The new Standing Orders for Party Discipline for the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) passed at Spring Conference 2018, together with other all party documentation , established a new constitutionally binding complaints & disciplinary framework for the Green Party of England & Wales.
According to these national requirements York GP must be able to deal with complaints, disciplinary matters or disputes.
This policy is an expansion and clarification of the section 3.4 of the York Green Party Constitution
3.4 York GP shall seek to resolve any disputes between members and supporters through discussion and conciliation. York GP has the right and responsibility to take disciplinary action (including suspension or expulsion from York GP) against any member or supporter who has acted against the aims and agreed policies of York GP or has brought it into disrepute. Decisions on disciplinary action shall only be made by the panel, and the subject of the dispute has a right to appeal to the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Party via its disciplinary code and after that to the national party.
2. Complaints & Disciplinary Panel
The York Green Party (GP) Committee shall appoint a standing subcommittee of the York GP Committee composed of at least 3 of its officers, called the Complaints & Disciplinary Panel, to determine complaints or disciplinary matters. Disciplinary action should be seen as a last resort and not as a substitute for good working practices, nor for the use of consensual dispute resolution. A member may not be on the Panel for a case they are involved in.
The Panel is empowered to deal with complaints against Local Party members.
A complaint or disciplinary matter should be notified to the Secretary of the Committee, who will immediately refer it to the Panel. The Panel will appoint an investigator from a list of approved volunteers to initiate an investigation into the complaint and prepare the results of that investigation for consideration by the Panel.
Once the investigation has started the York disciplinary panel can ask GPRC for immediate suspension if it is thought that the behaviour of a party to the dispute is likely to bring the Party into disrepute.
At the outset, a complainant or defendant should be encouraged to clarify whether they consider all or part of their case to be in any way confidential. If this is so, they should be told this may make it difficult to deal effectively with their case.
Both the Secretary and Panel members should also make every reasonable effort to respect confidentiality, while explaining to participants that some details may necessarily need to be shared in confidence with Committee members or, in some cases, with other Green Party members and that the outcome of the case may be reported to York GP members. Reporting of cases should be anonymised unless the Panel considers there is good reason to give details, which would otherwise remain confidential.
On receipt of the report from the investigator the Panel will determine whether there is a case to answer. Dispute resolution via the Wellbeing Champions will be offered at this point and any further report or recommendations from them will also be considered by the Panel.
If following this mediation the matter is resolved, the Panel need take no further action. If the matter remains unresolved, before making a decision the Panel will offer those involved the right to an oral hearing, and shall attempt to convene this within 21 days of the request being received.
The Panel will determine the facts about the matter; establish the most likely picture of what did (or did not) happen from an analysis of those facts; identify any problems, including the source of those problems; and identify whether there has been any unacceptable conduct. The Panel’s decision will take into account all party documentation, eg: Members Code of Conduct , Safe Spaces Policy , Child Protection Policy and the AntiBullying, Harrassment & Discrimination Policy as well as the relevant constitutions , standing orders, procedural documents, strategy documents and job descriptions.
Once a final decision has been reached, this will be referred to the committee for confirmation. The defendant may appeal to the committee for a reconsideration of the decision. This Appeal Panel will consist of three members of the committee not previously involved in the process.
All actions will need to be logged by the Panel: date of receipt of complaint; issues identified by panel; appointment of investigator; initial assessment by panel; appointment of wellbeing champion; result of mediation; assessment of outstanding issues by Panel; offer of oral hearing; outcome of oral hearing and recommendations; appeal to committee; outcome of appeal.
4. Sanctions against York GP members
The Panel has the power to impose one or more of the following sanctions:
- Signed commitment as to future conduct
- Written warning
- Moderation or exclusion from York GP email lists or online activities for a defined period
- Exclusion from York GP meetings or activities, including those of its working groups, or subcommittees etc, for a defined period
- Exclusion from standing for positions of responsibility within York GP for a defined period, (including any position elected or appointed by York GP or its members)
- Dismissal from any position of responsibility within York GP where York GP has authority to do so
- Appeal to the national Disciplinary Committee for the member’s national membership to be suspended or terminated
- Referral to the regional or national Disciplinary Committee if the matter cannot be dealt with at the local level.
5. Wellbeing Champions
The York RC will recruit as many wellbeing champions as appropriate. The role of the champion is to assist Local Parties to deal effectively with any disputes/conflicts that may arise, to generally help to promote good working relationships and the wellbeing of York GP members, and to provide dispute resolution in connection with cases being dealt with by the Complaints & Disciplinary Panel.
A request for dispute resolution may be made by members or York GP bodies directly to the Wellbeing Champions. Dispute resolution shall be on a consensual basis and shall remain confidential unless the participants agree to disclosure.
If the parties are happy with the process of DR, but not happy with the local process, then the matter may be referred to the regional DRC.
6. The job description for the York GP Wellbeing Champions
To assist York GP to deal effectively with any disputes/conflicts that may arise and Generally help to promote good working relationships and wellbeing of York GP members.
7 GPRC representatives
GPRC representatives may not be involved in proceedings (unless as complainant or complainee ) within York as this may conflict with any role they may have in further procedures or appeal procedures.