Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


“ACC’s Culture is Sick” - Advocate

Press Release: 11 September 2012

“ACC’s Culture is Sick” - Advocate

On February 3, 2012 the NZ Herald reported on communication between ACC staff to limit assessments it was arranging to address Mrs Diane Smith’s needs in relation to a serious ankle injury, which subsequently required amputation. In 2008, Mrs Smith’s case manager wrote "PS please ensure that assessor knows we are looking at mods [modifications] available on current vehicle ONLY - NOT looking at purchasing a new vehicle as this is what the client is likely to 'push for'!". A similar comment was made regarding the assessment for a kitchen.

In 2012 Mrs Smith’s advocate, David Wadsworth filed a formal complaint about these comments with ACC’s Office of the Complaints Investigator (OCI). Mr Wadsworth claimed the instruction from the case manager was a breach of Mrs Smith’s right to be treated fairly because it is unlawful for ACC staff to influence independent assessments of claimants’ needs.

ACC’s Complaints Investigator issued a decision that Mrs Smith’s rights were not breached, justifying the ACC staff’s actions as “cost-effective” and “ACC policy”.

Mrs Smith challenged the OCI decision through ACC’s review process. The independent Reviewer, appointed by ACC, agreed with Mr Wadsworth’s submissions and found those actions were indeed outside the legislation and breached Mrs Smith’s right to be treated fairly.

“What this shows is that not only did ACC staff seek to potentially disadvantage Mrs Smith by limiting those assessments in 2008, those actions are endorsed by ACC at the highest level. ACC sees nothing wrong with it!” says Mr Wadsworth.

Mrs Smith is quite rightly disgusted and dismayed at ACC’s treatment of her and no longer trusts it to act fairly in managing her claim.

Manipulating the outcome of assessments can affect the outcome of any decisions ACC makes on the claim. It also makes challenging those decisions through the review process difficult because the legislation places much weight on assessments by suitably qualified assessors. That is why it is important assessments of a claimants' needs are independent. ACC’s so-called policy creates an uneven playing field and it does not comply with the requirements of ACC legislation.

Access Support Services has also received anecdotal evidence from clients over the years complaining of such a practice.

“The 2008 communications and the OCI decision in 2012 is evidence of a sick culture that allows such practice to occur and I was not surprised.” says Mr Wadsworth. “Furthermore, ACC’s own CEO, Ralph Stewart was aware of those actions by ACC staff.”

Access Support Services is calling on the Minister for ACC to conduct an independent inquiry into ACC’s policies and practices that have allowed such a sick culture to occur, a culture endorsed by ACC’s own Office of the Complaints Investigator but found to be outside the legislation and unfair by an Independent Reviewer in Mrs Smith’s case.

“The evidence is damming and there can be no doubt middle and senior management need to be held accountable and new management and policies put in place in order to give Mrs Smith and all other levy payers the confidence that such a culture is eradicated” says Mr Wadsworth.

Authorised by David Wadsworth
Principal, Access Support Services


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Populism’s Changing Of The Guard, Plus A Soul Music Playlist

The weekend’s Newshub/Reid Research poll results - Act up to 11.1%, National up 1% but still sitting at only 28.7%, Labour down to 43%, the Greens up to 8.5% - shows that the combined centre right vote is still languishing nearly 12 points behind the combined centre-left vote, 45 months after the last centre-right government was voted out... More>>


Government: Offers Formal Apology For Dawn Raids
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today formally apologised to Pacific communities impacted by the Dawn Raids in the 1970s.

Between 1974 and 1976, a series of rigorous immigration policies were carried out that resulted in targeted raids on the homes of Pacific families... More>>

Government: Bill Introduced To Protect Against Conversion Practices

Legislation has been introduced to Parliament to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression... More>>


Government: Welcomes Draft Report On The Retail Grocery Sector

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said... More>>


Human Rights Commission: Successive Governments Responsible For Massive Breaches Of The Right To A Decent Home

Te Kahu Tika Tangata / Human Rights Commission has today launched Framework Guidelines on the Right to a Decent Home in Aotearoa and announced that it will hold a national inquiry into housing... More>>

NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>




InfoPages News Channels