Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Inc. Disputes and Grievances Policy

In this document “we” means the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Inc.


We value all our volunteers but are realistic that when a variety of people are brought together who are all keen and wanting to contribute, tensions and conflicts can arise. We understand it is important that problems are brought to light early and will endeavour to resolve issues using the correct processes and procedures.

Common reasons for conflict include:

  • dismissing new ideas
  • tension between new and old members
  • heavy workloads
  • introducing change
  • a poor relationship between staff and volunteers
  • volunteers not feeling respected

    Volunteer rights
    Volunteers have the right to express grievances, dissatisfaction and concerns with the volunteer program or organisation and to have their grievances heard, respected and dealt with in a professional, efficient and fair manner.

    Process for making a complaint

    In the first instance the volunteer (the complainant) should express their issue or grievance to their group convener/coordinator. The group convener should arrange to meet the complainant to talk about their concern and try to resolve the issue internally.
    The Manager Administration or the Volunteer Convener is available as an alternative contact person in case the complainant has a problem with the convener and does not feel comfortable approaching him or her. 
    If a solution is not found after the first meeting between the complainant and convener / the Manager Administration/ the Volunteer Convener or neither party is satisfied with the outcome, the next step would be for the Secretary to be involved in discussions.
    We believe it is best for disputes and grievances to be solved internally, working with the people involved to find the best possible solution.
    However, if after approaching all levels of management the dispute cannot be resolved, a third party can be brought into discussions. This third party could be a Council member or the local volunteer resource centre. Volunteers can also call the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria, which offers free mediation services to all Victorians.
    Formal investigation
    If the complainant requests a formal investigation, or if an informal resolution fails, the Secretary will then escalate the matter to the Executive and in turn Council.

    The process will need to:
  • afford natural justice to all involved
  • interview all directly concerned, separately
  • interview witnesses, separately
  • keep records of the interviews and investigation
  • ensure confidentiality and minimise disclosure
  • determine appropriate action, which may include a change of duties for the harasser, change to working arrangements or, where the incidents were frequent and/or severe, dismissal
  • check to ensure the action meets the needs of the complainant and organisation.

    Outcomes as they affect the complainant will be discussed with the complainant to ensure that needs are met, where appropriate.

    Detailed grievance procedure is available within FRBGM Rules 10.A (Version: 11 November 2013) and can be viewed on the website at: About Us > Publications > Statement of Rules > open Statement of Rules pdf


    Signature of FRBGM Secretary

    Date of approval by Council

    Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Inc.