Dispute resolution

One of the key roles of the Chair and the Committee is to resolve disputes between members or Networks. Disputes can happen over any number of things, but often come down to personal differences, differences of professional opinion or poor communication.

The Chair Principles state that 'In the event of any internal disputes between members of their committee or their Network (not involving the Chair), [the Chair should]… endeavour to find a resolution within the powers provided by the IOSH regulations. Should this not be successful the matter should then be referred to staff at head office.'

Any disputes identified by the committee or the Chair should be discussed as early as possible with the individual(s) involved. These informal discussions will often resolve the dispute and should always focus on the outcomes that would benefit the majority of the members. At this stage, it would be wise to inform the Relationship Manager of the dispute and the agreed course of action.

dispute resolution diagram 

If the Chair is one of the parties involved in the dispute, the investigation should move straight to the Relationship Manager for mediation.

Where informal discussion does not resolve an issue, the Chair should hold formal discussions with the parties, with notes and outcomes captured and shared. At this point, the members in dispute must be informed of the process that will be followed should the dispute continue.

If formal meetings prove to be unsuccessful, the dispute needs to be referred to the Relationship Manager. At this stage, the Relationship Manager will review the documented discussions held at Network level, and assess the dispute to see if there’s any wider reputational risk and if any immediate action needs to be taken.

The Relationship Manager will offer to mediate between the disputing parties. If either party refuses mediation, or refuses to play an active part in finding a resolution, a resolution may be reached without their input.

Any resolution agreed with the mediation of the Relationship Manager will be documented and activities of the volunteers will be monitored. The resolution will be in the best interests of the Institution and the membership.

If the dispute is not resolved at this stage, it will be referred to the Networks Committee. The Networks Committee has the ability to convene an independent Dispute Resolution Member Advisory Panel (MAP). The panel will meet and base its decision on written or verbal testimony from the parties in dispute, the notes from the meetings previously held and, above all, the needs and interests of the members and the Institution.

The MAP will recommend a course of action for the Networks Committee to endorse. There is no appeals process and volunteers are bound by the decision of the Networks Committee.

Should the dispute continue, the opportunity to volunteer on the committee will be withdrawn from the individual(s) concerned.  More information about this can be found under removing committee members.

At any point in the process, volunteers can step down from their role. However, this should be seen as the last resort, as the work of the committee needs to continue to support the membership.

Should an issue arise between branches or districts over the placement of the border dividing them, it should be noted that the official government borders of the regions in dispute would be used by staff, or any convened MAP, in order to reach a settlement.

The diagram above shows the high-level process for dispute resolution. Most disputes will be resolved by the Committee Chair or through the Relationship Manager.

[v2 - September 2017]