All volunteers are trained to enable them to be effective and equipped to work with children and/or young people in their care. However, although GBM volunteers seek to do their best for the members of the group(s), occasionally members, parents/carers or church members may question the actions that they have taken. In such circumstances, any allegations or concerns should be raised with the team leader in charge of the event or group. Such concerns or allegations should be taken seriously, dealt with promptly and with fairness and equality.
As volunteers are appointed by the local church, any resolution of a local incident remains the responsibility of the relevant church. GBM’s Support Centre team, however, is always available to the church and GBM team for consultation, support and prayer.
- If a parent/member/child/young person or church member makes an allegation against a GBM volunteer or group, it’s important to address this without delay.
- The allegation should initially be reported to the team leader in charge of the event/group.
- If the allegation is against the team leader then contact should be made with the leadership of the local church.
- If the allegation relates to a district, regional or national event then there will be a designated named person to whom the complaint should be made.
- There should be no contact between the volunteer and the child or person making the allegation until enquiries are completed and an outcome agreed.
- Appropriate support should be offered to the volunteer against whom an allegation has been made.
- Although each set of circumstances will be unique, the following is a guide to best practice:
o Obtain a full written account of the alleged incident/concern from each person involved using the Responding to complaints template available to download for free from the GB leaders’ website
o Where verbal accounts are given ensure these are duly recorded and signed (using the actual words spoken and not a translation of what was said)
o Report the incident to the relevant church official, safeguarding representative or minister
o Seek a meeting of those involved with the chaplain of the GBM team or an impartial chairperson, to openly discuss the issues and look for resolution
o Attempt to resolve the problem by mutual agreement
o Document the process/outcomes for future reference and look for lessons to be learned for the future
o Plan a follow-up to review any changes made.
- Where this process is not successful, advice may be sought from the local district or regional church network.
- If the matter can’t be resolved in this way, it may be referred to GBM’s Support Centre in order that the formal complaints procedure can be instigated or advice given.
- Advise the person bringing the allegation of their right to make a complaint to police or Social Services.
See also the accompanying Flowchart for responding to complaints, available to download below.Download resource