Safety paramount for ACC
In June 1999 ACC experienced its darkest day – a client murdered one of our case managers in West Auckland following an issue with a payment.
As a result of that horrific incident, we overhauled our health and safety procedures to protect the wellbeing of staff, clients and members of the public.
This included setting up a Remote Claims Unit – a specialist team who manage clients who have been identified as posing an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of ACC staff. All Remote Claims Unit staff use a single pseudonym for their own protection, and we make no apologies for that. This does not change the standard of service, or level of entitlements, that these clients receive.
Every week multiple threats are made to ACC frontline staff. Many are specific threats of violence against staff members. We have had instances where agitated clients have turned up at the homes of employees or providers of ACC services, which is a frightening experience.
Transferring a client to the Remote Claims Unit is a last resort and done on a case-by-case basis, according to the client’s behaviour. Many of them have criminal records relating to violence.
ACC will always be there for all our clients, no matter who they are, or their circumstance. In a small number of cases, clients whose behaviour is seen as violent, anti-social, or a threat to health and safety, are placed in the Remote Claims Unit. And their interactions with ACC staff are never conducted face-to-face.
Remote Claims Unit clients have their status reviewed every six months. We look at their behaviours over that period, as well as their past actions, to consider whether their claims can be safely transferred to a branch.
For ACC staff to do their best to support injured people, everyone – our people, our clients, and the general public – need to be able to interact in an environment safe from threats or harm. That is why we have the Remote Claims Unit.