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IDA must be a safe place to be for both members and staff. This includes IDA’s meetings and conferences, board work, social media, member counselling services and all other IDA activities.
In the vast majority of cases, it is. Only rarely do disagreements or behaviour develop into conflicts or cases.
But if cases or violations do occur, they must be handled on the basis of formalised and transparent procedures.
That is why the IDA Board of Representatives, at its meeting on 29 May, decided to set up an independent Sanctions Committee, tasked with dealing swiftly and confidentially with complaints of inappropriate behaviour from members, staff, volunteers, elected representatives and the political organisation.
The Committee's work is based on the IDA Law and Statutes, which state that "The members are obliged to respect Society objectives, including proper loyal behaviour in their activities and statements."
"It is therefore nothing new that one should behave properly in IDA," says IDA's Chairman Thomas Damkjær Petersen.
It must be safe to complain about matters you find objectionable, and you must be confident that your report will be handled confidentially. The complainant must also be sure that the handling is done properly and in confidence.
"Until now, the only way to act on complaints, violations and other inappropriate behaviour has been to expel the member. It is very drastic to expel a member and our purpose is not to expel members but to attract them," says Thomas Damkjær Petersen.
The independent Sanctions Committee can take less drastic action in cases of serious misconduct in IDA.
"A yellow card, as you were, where members can for example risk losing the right to set up events, participate in events, represent IDA in committees or get legal advice. Not permanently, but for a limited time," says Thomas Damkjær Petersen.
The Sanctions Committee should also be seen as a protection of individual rights. With this change in the statutes, IDA has ensured a clear formal and confidential handling of often difficult issues that can have major personal consequences.
The Sanctions Committee Scheme, where both members and IDA staff can report members for, among other things, breaches of IDA rules or inappropriate behaviour. The offence must relate to the work of the person reported on behalf of IDA or within IDA.
Complaints, for example if a member is dissatisfied with the general conduct and services of IDA or wishes to complain about specific issues or experiences.
The whistleblower scheme, where IDA staff and volunteers can report serious or criminal matters via the law firm Plesner.