In very simple terms a disciplinary complaint can arise if any rule, regulation, procedure or agreement that is in place is “broken” in some way that leads to a problem.
The points below expand on this simple explanation highlighting the main areas that might give rise to a disciplinary complaint:
1. any breach, failure, refusal or neglect to comply with a provision of
a. the Constitution, Rules, Byelaws, or Code of Conduct;
b. any policy, resolution or determination of the Welsh Crown Green Bowling Association (“WCGBA”) Executive Governance Board and any and all of its subcommittees;
c. any rules and regulations of an event including match day / event misconduct, anti-doping or safeguarding;
2. any refusal or neglect to comply with the rules and regulations of the British Crown Green Bowling Association or WCGBA; or specific Area Bowling Association, Bowling Society or Bowling League regulations; or
3. failure to abide by the terms of any agreement notified to members including the provision of any facilities entered into by the WCGBA on behalf of members;
4. breaching any terms of reference, codes of conduct, regulations or other general policies of the sport;
5. conduct that is disgraceful or opposed to the general interests of the WCGBA or the sport (including, without limitation, conduct that brings the sport into disrepute, discriminatory conduct, harassment and inappropriate behaviour);
6. behaviour that is otherwise considered generally unacceptable and contrary to the conduct expected of a member or a registered participant or anyone acting in any other capacity on behalf of the WCGBA;
7. behaviour that is or is likely to be prejudicial to the smooth running of an event organised by or on behalf of the WCGBA or any event that the WCGBA is associated with;
8. any other matter raised by or about a member, registered participant or anyone acting in any other capacity on behalf of the WCGBA which raises concerns with the Executive Governance Board.
Any matter that is brought to the attention of the Chief Executive Officer or the WCGBA Safeguarding Lead Officer where any Disciplinary Panel on investigation decides that the matter should be dealt with by the Police will be referred accordingly. Any action to be brought by way of the WCGBA disciplinary procedures may be suspended until the outcome of the criminal investigation is determined.
Disciplinary issues and complaints are usually dealt with at the most local and suitable place and should only be advanced upwards from Local to Region to National if the individual circumstances warrant transfer.
The WCGBA has adopted unconditionally the ‘UK Sport Anti-Doping Rules’ and all matters regarding Doping shall be dealt under such ‘UK Sport Anti-Doping Rules’ which shall take precedence over the Disciplinary Procedures. Further information on all matters relating to the Anti-doping Regulations may be found at www.ukad.org.uk .
In all cases where there is concern about the safety or protection of children or vulnerable adults, the matter must immediately be referred to the WCGBA Safeguarding Lead Officer.
WCGBA Safeguarding Procedures and Policies, when appropriate, shall take precedence over the Disciplinary Procedures. Further information on all matters relating to the welfare of children and vulnerable adults may be found at www.wcgba.com or direct at www.safeguardingbowls.org
1. Jurisdiction of Powers
The Welsh Crown Green Bowling Association (“WCGBA”) has the power and jurisdiction to act in relation to all disciplinary matters as advised in the constitution, including holding inquiries and imposing penalties and sanctions or to take such action as it sees fit, concerning all organisations and individuals incorporated within and affiliated to the WCGBA. The WCGBA is the National Governing Body and arbiter of Discipline, Behaviour and Performance within the sport in Wales. The WCGBA jurisdiction covers:
· Members (Clubs, Leagues, Societies, Associations & Life Members)
· sport participants
· coaches and referees
· Executive Governance Board, Officers and Committee members
· and volunteers in the sport of crown green bowls in Wales
Charges can be brought against any of the above, subject to a written complaint being submitted. Then the Secretary or a nominated person of the Club, League, Society or Association must record such complaints. The responsibility to investigate such complaints in a fair and transparent manner rests with the Club, League, Society or Association. It is imperative that Clubs, Leagues, Societies and Associations ensure that their Disciplinary Procedures are clearly drawn up and that such procedures are made known to those to whom they pertain.
Where a matter cannot be solved at Club level it may be necessary to have that matter referred to the appropriate League, Society or Association for resolution and decision.
The responsibility of the WCGBA will be directly involved only when complaints originate from:
· Tournaments affiliated or approved by the WCGBA;
· Where there is an allegation of bringing the game into disrepute;
· Where the complaint originates in an event which is the responsibility of or is organised by the WCGBA;
· Matters pertaining to when a player is selected or is nominated to represent Wales and fails to appear without an adequate and acceptable reason;
· Where the misdemeanour concerns a member of the WCGBA Executive Governance Board (“EGB”) or one of the WCGBA officers;
· Where one of the four Area Associations is faced with misconduct of so serious a nature that the Area and its Executive Officers wish to have the matter dealt with by the WCGBA.
2.1. Complaints must be acknowledged on receipt and dealt with as quickly as possible by the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). Keeping in contact with the Complainant (the person making the complaint) is important during these early stages.
2.2. The CEO examines the complaint to decide if there is sufficient initial evidence of a breach of the rules, regulations and code of conduct by the Respondent(s) (the person/s complained about) being careful and thorough in their consideration of the initial evidence. The CEO then makes a decision about what happens next.
2.3. The CEO shall decide if the complaint:
· is required to proceed formally;
· should be dealt with informally because it is not severe enough to warrant full disciplinary measures;
· is rejected as a disciplinary matter because
o it is either invalid within the WCGBA disciplinary procedures;
o it should be dealt with under a different set of regulations, such as Anti-doping;
o it should be dealt with by another authority including but not limited to the Police for criminal matters. Any action to be brought by way of the WCGBA disciplinary procedures may be suspended until the outcome of any criminal investigation is determined.
2.4. The CEO having studied the complaint and carried out preliminary investigation(s) will report the matter to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the EGB and indicate the action he is recommending within 7 days.
2.5. The CEO shall advise the Complainant of the decision, the information given and the timeframe may vary depending on the decision made:-
2.5.1. if the decision is to take no further action the case is then closed once the Complainant has been informed and there is no right of appeal by the Complainant;
2.5.2. if the decision is to refer the matter to be dealt with under different WCGBA regulations the Complainant is advised accordingly of the transfer;
2.5.3. if the decision is to proceed using the disciplinary route the notification to the Complainant is delayed to coincide with the notice given to the Respondent so that both are made aware at the same time.
3.1. The CEO will refer any request to apply interim sanctions to the EGB Chair in the first instance, if in agreement the EGB Chair shall raise the matter immediately with the EGB for approval.
3.2. An interim sanction may consist of, without limitation, a suspension from membership (and associated rights) and/or a prohibition of any person or club taking part in any capacity in any WCGBA activity including competing, officiating, coaching, management, attending meetings, volunteering at clubs or competitions or from attending events being held under WCGBA jurisdiction.
3.3. The only criteria to be used when deciding whether an interim sanction is appropriate are:-
3.3.1. the matter is considered sufficiently serious and
3.3.2. there is a need to protect the interests and the credibility of the WCGBA or
3.3.3. to protect the rights of an individual, or individuals whether identifiable or not against potential harm.
4. Formation of Disciplinary Panel
4.1. The CEO shall ensure that a Disciplinary Panel (DP) is formed immediately once a decision has been reached.
4.2. The DP shall be made up of three (3) individuals, who are the members of the EGB, Officers of the WCGBA, Life Members or Executive Officers of Area Associations. The CEO shall appoint the DP Chair and appoint a Recorder to record panel proceedings.
4.3. The CEO shall notify the DP of a suitable date, time and place for the hearing.
4.4. The names of the DP members will be notified to the Respondent at the same time as the Notice of Hearing is sent.
4.5. Members of the DP shall so far as possible have no connection with the Respondent or the Complainant and they shall not be involved in the complaint.
4.6. The three people appointed to the panel must be:
· free of prejudice or bias and not have an interest in the outcome, other than to see that the decision is fair; and
· careful and thorough in their consideration of the procedures and all evidence.
4.7. It should be clearly understood that all appointed members of the DP are deemed to be unbiased, fair and fully conversant with the principles of natural justice unless it is proved to the contrary.
5.1. The CEO shall be responsible for ensuring due notice is provided to all parties involved in these disciplinary proceedings including all times, dates and venues (unless delegated otherwise due to a conflict of interest of the CEO).
5.2. The Respondent must be given at least 14 days’ notice of the Hearing date.
5.3. Any person appearing before the DP as a Respondent must be made aware in advance of the Hearing of the complaints to be answered and the need, where appropriate, to provide evidence in corroboration or rebuttal in answering the allegations.
5.4. When sending the Respondent the Notice of Hearing the CEO must:-
5.4.1. notify the Respondent the names of the DP and ask if there is any objection to the DP members;
5.4.2. provide a copy of the Disciplinary Regulations that will be used;
5.4.3. provide copies of any evidence that has been received to date;
5.4.4. ask if the allegations are admitted
18.104.22.168. if the allegations are admitted then the DP will not convene a full Hearing but will progress directly to determining any sanctions unless the Chair of the DP decides otherwise;
22.214.171.124. if the allegations are disputed the Respondent is asked to provide the names and full contact details of any person that they may wish to provide evidence in this matter as well as the name and contact details of anyone that they wish to accompany them to the Hearing;
5.5. The Respondent has 7 days to object to any members of the DP stating the full grounds for the objection.
5.5.1. The objection shall be considered by the Chair of the DP unless the objection is against the Chair when the CEO shall decide in consultation with the remaining DP member(s).
5.5.2. If in the opinion of the Chair of the DP, (or if 5.5.1 applies) the grounds for objection to any member of the panel are frivolous, unfounded or ill-informed, the objection shall be rejected.
5.5.3. If there is agreement with the objection an alternative appointment will be made forthwith and the date of the hearing shall be postponed to a date no less than 7 days after the date of any such alternative appointment.
5.5.4. This decision regarding the objection shall be final.
5.6. It shall be the duty of the Complainant and Respondent to notify and arrange for the attendance of any witness they may wish to call at the Hearing.
6. Pre Hearing Timetable
6.1. The CEO may issue directions as he thinks fit relating to the procedural aspects in the period leading up to the Hearing in order that the Hearing of the case itself may be properly and fairly conducted. Directions may include, but shall not be limited to the procedure and timetable for:
6.1.1. the production, inspection and/or exchange of documents or property;
6.1.2. the submission of the names and details of the witnesses the parties concerned wish to call; and
6.1.3. the exchange of witness statements and outline arguments.
6.2. The conduct of any disciplinary hearing held under these procedures shall be determined by the Chair of the DP. [It should be noted that the DP is not governed by rules of court or legislative provision however Chairs must ensure at all times that common sense, fairness and natural justice prevails.]
6.3. The CEO shall notify all the parties of any directions made relating to 6.1 and 6.2 above.
6.4. All documents provided to the parties and to the members of the DP shall be used only for the purposes of the disciplinary Hearing and the determination of the DP and any appeal against the findings of the DP.
6.5. All documents must be kept strictly confidential and it shall amount to a disciplinary matter for one party to make use of the material supplied under these procedures for a purpose unconnected with the proceedings.
6.6. The CEO shall notify each of the parties to the proceedings of the names of the other party’s witnesses and the name and status of any representative who will be presenting a Respondent’s case or acting as an advisor.
6.7. It should be clearly understood that travel or other expenses will not be paid by the WCGBA to Respondents, Complainants, their legal/technical representatives or witnesses in these matters.
6.8. The Respondent may request in writing an adjournment of the hearing date within 7 days of being notified, a detailed statement of the reasons for the request must be supplied. The request will be considered and a decision made by the Chair of the DP.
6.9. In making any order to adjourn, the Chair of the DP shall bear in mind not only the interests of the party seeking the adjournment but also the interests of any other party including the complainant, witnesses and the WCGBA.
6.10. The Chair of the DP will determine the date, time and place of any adjourned hearing.
6.11. The CEO shall in advance of the hearing send to the Chair of the DP the record of any previous offences of the Respondent. This shall be supplied in a sealed envelope which shall be opened only in the event that the DP find that the charge is proven and they are considering the appropriate sanction.
7. Procedure at a Disciplinary Panel Hearing
7.1. The hearing shall take place in private.
7.2. The CEO will be in attendance and where necessary shall represent the WCGBA.
7.3. The Chair of the DP may request an independent person to act as adviser to the DP if he feels that it is necessary bearing in mind all the circumstances surrounding the case, e.g. a technical, legal, equality or other such advisor.
7.4. The procedure during the Hearing shall be flexible and at the discretion of the Chair of the DP who may make such decisions as necessary to ensure the orderly and effective conduct of the Hearing.
7.5. Any Respondent(s) who fails to attend the hearing will be in breach of these disciplinary procedures which will constitute a serious disciplinary offence. The Hearing will proceed to consider the matter and the DP Panel shall have the same powers to reach decisions and sanction in their absence.
7.6. The Chair of the DP should explain the procedure before a hearing commences to all parties involved and give everyone an opportunity to ask questions on matters of procedure which are not clear to them.
7.7. Any Respondent(s) appearing before the DP must be given an accurate copy of any document(s) setting out the complaint at the start of the Hearing, even if this has previously been provided.
7.8. All hearings shall be conducted in a fair and orderly manner with each party having a reasonable opportunity to give and call evidence, address the DP and present their case.
7.9. The DP Chair has the discretion to adjourn the Hearing if required to a time and place notified to all concerned if there is a good reason to do so.
7.10. Any person who wilfully misleads a DP will be liable to disciplinary action.
8.1. The DP shall come to a decision as soon as possible following the Hearing but in all cases within 7 days.
8.2. The decision will be either that the complaint is proved or rejected. If rejected no further action is taken against the Respondent; if proved the DP shall decide on any sanctions required.
8.3. The decision of a DP may be appealed by the Respondent only.
9.1. Sanctions may include, but shall not be limited to:
9.1.1. a written warning; and/or
9.1.2. an order specifying certain training to be undertaken; and/or
9.1.3. an order requiring an individual to be monitored in specific matters; and/or
9.1.4. a requirement to change the rules or regulations of a Club, League, Society, Association or other relevant body; and/or
9.1.5. a suspension from any or all other activities under the jurisdiction of WCGBA, which may include suspension from a specified number of events or for a period of time. Where a period of suspension is imposed on an individual respondent, the DP shall decide the date of commencement of the suspension and shall have power to provide for one or more breaks in the period of suspension; and/or
9.1.6. a fine; and/or
9.1.7. recommendation to the EGB for expulsion from the WCGBA; or
9.1.8. any other appropriate sanction which may be levied from time to time.
9.2. In assessing any sanction, the DP must take into account, and give credit for, the fact that the Respondent pleaded guilty or otherwise admitted any material fact(s) and any factors which the Respondent has put forward in mitigation.
9.3. Where a suspension from the WCGBA or from activities under the jurisdiction of the WCGBA is imposed, the wording and the exact dates of the suspension must be clear and specific.
9.4. Any period of suspension imposed may be back-dated to take into account any interim sanction which may have been imposed.
9.5. All necessary steps shall be undertaken to ensure that the sanction is complied with in every way.
9.6. Any sanction, including partial or full suspension by a DP shall be binding on all aspects of the WCGBA.
10. Fees and Costs
10.1. The Chair of the DP may, at their sole discretion, make an order for the costs of the Hearing to be paid, in such proportion as they may decide, by any of the parties to the Hearing. These costs may include expenses reasonably incurred in the preparation or holding of the Hearing and in attending any Hearing and otherwise in presenting or defending the case. In calculating the amount of such a sum, no legal representation or professional charges may be included in the costs by any party or the WCGBA.
10.2. Such orders for payments of costs shall not form any part of or influence any fines.
11. Procedure following a Disciplinary Hearing
11.1. The Chair of the DP shall report its findings to the CEO as soon as reasonably practicable, but within 7 days in all cases.
11.2. The Chair of the DP in consultation with the CEO shall write to all parties involved setting out the decision and brief reasons thereof and any sanctions imposed.
11.3. The WCGBA will be entitled to publish the decision of the DP in such a manner as it considers appropriate 14 days following the notification of the decision, unless an Appeal is lodged, when the decision shall not be published until the appeal has been decided.
11.4. The CEO shall maintain a record of all offences and sanctions; all correspondence, documents, witness statements and minutes of the hearing shall be kept in the event they are required at a later appeal or otherwise in secure conditions for 6 years.
11.5. All the paperwork relating to any disciplinary matter conducted by a club / League / Society / Area should be sent to the CEO of the WCGBA for retention in line with 11.4.
11.6. The Respondent must be provided with information in writing outlining the process for any appeal at the time that the decision is advised unless the complaint is rejected.
12 Right of Appeal
12.1 All disciplinary matters must be dealt with fairly and equitably. At Club, League, Society and Association it is imperative that an Appeals procedure be drawn up and that it is made known as appropriate.
12.2 Only where appeals are made against decisions at League, Society or Area Association level will that appeal be referred to the WCGBA for final arbitration and decision.
12.3 Any appeal against the decisions of a WCGBA Disciplinary Panel shall continue to the BCGBA under their Bye-Laws: Protests, Appeals and Deposits. The decision of a Disciplinary Panel may be appealed by the Respondent only.
13 Procedure dealing with an Appeal
13.1 Any appeal should be sent in writing, to the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) within 7 days of the decision and must set out the grounds of the appeal in detail explaining why the Respondent disagrees with the decision. The grounds so stated cannot be amended except with the agreement of the Appeal Panel Chair appointed to hear the appeal.
13.2 Any appeal must be accompanied by the appropriate fee which will be either retained by the WCGBA or returned if the appeal is upheld or not taken forward.
13.3 The monetary level of the appropriate fee shall be set by the Executive Governance Board (“EGB”) in the first instance and reviewed every three years; the appropriate fee may be varied only with EGB approval.
14.1 The CEO will set up an Appeals Committee (AC) made up of three (3) individuals, who are senior members of the EGB, WCGBA Officers or Life Members. The CEO shall appoint a Chair and two others and a Recorder to record committee proceedings.
14.2 No person who has taken part in any way with the disciplinary decision being appealed may be appointed to the AC.
14.3 The AC will hear the appeal no later than 14 days after the receipt of the appeal by the CEO.
15 Notice of Appeal Hearing
15.1 Notice of the appeal hearing date, time and place and the names of the members of the AC shall be sent to the Appellant no later than 14 days prior to the date of the hearing.
15.2 The Appellant(s) shall be entitled, within 7 days of being so notified, to lodge an objection with the CEO against any member of the AC who can be shown to have a direct personal involvement or interest in the matter. The Appellant(s) shall provide appropriate evidence in support of any such claim. The CEO will review the appointment and if in agreement with the objection [consulting if appropriate with the Chair of the EGB] shall be automatically authorised to make an alternative appointment forthwith. The date of the hearing shall be postponed to a date no less than 7 days after the date of any such alternative appointment.
15.3 It should be clearly understood that all appointed members of the AC are deemed to be unbiased, fair and fully conversant with the principles of natural justice unless it is proved to the contrary.
16 Appeal Pre–hearing timetable and procedure
16.1 Not less than 7 days prior to the date of the appeal hearing the Chair of the original Disciplinary Panel responsible for the decision which is the subject of the appeal shall provide to the CEO a written statement for the Appeals Committee use only, detailing (as appropriate):-
· The circumstances of the alleged breach or misconduct
· The decision taken
· Any appropriate justification or explanation
· The information that was considered in reaching the original decision (e.g. regulations, reports, correspondence)
16.2 The CEO shall ensure that all relevant information is provided to the Appellant(s), and to all members of the AC, in good time prior to the Appeals Committee meeting (ideally at least 3 days prior to the meeting, but if this is not possible due to a short notification requirement then as soon as practical prior to the start of the meeting).
16.3 An adjournment request cannot be made by the Appellant, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
17 Procedure at Appeal Hearing
17.1 The hearing shall take place in private.
17.2 The CEO shall be present and where necessary shall represent the WCGBA.
17.3 The Appellant(s) may present to the AC whatever written submission they consider appropriate. The Appellant(s) shall ensure that the members of the Appeals Committee receive this information at least 3 days prior to the meeting, to give them an opportunity to study the submission.
17.4 The Appellant(s) shall not, under any circumstances, enter into any discussion with any member of the AC, either in person or through an intermediary, prior to the appeal being heard. Any member of the committee who is approached improperly is bound to notify the Chair immediately and may be required to stand down as a member of the committee at the discretion of the Chair. Any wilful breach of this clause by the Appellant(s) shall be considered as misconduct and may subsequently lead to disciplinary action, but such action should not be considered until the outcome of the appeal is heard.
17.5 When the Appellant is an individual they may be accompanied by one person of the Appellant’s choice. Where the Appellant is a Club, League, Society or Area Association it may be represented by two of its members.
17.6 The Chair of the Appeals Committee should ensure that the appeal is heard in a manner that allows all parties to state their case fairly and the Committee may, if they so choose, invite a technical adviser (for example, a respected senior official, lawyer or accountant) to be present, if they consider that this would be of assistance to the hearing of the appeal.
17.7 During the course of the hearing the Appellant is allowed to provide direct representation to the committee and/or to answer committee questions, the Appellant is not allowed to ask questions of the committee or any other party.
17.8 It is not appropriate for the Appellant(s) and the other parties to be present simultaneously. No form of cross-examination should be permitted.
17.9 If any of the parties do not attend the hearing, the matter may be dealt with by the Appeal Committee in the absence of that party taking into account any written representations that may have been received.
18 Appeal Decisions
18.1 Once the appeal has been heard, the AC will consider its decision and will, upon the making of the decision, recall the Appellant(s) into the meeting and advise the Appellant(s) of that decision. No further discussion is permitted at that time, and the Appellant(s) will then leave the meeting.
18.2 In exceptional circumstances the AC may decide that they are unable to reach a decision at the time and decide to reconvene to consider further on a subsequent occasion. However, the decision should be reached and reported within 7 days of the decision being made.
18.3 The decision of the AC can be appealed to the British Crown Green Bowling Association under their procedures noted at 12.3.
18.4 The AC may decide that the allegations against the Appellant are upheld. If so, the record of previous offences, if any, of the Appellant shall be opened and read out before the AC considers the imposition of a penalty.
18.5 The AC shall have the power to reduce, increase, quash, or confirm the penalty imposed by the previous Disciplinary Panel and/or may substitute for it any other sanction which would have been available to the Disciplinary Panel; and/or make such other order or determination as it may think right or just.
18.6 The AC may direct any party to the Appeal to bear the administrative costs of holding the Appeal where it considers it fair and just to do so.
19 Procedure following an Appeal Hearing
19.1 The AC, supported by the CEO, should following their notification of the decision to the Appellant then advise other interested parties who have been present at the appeal of the decision. No further discussion is permitted related to the matter at that time.
19.2 The Appeals Committee will confirm to the Appellant(s) and the other interested parties, including the Disciplinary Panel Chair, if appropriate, the decision in writing as soon as possible.
19.3 The WCGBA will be entitled to publish the decision of the AC in such a manner as it considers appropriate 14 days following the notification of the decision to the Appellant.
19.4 The WCGBA shall maintain a record of all decisions of the AC; all correspondence, documents, witness statements and minutes of the hearing shall be kept in secure conditions for a period of at least 6 years.
20 Shortening of the Appeal Process
20.1 Where it is necessary to expedite the consideration of the appeal, the Chair of the AC may vary certain of the above conditions but if this action is intended, then the Appellant(s) should be advised and given an opportunity object to the proposal to modify the procedure.
20.2 Normally, the modification should not be carried through against the wishes of the Appellant(s), except where the objection by the Appellant(s) is without just cause.