Appeals and review procedure

How to request an appeal or review and what happens next

An appeal against the outcome of a case can be requested by the person who raised the concern, or the volunteer who was under investigation.

This includes appeals against sanctions put in place under these Girlguiding policies and procedures:

We’ve put together a flowchart to help you understand the appeals and review process.

This procedure doesn’t apply to appeals following withdrawal due to not starting a disclosure check or completing a safe space training. Go to our a safe space training and criminal disclosure checks webpage for more information.

A suspension can’t be appealed as it’s a temporary measure. You can find out more about suspensions in our managing concerns about adult volunteers procedure.

How do I request an appeal?

You need to request an appeal in writing within 28 calendar days of the date on the outcome letter or email. In special circumstances, we may extend this deadline.

An appeal will only be accepted if one of these apply:

  • There’s new information or evidence which may affect the outcome of the investigation.
  • Our policy, procedure or investigation process wasn’t followed.
  • It meets our threshold as a serious risk to our reputation or otherwise.

A request for an appeal must provide all relevant details, including any new evidence.

The sanction, or other outcome, will remain in place during the appeal process.

What happens when I request an appeal?

We’ll acknowledge your appeal request within 5 working days and let you know when we expect to decide whether the appeal is accepted or declined. In complex cases we may extend this timescale. We’ll let you know if this is the case.

We’ll also let your chief commissioner and county commissioner know that you have requested an appeal.

The relevant HQ team will pass the appeal request to the chief guide or director of membership services. In exceptional circumstances, this may be delegated to an appropriate senior staff member, senior volunteer, or lead volunteer. The relevant HQ team may provide them with relevant information regarding the case.

The chief guide and/or director of membership services will decide whether to accept or decline the appeal request.

If the appeal is accepted, we’ll write to you to let you know. We’ll explain the next steps, including how we intend to take this forward and the timescale. We’ll let you know if we need any more information.

If the appeal is declined, we’ll write to you to let you know. We’ll explain why the appeal hasn’t been accepted and respond to any outstanding concerns. This is the end of the appeal process, but you may still request a final review.

In some cases, the chief guide and/or director of membership services may request a final review takes place, even if the grounds for an appeal haven’t been met.

What happens after an appeal is accepted?

We’ll appoint an appropriate appeal investigator or panel to hear the appeal. To make sure the appeal is impartial, they won’t have been involved in the case before.

The investigator or panel will review any new evidence submitted as well as the original investigation. They may need to gather and review additional information or conduct new interviews.

Only in exceptional circumstances will an entirely new investigation take place. If this is required, it’ll follow our investigation procedure.

Appeal outcomes

The appeal investigator or panel will write a report collating and sharing their findings from their review of the original investigation, and of any reinvestigation.

They’ll make recommendations to either keep the original investigation outcome or sanctions or change them. They’ll also raise anything else which needs to be addressed.

The chief guide, director of membership services, and/or other appointed individual, will review these findings. They’ll decide whether to either:

  • Confirm the original outcome of the case.
  • Revoke the original outcome of the case.
  • Change the original sanction.

We’ll inform you of the outcome of the appeal. We’ll also inform any other people involved, including the country or region office.

The appeal outcome is final and marks the end of the appeal process.

Final review

What is a final review?

Girlguiding is committed to providing the best and most robust investigation and appeals procedure we can. The last part of this process is a final review to look at how we dealt with a concern.

If you aren’t satisfied with how we investigated the case, you may request a final review. The final review is not a re-investigation. It’s for us to make sure there’s been a thorough investigation and the decision is based on accurate findings and supported by evidence. It’s an examination of how we conducted our investigation and an opportunity for us to identify learning points.

You can request a final review after you’ve received the outcome of your appeal. In some cases, the chief guide and/or director of membership services may request a final review takes place.

How do I request a final review?

Contact the relevant HQ team in writing within 14 calendar days of receiving the outcome of your appeal.

What happens when I request a final review?

The relevant HQ team will share the request with the chief guide and/or director of membership services, who will decide whether to accept or decline the request.

Examples of reasons when we will consider conducting a final review include a failure to:

  • Make Girlguiding policies and procedures available.
  • Follow our own policies and procedures.
  • Make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a person’s background and individual circumstances, for example their first language or disabilities.
  • Keep parties informed of developments.
  • Resolve the case in a reasonable length of time. 
  • Make sure the investigation is impartial.
  • Treat you fairly.

If a request is accepted, we’ll appoint a senior staff member, senior volunteer or external person to carry out the final review. They’ll review the case file and look at how the investigation was carried out. They’ll produce a report, including recommendations, which will be shared with the chief executive for their information.

Final review outcome

Once the final review is complete, we’ll write to tell you, and everyone involved, the outcome. We’ll let you know about any actions we’ve taken or plan to take.

If we’ve found a volunteer has breached one of our policies or our code of conduct, we may address their behaviour under our managing concerns about adult volunteers policy. This will only be shared with those who need to know as part of their role.

The outcome of the final review is final – there can’t be any more reviews.