VSA External Complaints

Who can raise a complaint 

Anyone external to VSA who wishes to raise a complaint about VSA or VSA staff, except for anyone who comes under the ‘exclusions’ below.


This Complaint Process does not apply to the following:

  • Unsuccessful candidates for volunteer assignments or jobs with VSA as these appointments are not subject to review. However, people in this category are free to provide feedback to VSA if they wish to and this would be separate from any complaints process.
  • VSA’s employees, volunteers, and Council members including former employees, returned volunteers and accompanying partners, or former members of Council, as these are regarded as internal complainants and separate internal complaints policies apply.


What can I complain about

Complaints may be about VSA’s development activities overseas, VSA hosted events, VSA communications, or VSA partner organisations, volunteers, employees, Council members, or consultants or suppliers contracted by VSA, where the organisation or individual has allegedly failed to meet a commitment, or expectation, or not acted in line with VSA policies or values.


How do I make a complaint           

You may make a complaint directly yourself (if you are the complainant) or you can have a friend or representative advocate on your behalf.

The following information MUST be provided when making the complaint:

  • the name and contact details of the complainant
  • a brief outline of the basis of the complaint
  • all supporting evidence.

Your external complaint may be made either in writing (via post or email), or given verbally (either in person or by telephone), as follows:


Telephone Complaints

Telephone complaints may be made either:

  • by phoning VSA’s Wellington office on +64 4 472 5759; or
  • if you are outside New Zealand, by phoning the local VSA office to talk directly to the in-country Programme Manager.


Written Complaints

Written complaints should be lodged by completing this dedicated online form, which can be accessed by clicking here. Please select Complaint from the drop-down list on the web form, please note the following: 

  • If the complaint relates to a staff member, volunteer, or VSA Partner Organisation, please select CEO from the drop-down list on the web form and the email will be sent to VSA’s CEO. 
  • If the complaint relates to a VSA Member, VSA’s CEO, or any VSA Council member, or VSA itself, please select Chair from the drop-down list on the online form and the email will be sent to VSA’s Council Chair. 


Complaints by post

Written complaints may be posted to:

Complaints, Volunteer Service Abroad, PO Box 12246, Thorndon, WELLINGTON 6144


Complaints in person

 If you wish to make a complaint face-to-face:

  • Phone VSA’s Wellington office on + 64 4 472 5759, state you wish to make a complaint and request an appointment with one of VSA’s designated complaint managers.
  • Then visit VSA’s office (Level 2, 77 Thorndon Quay, Wellington) for the arranged appointment.


What will VSA do about my complaint    

All formal complaints will be referred to a designated complaint manager at VSA.

VSA will endeavour to deal immediately with inquiries, feedback and minor complaints which are made orally by telephone or in-person (i.e., during that initial phone call or meeting if possible).

If the complaint is in writing the complaint manager may write or speak to the complainant to further clarify the facts, before deciding whether an investigation is necessary.


When will I receive a response     

For written complaints the complaint manager will provide acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint within five working days and give an estimated timeframe for a substantive response.

We aim for a substantive response within 30 working days and will keep you updated on progress if a longer timeframe is necessary.

VSA aims to provide written communication of decisions on complaints as soon as practicable after the complaint has been investigated and a course of action determined. Where appropriate (such as in the case of a complaint being made by a local community member in the field) VSA will also communicate the decision orally and in the appropriate language.


What if I am not satisfied with VSA’s decision   

If you are unhappy about the response received from VSA or believe the corrective action has not been adequately implemented, then you may appeal to the VSA Council Chair.

If your complaint involves an alleged breach of the CID Code of Conduct, then you can make a complaint to the Code Committee of the Council for International Development. If your complaint involves an alleged breach of the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) Codes and Standards of Fundraising Practice, it can be referred to the FINZ Ethics Committee.


Can I assist another person to make a complaint?         

A complainant may appoint a representative or advocate to progress a complaint on their behalf if they wish.


How does a child make a complaint        

An appropriate adult can act as an advocate for a child.


Can my complaint be made anonymously?        

You can identify yourself in confidence if you wish. If identity is not provided your complaint may still be recorded however an anonymous complaint will be unable to be properly investigated.


What does VSA do with the learnings from the complaints     

The Senior Leadership Team will reflect on the overall learnings from all complaints and constructive feedback that have been received. This information will be used to guide organisational improvement.


Can I get more information in a different language      

Yes, please contact us and we can provide you with someone to go through this procedure in your own language.

VSA External Complaints procedure flowchart

Complaints flow chart RAW info copied as image into word