ACC slammed in independent report
Thu, 23 Aug 2012 2:00p.m.
By Lloyd Burr and Patrick Gower
An independent report into ACC’s privacy and security systems has slammed the corporation, highlighting systemic failures in its culture, systems and processes.
The report, commissioned by both privacy commissioner Marie Shroff and ACC, was conducted after a spate of privacy breaches brought on by the Bronwyn Pullar saga.
It says there is “an almost cavalier” attitude towards clients and their private information and a culture change from the top down is vital to prevent more breaches.
Ms Pullar made headlines in March when she blew the whistle on ACC, which sent her the private files of 6,700 ACC claimants, including victims of incest and rape.
It was her final straw in a 10-year battle for proper compensation after a cycling accident. She claimed there had been many other breaches and she’d had enough.
The ACC retaliated by claiming Ms Pullar had tried to blackmail them for two years’ worth of benefits in a meeting last year, and lodged a complaint with police.
But police threw out the complaint after a recording of the meeting made by Ms Pullar showed no such blackmail had taken place.
The saga saw ACC chief Ralf Stewart and former ACC Minister Nick Smith resign, along with the corporation’s board chair and two company directors.
It also saw current ACC Minister Judith Collins launch defamation action against Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little after comments they made during a radio interview.
The report says the breach made public by Ms Pullar was the result of human error.
“The manager inadvertently clicked and dragged an email so it became an attachment... This could be viewed as a hazard of multi-tasking.”
But overall, the report says systemic issues increased the chances of a privacy breach which included a lack of clear accountability and a variable culture in dealing with privacy issues.
It also says that dual computer screens and the use of spreadsheets to manage the reports added to the systemic failures in the company.
Its recommendations include:
Ms Collins says she welcomes the report but there is work to be done.
“There is a great opportunity now for ACC to restore the public’s trust and confidence,” she says.
“Genuine culture change will take time, but with the right systems and processes, focussed leadership, and commitment to change, ACC can make positive progress.”
The report was conducted by former Australian privacy commissioner Malcolm Crompton and accounting firm KPMG.
SECOND REPORT CLEARS PULLAR OF SPECIAL TREATMENT
A second report regarding ACC’s privacy breaches and the Bronwyn Pullar saga was also released today, clearing Ms Pullar of receiving special treatment.
Auditor-General Lyn Provost launched an inquiry into the interaction between Ms Pullar and ACC board members after she met with them in December last year.
The report says there is no evidence the meeting affected Ms Pullar’s ACC claim and points to a lack of policy guiding board members in their communication with individual claimants.
However, the report says despite Ms Pullar getting no special treatment as a result of that meeting, the offer of a further meeting with the national claims manager was special treatment.
ACC’s failure to recognise and act on the “allegations of illegality and fraud” toward ACC by Ms Pullar were a greater concern, the report says.
“It seems that the Board and ACC management were so focused on the appropriate separation of governance and operational matters that they did not recognise these issues as possible symptoms of systemic failure,” it says.
PULLAR PRAISED FOR WHISTLEBLOWING
"I think it simply highlights the lack of concern by ACC managers for a mass privacy breach," says Ms Pullar.
There was no judgement call, no opinion at all, on the controversial decision by ACC to put the police onto Ms Pullar, accusing her of blackmail.
When asked about the subject, Ms Shroff said they were "not qualified to form an opinion on that".
ACC chair Paula Rebstock said that "wasn't the purpose of this report".
Labour MP Andrew Little said the breach was "driven in part by the cost-cutting mentality that this government sanctioned and promoted", and has called on Ms Collins to resign.
Ms Collins responded by calling him a "silly man".
Ms Pullar's role in revealing the breach received praise from the Australian expert on the inquiry.
"Ms Pullar has done the people of New Zealand a service by making sure that we pay attention to the proper governance of personal information," says Malcolm Crompton.
But still, as yet, Ms Pullar has no apology.
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30/08/2012 2:05:21 p.m.
chris smith wrote:
yes hi my ,two cents worth ,is saying especially in my current situation ,with acc not only is the corporation ,elouding to a deffamation at every turn of the road ,but their very very covert ,support party the nz operations support or the nz police as i have become very ,scepticle about ,are in this 100 percent as acc still continue to hold ,my appeal proceeds ,inside accs claimants trust account from the year of 1993 totally ignoring the human extent of avoidance ,in a huge huge way allowing me to survive on payments pre my appeal of 1993 deep deep anguish
25/08/2012 2:23:50 p.m.
Given that the present shambles at ACC is a direct result of National party reformsd under the National Party appointed Bruce Judge Judith Collins as the Minister concerned should be asked to resign.Time for accountability by the Minister and the government and time for an end to buckpassing for Ministerial incompetence and unworkable state sector reform.
25/08/2012 2:23:04 p.m.
23/08/2012 11:32:42 p.m.
@Jim Seaview... no matter what happens you are a Natiional Party apologist.
The reality is before National stepped in this was unheard of.
The abuse that clients have had to suffer... again unheard of.
Lets not even begin to get into how badly National have screwed the economy... the epic increase in poverty... that reaches right into the middle class.
The absolute slamming that they are getting in international reports on the country from places like the Head of the OECD.
This is Nationals responsibility... and its about time they all fell on their swords.
Judith COllins has done everything that she can to avoid ACC... going so far as lodging vexatious legal action... which people on ipredict are predicting will go nowhere.
However... initiating legal action has allowed her to avoid talking about ACC... which is the ony reason it was initiated.
When people start dying in train wrecks because National is letting the lines fall apart... is that the workers fault as well?.
You are looking for someone else to blame... yet only National are to blame for this debacle.
23/08/2012 9:19:38 p.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
QUOTE 1: "An independent report into ACC’s privacy and security systems has slammed the corporation, highlighting systemic failures in its culture, systems and processes."Is that all - the public have nothing to worry about except how long has this tax payer funded organisation been running like this?It is a joke.QUOTE 2: " Ms Pullar's role in revealing the breach received praise from the Australian expert on the inquiry."Ms Pullar has done the people of New Zealand a service by making sure that we pay attention to the proper governance of personal information," says Malcolm Crompton.But still, as yet, Ms Pullar has no apologyThank you Bronwyn Pullar for highlighting this mass privacy breach by the ACC with all the resources of the State behind them.You had to put up with all their public allegations and counterclaims on TV which you proved to be "lies, lies and more lies" by secretly recording the meeting with them. No single taxpayer of NZ should ever have to be put in the position of having to secretly record a meeting with a Taxpayer funded Government agency. Absolutely despicable.If you had not have recorded the meeting - they could have won and that would have been so unjust. It does not surprise me that Ms Pullar has not received an apology - The current management and staff would not have the courtesy or manner to do that - plus it probably is not in their training manual to apologise when they have made a mistake.You certainly deserve an apology for the way you were treated. Finally I certainly trust Judith Collins ability to get the ACC back to the basic philosophy of "assisting those who have had an accident back into work"
23/08/2012 7:12:16 p.m.
Stewart Turner wrote:
I cannot help thinking that National MPs treat the NZ public with contempt.This latest youtube thing is a prime example.
23/08/2012 6:35:49 p.m.
One of these women is an object of attention - or inattention - to David Cunliffe ......who says he wouldn't want to be stuck on a desert island with her. Could be a secret crush ?.....oops , given it away by mentioning crushes.....or crushing....oh damn , now it's really obvious....perhaps like david's secret attraction ?
23/08/2012 4:55:48 p.m.
Best way to get the best out of ACC is to fire anyone associated with the government pack of idiots that we call a government.
The problem stems from their own corruption and lax attitude towards the general public.
23/08/2012 2:56:12 p.m.
James Thompson wrote:
Have you seen the Audit General's report? http://www.oag.govt.nz/reports/2012/inquiry-acc-board-level-governance
Said the Minister treats ACC as a "Govt Department". Sounds like the Minister is interfering with operational matter...
23/08/2012 2:46:38 p.m.
And try to recognise that ACC *clients* - despicable term - are real people with real issues deserving of respect and compassion at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives. They should not be seen merely as the potential for a bonus incentive by finding any excuse to deny their entitlement.
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