VSA External Complaints

Who can raise a complaint

Anyone external to VSA except for the “exclusions” below who wishes to raise a complaint about VSA as an organisation.


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 or former members of Council within 90 days following the end of their employment, assignment or service with VSA 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, or its Partner Organisations, volunteers, employees, Council members, 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. This may be related to activities, use of resources, or a legal requirement.


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 orally (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.

Email Complaints

Complaints by email should be lodged by completing this dedicated web form, which can be accessed by clicking here. Please select Complaint from the drop down list on the web form, except where they relate to a member of VSA’s Senior Leadership Team, or the CEO, or a VSA Council member, in which case please note the following: 

  • If the complaint relates to a member of VSA’s Senior Leadership Team, 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 VSA’s CEO, or any VSA Council member, please select Chair from the drop down list on the web 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-handlers.
  • Then visit VSA’s office (Level 2, 77 Thorndon Quay, Wellington) for the arranged appointment.


Who are VSA’s complaint handlers?

VSA’s complaint handlers are:

  • The local in-country Programme Manager

    At VSA Head Office in Wellington
  • Director Finance and Programme Delivery
  • Director Human Resources and Volunteer Services
  • Chief Executive Officer

  • VSA’s Council Chair

You can find out more about these people here

What will VSA do about   my complaint

All formal complaints will be referred to a designated complaint-handler 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-handler may write or speak to the complainant to further clarify the facts of the case, before deciding whether an investigation is necessary.

If the complaint-handler considers that the subject of the complaint is beyond the scope of VSA, it will be transferred to an external agency as appropriate on a case-by-case basis. If the complaint needs to be transferred to another organisation the complaint-handler will advise the complainant of that action to be taken.


When will I receive a written response

For written complaints which are not anonymous, the complaint-handler will provide acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint within 5 working days and give an estimated timeframe for substantive response.

We aim to respond 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 VSA’s next level of management or governance.

If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome after all reasonable avenues have been explored to resolve it, and 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.


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 will 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 CEO and Senior Leadership Team will carry out a review bi-annually to 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