9. Responding to Feedback, Concerns and Complaints

Policy

Girl Guiding in Australia (GGiA) welcomes all feedback. This includes positive feedback, concerns or complaints about any action, or lack of action, by any Member, Volunteer, or Employee or any other aspect of Girl Guiding.

GGiA will provide and promote feedback mechanisms to Members; parents, guardians and carers of Youth Members; Volunteers; Employees; and members of the broader community.

All Members, Volunteers, and Employees will respond to feedback, concerns and complaints in a transparent, timely, and child-focused manner, regardless of who is pursuing the matter or what the complaint is about.

The procedures to support this policy are included below.

1. Positive Feedback

Positive feedback may be provided by anyone at any time in any form to any Adult Member or a Girl Guide office.

The Adult Member receiving the positive feedback will acknowledge the feedback and share it with the relevant parts of the Guiding community including their supervisor.

Positive feedback may also be shared with the relevant Commissioner.

Positive feedback, leadership and success should be recognised and celebrated by peers and supervisors.

Where potential to use positive feedback in media is identified the relevant media release authorisations should also be provided at the time of sharing.

Feedback can also be provided through the Girl Guides Australia website.

2. Resolving Concerns before they become Complaints

Any person, including an Adult in Guiding, is entitled to raise a concern or make a complaint. Firstly, it is important to know the difference between ‘raising a concern’ and ‘making a complaint’. The person must also be told the difference between raising a concern and making a formal complaint.

A concern is an issue that is resolved quickly, usually at the first point of contact and on the spot.

A complaint will take longer to resolve and includes the following:

  1. Child safety and wellbeing
  2. Criminal conduct or breach of statutory obligation
  3. Recurrent and/or long-standing unaddressed concerns
  4. Misconduct such as a serious breach of the GGA Code of Conduct (including a breach of GGA or SGGO policies and procedures)
  5. Matters which may affect the reputation of GGiA

It is good practice to attempt to resolve a matter before it becomes a bigger issue.

If the person says they want to make a complaint, they should be provided with the Girl Guide Complaint Form or informed how to access the form.

If the person raising the concern is a Youth Member or a person under 18 years of age or a person who has difficulty communicating, they must be supported through the process by a person or persons of their own choosing. This may or may not be another Member. Please note there is a special form for Youth Members to share any feedback, concerns or complaints – Tell Us What You Are Worried About  Youth Member Form.

3. Receiving and Resolving Concerns

GGiA will receive concerns by phone, in person, mail or email.

Most concerns should be able to be resolved at the local level through discussions with the person who has raised the concern, and through negotiating an outcome that everyone accepts.

It is important that concerns are dealt with at the appropriate level as quickly as possible. It is the responsibility of the person receiving the concern to either quickly take steps towards resolving the concern or promptly pass it on to the appropriate person for resolution. If in doubt about how to proceed contact your supervisor.

In the first instance, an attempt should be made to raise the concern with the person who is the subject of the concern. If that is not possible, the concern should then be raised with the supervisor of the person who is the subject of the concern. The concern may also be escalated to their supervisor if necessary (e.g., if the concern is about your supervisor or if you think your supervisor is conflicted).

If there is doubt about where to direct the concern for resolution, the advice of the relevant Commissioner or CEO should be sought.

If someone contacts you with a concern:

  • Thank them for raising their concern and seek any further information from them that you require. Gathering the further information may involve meeting with them. If you have a meeting the person with the concern may bring a support person with them. It is good practice to have a second person with you at this meeting to provide support, take notes, and be a witness.
  • During any conversation including the face-to-face meetings, listen to the person and clarify what they are concerned about, and, importantly, what they want to happen to resolve their concerns.
  • Don’t be defensive, don’t make promises you can’t keep, and try to work with the person to find a solution that everyone accepts (and that is consistent with GGiA policies and procedures).
  • Resolving a concern may take more than one meeting, and may need the involvement of other people, or reference to other notes and documents.
  • Keep notes of all meetings, discussions and the final outcome. Your supervisor must be informed of any concern that has the potential to escalate.
  • Remember all matters involving the following MUST be handled as a complaint and NOT handled as a concern):
    • Child safety and wellbeing
    • Criminal conduct or breach of statutory obligation
    • Recurrent and/or long-standing unaddressed concerns
    • Misconduct such as a serious breach of the GGA Code of Conduct (including a breach of GGA or SGGO policies and procedures)
    • Matters which may affect the reputation of GGiA
  • If a solution cannot be found, and the person wants to escalate their concerns to a formal complaint, you should explain the GGiA complaints handling process to them, and offer to assist the person to make a complaint.

4. Receiving and Resolving Complaints

Step 1 – Lodging a Complaint

  • All complaints must be in writing, on the Girl Guide Complaint Form, and signed by the person lodging the form. The Girl Guide Complaint Form provides details of how the form may be lodged.
  • A child friendly complaint form is available for Youth Members, Tell Us What You Are Worried About Youth Member Form
  • In limited circumstances, any Adult in Guiding may transcribe a verbal complaint, and then have the person making the complaint sign the relevant complaint form (if they are able to).

Step 2 – Where to lodge a Complaint

All complaints are formal and make allegations about matters that may be serious. Completed forms are required to be emailed to the State office using the email address incidentsandcomplaints@[yourSGGO].org.au.

Complaints relating to Members or Volunteers that raise the following allegations are considered MUST-REFERS and must be referred to the relevant Commissioner (in some State Girl Guide organisations the State Commissioner may delegate this responsibility to another person including the CEO):

  1. Child safety and wellbeing
  2. Criminal conduct or breach of statutory obligation
  3. Recurrent and/or long-standing unaddressed concerns
  4. Misconduct such as a serious breach of the GGA Code of Conduct (including a breach of GGA or SGGO policies and procedures)
  5. Matters which may affect the reputation of GGiA

Complaints relating to Employees must be referred to the CEO of the Guiding organisation that employs the person.

Step 3 – Investigation

The Commissioner, CEO or delegate must investigate the complaint, as outlined in the GGA Complaint Resolution and Investigation Process.

Once the complaint has been forwarded to the relevant person and if appropriate, they will contact the person making the complaint and inform them that:

  • Their complaint has been received, and that it has been referred to them for investigation; and
  • Provide details of the process and likely timeframe for the process.

The relevant Commissioner or CEO may delegate the process to another person or entity.

The following Guidance Notes are available to provide support:

5. Negative Feedback, Criticism, or Concerns in any form of Media

In accordance with the GGA Code of Conduct, Members, Volunteers and Employees must represent Girl Guiding in the community in a positive light. This means that it is a breach of the GGA Code of Conduct to publish negative feedback, criticism or concerns.

If a Member, Volunteer or Employee finds any negative content about GGiA they must not engage in any online discussion or debate and must refer the matter as soon as possible to GGA or the relevant State office.

6. Roles and Responsibilities

GGA requires all people involved in GGiA, including Members, Volunteers, Employees, and Board Directors of GGA and SGGOs, to comply with the GGA Child Safe Child Friendly Policy and all other policies and procedures, to comply with the GGA Code of Conduct at all times and to be proactive in promoting and supporting GGiA to be a Child Safe Child Friendly Community.

7. Training and Support

All Adults in Guiding are responsible for implementing the Procedures: Element 9 – Responding to Feedback, Concerns and Complaints. Adults in Guiding must respond to feedback, concerns and complaints to promote a safe environment for everyone associated with Girl Guiding in Australia.

Support is available to all Adults in Guiding responding to feedback, concerns and complaints. Training in areas relevant to their role in GGiA is available for Members and Employees through eGuiding.

8. How to Raise Feedback, Concerns or Complaints

Information on how to raise feedback, concerns or complaint is included on the GGA website.

Last Modified: 23/11/21 at 10:37 AM