Complaints Policy

It is the policy of Bristol Open Technology Lab C.I.C. (encompassing Bristol Hackspace) to deal with all complaints swiftly, fairly, and proactively.

Formal complaints may be made by anyone (members and non-members) by emailing the Directors or by emailing any individual Director. If the complainant prefers, they can also deliver a written complaint to any Director by hand.

Informal complaints may be made in writing, but also verbally to a Director. These complaints will still be recorded to be discussed by the Directors, but will not result in a sanction. The Directors may decide by majority vote to upgrade an informal complaint to a formal complaint if they perceive that there is an ongoing risk of harm.

Each complaint will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Directors, who will conduct an investigation. Throughout this process the Directors will endeavour to maintain clear and constructive communication between themselves, the offending party, and any other affected parties.

As the result of an investigation into a formal complaint, the Directors may decide by majority vote to impose a sanction on a member. When making sanctioning decisions, the Directors will take the position of preserving the best interests of Bristol Open Technology Lab C.I.C., Bristol Hackspace, and its community.

Sanctions include:

  • Issuing a formal warning.
  • Revocation of access granted by induction to tools and machinery.
  • Temporarily suspending a membership.
  • Permanently terminating a membership.

The Directors will only consider termination of membership for offenders who persistently demonstrate unwillingness to cooperate, or for very serious complaints.

The Directors will keep all details of complaints strictly confidential, and not discuss the complaint with anyone apart from other Directors or involved parties. The Directors cannot stop a complainant from discussing their complaint with others.

The Directors will report anonymized complaint discussions and outcomes at members’ meetings.

The Directors will maintain a record of all formal and informal complaints. This record will include, at minimum, the date of the complaint, the complainant, the subject, and the outcome. This record will be kept strictly confidential and only accessible by current Directors. If a complaint is deemed to be without merit, it will be removed from the record.

Information regarding resolved complaints, except for information regarding serious complaints, will be kept for no more than five years. Information regarding serious complaints that have been upheld by the Directors will be kept for no more than ten years. The Directors will review the information contained in the record at every Directors’ meeting.

Complaints made by or against one or more of the directors create a conflict of interest, and the involved Directors will be removed from all discussions and decisions about the complaint.

The remaining Directors will consider whether they or any other Director also has a conflict of interest due to their relationship with the involved individuals. If they feel that they are unable to contribute to the discussion dispassionately, they will remove themselves from the discussion.

If the number of Directors able to investigate and discuss the complaint is less than four, the remaining Directors should arrange for the complaint to be heard by a panel of independent people, for example former Directors, or Directors from another hackspace.

Once the investigating panel has been formed, the complaint will be investigated in the normal fashion.

A complaint against the entire board of Directors will be treated as a complaint against Bristol Open Technology Lab C.I.C.

Complaints fall into this category if they are made against Bristol Open Technology Lab C.I.C., Bristol Hackspace, or a section of the organisation.

The Directors will investigate complaints against Bristol Open Technology Lab from the position of determining the root cause of the complaint, and to identify any necessary changes to Bristol Open Technology Lab C.I.C.’s policies or procedures. The Directors will propose those changes to the membership and ensure they are enacted as necessary.

  • policies/complaints
  • Last modified: 16 months ago
  • by felix