Tuesday December 11, 2018
Monday, 09 April 2018 12:49

‘Frustrated’ Acclaim out

Claimant support group Acclaim Otago is "disappointed and frustrated" with the latest restructuring of ACC’s community liaison committees and will no longer take part.

Acclaim spokeswoman Dr Denise Powell has represented Acclaim on the committees for 13 years, most recently as a member of ACC’s advocates and representatives group (ARG), since 2012.

Restructuring ARG was "a slap in the face", given that a review report by consultants MartinJenkins  suggested ARG had not been "timely or productive".

Dr Powell felt  "disillusionment" over the new panels. Acclaim had long provided "very good information and comprehensive feedback", initially to the Consumer Outlook Group (COG); 2005-12; and then to ARG (2012-17), with "very little effect".

ACC said ARG was being replaced by a scheme advisory panel, co-owned by MBIE, because of a "shared responsibility" for the scheme, and by a legal representatives panel.

Three new panels would also provide input over "serious injury, sexual violence, and older people", ACC officials said.

Dr Powell said ACC had "controlled the agenda and process" of  COG and ARG, and Acclaim felt "frustration" over the "lack of progress or follow-through" from ACC.

Acclaim Otago’s "time and energy" were limited and were "better invested in other areas" where Acclaim had achieved "the most impact" over improvements.

This other work included court appeals, preparing reports and making submissions to the United Nations over New Zealand’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It was a successful Dunedin District Court appeal, not repeated submissions through ARG, that had changed ACC’s controversial claimant consent form over access to medical records, she said.

Experienced Dunedin ACC lawyer Peter Sara said some committee changes were "disappointing".

The restructuring highlighted the need for an independent personal injury ombudsman or commissioner to be established, as advocated by Dunedin ACC researcher and advocate Warren Forster.

That would ensure concerns by ACC claimants and advocates over systemic issues at ACC were taken into account and learned from, Mr Sara said.

ACC spokesman James Funnell said ACC was "grateful for the work of Acclaim and other ARG members" and was "disappointed" Acclaim would not be part of the "new customer advisory panels".

ACC acknowledged the "influence" of Acclaim on several important issues, including the wording of the ACC6300 consent form and the way jobs were considered "fair and reasonable" over "vocational independence" matters.ACC hoped to "continue engaging with Acclaim".


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