Where members comply fully with the Code of Conduct and other BSAC policies, rules and guidance, the need for formal disciplinary procedure is thankfully rare. 

Disciplinary processes

Any disciplinary process that needs to be applied shall be:

  • Evidence based
  • Fair
  • Open and transparent
  • Proportionate
  • Timely
  • Provide a right to explain their actions
  • Seek to modify and improve behaviour
  • Include a right of appeal


Key Principles

Membership Applications should be accepted without undue vetting, unless there is evidence of safeguarding concerns or previous conduct in other branches.  

The model procedures for disciplinary processes should encourage resolution at the lowest level.  Where an expulsion from the branch is considered, the committee should seek advice from BSAC HQ.  

When a committee votes to expel a member from the branch, they must follow the recognised process set out by BSAC.

Expulsion and the refusal of subscriptions should be seen as the same thing and subject to the same recognised process. 

When a committee expels a member, that member has the right to demand an SGM of the branch to appeal their expulsion to the full membership.  The membership, for an appeal to SGM only, will consist of members that were members at the time of the decision to expel, including those who have since left.  The vote should be by secret ballot and will require a 2/3 majority to overturn a decision to expel a member.  The meeting should normally take place within 30 days and all members must be notified. BSAC can offer help with contacting all members to arrange an SGM, or with the practicalities of a secret ballot if necessary.


Breaches of the Code of Conduct can be classified as:

  • Minor
  • Frequent
  • Significant
  • Cumulative
  • Serious

Depending on the level of classification and the frequency or repeating of any breach may determine the way each incident is dealt with.

Both individuals and branch committees must guard against ignoring minor incidents until they start to build up to an accumulated number of incidents, which may then be considered more serious. Such an accumulation not only reflects on the individual but also a lack of recognition or management on the part of others in allowing incidents to accumulate.

allocation of responsibility flowchart

Fig 1    Allocation of responsibility to consider an allegation

All members have a duty to speak out against inappropriate behaviour

Anyone who witnesses inappropriate behaviour or serious breaches of the rules, policies and guidance should feel able to speak out against such behaviour at the time.

Action could include:

  • Intervening to stop an activity that could injure or be detrimental to another person.
  • Reporting the incident to an appropriate member of the club (eg Dive Manager, Instructor, Diving Officer etc.)
  • Raising a concern with the club’s Welfare/Safeguarding Officer
  • Seeking advice from other members of the club or BSAC HQ staff

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