Within those sports, complaints can be raised by anyone about high performance or campaign athletes, employees and contractors of the National Sport Organisations (NSOs), as well as HPSNZ and Sport NZ staff who are embedded in the NSO.
The service, together with a recent review and refresh of HPSNZ and Sport NZ internal policies and processes relating to issue escalation, form one of the commitments made by HPSNZ and Sport NZ upon release of the Heron Report in October 2018.
The interim complaints service will deal with complaints about bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour, athlete wellbeing including recognising and responding to mental health issues, and other breaches of applicable NSO codes of conduct.
“We acknowledged upon commissioning the Heron Report that New Zealand’s high performance system needed to create a better balance between winning and wellbeing. The launch of this service is just one example of how we are evolving to do just that,” says Michael Scott, Chief Executive of HPSNZ.
“With the establishment and promotion of this independent complaints service, together with the existing mechanisms individual sports also have available, we are confident that anyone working within the high performance system who has or is aware of an issue will know how this can be escalated and will have the confidence to do so.”
David Abercrombie, CEO Yachting NZ and Chair of the NSO Leadership Group, adds: “It’s pleasing to see that HPSNZ and Sport NZ are acting in response to the Heron Report and, as a partner, Yachting NZ welcomes the more collaborative approach to evolving the high performance system.”
“This interim complaints service is another important step that sees us providing further support to protect the wellbeing of athletes and others working within our HP system.”
The new service will be delivered by Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law. To help ensure due process, anonymous complaints will not be permitted, but all details relating to the complainant’s identity will be kept confidential unless there is a risk of serious harm or otherwise agreed with the complainant.
The service will continue to operate until a permanent system-wide solution is in place, a recommendation which came through the Sport NZ Sports Integrity Review.
HPSNZ is also making good progress on its 2030 HP System Strategy – a 12 workstream project being developed in collaboration with HP partners the NZOC, Paralympics NZ, NSOs and the NZ Athletes Federation which is focused on ensuring the high performance sport system achieves deliberate, systemic and sustainable success.