During the course of anyone's professional career, Valuers who become the subject of a formal complaint invariably experience a very stressful time. The main purpose of the Mentoring Support Programme is to assist such people. Any member of NZIV subject to a complaint may turn to the Institute's Mentor Panel to receive guidance and support. There are no costs involved in the provision of this service.
It is important to note that this scheme operates in tandem with,but completely independent from, the NZIV Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). It provides confidential support for the Valuer,operating completely autonomously to any NZIV obligations that serve to protect the public.
While there is no specific legislative requirement enforcing NZIV to establish or operate a Mentoring Support Programme, its implementation nonetheless gives effect to the mandated functions of the Institute under section 9 of the Valuers Act 1948 with regard to the management of its affairs and the way it is required to conduct its business.
Objective of the Programme
The NZIV Mentoring Support Programme has been designed to support those members finding themselves under complaint
investigation. In this context, the extent (or lack) of merit relating to assertions being made under an investigation is not relevant.
In a nutshell, the Programme seeks to provide well-being support to Registered Valuers.
It should be borne in mind that the Programme does not seek to condone misconduct of NZIV members, nor pursue abdication of professional or client responsibilities, or professional competencies – particularly those specified within the NZIV Code of Ethics. In contrast, the Mentoring Programme’s goal is to help members cope with the inevitable stresses that the complaints process invokes.
The mentor’s role
Primarily, the mentor’s role is to provide a sounding board for the Valuer. This includes providing a ‘reality check’ to establish the level of substance involved in each situation, or otherwise determine if the circumstances warrant progression in an alternate way.
The mentor is likely to act as a role model for the mentee and, as such, they may sometimes find themselves in a ‘coaching’ position – either informally or otherwise.
Who are the mentors?
Mentors are appointed in the first instance to a Panel by the NZIV President. Selection criteria are largely based on identifying those persons who have demonstrated their capacity to operate with patience, empathy and discretion. They need to be:
- Highly respected and experienced in valuation
- Have a good understanding of the Complaints and Concerns processes and will ideally have had personal experience or
involvement in these
- Have a sound working knowledge of the NZIV Code of Ethics
- Possess a detailed knowledge of Valuers Registration Board (VRB) procedures for handling complaints
- Need to be an active listener, capable of analysing situations that pave the way for the delivery of tailored advice
- Able to provide practicable suggestions, such as having the Valuer inform their insurer or obtain legal counsel, or identify those areas having regard to the technical aspects of the matter to hand.
How the Programme works
The mentor’s involvement starts after a formal complaint is made, with the process typically proceeding as follows:
1. In the first instance, Valuers contact the NZIV President.
2. The President can then subsequently assign a Mentor Support person from the Panel (that’s where the President’s involvement ends). The mentor selected is one assessed as being someone most likely to be empathetic with the complainant. A process of streaming counselling towards the most appropriate mentor is employed (e.g. Rural Valuers being ideally directed towards a ruralbased/empathetic mentor).
3. Rather than arranging their selection through the President, alternatively the Valuer can directly approach the mentor themselves according to their preferences without any need to contact the President in the first instance.
4. The support person commences their involvement.
The NZIV General Secretary provides administrative support, acting independently from organisational governance roles including, for example, the PCC Chair and the NZIV President. Reporting back to the NZIV Council is completed strictly on a non-disclosure basis (i.e. just ‘bare numbers’ and not disclosure of individuals or their details).
Confidentiality is an absolute priority for anyone involved. While a mentor may make notes of particular discussions, they are not required to maintain a file. This ensures the robustness of the process, noting that in any event a mentor’s guidance is unlikely to be relevant to any specific charge that may be laid in the complaints process. This level of confidentiality avoids the mentor being called as a witness in the complaints process, noting that it is not likely to be legally privileged unless routed through the Valuer’s legal team.
Communication is key – in all circumstances
As an initial first step, potential complainants (typically members of the public) are usually encouraged by the NZIV where possible to raise any issue directly with the Registered Valuer concerned. The purpose here is to seek resolution before escalating towards a more formal complaints or disciplinary process.
It is important to note that the Registered Valuer is able to seek access to a mentor from the Panel at any time, including in this early phase.