Further work to improve ACC dispute resolution

  • Nathan Guy

All 20 recommendations contained in an independent report on ACC dispute resolution processes will be addressed, Acting ACC Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

“It’s vital that the system for challenging ACC decisions is fair, robust, timely and cost-effective,” says Mr Guy.

“Last year the advocacy group Acclaim Otago released its own report which identified issues with current accident compensation dispute resolution processes.

“Following this, the Minister for ACC asked the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to commission an independent review of the issues raised by the Acclaim Report.”

The independent review was carried out by Miriam Dean CNZM QC, and was based on more than 50 interviews with key stakeholders, including Acclaim, lawyers and advocates, medical organisations and specialists, disabled people’s organisations, ACC, FairWay Resolution and other officials and organisations involved in accident compensation disputes.

“The independent report released today notes that both ACC and FairWay Resolution, the Crown company contracted by ACC to conduct independent statutory reviews, have done considerable work to improve the current system for handling disputes.

“However, there’s more work to do and the Government’s response to the independent report’s recommendations will ensure momentum is continued.”

The issues raised by Acclaim fell under the themes ‘being heard’, ‘access to the law’, ‘access to evidence’ and ‘access to representation’.

“Ms Dean’s report finds that many of the issues raised by Acclaim are valid, and it recommends a number of possible improvements to existing practice.

“One recommendation is to increase the review costs paid to people challenging ACC decisions, to ensure they receive a meaningful contribution towards these costs.

“MBIE will release a discussion paper for consultation today, seeking views on increasing review costs by 14.9 per cent to bring them into line with the Consumer Price Index.

“In light of the progress being made towards improving the current dispute resolution system, the Government has deferred for three years a proposal agreed in 2014 to establish a stand-alone Accident Compensation Appeal Tribunal.

“This will enable further improvements resulting from the independent review to be bedded in, which may reduce the need for a tribunal.”

Go here to view the following documents:

  • Independent Review of the Acclaim Otago (Inc) July 2015 Report into Accident Compensation Dispute Resolution Processes
  • Summary of the proposed response to the Independent Review, addressing the individual recommendations and setting out next steps
  • Cabinet Paper Response to the Independent Review of Acclaim Otago’s report into Accident Compensation Dispute Resolution Processes

Go here to view the following document:

  • Consultation on Changes to the Review Costs Regulations