For the public
Raising a concern
The Psychologists Board protects the health and safety of members of the New Zealand public in their dealings with psychologists. The scope of our role includes responding to concerns raised about practitioners, including those related to a practitioner’s competence and fitness to practise.
How do I raise a concern?
If you have a concern about a psychologist you should first discuss your concerns with the psychologist.
If that is not possible, or if you remain dissatisfied, you may wish to contact the psychologist’s employer or contracting agency such as ACC, or the Family Court.
You can contact us on 0800 471 4580 at any stage to discuss your concerns informally or to make a formal written complaint or notification where there are fitness or competence concerns.
If your concerns are serious we may suggest that you submit a formal complaint. For less serious matters we can discuss less formal approaches to try to resolve them.
Formal complaints must be submitted in writing. You can use the “Raising a concern” form or simply send an email to the Board at . Your written complaint must:
- identify the psychologist involved; and
- set out the nature of your concerns in enough detail so that the psychologist can respond to them.
We are required to forward formal complaints that allege that the practice or conduct of a psychologist has affected a health consumer to the Health and Disability Commissioner.
You can read more about the Board’s complaints processes here.
If your concerns are about a Family Court appointed psychologist please also read this information sheet.
When considering concerns about a practitioner, we take account of the following standards and documents:
- the relevant Core Competencies for Psychologists (including cultural competencies and additional competencies for vocational scopes of practice);
- the Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa New Zealand 2002;
- any relevant Best Practice Guidelines adopted or published by the Board;
- the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003;
- the Board’s adopted Decision Guidelines Relating to Parts 3 & 4 of the HPCA Act;
- Formal complaints related to reports written for the Family Court are managed in accordance with the Family Court’s published “Practice Note – Specialist Report Writers” .
What you can expect from us
If you raise a concern with us about a psychologist, you can expect us to treat you fairly and to discuss each stage of the complaints process with you. We will keep you informed about expected timeframes and provide up dates on the progress of the complaints process.
We consider each complaint and the best way to respond to it individually. Depending on the nature of the matter, we may not respond to anonymous complaints.
The Board is not able to:
- consider a concern about a practitioner who was not registered as a psychologist at the time of the event(s) that gave rise to the concern;
- consider concerns about organisations (we are authorised only to deal with concerns about individual psychologists);
- get directly involved in the service being provided to a client by a psychologist;
- arrange refunds or compensation;
- give legal advice;
- force a psychologist to apologise; or
- effect any changes to reports written for third parties (such as the Family Court, ACC, or the Parole Board).
When we are considering a formal complaint or notification, we must inform the psychologist involved. This will normally include letting them know the name of the person who has raised the concern. Your private contact details will not be included in any documents we send to the psychologist.
- Raising a Concern form
- Complaints Process Information Sheet
- Family Court Complaint Process Information Sheet
- PCC Information Sheet
- PCC Guidelines for Practitioners
- PCC Guidelines for Complainants
- Decision Guidelines relating to Parts 3 & 4 of the HPCA Act
- Core Competencies for Psychologists
- Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa New Zealand 2002
- Best Practice Guidelines
- Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003
- Decision Guidelines Relating to Parts 3 & 4 of the HPCA Act
- Practice Note – Specialist Report Writers