Incident and Dispute Resolution Policy

The purpose of this Policy is to manage incidents, complaints and disputes with Alpine Synchro Artistic Swimming Club (“ASASC” or the “Club”). 

Amendments to our Incident and Dispute Resolution Policy

We reserve the right to review and amend this Policy from time to time.  Amendments will be effective immediately and ASASC has no obligation to notify you of such amendments.  We recommend that you check this page for amendments each time you revisit this website.

If a member has a dispute with ASASC, the member shall attempt to resolve the dispute by the following process:

  1. a meeting between the member and Club officers. The member may nominate two other members to join them for the discussion; and the Club officers may also nominate two other members.
  2. mediation between parties with an independent mediator.

The resolution of the dispute may follow the following steps:

Conflict is natural in any organisation where diverse passions and cultures come together. Disagreements can relate to substantive issues such as the goals or the allocation of resources or can arise at an individual level in the form of disputes or complaints.

Note there is a material difference between a ‘complaint’, an ‘incident’ and a ‘dispute’.  For the purposes of our Club, our definitions are as follows:

  • ‘Incident’ – an individual occurrence or event.
  • Complaint’ – an expression of discontent, regret, pain, resentment. Could be related to an incident.
  • Dispute’ – a debate, involves controversy or a difference of opinion.

An incident or complaint can develop into a dispute if it is not handled quickly, fairly and professionally. Regardless of the nature or the magnitude of the conflict, Alpine Synchro aims to address all complaints, incidents and disputes transparently, fairly and as quickly as possible to avoid escalation. If it can’t be resolved using the steps below, external support may be sought.

Below is the ASASC process for resolving complaints, incidents and disputes. Note, if the Club President cannot be impartial, or is unable to lead discussions impartially, a replacement Chairperson for the meeting is required to stand in.

Protocol for Complaint /Incident Resolution

A complaint may be received by a Coach or Committee Member verbally. In the first instance they should:
  1. Discuss with the Head Coach/Committee the nature of the complaint/incident.
  2. Document via email, the complaint to the President and circulate to the Committee, OR if a Committee meeting is imminent, inform the person complaining of the timeline for feedback, and discuss the matter at a Committee meeting, which is minuted.
  3. If an easy fix is possible, this can be agreed via email using best judgement and corrective action made.
  4. Importantly, the person making the original complaint needs to be informed of corrective action taken to resolve the issue causing concern or deal with the incident.

Protocol for Dispute Resolution

In all disputes, an impartial Chairperson should be elected to lead the discussion (this may not necessarily be the President of the Committee). 

In dispute situations, the Committee and Coach discuss the situation to achieve a ‘Club’ decision.

  1. Disputes with swimmers, coaches or parents/caregivers (when related to artistic swimming) should in the first instance be recorded via email or reported to the Head Coach (who should email the Committee to record the dispute). This is so all Committee members/other relevant parties can be informed of the dispute simultaneously. All dispute discussion should include the entire Committee and Coach/es where relevant, or may be resolved by a sub-committee if deemed appropriate by the whole Committee. In the event the dispute involves members of the Committee, they (just as any other party involved) should have the opportunity to express their opinions and discussions but not be involved in the decision vote.
  2. A special meeting should be called to discuss the situation around the dispute with as many committee members and the Head Coach/coaches involved in the dispute. This should be done as soon as possible after the incident. The Chairperson of this discussion should be appointed at this meeting.
  3. The first remit is to remind members of the ground rules for discussion, e.g. listening to others, not interrupting others, ‘focus on the problem, not people’, not to repeat points over and over, no raising of voices.
  4. Reference must be made to the Club’s Constitution and Club member’s signed code of conduct.
  5. At this meeting, the facts/evidence should be presented in their entirety. If there is information missing, a decision must be deferred until the full information has been gathered. Whoever is involved in the dispute should be given the opportunity to reflect their position. Why, where, how, when (from all sides) should be clearly explained. Swimmers (and or their parents/caregivers) should be involved in this process if necessary.
  6. When discussing the issue, ask that the members (and or Committee members and coaches if relevant) be clear on the following:
    • What are the real issues/underlying causes?
    • What are mitigating factors?
    • Are any aspects that they agree on?
    • What are likely consequences of different solutions? (e.g. impact on swimmer’s team)
    • Decide how and by when the group proposes to reach a resolution?
  7. Open for discussion with an intermittent summary statement from the Chairperson to clarify main point from each side, including any suggestions for resolution for the various parties involved (note there may be various resolutions required).
  8.  If a decision cannot be made in the first meeting, or further information is required, the meeting should be adjourned and a follow up time arranged. The swimmer/ coach/ parent/s  involved in the dispute may be asked to remain away from the pool during this time.This time frame should be a tight as feasible to minimise disruption amongst other swimmers.
  9. When the sub-committee working on the dispute is ready to resolve the issue, the Chairperson of the discussion should ‘put up a Motion’ and call for a vote.
  10. The sub-committee and Club should Vote on the motion/s.
  11. Declare the decision and call for solidarity. ‘The Club has decided’.

 

Some empathy is required to those who have lost the argument and a reminder on how everyone is now expected to behave around the issue to gain wider support.

Appeal Process

Should any parties not be satisfied with the decision reached they are entitled to appeal. In the first instance ASNZ may be approached for independent assessment of the issue/incident. All the facts and information already gathered should be made available to them before they are asked to comment. If the parties are still not happy the matter can be referred to the New Zealand Sports Tribunal. If there are any costs involved with this, they must be discussed beforehand with both parties.

Consequences

Depending on the severity of the offence, a number of consequences may be delivered (to various members involved in the dispute, as is deemed relevant by the committee/coaches) as part of the resolution. Any or all of the following may be considered, and in some cases multiples of these options may be employed.

The consequences are not delivered at the sole discretion of one party but agreed following the collective debate through the dispute resolution process.

Improper complaints may be dealt with as misdemeanors themselves.

From most to least severe, a number of consequences are:

  • In the case of legal issues, the Police must be called in. In this instance, ASNZ should be informed of the incident as soon as possible.
  • The swimmer/coach/parent may be banned or expelled from the Club.
  • The swimmer may be pulled from a Team/solo or duet event at any upcoming competition.
  • The swimmer/coach/parent may be asked to remain away from training for a period of time (to be determined by the Committee) – temporarily suspended. Fees are still payable during this period.
  • The swimmer/coach/parent may be asked to formally (verbal and written) apologise to the person/people to whom they caused offence.
  • A combination of any of the above – or other more appropriate solutions.