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​​How to make a formal complaint

​If you have made every effort to resolve your concern with the agency you are dealing with, but are still not happy, you may want to make a formal complaint.

As a government supplier (or potential supplier), you have the right to approach agencies directly to have your complaint about a procurement process considered and investigated.

Agencies must allow you this right and must investigate your complaint fairly, impartially and promptly. Agencies must not allow this complaint to affect any other current or future opportunities you may have with a government agency. (Rule 47)

What to include in your complaint

You need to put your complaint in writing and clearly set out all the details. In your letter or email make sure you include:

  • background information identifying the tender, the process and the relevant dates
  • a brief summary of the problem or concerns you have
  • an outline of your dealings with the agency
  • details of any phone calls you had, emails or letters sent and the names of the people you were dealing with
  • a summary of the information you were given at the debrief and why this does not resolve the problem
  • an explanation of what you want the agency to do – for example, you might request that the agency provides more information or investigates specific facts
  • your contact details – name, address, email address and phone numbers.

Address your complaint to the agency’s chief executive and send a copy to:

  • the manager of the agency’s procurement team, and
  • New Zealand Government Procurement.

What you should not say in your complaint

In your letter or email, you should not:

  • make unpleasant or personal comments about individuals
  • use inappropriate language, such as swearing
  • make accusations without credible evidence to back up your comments.

What happens next

The agency will immediately send you an acknowledgement of your complaint and will tell you the next steps. This could involve a meeting to clarify your problem, or further investigation by the agency to respond to the point you have raised.

The agency should give you an idea of how long the investigation process will take. For a straightforward matter you should expect to hear from the agency within 20 working days, something more complicated could take longer.

Once the agency has investigated your complaint, it will give you a written response. This may outline the internal review of the process and provide the findings and conclusions. It should state the agency’s decision and, where appropriate, say what steps will be taken to resolve your problem.