ACC is undergoing an organisational transformation to improve our customers’ outcomes and experience – one that’s making good progress but there’s still a lot of work to do, ACC Chief Executive Scott Pickering says.
Mr Pickering’s comments come after the release today of a report on ACC by Otago lawyer Warren Forster.
“We agree with the report that ACC needs to improve how we deliver service to customers,” Mr Pickering says. “We also agree that our systems and processes are complex and difficult to navigate for customers and our own staff.
“That’s why we have been undergoing a comprehensive transformation of our business over the last three years to ensure our people, processes, technology and information are aligned to the needs of Kiwis. We’re engaging with and listening to the public. That includes Mr Forster and the groups he represents.
“We’ve spoken to more than 5,500 New Zealanders who told us they wanted us to be more responsive, more transparent and easier to deal with. As a result of their feedback, we’re changing to improve the level of customer service we provide to New Zealanders, and that’s increasing their trust and confidence in us.
“Our focus is on putting customers at the heart of ACC and we have lot of work to do to make that happen and live up to Kiwis’ expectations.”
Public trust and confidence in ACC is now at 65% – a record for the Corporation – up from 45% in 2012.
Much of Mr Forster’s findings in his report have been raised last year by Acclaim Otago as part of the Government’s independent report on ACC dispute resolution carried out by Miriam Dean, QC.
ACC has committed to implementing the recommendations of that review, along with Fairway and MBIE, and is making good progress. In particular ACC has:
- set up a working group to address access to medical evidence
- created a model litigant policy and required all our lawyers including external lawyers apply it in all our litigation
- working with our clients and advocates on creating a navigation service to help ACC clients understand the ACC system
- funded the Legal Information Institute to update their website to give public access to Court decisions about ACC cases, and produce a guide on how to access ACC law.
“Mr Forster’s report makes a number of comments about the scope and boundaries of the ACC scheme. In a scheme like ours there are boundaries so that people understand what they’re entitled to receive and what their levies are funding.
“We have approaches within ACC to help our people apply the law consistently and fairly, while acknowledging each and every one of our clients is an individual with different needs.
“We disagree with the report that we’re applying the law narrowly. We rely on expert medical advice to make decisions fairly and consistently for all New Zealanders. And Kiwis told us they want us to make decisions that are consistent and based on evidence.
“ACC deals with around two million claims every year and our careful and considered estimate, previously given to the Dean Review, was that ACC made 70,000 decisions declining cover or entitlements. And, within that number, many decisions can be made for a client in a year.
“Of those around 6,500 decisions are reviewed. And of those 6,500 reviews, 84 per cent are found in favour of ACC.”