Open main menu Close main menu

Complaint about NZTC’s investigation into incidents involving Mr A

Ombudsmen Act 1975
New Zealand Teachers Council
Ron Paterson
Case number(s):
Issue date:


This case concerns an investigation conducted by the New Zealand Teachers Council (‘NZTC’) Complaints Assessment Committee (‘CAC’) into conduct issues raised in complaints made against Mr A. The conduct complained about involved incidents of alleged striking of two primary school students. I have concluded that the NZTC/CAC acted unreasonably when it conducted its investigation. I have found the NZTC/CAC investigative process to be characterised by unreasonable delays, lack of clarity about process and poor communication.

My investigation was concerned solely with the NZTC/CAC investigative processes and not the CAC’s decisions arising from its investigation or the incidents leading to it. I accept that it is not a role of the Ombudsman to second-guess the decisions of a regulatory body on issues of professional standards and discipline.

The NZTC’s function under section 139A of the Education Act 1989 is to ensure that children in early childhood services and registered schools are safe. I note that at the time the CAC was investigating the complaints against Mr A, there were only two CAC panels operating, which led to inevitable delays. There are now five CAC panels. I am advised that there are over 100,000 registered teachers in New Zealand and, in the 2012/13 financial year, there were 420 complaints against teachers which required investigation. Some complaints, such as those made against Mr A, raise very serious issues of conduct making the investigative process complex and long.

However, I consider that many of the delays in the CAC’s investigation of Mr A could have been avoided and that the NZTC’s internal and external communication was poor.

The NZTC accepts the findings and criticisms in this report. It recognises that its processes were inadequate but states that changes have been made to reduce delays and improve communication, record keeping and progress of files. As noted, there are now five CAC panels and also a ‘case management’ system to monitor progress of investigations. The CAC panels are required to work to timeframe targets. These measures should mitigate the poor practices evident in the CAC’s investigation into Mr A’s conduct.

Mr A’s complaints about delay, poor communication and the NZTC/CAC’s failure to address concerns when they arose, are all upheld. One ground of complaint not upheld concerns the alleged misunderstanding about Mr A’s previous employment.

Last updated: