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Club Disciplinary and Appeals Policy

1. Introduction
1.1. This Policy outlines the process that will be followed whenever there is a complaint of
indiscipline or misconduct about a Club member, volunteer or employee and what will
happen as a consequence.
1.2. The Club has a responsibility to ensure that all its members, volunteers and employees
follow and adhere to the rules and values of the Club, as well as adhering to all relevant
and applicable British Canoeing policies and procedures, to ensure the Club offers a
safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all.
1.3. This Policy sets out the basis on which the Club will consider complaints that are raised
within the Club relating to any on or off water Club activity, including paddling, coaching
or competing.
1.4. Whilst the Club will do its best to ensure this Policy is followed, it should be noted that
the majority of people within the Club provide their time voluntarily without payment,
and have other commitments outside of the Club. This Policy should not be considered
as exhaustive. A failure to follow strictly every step outlined below shall not
automatically render any disciplinary decision unfair. This Policy will instead act as a
framework to enable disputes to be resolved in a fair and proportionate manner. The
Policy is subject to review and amendment (upon appropriate notice) from time to time.
1.5. If an incident of misconduct may amount to a criminal offence the Club may refer the
matter to the police before pursuing its own disciplinary process. All allegations
involving safeguarding shall be managed in line with British Canoeing’s Safeguarding
Policies and Procedures including where appropriate referring to British Canoeing for
triage, guidance, and where it is deemed necessary, investigation.
1.6. This Policy applies to all people involved in Club activities who, by participating in that
activity, agree to be bound by this Policy.
2. Key Terms
2.1. In this Policy certain terms are used frequently. Whenever they appear these terms shall
have the following meanings:

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Club: our club, [insert name].
Complaint: a complaint of Misconduct that is raised following this Policy. The term
Complainant: shall refer to the person(s) who raises the Complaint.
Individual: any member, volunteer, employee or other person who participates in, or assists
with, Club activity and about whom a Complaint has been raised.
Misconduct: any behaviour or incident which is contrary to the Club rules, codes of conduct
or any other offence or behaviour carried out during or in association with Club activities that
might reasonably be considered as bringing or having the potential to bring the Club into
disrepute. Examples of the type of behaviour that may amount to Misconduct are given
further below.
Policy: this disciplinary and appeals policy including the steps outlined below.
Writing: references throughout this Policy to “in writing” or “write” shall include
correspondence being sent via email.
3. Disciplinary Process
Whenever there is an issue of Misconduct the following steps shall be followed:
Step 1 – Raising a Complaint:
3.1. If any person wishes to raise a Complaint it should be reported in writing to the Club
Secretary. Where the matter relates to the Club Secretary, the Complaint should be
submitted to the Club Welfare Officer or Club Chair (who shall then fulfil the role of Club
Secretary throughout the rest of this process). When reporting a Complaint, specific
details and evidence about the Misconduct must be included. Examples of Misconduct
might include:
a. any behaviour, conduct, statement or practice that is discriminatory, abusive,
threatening, intimidating, harassing or deliberately provocative or intended to
offend, insult, humiliate, ridicule or cause harm or fear; or
b. an act of dishonesty, including cheating or misrepresentation of qualifications
and their status; or
c. a failure to comply with any Club rule or policy (whether in person or online).
3.2. If the Club becomes aware of Misconduct it may raise a Complaint itself or conduct any
necessary investigation into the case of Misconduct.
Step 2 - Communicating the Complaint:
3.3. On receipt of the Complaint the Club Secretary shall write to the Individual or Individuals
concerned to inform them of the Complaint and to invite them to comment on the

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allegations in writing within fourteen days. The Club Secretary may also choose to meet
with the Individual(s) to obtain their comments. The Club Secretary shall also be entitled
to take such advice or conduct any initial investigation as they consider is prudent in the
circumstances to enable them to review the Complaint.
Step 3 – Reviewing the Complaint
3.4. Once the Club Secretary has received any applicable comments from the Individual(s)
involved, and completed any investigation, they will determine if the Complaint has
sufficient grounds and is capable of being pursued based on the evidence and
statements provided.
3.5. A frivolous or vexatious Complaint may be dismissed at this stage. If the Complaint is of
a nature that can reasonably be dealt with by informal methods, including an informal
warning, the Club Secretary may do so and inform the Complainant(s) and the
Individual(s) accordingly.
3.6. If it appears there is a case to answer, the Club Secretary will ask 3 members of the Club
Committee with appropriate skills or experience to form a disciplinary panel. No
Committee member should be asked to join a disciplinary panel if they have a direct
interest or involvement in the matter giving rise to the Complaint or are directly related
to any of the persons involved with the Complaint. Knowing the person(s) involved in
the Complaint or having some knowledge of the circumstances of the Complaint shall
not preclude a Committee member from sitting on a disciplinary panel. Where there is
insufficient non conflicted members of the Committee to form the disciplinary panel,
British Canoeing reserves the right to appoint an independent person or Panel to hear
the matter.
3.7. The Club Secretary shall have the power to suspend any Individual accused of
Misconduct from Club activity on a temporary basis. This temporary suspension shall
last only as long as the Club takes to complete this disciplinary process. The purpose of
this suspension shall be to facilitate the investigation, protect the Individual and the
Complainant and should not be considered punitive in nature and shall not prejudice or
influence the outcome of the investigation. Any temporary suspension shall be kept
under review to ensure it remains reasonable and proportionate.
Step 4 – Hearing the Complaint (Disciplinary Hearing):
3.8. The disciplinary panel shall consider the matter based on any evidence gathered by the
Club Secretary and the formal statements submitted by the Complainant and the
3.9. The disciplinary panel shall also have the right to speak with anyone else involved who
may have witnessed the Misconduct and to make such further enquiries as it thinks fit.
3.10. The disciplinary panel shall be entitled to reach a conclusion based on the statements
submitted and any other evidence it has gathered (as outlined above). Alternatively,
the disciplinary panel may decide to call a meeting to discuss the Complaint, in which

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case it shall give both the Complainant and the Individual(s) sufficient advance notice
of the meeting date. Wherever possible the meeting shall be held within 14 days of the
disciplinary panel calling the meeting.
3.11. The disciplinary panel shall ensure the case is handled justly and without undue delay.
All hearings must be conducted fairly, by an objective panel, with the Individual(s) given
a full opportunity to answer the allegations and produce any evidence or witnesses in
support of their case. The Individual shall be entitled to be assisted or represented by a
person of their choice.
Step 5 – Reaching an Outcome and Sanctions
3.12. The disciplinary panel may uphold the Complaint, dismiss it, or partially uphold the
Complaint, and will provide written reasons for its decision. If the disciplinary panel is
satisfied that an offence of Misconduct has been committed, then it may impose one
or more of the following actions:
a. note the Misconduct but take no further formal action. The panel may ask the
Individual(s) to issue an apology if appropriate;
b. formally warn the Individual concerned as to future conduct;
c. suspend or disqualify the Individual from Club activity, coaching and/or
administration and/or use of the Club's premises for a defined period up to a
maximum of 12 months;
d. cancel the Individual’s membership of the Club (with no requirement to refund
the membership fee) and refuse future membership; or
e. a combination of the above or such other penalty as the Disciplinary Panel
considers appropriate.

3.13. All parties concerned will be provided with the disciplinary panel’s written reasons
outlining the decision made.
4. Appeal Process
Should the Individual(s) or the Complainant wish to challenge the decision of the disciplinary
panel and/or the sanction imposed, the following steps shall be followed:
Step 1 – Challenging the Decision of the Disciplinary Panel (an Appeal):
4.1. The Individual(s) or the Complainant may appeal the decision of the disciplinary panel
and/or the sanction imposed by serving a Notice of Appeal on the Club Secretary within
seven days of the Club Secretary communicating the disciplinary panel’s decision to
them. The letter notifying the Individual and the Complainant of the decision of the
disciplinary panel shall also set out the right to appeal.

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4.2. The Notice of Appeal must clearly state the grounds on which the Individual or the
Complainant is appealing the decision and not just repeat the original complaint or the
response to the original Complaint (dependent on who is bringing the appeal). The
grounds on which a decision can be appealed are as follows:
a. the decision (including as to sanctions) was based on error of fact or could not
have been reasonably reached by the disciplinary panel when faced with the
evidence before it;
b. serious procedural or other irregularity by the disciplinary panel. As an example,
the panel did not speak to a reasonable cross-section of people who witnessed
the Misconduct. If this is found to be the case, the Appeal Panel shall hear the
matter over again, from the beginning, without being bound in any way by the
decision being appealed; or
c. significant and relevant new evidence has become available which was not
available at the time the disciplinary panel made its decision but, had it been
available, may have caused the disciplinary panel to reach a materially
difference decision.

4.3. It is important that the Complainant or the Individual recognise that the appeal is not
an opportunity to repeat the original disciplinary hearing. The same arguments and
evidence as were submitted to the disciplinary panel must not be submitted in isolation
to the Appeals Panel. The appeal must identify one of the above three grounds only and
explain why they are met. Otherwise, the appeal will be dismissed.
4.4. The Club Secretary shall acknowledge the Notice of Appeal within seven days of its
receipt and, if necessary, ask for any further evidence or reasons why the appeal is being
Step 2 – setting up the Appeal Panel
4.5. The Club Secretary shall appoint either an individual (such as the Club Chair) to review
the Appeal or three new Committee members (or other individuals with appropriate
and relevant experience) who have not been involved directly with the Complaint,
either in the events giving rise to the Complaint or in the initial disciplinary panel itself.
4.6. The Club Secretary shall inform the Individual and the Complainant of who is reviewing
the appeal (“the Appeal Panel”). If the Individual or the Complainant has any objections
to the Appeal Panel these must be raised promptly (and no later than 5 days of being
informed) to the Club Secretary who shall review the objection and decide in their
reasonable discretion whether it is appropriate to alter the composition of the Appeal
Step 3 - what the Appeal Panel can do

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4.7. The Appeal Panel shall determine the appeal and may either invite the Complainant and
the Individual(s) to provide any further statements or set up a meeting. The Appeal
Panel may at its sole discretion disregard any failure by a party to adhere to this appeal
procedure and may give such further directions as may be appropriate.
4.8. Where the Appeal Panel is formed of three individuals, the Appeal Panel shall decide
any issue by majority.
4.9. The Appeal Panel shall have power to make a decision on the facts as it thinks fit and
a. uphold the original decision and sanction;
b. overturn the original decision and remove any sanction imposed by the
original Disciplinary Panel;
c. overturn the original decision and impose a sanction;
d. confirm the original decision but increase the sanction;
e. confirm the original decision but reduce the sanction;
f. make such further order as it considers appropriate.
4.10. The Appeal Panel shall inform all parties of its decision together with written reasons.
The decision of the Appeal Panel shall be final with no further right of Appeal.
5. Records of Hearings and Appeals
The decision of a disciplinary panel and the Appeal Panel shall be in writing and retained
as confidential records for a period of six years by the Club. Supporting documents shall
also be retained for the same period of time alongside the decision.
6. Notification to British Canoeing
6.1. The Club Secretary, once the Appeal notice period has expired, may inform British
Canoeing of the outcome of a disciplinary process if it is considered necessary or a
requirement of the policies and procedures of British Canoeing, including, but not
limited to, ensuring:
a. compliance with a sanction, especially where the Individual has been
suspended from competing or participating in any canoeing activity; or
b. for the welfare and safety of those engaged in canoeing or paddlesport activity.
6.2. An authorised officer of British Canoeing may at any time ask the Club to share its
disciplinary records with British Canoeing in furtherance of its role as National
Governing Body of the sport.
7. Co-operation

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7.1. This Policy assumes that all parties will co-operate in the interest of resolving the issue
in question. In the absence of such co-operation, or if it is withdrawn at any stage, the
Club reserves the right to proceed with a disciplinary panel or an Appeal based on such
evidence and information as it is able to obtain.
7.2. When dealing with a Complaint, the Club Secretary or nominated Club representative
shall be entitled to take, or omit to take, such action as is recommended pursuant to
legal advice received from a legal practitioner whom the Club Secretary reasonably
believes is competent to provide such advice.

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