objectivity: all complaints are addressed in a fair and equitable, objective, and unbiased manner throughout the complaints handling process. Issues of conflict of interest will be identified to ensure objectivity.
• Confidentiality: confidentiality relating to the complaint will be safeguarded as required by law.
• Stakeholder-focused approach: We Are Community has a stakeholder-focused approach, actively welcomes feedback including complaints and has a commitment to actively address all complaints.
• Responsiveness: all complaints and constructive feedback will be taken seriously and handled as swiftly as practicable, subject to applicable legislation and legal advice. All complainants will be updated on the progress of their complaint through the complaints handling process.
• Accountability: accountability for handling complaints and reporting on the actions and decisions of We Are Community with respect to complaints handling will be clearly established. All complaints will be recorded through one central point before allocating responsibility to the Chair.
• Organisational commitment to this policy: We Are Community will ensure sufficient resources and expertise are provided to handle complaints.
3 Complaints Handling Process
Once a complaint is received by We Are Community, no matter the nature or relevance of the complaint, all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure the gathering of all necessary information for the ultimate resolution of the complaint.
The process We Are Community follows for the initiation and resolution of complaints is as follows:
a) Receiving and Acknowledging Complaints 
• People wishing to lodge a complaint with We Are Community can do so in writing.
• This policy, specifically highlighting the central point for all complaints is also publicised on We Are Community’s website as follows:
• The Chair is empowered in the first instance to deal with the complaint and enact any steps to resolve the complaint at the initial point of contact. All complaints must be logged and marked CONFIDENTIAL.
• If the complaint is unable to be resolved at this first point of contact then the Chair will inform the Management Committee and complete the Complaint Record Form (see Annexure A).
• The Chair will ensure an acknowledgement of the complaint is provided to the complainant within five business days of the complaint being received. This acknowledgement will confirm that the complaint has been received and outline next steps, the contact officer, and likely timeframes.
• Where a complainant is anonymous the complaint will be assessed for validity and whether further investigation or caution is called for. This will be determined by the Chair.
• Complaints about the Chair will be referred to the Deputy Chair. The Deputy Chair’s email address will be provided.
• The identity of the complainant will be protected unless permission to disclose is obtained from the complainant.
• Complainants will receive a response outlining the outcome of the complaint. We Are Community will refer any complaints to a more appropriate forum if the matter is outside its jurisdiction.
b) Registering and Analysing Complaints
• All complaints will be logged on the Complaints Record Form at Annexure A.
• These forms will be collated by the Chair and a report prepared for the Management Committee at a minimum on a quarterly basis.
• The Management Committee has an important role to play in overseeing the number and nature of complaints received and ensuring they have been handled satisfactorily, that appropriate corrective action has been implemented and that trends are identified and addressed
Annexure A: Complaint Record Form
Complaint Record Form - CONFIDENTIAL
Task Responsible Person Date
Complaint acknowledged
Complaint assessed
Investigation of events
Resolution with complainant
Confirmation with complainant
Complaint closed
External referral offered
Complaint filed
1. Initial receipt of complaint
Date received: ____/____/_____ Reference Number:

Received □ in person  □ via email  □ via phone  □ via mail
Initial action taken (if applicable):
2. Details of complaint
Complainant’s name:
Complainant’s address:

Complainant’s email:

Complainant’s phone:

What happened, when and who was involved:
Outcome sought by complainant:
3. Complaint resolution details
Approach: □ early resolution  □ mediation  □ conciliation  □ investigation □
Staff member involved:

Issues investigated / findings:
Interviews with relevant parties (include names, positions and dates):
Other notes:
4. Complaint outcome details
Date resolved: _____ / _____ / _____
Describe outcome:
Did complainant agree to outcome?   □ yes □ no
Complaint referred to external agency?  □ yes □ no
If yes which agency?
Actions taken: □ apology  □ explanation  □ fee reduction  □ fee waiver  □ policy / procedure review
□ other:
Recommendation for changes to policies / procedures (where applicable):
Date complainant informed of outcome: ___ / ___ / ___
5. Complaint closure
Complaint closed?   □ yes □ no
Date closed: ___ / ___ / ___

Policy Name: Bullying
Date: 23rd March 2019
Policy Number: WAC002
Review: 23rd March 2020
We Are Community believes that all people should work in an environment free from bullying.
We Are Community understands that workplace bullying is a threat to the health and wellbeing of its staff, volunteers, and friends.
Accordingly, We Are Community is committed to eliminating, so far as is reasonably practicable, all forms of workplace bullying by maintaining a culture of openness, support, and accountability.
The purpose of this document is to communicate that We Are Community does not tolerate any form of workplace bullying and to set out the process which is to be followed should any instances of workplace bullying be reported.

“Bullying” is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group of persons that creates a risk to health and safety. It includes behaviour that could be expected to intimidate, offend, degrade, humiliate, undermine, or threaten.
“Repeated behaviour” refers to the persistent nature of the behavior and can involve a range of behaviors over time.
“Unreasonable behaviour” is behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances would see as unreasonable, including behavior that is victimizing, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening.
Examples of behavior, whether intentional or unintentional, that may be considered to be workplace bullying if they are repeated, unreasonable and create a risk to health and safety include but are not limited to:
• abusive, insulting, or offensive language or comments
• unjustified criticism or complaints
• deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
• withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
• setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
• setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
• denying access to information, supervision, consultation, or resources to the detriment of the worker
• spreading misinformation or malicious rumors
• changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.
Workplace bullying can be carried out in a variety of ways including through email, text, or social media channels.
Workplace bullying can occur between volunteers, from management to volunteers, or volunteers to supervisors/managers.
Reasonable management action is not considered to be workplace bullying if it is carried out lawfully and in a reasonable manner in the circumstances. Examples of reasonable management action include but are not limited to:
• setting reasonable performance goals, standards, and deadlines
• deciding not to select a volunteer for promotion where a reasonable process is followed
• informing a volunteer about unsatisfactory work performance in an honest, fair, and constructive way
• taking disciplinary action, including suspension, or terminating a volunteer role.
Differences of opinion and disagreements are generally not considered to be workplace bullying.
Bullying that directly inflicts physical pain, harm, or humiliation amounts to assault and should be dealt with as a police matter (see below).

We Are Community has a duty of care to provide a safe workplace, and ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that volunteers and other people are not exposed to health and safety risks.

We Are Community accepts and acts on its duty of care. Any reported allegations of workplace bullying will be promptly, thoroughly, and fairly investigated.
Bullying complaints will be handled in a confidential and procedurally fair manner. Where confidentiality cannot be guaranteed this will be clearly communicated to the relevant parties.
All parties will be treated with respect.
The person against whom the allegation is made has the right to natural justice (the right to know what is alleged against them, the right to put their case in reply, and the right for any decision to be made by an impartial decision-maker).
It is the obligation and responsibility of every person to ensure that the workplace is free from bullying. The responsibility lies with every manager, supervisor, employee, and volunteer to ensure that bullying does not occur in the workplace.
All workers have:
• an entitlement to work in a safe and healthy workplace and to be treated with dignity and respect
• an entitlement to make a complaint in respect of any bullying behaviour
• a responsibility to take reasonable care for their own health and safety
• a responsibility to ensure they do not promote or engage in bullying and otherwise take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other people
• a responsibility to co-operate and comply with this policy and any other relevant policy.
It is the responsibility of all managers to ensure that:
• they understand, and are committed to, the right of all employees and volunteers to attend work and perform their duties without fear of being bullied in any form
• all reasonable steps to eliminate bullying are made so far as is reasonably practicable
• all applicable occupational health and safety legislation is observed
• all employees and volunteers are regularly educated and made aware of their obligations and responsibilities in relation to providing a workplace free from bullying
• they provide an environment which discourages bullying, and set an example by their own behaviour
• all complaints are treated seriously and confidentially
• they are as far as practicable aware of whether bullying is occurring, whether complaints are received or not, relying on such indices as:
o sudden increases in absenteeism
o unexplained requests for transfers
o behavioural changes such as depression
o sudden deterioration in work performance
• they take immediate and appropriate action if they become aware of any bullying or offensive behaviour
• any reported allegations of workplace bullying are promptly, thoroughly, and fairly investigated
• guidance and education are provided, where requested and/or appropriate, to cases and subsequent decisions relating to bullying
• ongoing support and guidance are provided to management, employees, and volunteers in relation to the prevention of bullying
• this policy is displayed in the workplace and easily accessible to all workers and volunteers.
Complaints Procedures
If an employee or volunteer feels comfortable in doing so, it is preferable to raise the issue with the person directly with a view to resolving the issue by discussion. The employee or volunteer should identify the offensive behaviour, explain that the behaviour is unwelcome and offensive and ask that the behaviour stops.
If the behaviour continues, or if the employee or volunteer feels unable to speak to the person(s) directly, they should contact their supervisor or manager, a human resources officer, or any other manager with whom they feel comfortable. The manager or officer will provide support and ascertain the nature of the complaint.
Informal Intervention
The manager will explain the rights and responsibilities of the employee or volunteer under the relevant policy and procedures.
Informal intervention may be done through a process of either mediation or conciliation. During informal intervention the respondent will be made aware of the allegations being made against them and given the right to respond. Interventions at this stage should adopt a confidential, non-confrontational approach with a view to resolving the issue.
This procedure will be complete when the alleged harasser respects the individual’s request to cease unwanted and unwelcome behaviour, or when the complainant accepts that the behaviour is not properly described as bullying. If neither of these outcomes occurs, the organisation’s formal procedure should be followed.

Formal Complaints Procedure
The formal complaint procedure involves a formal investigation of the complaint. Formal investigations may be conducted internally (by a manager or officer) or by an external investigator.
An investigation involves collecting information about the complaint and then making a finding based on the available information as to whether or not the alleged behaviour occurred. Once a finding is made, the investigator will make recommendations about resolving the complaint.
The investigator may need to interview the parties involved (which may include the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses) to obtain information regarding the complaint. The investigator will comprehensively and accurately document all information obtained during the interviews including the parties involved, timing, location, and nature of conduct complained against.
If the investigator considers it appropriate for the safe and efficient conduct of an investigation, workplace participants may be stood down from work or provided with alternative duties during an investigation in which case they will be paid their normal pay during any such period.
Throughout the investigation process, all parties involved in the investigation will be regularly kept informed about the investigation.
The findings as to whether bullying has occurred will be determined on the basis of the evidence, and on the balance of probabilities.
On the basis of the findings, possible outcomes of the investigation may include, but will not be limited to, any combination of the following:
• Counselling
• Disciplinary action (including an up to termination of employment)
• Official warning
• Formal apology and/or an undertaking that the behaviour will cease
• Mediation where the parties to the complaint agree to a mutually acceptable resolution.
On completion of the investigation, all parties will be informed about the investigation findings and the outcome of the investigation.
Following an investigation concerning a bullying complaint (irrespective of the findings), the manager concerned will:
• consult with the parties involved to monitor the situation and their wellbeing; and
• educate and remind all employees and volunteers of their obligations and responsibilities in relation to providing a workplace free from bullying

Procedures for Dealing with Criminal Conduct
Some forms of severe bullying (physical attack, for example, or obscene phone calls) may constitute criminal conduct.  While We Are Community is committed to treat most complaints about bullying at an organisational level as far as possible, this type of conduct is not suited to internal resolution.  Such complaints should be treated by the criminal justice system.  Employees or volunteers should be advised of the option of police support or intervention.  It is not the obligation or duty of the organisation to report such matters to the police on behalf of the complainant.
• Anti-Discrimination Policy
• Sexual Harassment Policy

Policy Name: Board Dispute Resolution
Date: 23rd March 2019
Policy Number: WAC003
Review: 23rd March 2020
The Board of We Are Community is committed to reaching a speedy and just resolution of any disputes or grievances that may arise and that may threaten the harmonious functioning of the Board.

This policy is designed to set out the process for resolution of disputes or grievances between Board members that are unable to be resolved through respectful debate in Board meetings.

Disputes will be resolved by mediation.

It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that:
• Board members are aware of this policy.
• Disputes are handled respectfully, confidentially, and in accordance with natural justice.
It is the responsibility of all the employees to ensure that their usage of electronic media conforms to this policy.

The parties to the dispute must notify the Chair and meet to discuss the matter in dispute, and, if possible, resolve the dispute within 14 days after the dispute comes to the attention of all of the parties.
If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute at such a meeting, or if a party fails to attend that meeting, then the parties must, within 10 days, hold a meeting in the presence of a mediator.
The mediator must be –
(a) a person chosen by agreement between the parties; or
(b) in the absence of agreement, a person appointed by the Board or the Dispute Settlement Centre of New South Wales.
The mediator:
(a) may be a member or former member;
(b) must not be biased, or reasonably be perceived to be biased; and
(c) must not have a personal interest in the dispute.
The parties to the dispute must, in good faith, attempt to settle the dispute by mediation.
The mediator, in conducting the mediation, must –
(a) give the parties to the mediation process every opportunity to be heard; and
(b) allow due consideration by all parties of any written statement submitted by any party; and
(c) ensure that natural justice is accorded to the parties to the dispute throughout the mediation process.
The mediator must not determine the dispute.
The mediation must be confidential and without prejudice.
If the mediation process does not result in the dispute being resolved, the parties may seek to resolve the dispute otherwise in the Board or at law.

• Sexual Harassment Policy