Complaints

PSA members have a right to expect quality advocacy, timely representation and support, and that complaints will be dealt with promptly.

The PSA will formally investigate any complaint from a member which the assistant secretary, secretariat or president considers warrants investigation.  PSA members have a right to expect quality advocacy, timely representation and support and that complaints will be dealt with promptly.

In general, members and staff are expected to attempt to resolve any complaint with the PSA at the earliest possible opportunity and at the lowest possible level.  This means a member should start by contacting the relevant staff member.  The PSA organising centre can provide guidance on the name and contact details of the person responsible for the member to contact.  This may include the organiser responsible for the organisation or the assistant secretary responsible for the sector. 

For the purpose of this policy a complaint is a concern a member has which they want considered for formal investigation.

If attempts to resolve at the lowest level do not address the complaint to the member’s satisfaction, the member may make a request in writing or by lodging the complaint with complaints@psa.org.nzrequesting that the matter be formally investigated.

A formal investigation will only occur when the assistant secretary, secretariat or president determines that the problem has not or cannot be resolved at a lower level and that it should be investigated. 

All complaints should be sent to complaints@psa.org.nz.

If a complaint is about a PSA staff member, delegate or member it will be considered by one of our assistant secretaries.

If a complaint is about an assistant secretary it will be considered by a national secretary. 

If a complaint is about a national secretary the complaint may be brought to the attention of the PSA president.

If a complaint is about PSA policy or a decision of the executive board the complaint may be brought to the attention of either the president or a national secretary.

The assistant secretary, secretariat or president shall determine the appropriate steps to be taken to resolve the complaint.  This may include a lower level resolution like discussion with the member or referring the member to another PSA staff member or delegate to attempt to resolve it. 

Not all complaints will lead to a formal investigation but a member can expect to receive a response to the complaint.

Examples where a complaint may be resolved at a lower level include:

  • A misunderstanding between the member and another member, the delegate or organiser
  • A disagreement about the approach to take in a particular case
  • The issue is resolved through a discussion
  • A simple clarification is required
  • Action is taken which resolves the matter

When the assistant secretary, secretariat or president determines that there are matters arising that may mean there has been a serious breach of policy, process or rules and this cannot be resolved at a lower level, the complaint will be referred for formal investigation.

 Examples of where formal investigations may be undertaken include:

  • An alleged failure by the PSA to follow the PSA Rules or PSA Regulations
  • An allegation that the PSA has failed to follow its own processes
  • An allegation that a member’s reasonable expectations about the conduct of a union member, union official or the PSA has not been met
  • An allegation of misconduct by a PSA member or official

The complainant will be notified within 20 working days whether a formal investigation will take place and if the complaint will be investigated, when the complainant can expect a written reply which will be as soon as practicable after that. Depending on availability of relevant people and the ability to access relevant information, this timeframe may be extended for a specified period.  The complainant will be advised if any extension is necessary and for how long.

The investigation may include discussions with the complainant, requests for further information and interviews of the relevant PSA staff and other members.

The complainant will be advised of the outcome of their complaint. This will include advice about whether the complaint has been not upheld or has been fully or partially upheld, to the extent possible given the privacy obligations on the PSA.

If the complaint is fully or partially upheld, the response will include a statement about putting the issue right or what is needed to put it right – this may include any remedial action taken with respect to the issue being complained about or changes to systems to ensure no future occurrence.

The outcome may include but is not limited to the following: 

  • A review of PSA processes or procedures, including staff capability and competence
  • An apology
  • Disciplinary investigation of a PSA staff member (note that details will not be shared with the member due to privacy obligations)
  • Recommendations as to training and development
  • Over-turning of a decision of a PSA official
  • A decision to discipline a member in accordance with Rule 72
  • A decision that no action is warranted

Where an assistant secretary has investigated the complaint there will be the right to request the secretariat review the outcome. The secretariat will not repeat the investigation but will make enquiries into whether or not the process followed and the decision reached were fair.

Members may request the President review the Secretariat decision.

The outcome of an investigation and review is final.  The PSA will not continue to engage with members when the Secretariat or President determines that the complaint is addressed.

The Executive Board will receive an annual report summarising complaints received and formally investigated over the course of the preceding year.  The report will include the nature and outcome of each formal complaint and will outline any issues arising regarding compliance with the policy.

Before lodging a complaint, please read the PSA Complaints Policy (in the tabs above) to ensure you follow and understand the formal complaints process and lodge your complaint through the appropriate channels.

All complaints should be sent to complaints@psa.org.nz