Fire and Emergency Dispute Resolution Scheme

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You can use the Fire and Emergency Scheme to resolve disputes with Fire and Emergency. In most cases, you must have raised, and attempted to resolve, your complaint directly with Fire and Emergency before applying to the Scheme. You can also use the Fire and Emergency Scheme to appeal a decision that you must leave Fire and Emergency due to incapacity (section 33 of the Act).  It is free to use the Fire and Emergency Scheme – there are no application costs or fees.

Disputes

FIRE AND EMERGENCY COMPLAINTS PROCESS

Before you use the Fire and Emergency Scheme, you should try and resolve your dispute directly by making a complaint to Fire and Emergency. If you are not happy with the outcome of the process, or believe it is taking too long for Fire and Emergency to respond to your complaint, you can apply to use the Fire and Emergency Scheme. 

Volunteers who wish to make a complaint about unwanted interpersonal behaviour such as bullying and harassment, should do so through the Behaviour and Conduct Office (BCO).  If you are not happy with the BCO outcome, or believe it is taking too long for the BCO to respond to your complaint, you can apply to use the Fire and Emergency Scheme.

If your complaint does not fall within the remit of the BCO, then you should raise it with your manager.

You can give us information about the complaints process you have followed as part of your application. For example, you may wish to provide us with a copy of an email you received in response to your complaint.

TYPES OF DISPUTES

Your dispute might relate to things like:

  • training, qualifications and rank
  • operational activities
  • resourcing, fleet or property
  • health and safety
  • performance or disciplinary issues
  • discrimination
  • bullying or harassment (refer to the BCO process above)
  • behaviour and conduct of Fire and Emergency personnel or a Local Advisory Committee member towards a volunteer

Your dispute might be with Fire and Emergency as an organisation, particular personnel or a group of personnel (such as a brigade).  You will be asked who your dispute is with when you make the application.

MAKING AN APPLICATION

If you are ready to apply, you can complete our online application form.  For other ways to send us your application and more information on what information you’ll need to provide, see Making an Application.

TIME FOR MAKING AN APPLICATION

When you make your initial complaint to Fire and Emergency, they will notify you of the outcome of that complaint.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can apply to use the Fire and Emergency Scheme within 90 days of receiving that notice.  Applications that are made later than this will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.

If you consider there is a good reason not to raise your complaint through Fire and Emergency first, you may still be able to apply.  Complete the application form and tell us why you think it is not appropriate in the circumstances of your dispute to make an initial complaint directly to Fire and Emergency.

You may also be able to apply if you consider that Fire and Emergency has been slow to respond.  If it has been at least 90 days since you made the complaint to Fire and Emergency, you can complete the application form and let us know what steps have been taken so far to resolve your complaint.

Appeals of a section 33 incapacity decision

You have the right to appeal a decision that you must leave Fire and Emergency due to incapacity (section 35 of the Act).

MAKING AN APPLICATION

If you are ready to apply, you can complete our online application form. For other ways to send us your application and more information on what information you will need to provide, see Making an Application.

TIME FOR MAKING AN APPLICATION

Please note that appeals against a notice that you must leave Fire and Emergency due to incapacity must be made within 14 days of you receiving that notice. ICRA is not able to accept applications that are made outside this timeframe.

Disputes that cannot be considered by the Fire and Emergency Dispute Resolution Scheme

The Fire and Emergency Scheme cannot consider some disputes. If you have any questions, are unsure whether you can apply to use the Fire and Emergency Scheme or just want to know more, please contact our case management team, who are more than happy to help.

EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

If you are employed by Fire and Emergency and volunteer with them, you can still use the Fire and Emergency Scheme for disputes relating to your volunteer role.   However, we cannot consider disputes that relate to your employment. For those disputes, we recommend you consult the Employment NZ website https://www.employment.govt.nz/.

DISPUTES WITH FIRE AND EMERGENCY PERSONNEL THAT ARE PERSONAL IN NATURE

You can apply to use the Fire and Emergency Scheme if your dispute relates to the actions of Fire and Emergency personnel, when they are performing that role. However, the Scheme cannot be used to resolve interpersonal disputes that may occur outside of the Fire and Emergency context.

For example, disputes about how that person is behaving when not at work. It’s not uncommon for people within Fire and Emergency to have relationships outside the Fire and Emergency context, whether that be because they are family or friends, or interact with each other when not at work especially in our smaller communities. For this reason, complaints regarding behaviour and conduct will be assessed carefully to determine if they meet the requirements of the Scheme.

ISSUES WITH THE LOCAL ADVISORY committees OR MINISTERS

The Scheme cannot be used to resolve policy disputes, for example about decisions made by Ministers or decisions made by Local Advisory Committees (LACs) in relation to matters set out in sections 14 to 20 of the Act

However, disputes relating to members of LACs that:

  • do not relate to sections 14 to 20 of the Act;
  • have gone through an internal complaints process; and
  • are not otherwise excluded from the Scheme’s jurisdiction,

may be considered by the Scheme. The most likely subject matter of such disputes relates to conduct of an LAC member either toward a member of the public or a Fire and Emergency volunteer.

OFFICIAL INFORMATION OR PRIVACY DISPUTES

Disputes relating to a decision under the Official Information Act 1982 or the Privacy Act 2020 are dealt with under the relevant provisions of those Acts.

The Ombudsmen’s Office or the Office of the Privacy Commissioner may be able to assist with these issues:

About the Fire and Emergency dispute resolution Scheme

Learn more about the Scheme

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