News » ACC Adopts “Tough Love” Strategy

Press Release – 2 September 2009:   Access Support Services has come into possession of an internal document from ACC’s Corporate Head Office. It sets out ACC’s plan to embark on a strategy to reduce its liability by targeting long term claimants receiving $600 or more a week in earnings compensation, reassess its liability to provide ongoing cover and entitlements, adopt a “tough love” approach and use “non-compliance” as an acceptable “exit path.” ACC’s motivation appears to be fear of privatisation or being opened up to competition.

“We are beginning to experience a sea change in the culture at ACC with staff taking a fairly aggressive and arbitrary approach to case management” says Mr Wadsworth, Principal of Access Support Services. “However, ACC needs to treat claimants as human beings, not cases.”

Mr Phil Riley, the author of ACC’s strategy document, estimates ACC’s “return on investment” will be around $900 million by June 2013 or $1,400 million with “additional outcomes”. But ACC’s so-called return on investment could end up being a significant financial and social cost to the taxpayer, as well as to the claimants and their families, if entitlements are removed without comprehensively addressing claimants’ needs.

“ACC’s tough love approach may turn out to be a return to the infamous period in the late 1990’s when ACC exited claimants en masse” says Mr Wadsworth. “Many of these claimants ended up on a sickness or invalids benefit, or received no assistance if their partner worked”.

Access Support Services agrees ACC needs to change the way it rehabilitates injured workers back into the workforce. We want to see ACC take a more comprehensive approach. However, we doubt ACC’s new exit strategy will produce fair outcomes for injured workers, given ACC’s track record in this area.

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