Harpenden Choral Society Complaints Procedure

Commitment to resolving complaints

Harpenden Choral Society is committed to ensuring that complaints by members are dealt with effectively to the best of the Society’s ability and within its resources. The Society recognises that constructive complaints can be used actively to improve performance.

This Complaints Procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, promptly, consistently and, wherever possible, resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

Roles and responsibilities

Harpenden Choral Society will:

  • acknowledge the complaint in writing
    · deal reasonably and sensitively and where appropriate confidentially with the complaint
    · take appropriate action as required.

The member (complainant) should:

  • in the first instance, attempt to resolve their complaint directly with the person concerned
    · follow the complaints procedure detailed below if the member’s concerns cannot be resolved satisfactorily informally, or the member is unwilling to try to do so
    · explain their complaint as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date
    · allow a reasonable amount of time for the complaint to be dealt with
    · recognise that some circumstances may be beyond the Society’s control.

Principles common to all procedures

  • Complaints should be addressed to the Chair unless the complaint is against the Chair, when the Secretary and Treasurer will deal with the complaint. All complaints will be reviewed by the Committee.
  • Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and members of the Committee maintain confidentiality. However, the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that maintaining confidentiality is not possible. Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.
  • If at any time during the investigation of a complaint matters arise which require investigation by external authorities, the complaints procedure will be suspended until those investigations have been concluded. Similarly, the complaints procedure will be suspended if a complainant is actively seeking legal redress.
  • Where the Committee deem a complaint to be deliberately repetitive or vexatious, a decision may be given without a formal investigation.
  • Where a complaint is unsubstantiated or poorly substantiated, the complainant will be asked to provide further substantiation.
  • Where a complaint has been investigated previously and satisfactorily resolved, the complainant will be given details of the previous resolution.

Procedure for minor concerns/grievances

In the first instance a minor grievance should be raised on an informal basis directly with the person(s) involved. Having failed to resolve the issue satisfactorily themselves or being unwilling to try to do so, the complainant should approach their section representative, with a view to the situation being resolved quickly. If the member feels that the matter should be handled confidentially then they should follow one of the procedures below as appropriate.

Procedure for concerns relating to vocal ability 

  1. In the event of a concern about a member or members being made, whether by another member or by the Musical Director or the accompanist, as to the vocal ability and/or performance of a member, such concern shall be raised with the Chair.
  2. The member concerned will be invited to meet with the Musical Director and two committee members, including the Chair, in order to discuss the concern with a view to reaching a solution if possible.
  3. In the event that no solution is possible, the Musical Director and the Chair, should they conclude that such action is unavoidable in the interest of maintaining the Society’s standards and/or the enjoyment of members, jointly:
    (a) require the member not to sing in a forthcoming concert performance, and/or
    (b) recommend to the Committee that the member’s membership of the choir be terminated in accordance with the Society’s constitution and rules.
  4. It is the responsibility of each member of the Society to ensure as far as possible prior to concerts that they are proficient enough in singing the concert music not to jeopardise the overall standard of the Society. To this end, a member is expected to withdraw from the performance should they consider that they have not reached the necessary proficiency. A member may also in such circumstances be required not to sing in that performance in accordance with the procedure specified in clauses 1 to 3 above.

Procedure for general complaints

In the event that a member wishes to raise a general complaint about behaviour in rehearsals or a concern about the Society, or to appeal against the recommended termination of their membership, such general complaint, concern or appeal shall be raised with the Chair. The member will then be invited to make representations to the whole Committee, who will then review the complaint.

Resolution and disciplinary action

  • Any final resolution of a complaint will be taken in the best interests of the Society.
  • The Committee will respond to a complaint in an appropriate way – for example, with an explanation, an apology or information on any action taken.
  • Any decision involving termination of membership will be taken in line with the Society’s constitution and rules.


Regular policy review

As a general rule a review will be held every 2 years and no more than 27 calendar months after the last review. The next review will take place in March 2023.

11 March 2021