Constitution Chronicles: Understanding your Legal Obligations with Grievance Procedures

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Let’s talk constitutions and what the new changes to grievance procedures could mean for your Club. We’ll start with a few questions:

  • Is your club registered as an Incorporated Association?
  • Are you aware of the location of your current constitution
  • How old is your constitution?
  • Is the copy of your Constitution consistent with the one lodged with the Office of Fair Trading?
  • When was the last review conducted by your committee/board on your constitution
  • Does your constitution pose any obstacles to the efficient administration of your club?
  • Were you aware that you can incorporate your own clauses into your constitution, provided they do not conflict with the Act or model rules?

Over the past few years, Clubs Queensland has been providing updates regarding amendments to the Incorporated Associations Act. These changes have been gradually implemented, with the final requirements now in effect.

Earlier this year, the Office of Fair Trading dispatched correspondence to all incorporated associations, urging them to review their constitution’s grievance procedure and ensure alignment with the new Act. Associations have until 30 April 2024 to submit any proposed grievance procedures for inclusion in their constitution, if desired.

While it is not mandatory to include a grievance procedure in your constitution, it may be prudent to omit it if absent, and instead adhere to the Act in the event of grievances. Rather than hastily amending a single clause, DWS recommends that clubs take the opportunity to comprehensively review and modernise their entire constitution to comply with legislative updates. This process should involve removing outdated clauses or terminology and incorporating new clauses to enhance comprehension and streamline administration. Such proactive measures may help mitigate member grievances, among other benefits.

Clubs with existing grievance procedure clauses that may conflict with recent legislative changes are advised to review and revise these clauses accordingly.

If you wish to share your experiences with effective or less effective constitutions, I invite you to reach out to me via email or phone on 0417 721 942.

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