Members become involved as a partnership with ‘Channel PWEM’ – it is accepted that ‘Channel PWEM’ is totally dependent on the input from the Member sector who essentially ‘own the company’. This Member charter has been developed to underpin this important and critical role.
We have a visual picture of a Member – and there is no single typical Member – could you fit?
The first, and most important aspect, is that you must fully subscribe to the Aims and Values that is the foundation of ‘Channel PWEM’. Have a read, and satisfy yourself that this is an organisation that you would like to help and to be associated with. If you feel ‘On the Margins’ or if you can genuinely empathise with adults with intellectual disabilities, then we would love to get to know you better and find a place for you within ‘Channel PWEM’.
Members have the right to:
- feel wanted and valued.
- be treated on an equal basis with paid staff members of ‘Channel PWEM’.
- participate in the policy making process through the election of Member Representatives onto dedicated positions on the Board of Directors.
- information regarding ‘Channel PWEM’s, management structures, financial affairs, policies etc..
- be kept informed of their role and status within ‘Channel PWEM’.
- have an opportunity to advance their own personal objectives (within the constraints of ‘Channel PWEM’s aims, values and operational imperatives).
Members are obliged to:
- become ‘team players’ by working with and assisting others in their projects and working for the ‘common good’.
- show an appreciation for ‘Channel PWEM’’s aims and values through actions.
- accept the rights of ‘Channel PWEM’ to establish rules, regulations and procedures and to abide by them.
- Honour any commitments made to ‘Channel PWEM’ or fellow members’ activities / projects.
- Make an input to diverse areas within ‘Channel PWEM’ and not be restricted to those areas which were the original reason for becoming involved.
- All information compiled and produced as well as any videography is the sole property of ‘Channel PWEM’ unless express agreements are made to the contrary.
- Agree to be bound by all the content of these policies and procedures by signing the form Policies and Procedures Agreement available from the project supervisor.
Think about why you want to do voluntary work and be sure that ‘Channel PWEM’ can meet those ‘wants’. Come in and have a chat first to get to know what we do, where you would like to slot in and can we accommodate you in that specific slot. Come to an agreement on what you can bring to us and what we can bring to you. Then, take a deep breath and think again – don’t overcommit. It is better to come in slowly and develop your Team Player Spirit. Part of that Team Player Spirit comes from stretching yourself and becoming involved in areas that were not ones that you had originally thought of – be adventurous, be open to new experiences. For example, if you want to be in front of camera, then you should also help out in areas like admin or hospitality and vice versa. Try to be flexible, we are all doing our best at any particular place and time – but situations change, projects evolve and you will enjoy them so much more if you can evolve also.
I don’t believe that I never said this at the outset – enjoy yourself! If you find that you are not enjoying the experience for whatever reason, then come and talk to someone who ‘knows the ropes’ – you have a right to enjoy the experience – OK?
Whenever two or more people work as a team, there is the potential for things to go wrong, for mistakes to happen and for interpersonal disputes to occur. We are not perfect – none of us are, so disputes will arise as sure as the sun rises every day. Accepting that disputes can arise is the first step towards resolution, be willing to step back and allow a third party to act as a referee. Basically, this is what happens during the ‘Grievance Procedure’. I don’t like the term Grievance Procedure, it sounds so impersonal, but it isn’t – it is simply a checklist for us to use to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to understand what went wrong and to help prevent it happening again in the future.
Stop and think – I know it sounds too simple to be true, but it works. Reflect on what happened and try to work out a clear description of the events and what happened. Try not to be judgemental or prescriptive.
Basically talk to the senior person involved in the activity. For a production, it is most likely going to be the producer/director; for an administrative type activity it will be your reporting supervisor. It is possible that you could be having the problem with this immediate ‘supervisor/director’ – all is not lost, go to the next senior person.
If you are new to ‘Channel PWEM’, you might feel intimidated by this process – please don’t be. Talk to a friend / colleague and ask him/her to assist you in seeking a resolution. We want you to fit in and we recognise that we could have misunderstood your requirements or procedures might have evolved that are inappropriate – we need to know about these problems, so please talk. There is usually an ‘elder’ available that you respect – go talk.
The ‘third party’ will try and understand what happened and why. This will be done, in the first instance by chatting with the people involved and then go back to clarify the situation from each persons’ perspective. If a solution can be found at this stage – then that solution will be proposed to all. If it appears that there is a procedural problem that needs to be resolved, then this problem will be reported to the board / management to be considered for incorporation into a future procedures manual update.
If the ‘third party’ was not able to resolve the issue for all concerned, he/she will report to the Board of Directors who have a duty to consider all aspects and make a ruling. All parties are entitled to be heard by the board and to have a colleague present as an advocate or for moral support – if desired. Although this sounds very formal and intimidating – it is not intended to be. To be fair to all concerned, it needs to be formal, so that everyone has an opportunity to give their point of view.
Just remember – we are all human, we all have failings and are prone to make mistakes. We want to find a resolution and earnestly hope that all conflicts can be resolved.
Discipline / Mis-Conduct
Just as grievances can occur, it is likely that there will be time when management are required to intervene in terms of discipline or breach of regulations. We recognise that everyone (ourselves included) can make mistakes, breach some regulation … it is not the end of the world and it is our duty to try and ensure that it does not adversely affect the person who breached trust / regulations. Discipline is not there to punish, it is there to try, where possible, to ensure that we can all enjoy our experience and improve our lives as a result of our interaction with ‘Channel PWEM’. To this end, there are a number of principles that need to be adhered to when considering discipline.
- When an allegation is made against you – it is an allegation.
- You are entitled to be dealt with in a fair and equitable manner. That word ‘equitable’ is important. It means that you are entitled to have other people speak on your behalf. It also means that the physical setting needs to be accommodating and non-intimidating e.g. it is not acceptable that there are numerous people sitting on one side of a desk and you alone on the other in an inquisitorial fashion.
- All matters relating to discipline will be dealt with by management in a manner that protects your dignity – this includes your privacy being respected so that there is no sense of humiliation and that the outcome is seen to be fair, consistent and appropriate for the transgression concerned.
- The goal of any sanction should reflect a willingness of management to improve the potential for a better outcome for yourself and other members of ‘Channel PWEM’ during your involvement with ‘Channel PWEM’.
- Each time that you are found to be in breach of a specific regulation it will be recorded on your record sheet as follows:
- 1st time – Official verbal warning and you will be told specifically that this is a verbal warning
- 2nd time – official written warning and you will be told that this is a written warning and given a copy of the warning with a statement of what will happen for a third transgression
- 3rd time – things are not going well – are they? We don’t want to lose you, but what to do? It is serious and we all need to come to grips with what is going wrong and to be honest with ourselves. The problem could be with you, or with us. At this stage, an outside person (agreeable to all) will be called in to mediate and his/her decision will be binding. The ultimate sanction that can be imposed is that you will be required to leave ‘Channel PWEM’.
It is a requirement that all members undertake garda vetting as part of the membership process – until we become a registered charity, this process will be handled by host organisations and during this interim, will only be required for members being active in projects at that host organisation.