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Complaints procedure

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1. Complaints against individuals

1.1. Personal treatment: anybody can make a complaint to any OUPS committee member regarding the conduct towards them of an OUPS member or representative, such as an OUPS tutor or committee member.

1.2 Misconduct: In addition, any member of OUPS may make a complaint to any OUPS committee member regarding behaviour by a member or representative of the Society that is injurious to the character of OUPS or its members and staff, or is likely to bring the Society into disrepute.

  • This does not mean that members should be prevented from criticising OUPS or the performance of post holders. Such criticism may perform a valuable function, especially if it is justified and carried out in a responsible manner. On the other hand, attacking the collective character and/or motives of post-holders or staff may potentially fall under bringing the Society into disrepute.

  • Due regard should also be paid to the circumstances in which the alleged misconduct occurred. Controversial statements of a general nature not issued in an official capacity or within an OUPS context, should not be the subject of a complaint under this procedure. However, behaviour occurring in an official capacity or in such a context or occurring elsewhere, but pertaining directly to the Society, may be subject to disciplinary action. Official contexts include, but are not confined to, official OUPS meetings, forums and Facebook groups or pages - whether open or restricted.

  • Thus, as an example, should a member privately advocate violent revolution without any reference at all to OUPS, it would not be a disciplinary matter. If that member did so in an official OUPS capacity, then this might be seen as likely to bring the Society into disrepute, thus rendering that member liable for disciplinary action. Should a member advocate violent revolution within OUPS, then that would be a suitable matter for complaint regardless of any position held or where the alleged offence took place.

1.3. Complaints must be made in writing (e.g. email) via the contact details published on the OUPS website.

1.4. Should the Chair accept that there is a case to answer, the matter shall be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure, as described below. If the Chair regards it as necessary the individual complained of shall, without prejudice to the outcome, be suspended from membership or their current post as appropriate until the proceedings, including any appeal, have been concluded.

1.5. Should a complaint be made against the Chair, the procedure described in this policy will apply, with the Vice-Chair assuming the duties and responsibilities of the Chair while the complaint is being processed.

2. Complaints regarding OUPS services or events

2.1. Anybody attending an OUPS event such as a one-day or weekend event can make a complaint about any issue related to the event. If you have problems at the event please tell an OUPS officer as soon as possible, to give the best opportunity for the problem to be resolved on the spot.

2.2. If you are still unhappy with our response, please give a written note to any of the OUPS team organising the event, or send a written complaint (e.g. email) via the contact details published on the OUPS website afterwards so that your complaint can be followed up.

2.3. We will send you an acknowledgement of your complaint, and will appoint relevant OUPS officers to investigate it and work towards a resolution.


2.4. If you are still unhappy with the response you may ask for the matter to be escalated to the OUPS Board of Trustees, who will consider any additional information you can provide and will then respond with a final decision on behalf of the Society.

3. Disciplinary Procedure

3.1. This procedure shall be applied to complaints concerning individuals such as other OUPS members, OUPS tutors or members of any OUPS committee.


3.2. The Chair will appoint a subcommittee of not less than 3 members, being members of the Executive Committee who will conduct such investigation as they feel appropriate, ensuring that any subject of the complaint has a full opportunity to put their case.


3.3. The subcommittee will be empowered to decide whether the offence of which the individual concerned is accused is, in their opinion, injurious to the character of OUPS or its members and staff, or likely to bring the Society into disrepute.


3.4. If in the opinion of the subcommittee the offence is proven, then they may award the following penalties:

  • suspension from post or representative role or from all posts/representative roles for a specified period;

  • suspension from membership for a specified period;

  • a recommendation of expulsion from membership which will be subject to endorsement by the Board of Trustees once they have satisfied themselves that the appropriate procedures have been followed.

3.5. A full report shall be given by the subcommittee to the subject of the complaint of the reasons for its decision(s).

4. Right of appeal

4.1. Individuals who have been the subject of the disciplinary process described above shall have the right to appeal to the Chair.

4.2. The Chair will appoint a subcommittee of no less than three members. The subcommittee shall consist, in addition to the Chair, of Executive Committee members who shall have had no role in the original subcommittee.

4.3. Appeals will only be heard on two grounds:

  • that the evidence provided to the first subcommittee was insufficient to allow them to reach the decision that they did or

  • that the penalty awarded was not commensurate with the offence.

4.4. This subcommittee shall receive the report of the first subcommittee and shall invite rebuttal by the member who is appealing against that decision.


4.5. Should the Chair decide it appropriate, a complaint can be referred to the Charities Commission under their complaints and disciplinary procedures, if that is the more appropriate route.

This procedure enables you to bring matters of concern about your experience with OUPS or decisions relating to your access to any of the services we provide to our attention, and provides mechanisms through which those concerns may be resolved.

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