Complaint and Dispute Process

Complaints and Complaint Handling

At Football West we aim to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for the football community. Everyone involved in our sport should be treated with respect and dignity and be free to participate or spectate without being discriminated against, harassed, bullied or abused.

Complaints generally arise when something is not as it should be, or a level of compliance has not been met. A complaint can be an opportunity for clubs to identify unacceptable behaviour, breaches of the Codes of Conduct, address safety concerns and ultimately, improve the game.

Clubs have a duty to respond to all complaints and should endeavour to act in the best interests of all parties involved and respond to a complaint as quickly, fairly and effectively as possible.

Before lodging a complaint, it is important to clearly identify the following:

  • what happened
  • where it happened
  • when it happened
  • who was involved
  • who witnessed it;
  • and ensure that you have checked the facts before considering what options or steps might be appropriate to take.

In all cases the initial approach should be to contact your club directly to discuss your concern with a view to having it resolved internally by the club.

If you have a complaint regarding sideline behaviour exhibited by opposition parents or Club Officials, please report it to your Club Secretary as soon as possible. It is highly encouraged that Clubs work together to address and resolve such matters through effective communication. Club Secretaries should promptly contact their counterparts to initiate the process of addressing and resolving the issue. To initiate the first contact with a specific Club, please utilise the Club Contact List.

To ensure that clubs have the opportunity to assess and attempt to resolve any complaints put to them, individuals should not contact Football West directly regarding the issue or complaint. In the event that this should occur, the query will be redirected back to the relevant club so that the above-mentioned process can be carried out.

If the complaint is of a serious nature, or if attempts to resolve the matter at a club level have failed, the complaint may then be directed to Football West for formal investigation by completing the online incident report form found here: Incident Report Form.

For further information or if you are unsure what to do, speak with your club Secretary or Member Protection Information Officer and refer to the National Complaints Procedure Flowchart found here: Complaints Procedure: Flowchart | Football Australia.

Here are some points for your consideration;

Do Nothing

If you feel it is a minor matter, consider seeking clarification first as to whether it may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Consider whether you are basing your concerns on facts or hearsay. Weigh up the pros and cons of doing nothing or taking the matter further. Do you need to make a complaint, or can it be resolved another way? Consider whether your concerns are genuine or could your concerns be considered vexatious, mischievous or defamatory.

Monitor

If you are unsure of what to do and it is a minor matter, consider monitoring the situation to see if there is still a concern or whether there is another way the issue can be resolved. If you weren’t present, be sure to ask questions of your child or others present as to why or how it may have occurred and base your concerns on facts and not hearsay by clarifying information with those that were present or reported it to you.

Direct Approach

Consider if it would be appropriate to speak to the person directly to clarify what actually happened and why. Sometimes speaking directly to the person you feel is responsible helps to clarify and resolve the matter. If you approach the person with the intent to clarify what happened, and if they are made aware of your concerns, they may be able to provide a reasonable explanation for what occurred or see the error of their ways., If in fact it was an accident or misunderstanding, they may offer an apology and do things differently in future. In many cases, it can be beneficial for the person to understand what you may have seen or been told and the concerns that you have, as this can enable them to have self awareness and identify any issues and take steps to address these and prevent it occurring again.

Seek Mediation

Mediation is where a club official or another person arranges a meeting and mediates between the two parties involved. For example, if a parent is having a problem with a coach or another parent, a meeting may be arranged between the two parties with a club official or an impartial person to mediate between those present. Where mediation occurs, both parties must try mediation as a way to resolve the issue or complaint. Mediation enables the problem to be discussed and resolved between the parties and the club, politely and respectfully, in a managed setting. If mediation is not agreed by both parties or is unsuccessful, then alternative resolution processes are often considered. In some cases a complainant may realise the issue is not as serious as first thought and may choose to withdraw their complaint.

Verbal Complaint

A member can discuss their concerns with the club Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO), Secretary, President or another official of the club. This may provide the club with an opportunity to monitor the situation themselves and take any steps they believe are appropriate. They may also choose to discuss various options for resolving the matter and/or request that a written complaint be lodged to provide an outline and the details and facts of the complaint.

Official Complaint

An official complaint should be in writing and addressed to the Club Secretary. The person who lodges and signs a complaint must be able to be identified and should include their contact details and details of the complaint. It is important to note that any person who has a complaint lodged against them is entitled to be informed of the complaint and be given an opportunity to respond to any allegations or comments about them. Anonymous complaints are generally unable to be acted upon and are more likely to be unresolved.