Saturday, December 4

The ACC review should focus on top management, culture and its purpose, says attorney

ACC has lost its way and a review must begin by looking at top management and the culture it is creating, says a lawyer.

ACC building in Wellington

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Photo: RNZ // Angus Dreaver

It comes after RNZ revealed yesterday that 12 staff members had been removed pending an investigation into how they shared details of clients’ injuries and taunted them in a private Snapchat group.

ACC has announced that it is commissioning an independent review of complainant data sharing and privacy practices at the organization.

Attorney Hazel Armstrong, who specializes in ACC claims, was the co-convener of the ACC Futures Coalition Morning report the revelations were “a symptom of a culture going through ACC”

“It has shone the light of day on what is happening in the call center, but in reality the board has to see itself and also the minister has to see the type of people that he is putting on the board because he has been running as an insurance company. for the last 10 years, it only focused on the bottom line and did not focus on the claimants.

“Has been lost”.

It wasn’t the case for some bad apples, he said.

“It is something very common in which you blame the worker … you blame them, but you do not look at yourself and this inquiry should begin on the blackboard.

“You have to start at top management and say what culture, what messages are they sending through the ranks.”

Privacy was not the main issue, Armstrong said.

“It is the lack of respect, compassion and empathy that ACC staff should show to our claimants … it is not acceptable, of course it is not, but neither are some of the other practices ACC tolerates in order to maintain its fund. And protecting your bottom line … it’s pretty awful.

She hoped the research would look more broadly at ACC’s culture, including privacy but also ACC’s real purpose and respect.

Acting ACC Executive Director Mike Tully said Morning report “We have heard the comments and concerns about data access and, as you said yesterday, the ACC board and I agreed to conduct an independent review of ACC’s data management and our customer information, which would include confidential data claim (es.

“The ACC has a monitoring body that is through the Treasury, so we will work with them to develop a scope and the Treasury will look for someone to do that review.

“We are deeply distressed and disappointed with a small group of people who have let our organization down due to this alleged sharing of customer information on social media.”

A specific investigation into the group of 12 had been launched, he said.

“The interviews have begun and will continue … We take these matters very seriously. This is a very serious situation and I cannot predict what the outcome of the investigation will be.”

When asked how such an incident could have occurred, Tully said: “Once again, it is disappointing that a small group like this has let the entire organization down.

“We take customer information very seriously and work very hard to protect it. We have disappointed a few people that we need to work with, and this review will help us address any outstanding issues that we need to address here.”

Tully said ACC was aware of the obligations under the Privacy Act and also the Health Information Privacy Code.

“But that awareness certainly doesn’t stop people from doing stupid things from time to time. The staff don’t live up to those expectations. This small group has done it and this is definitely one of those times.”

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