Exeter City's Supporter and Customer Charter season 2019-20
This charter has been produced following consultation with supporters through the club website and open meetings held annually over the last 5 years.
CLUB MISSION STATEMENT
1. The Club and Trust worked closely together in 2015 to develop a joint vision for the future of Exeter City Football Club.
Our shared vision is to make Exeter City an outstanding community-owned club, playing football at the highest sustainable level.
2. Underpinning this vision are six commitments:
- To grow the Trust ownership model.
- To promote sporting excellence.
- To develop home-grown academy talent.
- To engage with our members, supporters and the wider community.
- To deliver viable financial performance as part of an integrated business plan.
- To develop first-class capabilities – people, premises, pitches, pride.
The club will achieve this by:
- Aspiring to excellence in all that it does.
- Working in consultation with supporters, customers and the community in order to maintain the highest standards of performance in an equal opportunities environment.
- Following a policy of prudent financial management in order to develop the club profitably over the medium to long-term.
- Recognising that in the competitive world of professional football the club must be ambitious, creative and adaptive to change.
- Being actively involved with the local community to ensure that the club's resources are used to our mutual benefit.
- Continuing to recognise the importance of the club's youth development and standalone charity City Community Trust programmes - information on community activities are regularly published on the club and City Community.
- Trust websites as appropriate.
Exeter City Football Club is proud of its heritage and wishes to strengthen the good relationship that exists between the club and the local community. The club will continue to represent the city of Exeter with pride, integrity and passion on a national and international stage.
SUPPORTER AND CUSTOMER CHARTER
Our key objectives for the coming season in relation to customer service are to:
- Retain the English Football League (EFL) Family Excellence and Away Fan Experience kite marks.
- Continue to build and improve on our firm foundations for customer service.
- Increase the number of opportunities for fans to have their say on a variety of club matters.
- Ensure the match day experience for families with children and all supporters is excellent.
- Retain and progress the EFL Equality and Inclusion Code of Practice standard.
1. Customer Service
1.1 The club is committed to providing an excellent service for all its supporters, customers and stakeholders. We welcome constructive input from supporters regarding customer improvement, satisfaction and value customer feedback on both positive and negative aspects of our business and activities.
1.2 Any comments regarding aspects of customer service should be made to the club's Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) or our Operations Manager who can be contacted by telephone on 01392 411243 during normal office hours, by email to email@example.com or writing to them at Exeter City Football Club, St James Park, Stadium Way, Exeter, EX4 6PX.
1.3 Once received, the club will make an initial response to any contact from a customer within five working days. If the initial contact from the supporter/customer is in a written format then a telephone call or email may be sent to acknowledge receipt and to establish any further facts required.
1.4 In the case of a written complaint an initial investigation will be carried out and a response issued in writing within a further ten working days from the date of acknowledgement. Whilst initial responses may be in the form of a telephone conversation, a fax or an email it will then be confirmed in writing by post/email.
1.5 Any complaints received from customers will be recorded in a register and reported to the relevant football authority as required together with any reports of investigations into the complaints.
1.6 The club sincerely hopes and expects that any complaint received regarding customer service can be resolved to the customer's satisfaction and the club will make every effort to do so.
1.7 After all other opportunities to resolve a complaint have been exhausted the Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) has been established by the football authorities (The Football Association, the Premier League and the EFL) to receive and adjudicate on complaints which have not been resolved at an earlier stage. Any unresolved complaints should be sent by email to contact@TheIFO.co.uk, letter to The Independent Football Ombudsman, Suite 49, 33 Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3AJ or reported by phone to 0800 588 4066.
1.8 The normal procedure for complaints to the club will be addressed in the first instance by the Operations Manager/SLO with the line manager. If this is not resolved satisfactorily an appeal should be made to the chair of the football club. The final appeal can be made to the board of directors. At every stage, the complainant and their representative will be given the opportunity to attend any appeal in person or by written submission.
2. Staff Conduct
2.1 Club staff will endeavour to be courteous and helpful to customers at all times, offering them the best possible service and information available. Exeter City Football Club is committed to briefing staff on key issues so that they are sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to directly answer the majority of supporter queries.
2.2 All members of staff will do their best to answer any queries or concerns. If they are individually unable to answer a query they will refer the matter to their supervisor or line manager and the customer will receive a response as quickly as possible, but no later than 21 days.
2.3 The club has the same expectations of its paid and unpaid staff (volunteers) as any other organisation and expects them to act as role models in all their activities.
3. Consultation and Information
3.1 This is a good opportunity to remind supporters that the club’s majority shareholder is the Exeter City AFC Supporters Society Limited (a Community Benefit Societies under the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 with company number IP29339R)(ECFCST or the Trust). Whilst the supporters of many other clubs strive to have a voice at Boardroom level, the Trust has four representatives on the Club Board and is represented on all major committees within the club. No new directors can be appointed to the Club Board without Trust approval. Governance is undertaken through a Club-Trust Agreement.
3.2 The Trust is registered as an Industrial & Provident Society and is a democratic organisation, existing for the benefit of the community. Each member has one share in the Trust, which entitles them to a vote in elections to the Trust Board. In turn the Trust Board elects members to the Club Board and other committees within the club. The Trust Board must also obtain the support of its members before it can make any decision which is of material importance to them.
3.3 The club actively consults supporters on a regular basis through a variety of forums. As an example, this charter was consulted via the website and open meeting. Both the club and the Supporters' Trust hold 'fans forums', during which question and answer sessions are a regular occurrence. EFL Engagement Rule 115 mandates that there must be at least two forums a year at which directors and senior management will answer questions. The Grecian Groups forum meets regularly and consists of representatives from all our supporters' groups, club representatives, ECFCST trustees and Club directors.
3.4 Meetings may be held outside Exeter in order to ensure that our 'exiled' supporters are consulted and given an opportunity to express their views. Fans' forums and meetings with other supporters' groups provide additional opportunities for fans to raise issues and debate all matters regarding Exeter City Football Club.
3.5 The club publicises its position on major policy issues on the official club website, on the Exeter City Supporters' Trust website and in the matchday programme. The club also issues information via social media, local radio, newspapers and the Press Association.
3.6 The Supporters' Trust has pledged consultation with the Trust membership regarding matters requiring shareholder approval, for example on issues affecting the club's ownership and the stadium. This is actually outside of the club's responsibilities but one that is of course supported.
3.7 Our stewards/matchday attendants/ambassadors provide a customer relations service and will be happy to answer questions or direct you as appropriate. Our matches are classified as “Steward Controlled” or “Police Controlled” in consultation with the appropriate authorities. CCTV is in operation at all points of the ground.
3.8 First aid is available by asking any steward or club official for assistance. The first aid point is located at the away end of the ground.
3.9 The club’s process for banning supporters follows any court, police or legal directive and is sanctioned by the board who will write to individuals to inform them of the terms and conditions of their ban. Any supporter who is reprimanded by stewards or officers of the club might also be banned. The normal process will be for a formal warning in writing for a first offence clarifying the implications of any further breaches of behaviour. A formal ban will normally be the subject of an internal meeting with club management and the supporter(s) informed in writing within 10 days of the hearing. Any ban will be subject to a “back to support” meeting and signed agreement.
The club gives the earliest possible notice of any changes to its ticketing policy and the reasons for the changes. Tickets for Exeter City supporters can be purchased online via the club website, during the week in person at the club shop and reception, over the phone on 01392 411 243. On matchdays purchases can be made at the Ticket Booth in “Red Square”. Please note matchdays access to some parts of the stadium is by ticket only and they must be obtained in advance or from the Ticket Booth. These areas are visiting fans, Stagecoach Adam Stansfield Stand and IP Office Main Stand. Collections on the Matchday are held at the respective ticket booth.
On matchdays, tickets for all Exeter City supporter areas within the ground can be purchased from the Red Square ticket booth (cash, card and cheque payment all available) and you can pay cash at the Big Bank (standing) turnstiles. Visiting fans who do not purchase in advance must obtain tickets from the Away Ticket Booth in St James Road.
Booking fees and postal charges may apply. Cheques must be supported by a valid bank card. Credit and debit cards are accepted on line or for purchases at Main Reception or Ticket Booths
4.1.1 The club continues to strive for wider access to matches by offering a broad range of ticket prices and initiatives in order to attract new supporters or specific target groups. The club also operates a scheme whereby an early purchase of a season ticket is accompanied by a discount.
4.1.2 All people entering the ground must pay at the turnstile for admission or have a valid ticket purchased in advance or at a ticket booth at the ground on the day (where applicable).
4.1.3 Restricted view tickets are not generally on sale, but if requested may be sold at a discounted rate.
4.1.4 The club reserves the right to vary general admission charges at any point throughout the season.
4.2.1 In the case of an all-ticket game, the last opportunity for purchasing tickets, subject to availability, will be before the close of business, as publicised, the day prior to the game unless otherwise stated. Ticket office opening hours will be adjusted for increased accessibility for all-ticket fixtures and details of opening hours will be publicised on the official club website, matchday programme, social and local media. The club also has a facility for purchasing tickets by telephone or online and details are available on the official club website or from club reception.
4.2.2 The club reserves the right to charge an administration fee for processing telephone and online bookings for tickets for all fixtures. Tickets booked online will be posted out to customers, but may be left for collection by arrangement.
4.2.3 Tickets for 'all-ticket' matches will not be held for collection later than three clear working days before the date of the fixture without prior payment.
4.2.4 The club reserves the right to withdraw season tickets from supporters whose conduct is not in keeping with that stated in this Supporter/Customer Charter under the section 'Supporters' Conduct' or published in the Ground Regulations. The Ground Regulations are posted at entrances and on the website.
4.3.1 In line with EFL guidance, at least five per cent of tickets for each game will be made available to non-season ticket holders.
4.3.2 For 'all-ticket' matches or games where it is expected that demand may exceed supply, the club operates an agreed priority system that ensures Trust members and registered supporters get first access to tickets for big games both home and away. This system has been agreed by the majority shareholder, the Exeter City Supporters' Trust, and is defined in the priority system rules.
4.3.3 The priority system is regularly reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose and can be found by clicking here.
4.4.1 Concessionary prices are available to junior supporters (under 12/18 on August 31, of the current season), full-time students possessing a current and valid matriculation card or proof of full-time education and senior citizens (born before January 1, 1954). Please note our babes in arms policy now relates to children aged 4 and under who do not require a seat. As such, any child aged 0 to 4 years old will not require a ticket to enter a match at SJP.
4.4.2 The club reserves the right to charge normal match day admission prices in the absence of proof of qualifying for a concessionary rate.
4.4.3 The club provides an area of the ground for the use of family groups and junior supporters and the club fully supports the Football League initiative, 'Enjoy the Match'.
4.4.4 Information regarding tickets for disabled supporters is detailed below.
4.5 Cup competitions
4.5.1 The club reserves the right to decrease or increase the price of admission to home cup fixtures.
4.5.2 Season ticket holders are guaranteed admission to home cup fixtures and will be given priority over the general public for ticket sales as set out above providing they have purchased tickets before the date advertised for those tickets to go on general sale.
4.6.1 Refunds are issued on unwanted matchday tickets provided they are returned to the club at least 48 hours in advance of the advertised kick-off time of the game for which they have been issued. Any administrative charges are non-refundable.
4.7 Postponed or abandoned matches
4.7.1 If a match is postponed before kick-off and after entry to the stadium, tickets will be valid for the re-arranged fixture. For those supporters not issued with a ticket upon entry, vouchers will be issued on exiting the ground that will enable free admission to the re-arranged fixture.
4.7.2 If a match is abandoned after kick-off, but before half-time, spectators will be entitled to up to 50 per cent reduced-price admission to the rearranged match on production of an original ticket or voucher issued on exiting the ground. The club reserves the right to set the reduced price of admission.
4.7.3 If a match is abandoned during or after half-time, spectators may be entitled to reduced-price admission to the rearranged match on production of an original ticket or voucher issued on exiting the ground. The club reserves the right to set the reduced price of admission.
4.7.4 Tickets bought for the original fixture or vouchers issued on exiting the ground must be retained in order to qualify for the above concessions.
4.8 Accommodating away supporters 4.8.1 The club abides by EFL and Football Association Regulations governing the allocation of tickets to visiting clubs. The club does not charge admission prices to supporters of a visiting club higher than those charged to our own supporters for comparable accommodation.
4.8.2 Concessionary rates offered to senior citizens, students and junior supporters also apply to supporters of a visiting club. The club reserves the right to charge normal match day admission prices to visiting supporters in the absence of proof of qualifying for a concessionary rate.
5. Merchandise, catering, bars, hospitality and car parking
5.1 The club endeavours to ensure that all reproduction strip designs shall have a minimum lifespan of two seasons, subject to the kit suppliers and shirt sponsors remaining unchanged.
5.2 The club will display a sign, and detail on the website/social media, stating the launch date of replica kit sold in the club shop. Club staff are also expected to inform the customer of this information, especially in circumstances where the introduction of a new kit is imminent. The club carries out its obligations under current regulations to prevent price fixing in relation to the sale of replica kit.
5.3 The club shop refund policy is that a refund or exchange is offered on all full-priced items which are returned unworn with a receipt within 28 days of purchase (28 days from Christmas Day for Christmas presents). Sale items are not refundable but can be exchanged if returned unworn with receipt within 14 days of purchase.
5.4 The club catering on matchdays is provided in-house with an occasional franchise by special invitation and on a cash basis. This gives the club an opportunity to provide the range of products that supporters require. The catering manager will listen to suggestions regarding service or product range. Any suggestions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5.5 The club has four principal bars (Supporters' Trust Suite, Centre Spot, outside in the Export/Red Square patio area and in the new Stagecoach Adam Stansfield Stand). Further bars are available in the private hospitality RGB Lounge and Heritage Lounge. The Centre Spot bar is also open throughout the week. Alcohol will only be sold to persons who are over 18 and identification might be required to obtain service. The Centre Spot and Export/Red Square patio bar are normally open to away supporters.
5.6 Hospitality is only available if booked in advance. Hospitality can be arranged for individuals and groups in the Supporters' Trust Suite (advance bookings only), corporate boxes and the Heritage Lounge. All these areas are covered by an alcohol license. Season Ticket holders will enjoy hospitality at the advertised price minus the match entry price.
5.7 Our standalone charity City Community Trust also offer matchday experience packages which include refreshments.
5.8 Car parking at the ground is extremely limited. On-street parking is also limited due to neighbourhood parking schemes. There are, however, convenient park & ride facilities and many local car parks available. Details of car parking arrangements can be found here. There is also a branch railway station immediately behind the ground. Exeter International Airport is serviced by taxis and buses that run close to the stadium.
6. Community Activities
6.1 Exeter City Football Club is proud of its long and increasingly developing role in the local community and there is a commitment to further this from all sections of the club, especially from the Supporters' Trust, City Community Trust, Centre of Excellence and Youth Development Scheme, officers, management and playing staff.
6.2 The club, City Community Trust and Supporters' Trust explore opportunities for increased community involvement and works across the following areas:
- Education: helping young people realise their potential.
- Social Inclusion: promoting greater cohesion in communities and encouraging empowerment.
- Health & Wellbeing: promoting health and wellbeing in the community.
- Sports participation: promoting sports participation and physical activity. Activities that underpin the club's commitment to corporate social responsibility.
- Celebrating our heritage.
6.3 As part of its matchday activities the club offers local and some national charities the option to make a half-time collection. Details of the half-time opportunity for charities can be obtained by emailing email@example.com. Running events are staged throughout the year where funds raised are split between the standalone City Community Trust charity and nominated charities.
6.4 Events are also run in conjunction with or on behalf of local charities.
7. Supporters' Conduct
7.1 The club wants all supporters to be part of the pride and passion at St James Park in a safe, secure and enjoyable environment. We are, therefore, committed to preventing people from behaving in a manner likely to jeopardise the safety or enjoyment of others, or to bring discredit on the club or city of Exeter. Please ensure you understand the Ground Regulations published on the website and displayed at entry points.
7.2 Anyone attending matches at St James Park must abide by the regulations which are displayed on notice boards at all entrances to the stadium and at other high visibility positions. Ground Regulations can also be found on the club website by clicking here. A copy of the ground regulations can also be sent to anyone on request by telephoning club Reception on 01392 411243 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
7.3 If the club becomes aware of any person having been convicted of or involved directly in a football-related offence (whether at the club's ground or otherwise) or having been in serious breach of any club's ground regulations, it will, in consultation with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, or the relevant Police Authority in the case of an away game, and representatives of the club's Supporters' Group, make a decision as to whether that person should become subject to a club exclusion order. Each case will be judged on its own merits and the length of any ban will depend on guidelines and the severity of the offence and with regard to any breach of the club's Ground Regulations.
7.4 The normal procedure for appeals to the club will be addressed in the first instance by our Operations Manager or Supporter Liaison Officer with the line manager. If this is not resolved satisfactorily appeal should be made to the chair of the football club. The final appeal can be made to the board of directors. At every stage, the complainant and their representative will be given the opportunity to attend any appeal in person or by written submission. Any unresolved appeals should be sent by email to contact@TheIFO.co.uk, letter to The Independent Football Ombudsman, Suite 49, 33 Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3AJ or reported by phone to 0800 588 4066.
7.5 The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985: It is on offence for a person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework. The sentence for these offences can be as much as three months in prison, and in many cases, fans who have no previous convictions are being given prison sentences for attempting to enter a football ground with a smoke bomb in their pocket as the courts take these offences very seriously.
7.6 Flags and Drums are permitted at St James Park but may be restricted during capacity games. Visiting supporters are advised to contact email@example.com to pre-arrange access for drums and/or flags. The Club will then advise on the latest position. Please note that drums are only acceptable in standing areas of the stadium. Flags and banners must be inoffensive, non-political and be supported by a valid fire certificate.
8. Safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk
8.1 The club is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk and expects all staff and volunteers to do the same. The club has a safeguarding policy which is available to view on request from club Reception and we take our responsibilities for the wellbeing of children, young people and adults at risk seriously. To make a report email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01392 411 243. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied when attending matches.
8.2 Where a child under the age of 16 breaches stadium regulations and would normally be asked to leave the ground if older, the child will be placed in the care of the matchday child protection officer who will endeavour to contact the child's parent, guardian or other family member if appropriate. In cases where this is not possible or practical, the child protection officer will keep the child in a place of safety until the end of the match. For serious breaches of ground regulations the club may deliver the child into the custody of the police. This decision will be made by the club's safety officer.
9. Disabled Supporters
9.1 The club is committed to ensuring that all those who wish to watch football matches are able to do so, subject to ticket availability but irrespective of disability. The club has a Disabled Supporters' Association (ECDSA) and a dedicated disability liaison officer (DLO). The DLO can be contacted by calling 01392 411243 or by emailing email@example.com. The Club's DLO will try to ensure that the needs of all home and visiting supporters are met wherever possible.
9.2 The club provides accommodation and assistance for disabled spectators and their assistants. Tickets should be booked in advance, as availability cannot be guaranteed on the day of the game. Please contact club reception for details of our disabled facilities, admission prices and ticket allocation. The club has a written policy detailing its commitment to disabled supporters in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act (2010).
9.3 The club provides exclusive commentary for blind and partially sighted supporters via radio headsets that can be used anywhere in the ground. Supporters wishing to use one of these headsets are advised to contact club reception by calling 01392 411243 in advance of a game to make a reservation.
9.4 Existing disabled area season ticket holders will have the opportunity to renew their disabled area season tickets at best possible prices and season tickets will be allocated as follows:
- First priority will be given to existing disabled area season ticket holders whose seats will be reserved until the final season ticket renewal deadline.
- Second priority goes to existing non-disabled area season ticket holders who wish to move to a disabled area.
- Third priority will be given to any current members of the Supporters' Trust or an affiliated group who wish to upgrade to a season ticket.
- Fourth priority goes on general sale on a first come, first served basis.
9.5 Ticket availability and dates of sale will be available from the ticket office or on the club website.
9.6 Current capacity within all designated disabled areas at St James Park is 92 wheelchair and assistant spaces. For health and safety reasons all supporters using a wheelchair must be accompanied.
9.7 For all away matches it must be noted that the allocation of disabled tickets is at the discretion of the home side and therefore Exeter City Football Club cannot guarantee disabled tickets for all those requesting them.
9.8 In the event that demand exceeds supply for disabled away tickets, the priority will be the same as for general ticket allocations. Should there be insufficient tickets for first priority applicants then tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
10. Equal Opportunities
10.1 At Exeter City Football Club we respect and value the diversity that exists in our community and are committed to challenging attitudes that promote discrimination.
10.2 The club is dementia friendly and seeks to comply fully with the Equality Act 2010 by actively seeking ways to safeguard people who have a protected characteristic. We aim to ensure that no job applicant, employee, player, volunteer or customer receives less favourable treatment.
Those with protected characteristics can be found here www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights. This includes:
- Access to tickets and other products such as club merchandise.
- Ability to book corporate or other facilities.
- Ability to join membership schemes.
- The selection of candidates for employment or promotion.
- Pay and employment terms and conditions.
- Internal training and development activities.
- External education activities.
- Football development activities.
- Selection for representative teams.
- Appointments to honorary positions.
10.3 The club is an equal opportunities employer and has a Staff Equal Opportunities Policy, a copy of which is available on request from reception/HR Officer.
10.4 The club will not tolerate sexual or racial harassment or other discriminatory behaviour, whether physical or verbal, and will work to ensure that such behaviour is met with appropriate disciplinary action whenever and wherever it occurs.
10.5 The club is committed to confronting and eliminating discrimination of any individual with protected characteristics. The club wholeheartedly supports The Football Association in its commitment, through the Respect campaign, to develop a programme of ongoing training and education in order to promote the eradication of discrimination.
11. Environment policy
The club with its suppliers looks to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. Products used are resourced to have minimal effect on the environment and recycling of paper, glass, cans, plastics and cardboard are all recycled through a registered collector. Rain water is harvested at the Clifford Hill Training Ground. To minimise our effect on the environment, power is always switched off when not required.
12. Data protection
12.1 In accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018, the club will maintain the privacy and security of customer details held on record.
12.2 A contractor appointed by EFL manages the club's official website and is responsible for ensuring data protection is in place in respect of any user data collected via the official site. The club uses a ticket agency, Ticket Zone, to assist with the sale of match tickets. The agency is responsible for ensuring data protection is in place regarding details collected from the sale of tickets.