Managing your Clubs & Societies: Engage Platform

How To: Responding to and managing complaints

As a Society Committee member, there may be times that you receive a complaint from a member. This complaint could be about an event you have organised, the conduct of another member, the decisions taken by the committee, and many more reasons. Complaints are an important form of feedback and must be addressed properly. This guide will empower you to properly respond to complaints, who to include and how to reach resolutions.

The complaint procedure

You must follow the complaint procedure as outlined in your valid constitution. This is to ensure fairness to both the person making complaint and the subject of the complaint. Complaints are an important form of feedback and it is important to engage with them.

Right to make a complaint

Any member has the right to raise a complaint to the Committee, relating to (but not limited to) the following:

  • The conduct of another member or members of the club or society (while participating in club/society activity). If the complaint pertains to another member outside of club/society activity, or is a complaint about the entire club/society, this should take place using the the procedure here:
  • The delivery of any club/society activity
  • Any decision taken which impacts on the overall activity of the club/society

In some instances, the member may complain to the Student Activities Team and not the committee. In these instances, the complaint will be referred to the Committee.

If someone interacts with your society but is not a member, for example a coach, then they do not have a right to make a complaint. It is your decision if you wish to engage with the complaint. As always, we would recommend consulting with your Development and Engagement Coordinator.

Informing the Activities Team

The Committee should inform the LUU Student Activities Team of any complaints; the person to contact is your Development and Engagement Coordinator. In the majority of cases, the committee is empowered to handle the complaint. Our focus is to support the committee to appropriately handle the complaint, ensuring a fair and impartial process that follows the correct procedure. Complaints that are mishandled present a risk to both the complainant and the committee. Furthermore, the Activities Team will help grade the complaint. Please see the next section.

Grading the complaint

Complaints are graded as follows. This is done with the agreement of the committee. The grade will affect the process to be followed.

Serious incident

A ‘serious incident’ has immediate and severe impact on an individual or group of individuals, and in some cases may be the result of criminal action. A ‘serious incident’ includes any incident which might result in criminal action (eg sexual assault, physical assault, theft, fraud), as well as coercive behaviours and hate crime.

Serious incidents may occur in a range of settings.

When there has been an alleged serious incident, LUU will manage the complaint. In many cases, LUU will not take direct responsibility for resolution of a serious incident, but will instead escalate this to the University or the Police.

Non-serious major issue

Major issues include breaches of LUU rules and procedures, including the Clubs and Society constitution. Furthermore, it may include escalation of minor complaints which have been mishandled.

Non-serious major issues are handled by the Clubs and Society Constitution as detailed in this document.

Minor issue

Minor incidents typically relate to low levels of service provision, poor communications, and any other non-serious concerns raised by members.

Minor issues should be resolved using the Clubs and Society Constitution as detailed in this document.

Responding to a Minor Issue and/or a Non-serious Major Issue

The Committee must work with the member who has raised the complaint to come to an informal resolution, following the LUU Good Practice Guidelines for Conflict Resolution.

If the Committee and the member who has raised the complaint are unable to come to an informal resolution, they must conduct a fair and impartial investigation. They must consult with the Student Activities Team Manager, or their nominee, before undertaking the investigation.

Escalating to an investigation

Following the inability to reach an informal resolution, the committee will investigate the complaint, following the LUU Good Practice Guidelines for Investigations.

The investigation report will conclude one of the following:

Formal Action

  • This is to initiate a disciplinary hearing
  • Change to the society’s policy or procedures
  • Further investigation or escalation to LUU

Informal Action

  • Support for them, so the member can reflect, learn and adapt
  • Individual support when they participate in your activity
  • Mentoring or buddying to help the member feel heard, supported and make friends
  • Additional training, for the member(s) and/or the committee, so that issues don’t reoccur

No further action

  • There is no further action to be taken. Although recommendations that parties seek counselling and/or mediation could be made.

If the committee are to take disciplinary action as a result of an investigation following a complaint, they must consult the Student Activities Team Manager, or their nominee, at the earliest opportunity otherwise any subsequent decision will be treated as void.

Disciplinary action against a member may include (but is not limited to):

  • Temporary suspension from some or all activity
  • Requirement that the disciplined member issues an apology
  • Requirement that the disciplined member completes mandatory training to prevent an issue reoccurring
  • In more serious cases, the Committee may choose to permanently suspend a member from some or all activity, or permanently exclude that member from the society.

In the event that someone is no longer able to participate within their society, LUU and the committee are committed to helping the affected student with their transition out of the society. The transition policy sets out the expectation that all staff and students will uphold affected club and society members’ dignity and with an ethos that supports equality, diversity and inclusivity and offers provision to support transition.