By NZISM Secretary
The Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority (PSPLA) was set up to regulate and lift standards for security guards and private investigators. A judgement in June 2020 by the PSPLA has implications for workplace incident investigators. The Authority determined that a consultant who specialises in independent investigations into workplace complaints is covered by the definition of a ‘private investigator’ in the Private Security and Private Investigators Act 2010 (the Act), and so should be licensed under this Act. Under the definition this could potentially include health and safety professionals who undertake workplace investigations, health and safety auditors, and HR Professionals. Note that this judgement relates to consultants external to a company and not advisors who are employees.
We have been working with the Ministry of Justice and the PSPLA on this issue as to whether H&S professionals are covered by the Act. They have agreed to refer the matter to their Complaints, Investigations and Prosecution Unit (CIPUS) for investigation and report. This may involve a hearing and allowing interested parties to make submissions. The PSPLA is then likely to make a formal ruling as to which of the roles fit within the definition of a private investigator and whether any are exempted from holding a licence or certificate under the Act.
In the interim the PSPLA have issued a dispensation to all HASANZ Registered Professionals from applying for a licence or certificate until the matter is resolved. This means until the Authority releases their decision, no HASANZ Registered Professional is required to apply for a PSPLA licence or certificate. In addition, no complaint will be accepted against a HASANZ Registered Professional on the basis that they are carrying out an investigation.
This is good news. It provides us with an opportunity to look at options, including how a professional on the HASANZ Register could be exempt from the PSPLA requirements. We will continue to work with PSPLA and keep you informed of any developments.
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Margaret van Schaik