Cost Recovery - FAQs

What has changed?

The Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Act 2016 (the Act) was passed by Parliament in November 2016.

The Act amends the Policing Act 2008 to enable regulations to be made that allow Police to recover costs for certain policing services that fall within the definition of a “demand service”. Regulations may also be made providing for exemptions from, or waivers or refunds of, any fee or charge, and authorising the Commissioner of Police to exempt, waive, or refund fees or charges in certain specified circumstances.

The Policing (Cost Recovery) Regulations 2017 came into force on 1 July 2017.


What is a “demand service”?

The term “demand service” has been used in the Act because it describes policing services that are driven by the demand or request of individuals or organisations, rather than by Police.

A demand service is a policing service requested by an individual or organisation that is of direct benefit to that individual or organisation (even though there may also be some indirect benefit to the public) It does not include responding to 111 calls, conducting criminal investigations, or prosecuting criminal offences.

The Act lists the provision of vetting services by Police as an example of a demand service.


What is cost recovery?

Cost recovery occurs when an agency seeks to recover some or all of the costs of providing a service from those who use and benefit from that service, over a reasonable period of time. It requires a fee or a charge to be paid that is no more than the actual and reasonable costs (including direct and indirect costs) of that service.


What happens elsewhere?

Cost recovery is common for many public sector agencies in New Zealand, both at local and central government level. For example, the Ministry of Primary Industries has a system in place to recover the costs of providing for food safety, fisheries and biosecurity services, and the Department of Internal Affairs charges fees for the provision of New Zealand passports.
New Zealand Police was one of the few police services worldwide that previously did not have legislation that explicitly allowed for some degree of cost recovery.


Why does the Police Vetting Service need cost recovery?

Providing for cost recovery in the Policing Act, through regulations, enables Police to substantially meet the costs associated with providing certain policing services.

It allows Police to provide better value for taxpayer’s money by placing responsibility for costs on agencies and organisations that directly benefit from these services, as well as avoiding shifting resources towards these services at the expense of other policing services.


Why is the Police Vetting Service subject to cost recovery?

The Police Vetting Service is facing significant growth (an 8.9 percent increase in vetting requests were experienced in 2015/16). This growth is forecast to continue, particularly now that workforce safety checks under the Children's Act 2014 are being phased in.

With demand increasing, there is a need for additional resourcing for the Police Vetting Service. Cost recovery manages the risk of increasing demand for vetting requests by ensuring that adequate resourcing is available for the service.


How much does a Police vetting check cost?

For New Zealand agencies regulations set a fee of $8.50 + GST per vetting request to cover the actual and reasonable costs of a vetting request.

Any changes to the fee will need to be approved by Cabinet. If changes to the fee occur, Approved Agencies will be notified by email in accordance with the Approved Agency Agreement.


Does everyone have to pay? Are there any exemptions or waivers?

No, not everyone will have to pay. The regulations provide for one exemption and three waivers.  These are:

  • an exemption from fees if agencies make 20 vetting requests or fewer per year (1 July – 30 June)
  • a fee waiver for registered charities
  • a fee waiver for agencies that are facing extreme financial hardship
  • a fee waiver for agencies that are facing significant adverse effects arising from exceptional circumstances.

While there is an exemption for agencies that place less than 20 vetting requests each year, it is important to note that when the 21st request is placed, all requests placed in that year become payable.


How long will it take to receive a vetting result?

You can still expect to receive your vetting results within 20 working days. These terms are in the Approved Agency Agreement (AAA) and the Offshore Approved Agency Arrangement (OAAA).

The $8.50 + GST for a vetting request has been calculated on a 20 working day service level agreement (SLA). It is based on resourcing the Police Vetting Service to a level that ensures consistent service levels and minimises financial impact on agencies.


Is there a priority service?

No, not at this stage.

The Police Vetting Service wants to focus on meeting their service level agreement of 20 working days.

A priority service may be looked at in the future when cost recovery is working well.


I submitted a request but withdrew it before receiving a result – do I still have to pay?

Yes, you will still have to pay for the vetting request. Liability for the vetting fee arises when the vetting request is submitted.


I submitted a request and it was rejected - do I still have to pay?

You may be charged and invoiced for a rejected vetting request if your agency makes repeated submission errors.


Will other policing services be subject to cost recovery?

No other policing services are currently being considered for cost recovery.


Where can I find out more about cost recovery and how it affects me?

You can find out more information by reading the: