APS Complaints Process

  1. APS does not receive many formal complaints; however, when they arise, they need to be handled in a respectful timely and fair manner.
  2. The following APS Complaints process is designed to provide a simple but fair process for APS to manage formal complaints received.
  3. This process is not designed to be a legal position of APS, rather it is a ‘good faith’ approach to responding to any complaints that arise.

Process Scope

This process includes formal complaints defined by an email or another form of written complaint:

  • submitted via the APS website
  • submitted to a MC member, the APS Secretary, an APS Chair of a Group or any other approved APS role.
  • by an APS Member or non-member (for example, but not limited to the public, sponsors other agencies)

A complaint must relate to:

  • a policy, process or decision by APS
  • the actions or behaviour of an APS member
  • an event or activity sanctioned by APS

This process does not include:

  • verbal or hearsay complaints unless substantiated by an email or another form of written complaint
  • a complaint about an individual whose actions are outside of an APS event or activity unless the individual is representing themselves in some way as connected with APS and the individual is in potential breach of APS Code of Conduct
  • any complains that would otherwise be handled by a Competition and the Rules of that Competition.

Complaints also do not include every-day administrative issues that may arise where the issue can be addressed in a timely manner by the APS Secretary.

Respect and Confidentiality

  • Complaint should be treated as confidential and the only people who should discuss this are those approved to be involved.
  • Complaints should be received and managed
    • without bias or presumption
    • recognising that individuals have a right to submit a formal complaint
    • so that language, written and spoken, the context of meetings and circumstances of the individual, are used or managed with respect to the complainant/s
  • Where a complaint is made against , or includes reference to an APS member, the complaint process will provide an opportunity for all parties to have a ‘right of reply’ to defend or explain their version of the issue or incident.
  • While APS will respectfully defend a complaint made about it, APS and MC recognise that complaints can identify a need to refine or improve APS practices as a Society.

Process

1)  Timeframe;

  1. When the complaint is registered, the secretary should provide a standard response to the complainant that their complaint has received and an initial response (refer point 5) will be provided with 72 hours
  2. 72 hours may allow time for the issue to be addressed and the initial responses may be the final response, or
  3. The initial response may indicate that further time and / or information is required.

2)  All complaints should be ideally resolved within 14 days;

  1. Any response longer than this would be a complex problem.
  2. While timelines are important, the emphasis should be a  mutually respectful resolution
  3. Some complaints may be resolved with the complaintant but include future actions by MC which may take a longer period to implement.

3)  Any formal complaint should be;

  1. Recorded by the APS Secretary
  2. Copied to the APS President and a designated MC Committee Person (Complaints Officer)

4)  Depending on the complaint the initial investigation may led by either the;

  1. APS Complaints Officer
  2. APS Secretary
  3. APS President / Immediate Past President / Senior Vice-President

5)  Prior to any initial response or subsequent response to the complainant;

  1. The ‘issue and resolution’ should be discussed (email exchange, telephone or online) by two Senior Members of MC members comprising;

    i)      President
    ii)     Senior Vice president
    iii)    Immediate Past President
    iv)    If two of these three are unavailable, the Junior Vice-President can be the 2nd person

  2. Regardless of who drafts the response/s, written should be reviewed by at least two people comprising;

    i)      Complaints Officer
    ii)     One of the two senior members of MC involved in the complaint discussions

  3. Formal responses should be registered by  the APS Secretary.

6) If in-person, telephone or other online discussions occur with the complainant or other persons identified in the complaint, it is recommended that where possible two APS members participate in the meeting. 

  1. This is particularly relevant if the complaint relates to any form of harassment, bullying or similar issue.

7) A summary of complaints, actions taken and learnings will be tabled as an annual report by the Complaints Officer.