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For Providers

How providers can engage with our service

Providers can learn about our services and how to engage with us here. You can contact us to talk about how we can help you and the learner resolve the dispute.

Collaboration across the Tertiary Education Sector

We aim to be as collaborative as possible with providers, provider peak bodies, learners and student organisations. Test.

We encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss any concerns you may have as we work together towards improving the dispute resolution capacity and capability system wide.

Contact and connecting stage

First things first – before we start our resolution processes, you and the learner need to try and resolve the dispute using your provider’s internal resolution process

Contact and connecting the learner with the provider: When we are contacted by a learner, the first thing we need to determine is whether the learner has given your internal dispute processes a go. To help us figure this out, we need to know who is the right person to contact at your provider. If the learner hasn’t gone through the internal process, then we can help connect the learner with the right person so that you can have a reasonable opportunity to resolve the dispute yourselves.

We will need your help (and the help of peak provider bodies and student groups) to make sure we can connect the right people together to help with early resolution.

Internal resolution processes at your provider: This is your internal processes for identifying and resolving issues with learners, both before the issue has become a formal dispute and your initial dispute resolution processes. There are requirements on providers under clauses 13 and 14 of the The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International learners) Code of Practice 2021 ("the Code").

We cannot advise individual providers on their internal processes but we will be working with peak bodies, NZQA and MOE to help identify and support best practice of internal resolution. The most helpful thing that we can do at this stage is connect learners who come to us with the right person at the Tertiary Education Provider so they can access the internal processes.

We will ensure that you have an adequate opportunity to undertake an internal process and expect that this generally would not take more than several weeks.

More information about what providers must do as part of this internal process is available from NZQA.

The code explains the requirement that at the conclusion of the internal process, providers must advise learners about how to access our learner resolution service and how to complaint to the code administrator. Providers

The code also requires providers to be familiar with and comply with the rules.

Application to us by a learner to lodge dispute for resolution: This is where the learner formally applies to use our services. They do this by lodging a dispute with us. We need some minimum information from the learner (and you as a provider) to understand if we can help. The key things we need to know at this early stage include:

  • Have you have been given an adequate opportunity to resolve the dispute.

  • Has dispute has already been dealt (or will be dealt with) somewhere else for example in a court or tribunal.

  • Does it meet the legal definition of a dispute is likely to include a financial or contractual.

  • When the dispute developed.

Once the learner applies to use our service, we will undertake a triage and then decide on next steps which may include:

  1. We refer the learner back to you to follow your the internal process (and we may refer the student to support services to assist them with this process).

  2. We accept part of the dispute for lodged for resolution.

  3. We accept the lodgment of the dispute.

  4. We decline to accept the dispute for resolution as it does not meet the criteria and we report this to NZQA.

We expect that this process can generally be completed within 2-3 weeks. We will inform you of the outcome of the application. We are also required to inform NZQA about the nature of the dispute and whether we have accepted it for lodging.

The Collaborative Stage

Now that you have tried to resolve the dispute using your provider’s internal process and we’ve deemed that we can accept the dispute, it’s time for us to help.

Talk – Meet – Resolve stage

We begin with our Talk – Meet – Resolve service.  We talk, we meet and we help resolve the problems that are important to people. It’s that simple. We use a proven process called “conciliation”. We know that the formal legal process can be challenging so we've developed a new approach. This allows everyone involved to have their say and to engage effectively and help find solutions that reach everyone's goals. We know people want problems solved in a timely manner so we normally try this approach first.

This is all about helping you and your tertiary education provider reach a resolution that works for you. It generally takes about 20 working days after your application is accepted to use this process.

We report systemic issues and systemic learnings to the sector:

This makes the end of our consensus based work.

Adjudication of the dispute

The adjudicative stage

We recognise that some cases will not resolve through consensus so we have an adjudicative stage where we appoint an independent person to undertake Listen – Decide. They will prepare the case, ensure that they have all of the required information, hold a hearing and determine the outcome of the dispute. This is the more formal stage and will be undertaken by an independent person who has not been involved in the collaborative stage.

Listen – Decide

Sometimes people cannot reach agreement using Talk – Meet – Resolve. When this happens, we will appoint an independent person who has not been involved to listen to both sides so they understand the dispute and then determine the outcome.

We call this adjudication process Listen – Decide. It generally takes about 40 working days from the end of the Talk – Meet – Resolve to the complete the Listen – Decide process.


We will provide more information on the reporting system in due course. In the meantime, the legal framework is available in the rules.

System learning and system improvement

We will be proactively sharing system learning and ideas for system improvements with the tertiary education sector.

Mandatory Reporting

These is some information that we are required to share with government agencies. This is set out in the rules.