Resolving complaints and disputes

During the life of an association there are bound to be times when a person has a concern about the running of the association. This chapter outlines some processes available to the committee and members for dealing with disputes.

Key points

  • Disputes do happen in associations and it is advisable to have a simple procedure in place for resolving complaints.
  • Members and the committee share the responsibility for ensuring that the association operates in accordance with its rules.
  • Most concerns can be resolved through informal processes and members are encouraged to discuss their issues with the appropriate person within the association.
  • All incorporated associations are required to include a dispute resolution process in the rules which may be required to resolve more complex or serious matters.
  • The aim of a dispute resolution process is to reduce disharmony in an association and to provide a fair, consistent and timely approach to dealing with complaints and disputes.

Managing internal grievances and disputes as well as complaints from the public is an important task of the management committee.

Most concerns are resolved by simply contacting the appropriate person in the association or discussing the issue with other members. Failure by an association to allow its members to be heard and ensure their concerns are understood and given due consideration can result in relatively minor issues escalating.