Comments, Concerns & Complaints Process
16.1.2019

Why do we need this process?
It’s important that everyone at New Unity has the opportunity for their input to be listened to, and by the right people. Serious concerns and complaints must also be heard and addressed in a timely and serious way. Equally, it’s important that the stream of input from New Unity participants doesn’t overwhelm the volunteer and staff leaders who field it, and that lesser priorities don’t displace higher priorities.

When NOT to use this process
If your matter is urgent and immediate harm will be caused by a delay of a few days, or if the safety of a vulnerable person is immediately at risk, please do not use this system. Instead, please contact either of the following people:

Minister and Safeguarding Officer
Andy Pakula
RevAndy@new-unity.org; 078091 44879

Deputy Safeguarding Officer
Tom Ana
Children@new-unity.org

Step 1: Fourteen questions to ask yourself before you begin
These can be helpful as a reminder of how we might remain true to our commitments to one another:

  1. Am I assuming the good intentions of the other?

  2. Am I communicating directly with the person with whom I have an issue?

  3. Am I resolving issues, or am I spreading them through gossip, anger and/or frustration?

  4. Am I reflecting on any personal wounds and tendencies of mine that might be contributing to the issue?

  5. Am I willing to be an active participant and to work in good faith to clear up the issue?

  6. Am I leaping to conclusions about what the other person is thinking or doing, or am I engaging them properly, and asking them to share their own thoughts and story?

  7. Am I trying to live New Unity’s values by acting with compassion and respect, and highly valuing our interdependence?

  8. Am I actively listening to what the other person is saying, and not falling into the trap of formulating my next response while they’re talking?

  9. Am I asking myself “what is the loving thing to do?” and acting on my sincere response?

  10. Am I able to have disagreements with an individual or group, but in a way that preserves mutual love and respect, and enables all sides to maintain a positive community?

  11. Am I taking into account the importance of the issue in relation to the importance of the relationship?

  12. Am I reflecting on how my attitude and actions contribute to the tone of our community?

  13. Am I willing not to have to be right?

  14. Am I being the change I wish to see in the world, and acting in the way I’d like others to act?

Step 2: Talk
We’ve found that most matters are best handled in the first instance by direct conversation, rather than submitting something in writing. The essentials are to speak to the person who’s responsible for the area you’re concerned about, and in a setting where there’s enough time to speak without hurrying. If you’re uncomfortable about speaking to someone directly, you can ask to have a third person present.

Step 3: Use the form
If you’ve made a sincere effort to talk to the relevant person about the matter, but without a satisfactory result, then please complete the form, either on paper or online. This form will be received by the New Unity Administrator who will log it and send it on to the appropriate person. You’ll be kept informed of the status of your issue. Within 15 working days of your submission, you’re entitled to have an initial response from the person to whom the matter has been directed. The next steps may include further discussions with you, mediated discussion, and further investigation. This will lead to some form of final response to your submission. The final response will aim to serve the best interests of the New Unity community, while - as much as possible - treating all involved with respect and dignity.

If you’re not happy with the resolution of this issue, you may request a second hearing. Here, the details of the matter may be shared with more people to get broader perspectives. The participants in that second hearing will depend on the specifics of the issue at hand. At this point, the Executive Committee will also be invited to contribute. If a single Executive Committee member is the subject of the submission, that person will remove themselves from consideration of the issue.

If your submission raises a concern about the Executive Committee, then the second hearing will be handled by an ad hoc resolution group. This group will comprise the minister and four New Unity members in good standing (two chosen by you; two chosen by the Executive Committee).

Within 20 working days of your request of a second hearing, you’ll receive a response detailing the final outcome.

Confidentiality: official comments, concerns, and complaints necessarily involve several people, and as such they cannot remain confidential. Nonetheless, those staff and volunteers involved in this process will remain as discreet as possible. (There’s a space in the form for you to indicate specific preferences; but we can’t guarantee confidentiality except when safety is at issue.)

Link to online form