Complaints Policy

Turner Syndrome Association of New Zealand Incorporated (TSANZI) recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi as Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding document. TSANZI is committed to upholding the mana of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles of Partnership, Protection and Participation.

This policy shall be read in conjunction with the Constitution of TSANZI including but limited to Rules 25, 26 and 27.


Everyone involved with TSANZI joins with good intentions and we are all expected to do our best to treat each other with respect and comply with our policies and rules. Despite this, problems sometimes arise. Children and young people in particular must be cared for, treated with respect and their welfare placed at the centre of everything we do. TSANZI knows everyone involved in TSANZI is here because of a shared interest in Turner Syndrome and care for the people involved. When people involved in TSANZI get into disagreements it can become a serious issue. TSANZI is committed to supporting everyone, including members, volunteers, whānau and supporters to participate in an environment that is respectful, safe, and fair.

TSANZI acknowledges it is important to everyone involved to respond quickly, fairly and thoughtfully to address issues. People are entitled to raise concerns or complaints and to have them addressed promptly and fairly. No one should be punished or victimised for raising a concern or a complaint in good faith. This policy is centred on equity, dignity, respect and maximising the potential of all people in the community. The following principles should be kept in mind when applying it:

•         Respect for the culture(s) of the people involved including having culturally appropriate processes to resolve complaints and restore relationships.

•         Addressing problems informally and face to face, wherever possible.

•         Treating others fairly, equally and in a way that keeps their mana intact.

•         Maintaining relationships and keeping each other safe.


This policy sets out the steps for raising and dealing with concerns and complaints. It aims to:

•         support people to resolve minor issues on their own

•         give clear guidance for making, dealing with and resolving complaints

•         make sure the approach taken to dealing with complaints is fair and consistent including enabling culturally appropriate responses and processes.


Who can make a complaint?

Complaints can be made by or about anyone involved in TSANZI. This includes: volunteers, members, employees, service providers, and families/whānau of participants. Complaints may also be about the committee of TSANZI.

What can complaints be about?

Complaints may be made about things such as actions or decisions of TSANZI members or committee members, processes not being managed well (or at all), disagreements between members, unprofessional or upsetting behaviour, or delays or failure to communicate about matters affecting a person. Complaints may involve:

•         organisation management issues

•         conflicts of interest (including favouritism)

•         disrespectful behaviour

•         bullying (see below)

•         sexual harassment (see below)

•         discrimination

•         abuse of power

•         health and safety risks

•         offensive/insulting language or behaviour

Serious complaints (e.g. unethical, dishonest or illegal behaviour, harassment (sexual, racial or otherwise) bullying, health and safety risks, unlawful discrimination, and offensive/insulting language or behaviour) may be breaches of other TSANZI policies, e.g. Diversity Policy or similar. These will be assessed and may be dealt with under those other policies. If you are unsure whether the Complaints Policy and Process applies to your situation, the Committee can provide guidance.

TSANZI will keep details of complaints confidential unless and until the complainant wishes otherwise.


Informal Resolution First

People are encouraged where possible to raise concerns directly with the person who has behaved in a way causing concern. It can be helpful to discuss the issue with a trusted friend or family member for another point of view and support before raising the concern directly with the person. Self-managed informal resolution needs to be approached respectfully. The parties involved should have a chance to be heard and feel safe to be able to say what they want to say, keeping in mind the need to find ways to resolve issues and be able to work with one another in future. It is open to any party to have a support person involved. A support person might assist, for example, in raising the complaint with the person initially or joining a conversation between the parties. Sometimes it is not possible to raise the concern directly, for example (a) there are safety reasons or (b) the issue is too serious to try to resolve this way or (c) the complainant wishes to remain anonymous. In these situations, people are encouraged to contact the TSANZI for guidance in raising the complaint. TSANZI can also discuss with you issues such as anonymity and practical considerations in raising complaints. If self-managed informal resolution has not resolved the issue, it should next be raised with:

• the President or Vice President or Executive Committee who, in consultation with those involved, will suggest a culturally appropriate process to try to resolve it. This may include holding a facilitated meeting or following a process that meets the needs of the people involved; or

• TSANZI, which can provide the individuals involved and committee with:

a)       guidance to move the issue forward to a constructive process; and

b)      access to TSANZI facilitators and/or mediators should the parties wish to have a facilitated discussion.

Formal complaints resolution – advice to those with a complaint

What do I need to do?

Formal complaints should be made in writing, as soon as possible after the event(s). If you can, please use the attached Complaints Form. Where this is not possible, you can make a verbal complaint and TSANZI will assist you to put it in writing.

Who do I make the complaint to?

Complaints may be made directly to the President, Vice President or Executive Committee. The President is a good option where:

a)       it would be helpful to talk to someone in confidence before making the complaint about how best to go about it and what to expect;

b)      you wish to remain anonymous;

c)       there is a dispute between people that is escalating or causing problems within the community;

d)      the committee or official that the complaint would usually be made to is involved in the issue or has a conflict of interest;

e)      the complaint is serious or urgent in nature; or

f)        it will be important for either or both the complainant or person complained of to have the matter resolved through a culturally appropriate process.

How will I be treated?

A person making a formal complaint TSANZI can expect to be treated in line with the following principles:

Fairness: Every person dealing with a complaint will remain neutral and listen to both sides of the story.

Respect: Every person involved in a complaint will be treated and is expected to act towards others with respect, dignity and in a culturally appropriate way. Complaints will be raised and handled sensitively, with a goal to preserve relationships by acknowledging each other’s role and contribution to the Association.

Communication: Every person involved in a complaint will be regularly kept up to date on progress and the outcome.

Confidentiality: Information relating to a complaint will not be shared with any other person without consent, unless fair process or the law require the information to be shared with a person or an authority. This will be discussed with the person providing the information.

Restoration: The goal is to resolve so far as possible the particular complaint to the satisfaction of all parties, restore people’s mana and maintain positive relationships within the organisation and across the Association and wider community.

Acknowledgement: Every person admitting fault or found to be at fault after a fair process will be asked to acknowledge their fault to those harmed, acknowledge the harm and provide an apology.

Support: Both the person making the complaint and person complained about should have access to support throughout a complaint process. Everyone involved in a process may be accompanied by chosen family/whānau and/or other support people. Any person may obtain independent legal advice or representation at any stage (at their expense).

What is the process for TSANZI resolving a complaint?

For complaints made directly to it, TSANZI will promptly acknowledge receipt. Depending on the nature of the complaint, TSANZI will contact the complainant to discuss the next steps, support and any child welfare, wellbeing or safety concerns the complainant has.

TSANZI will inform the complainant that the complaint (and relevant information) will be shared with:

(a) individuals within the organisation who are responsible for addressing the complaint; and

(b) the person or organisation complained about.

Complaints will be raised with the person complained about in a way that preserves the dignity and mana of that person, their whānau and their wider community. If the complainant is not willing to have their complaint or identity shared with the person complained about, TSANZI will advise that the complaint may not be capable of resolution to the complainant’s satisfaction. In these circumstances, TSANZI will suggest referral of the complaint to an independent organisation to act as an intermediary.

If the complainant is under 18, TSANZI will generally encourage the complainant to notify their parent/guardian and have a parent/guardian involved in the complaint resolution process. If the person complained of is under 18, their parent/ guardian must be notified and must be present at any discussion about the complaint.

An appropriate person from TSANZI will ask the complainant how they would like their complaint addressed, the process they would prefer and what outcome they are seeking. The organisation will, in light of the principles on page 1 of this policy, determine a process that can accommodate the parties to the extent reasonably practicable.

TSANZI may seek guidance from the Charities Services or another appropriate independent organisation - without breaching any confidences agreed with the complainant - on the most appropriate complaints resolution process in the circumstances.

TSANZI will:

a)       identify and clearly communicate to the complainant what resolution process it proposes to use; and

b)      talk with the complainant to seek their agreement to that process before it is put in place. Possible resolution processes that TSANZI may put in place include:

 i.            consideration of the issues raised by the person or organisation complained of and provision of a written explanation for their or its actions

 ii.            dialogue between the parties, facilitated by the association;

iii.            dialogue between the parties facilitated by TSANZI;

iv.            mediation between the parties facilitated by TSANZI (which is a structured dialogue facilitated by an expert mediator);

v.            use of a decision-making process by TSANZI; (see next section)

vi.            referral of the complaint to Charities Services for triage and consultation with the parties to navigate from the initial complaint to an agreed resolution pathway.



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