CODE of CONDUCT

Every group, business and organisation depends on good relationships. Here are some new measures to make sure ours stay strong and healthy.

All U3As are built around interactions between people. All of us have roles here: as students/participants, tutors and group leaders, administrative coordinators and helpers, office staffers, committee and working group members. We also have important relationships with outside people, particularly the staff of the venues where classes are held. It’s the communication and cooperation between all these parties that makes U3A run so well.

In line with policy directions your committee has developed the following code of conduct to make sure that all of us, in whatever role we are acting, are aware of our responsibilities to each other and to this organisation. Also provided are guidelines for making and dealing with complaints or grievances, should they arise.

Code of Conduct

As a self-funded, member-based organisation, U3A expects that all members, tutors and other volunteers will behave in a courteous and civilised manner in all dealings relevant to U3A. As a member of U3A, you therefore agree to abide by this Code of Conduct by:

1. Participating in U3A activities in a friendly and positive way at all times.
2. Being honest and ethical in all dealings with U3A, its members and other related organisations.
3. Showing respect, courtesy and consideration to everyone you deal with in U3A, related organisations and the general public in relation to U3A activities.
4. Being punctual and reliable in attending U3A classes/events/office rosters or other commitments; and forewarning of unavoidable absences, withdrawals from classes, events, or volunteer commitments.
5. Observing strict confidentiality regarding organisational and members’ personal information to which you may have access; never disclosing contact details of any U3A member or tutor to anyone without their permission.
6. Avoiding all forms of discriminatory behaviour in regard to nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, culture, religion, age and mental or physical disability.
7. Not engaging in behaviour that is inappropriate, disruptive or intimidating, such as would breach the rights of other persons to participate in a class/event or to carry out their designated role.
8. Preserving the wellbeing and safety of members and the organisation by:
(i) Participating safely in each class or activity, and abiding by any reasonable directive or prerequisite specified by the tutor or event organiser for that participation.
(ii) Refraining from activities or comments that promote a personal business/cause or that would place others in a vulnerable situation either financially, physically or psychologically.
(iii) Not causing any wilful damage to U3A premises, materials, facilities, equipment, or those of other venues.
9. Promoting U3A in a positive way, refraining from harming the organisation’s reputation or relationships by inappropriate comment or action.
10. Abiding by this and all other U3A policies and procedures.
11. Following the U3A Grievance Policy & Procedure (see below) if dissatisfied, and abiding by decisions thus made.

Complaints and Grievance Issues

Issues that may arise could involve:
(i) Room bookings, room and equipment usage.
(ii) Issues between a tutor and class member.
(iii) Office volunteer and operational matters.
(iv) Course enrolments and event bookings.
(v) Matters related to organisation of and participation in events.
(vii) Any other dissatisfaction a member may have about their dealings with U3A.

Grievance Policy and Procedure

Preamble

This policy statement is underpinned by the preceding U3A Melbourne City Code of Conduct which applies to all members. The Grievance Procedure outlined in this document seeks to provide a mechanism to deal with issues that may arise regarding the activities or operations of the organisation, internally and in relation to other bodies, especially those matters arising from non-observance of the Code of Conduct.

Policy Statement

1. This Grievance Procedure aims to achieve conciliation and the resolution of complaints quickly, with fairness, care and understanding. Confidentiality of all parties will be preserved; only those people with a specific role in this procedure will be involved.
2. There is an expectation that parties should first seek to directly resolve any concerns or grievances between themselves, and in consultation with the relevant Coordinator. If the issue is then not resolved, the parties may request a formal grievance process.
3. Any matters of grievance concerning the activities, tutors, volunteers or members (including the Committee of Management) of U3A should be addressed within ten working days.
4. The formal Grievance Procedure is set out below.

Initial informal approach

All U3A tutors, volunteers and members are expected to behave in a courteous and civilised manner in dealing with any issue that arises, and to seek to resolve the problem informally – where appropriate, by contacting the U3A office; or through discreet discussion between the tutor/event leader and participant concerned. Consultation with the relevant Coordinator, Event organiser may also assist in resolving the issue. If either party is not happy with the above informal resolution, or method of dealing with the issue, then the formal procedure below may be followed.

Formal Grievance Procedure

1. A formal written complaint can be made by a member or other party by letter or email, directed to the Secretary, U3A.
2. A Grievance Officer will be appointed – this may be a member of the Committee of Management or other designated volunteer. In the first instance the Secretary will act as Grievance Officer and delegate responsibility, as appropriate, to other Officers of the Committee of Management of U3A.
3. A meeting will be organised between the Grievance Officer and the person(s) alleging the grievance to ascertain facts / views.
4. A meeting will then be organised between the Grievance Officer and the parties named in the grievance.
5. A meeting between all of the parties named above will follow, in an attempt to find common ground and a resolution.
6. The Grievance Officer, with reference to other parties, will make a direction as to the validity of the grievance.
7. If no resolution is reached, the Grievance Officer may involve other members of the Committee as appropriate.
8. Where necessary, the Committee may appoint a facilitator to mediate between the parties. The appointment must be acceptable to both parties. Both parties shall bear the full costs, if any, of the mediation. The outcome of the mediation shall be binding.
9. Individual written grievance reports from the above meetings will be forwarded to the Committee of Management and treated as confidential.
10. If the grievance is of a criminal nature it will be forwarded immediately to the relevant authorities.
11. The Grievance Officer and U3A Melbourne City will keep written records of all formal grievance processes. The record will include the details of all actions taken to resolve or attempt to resolve the grievance or concern and the outcomes of these actions.

Harassment Policy

Harassment of any kind is unlawful and U3A supports the rights of its volunteers and members to be part of an environment (while participating in activities of the organisation) which is free from harassment of any kind. Every volunteer and member has a responsibility to ensure that harassment does not occur. Anyone found to have harassed another person will be subject to disciplinary action that may include an apology, counseling or loss of membership.

What is harassment?

Harassment includes a wide range of deliberate and unintentional behaviours which may intimidate, humiliate or offend and which are unwelcome and uninvited.

It includes behaviour which may be written, verbal, non-verbal or physical (including inappropriate electronic communications).
Harassment has the effect of offending, humiliating or intimidating the person to whom it is directed.
It is acknowledged that social and cultural backgrounds may lead people to perceive the same conduct differently and that appropriate behaviour respects the rights and sensitivities of all members and volunteers.
Harassment may occur between one volunteer and another, between volunteers and members, or between volunteers and suppliers or visitors. It may occur wherever volunteers are interacting with others in the context of their position in the organisation, including events, activities off site and social functions.
Sexual harassment is a specific and serious form of harassment. It includes any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature that could be reasonably expected to make someone feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.
This may include (but is not restricted to):
- an unwelcome sexual advance
- a request for sexual favours
- unwelcome comments about someone's physical appearance
- leering and ogling
- sexually offensive comments, stories, emails or jokes or commenst on social media sites
- displaying sexually offensive photos, pinups or calendars, reading matter or objects
- sexual propositions or continued requests for dates
- physical contact such as touching or fondling, or unnecessary brushing up against someone
- indecent assault or rape (these are criminal offences).

Sexual harassment does not refer to behaviour that is mutually acceptable to the parties involved.

Bullying is another form of harassment with repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a volunteer or a group of members that creates a risk to their health and safety.

Types of unreasonable behaviour can include:
- abusive, aggressive, insulting or offensive language
- undue criticism
- humiliating remarks
- excluding, isolating or marginalising a person from activities
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
- practical jokes
- ganging up or other types of psychological harassment
Harassment may occur between one volunteer and another, between volunteers and members, or between volunteers and suppliers or visitors. It may occur wherever volunteers are interacting with others in the context of their position in the organisation, including events, work off site and social functions.
Reports of harassment will be treated promptly, seriously and confidentially. U3A’s grievance policy and procedures outlines the process that will be implemented.

REFUND POLICY

1. MEMBERSHIP FEES

The annual membership fee is a non-refundable subscription fee for membership.

2. EVENTS and other SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

If you book and pay for an Event or any other Social activity through and cannot attend the event the fee is non-refundable. You may sell or give the place to another member who has registered for the relevant Event, providing you advise the course leader/convener. The office will not be involved in this transaction. If U3A cancels an event, there will be a full refund to the member. Paid Events will be restricted to Full and Associate members (including life and honorary). There will be no provision for guests attending paid Events from 1 January 2018. Note that guests may still attend functions.

3. FEE-PAYING COURSES

In the instance of a fee paying course being offered the following will apply. If you cancel before the commencement of the course, there will be no refund unless a person waitlisted for the course can take your place.If you cancel after the course has commenced, there will be no refund. If U3A cancels a fee paying course, there will be a full refund.

4. PAYMENT OF REFUNDS

Fees paid by credit card or debit card will be refunded through the U3A office by EFTPOS on advice from the Treasurer or Treasurer’s nominee. Fees paid via Pay Pal will be refunded through Pay Pal. Fees paid by cash will be refunded by Bank transfer on provision of the Members bank account details to the Treasurer.

Foreign Languages Policy

In 2012, on the recommendation of language tutors, the Committee of Management approved a new policy on foreign language study, which aims to integrate the language program into a coherent study pathway, where possible;
(i) improve members’ choice of courses and equitable access;
(ii) improve tutor satisfaction by having classes made up of members with similar language skill levels; and
(iii) facilitate progression by members to higher levels.
The information below will assist you to understand the process and to select the yearlong or semester Foreign Language course most suited to your interests, language skills and commitment.
Policy provisions
1. Foreign Language courses will be divided into two groups, the first being core language study courses (Group 1) and the second group focusing primarily on conversation and culture (Group 2).
2. Members can enroll in a maximum of two yearlong/semester language courses.
3. In addition, members can enroll in only one core language study course per language, e.g. you cannot enroll in French Basics for Beginners and French Grammar for Beginners. 4. Tutors have the right to set prerequisites for their course and to decide whether an applicant meets these prerequisites.
Process
1. Most foreign language study courses are targeted at a certain level, and the prerequisite skills or prior study necessary to participate in that course are indicated in the course’s description.
2. Where prerequisites are stipulated, your enrolment in the course may be provisional and subject to the tutor’s approval. If this is the case, when you enrol you will be waitlisted, pending approval by the tutor.
3. During enrolments, tutors will check their class lists and (a) may contact you by phone to determine whether you meet the prerequisites, and/or (b) organise a two-week trial attendance in the class
4. If following this process a tutor believes that the course is not suited to you, the tutor will advise you of this and your place will be offered to another member.
5. During the year, members on a waiting list will fill course vacancies as they occur in strict order of application, subject to meeting specified prerequisites and course admission deadlines.
6. At the tutor’s discretion, a temporary place may also be offered in a foreign language course when a current student will be absent for a lengthy period of time.

Risk Management Policy

U3A is committed to minimising any risk associated with our operations. The safety and well-being of members and volunteers are our priorities.
U3A has a duty of care to provide a safe environment for its members and volunteers as part of an on-going Strategic Plan for the organisation.
Purpose
The purpose of this document is to provide a ‘principles based’ approach to risk management and is managed using the U3A Risk Register.
Policy
The U3A Risk Management Policy will, as far as reasonably practical, minimise the incidence of risk and mitigate the consequence of any risk which may eventuate.
This policy encompasses, but is not limited to physical, financial, reputational and legal risks. Risks managed by the U3A Committee of Management include:
(i) Safety of members, tutors, volunteers and visitors attending the U3A office and/or classrooms at our various venues for our activities.
(ii) IT related risks with the My U3A Membership System such as loss of data or unauthorised access and use of members personal data. Governance, policy and financial risks associated with the operation of the organisation.
The Risk Management Plan
The Risk Management Plan will address the following:
- Objectives of long term risk management
- Annual targets/objectives
- Procedures for management of identified risks
- Progressive evaluation of the plan
Management of identified risks
U3A Committee of Management will manage risks by:
- Identifying the risks associated with U3A activities
- Maintaining a register of risks
- Evaluating each identified risk for probability and severity
- Establishing practices to minimise or mitigate the identified risks
- Reviewing the risks on a quarterly basis to ensure the Register reflects the current situation
- Retire risks which are no longer relevant or have been mitigated
Risk Management Register
The Risk Management Register is maintained by the Risk Management Committee and is reviewed biennially, reporting to the Committee of Management.
The Risk Management Register will be managed by:
(i) Drafting risk management procedures.
(ii) Documenting identified risks for consideration by the Risk Management Committee.
(iii) Reporting to the Committee of Management on emerging risk issues.


(last updated on 26 September 2018)

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