The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has announced changes to how it handles customer disputes or reviews.
As part of the changes, ACC has appointed the Independent Complaint and Review Authority (ICRA) to provide independent review and dispute resolution services alongside FairWay Resolution. Talk Meet Resolve is also available to provide alternative dispute resolution services, focusing on using conciliation.
“They can help at any time where we all agree that an independent conciliator can help us to resolve issues,” ACC said.
Additionally, video conferences are now available, when ICRA and FairWay Resolution hold review hearings. This means customers can attend the review hearing from home or in another place that suits them, from their own device. ACC customers can still attend in-person hearings, in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Napier/Hastings, New Plymouth, Wellington, Blenheim/Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.
ACC is also introducing case conferences for every review. This is a phone call between the ACC, a customer, and an independent reviewer. The goal is to identify the issues in the dispute, and clarify whether the independent reviewer needs any more information, as well as discussing when the best time is to hold a review hearing.
“Going over these aspects early on will reduce the likelihood of delays or adjournments,” the ACC noted.
Meanwhile, ACC chief operating officer Mike Tully said they are committed to ensuring that these changes elevate the voice of the customer.
“We want to consider all options available to us as early as possible, without needing to progress to a review hearing which can often be distressing for customers,” Tully added.
In July 2015, advocacy group for ACC customers Acclaim Otago (Otago) released a report into the dispute resolution processes of ACC. The report identified four issues, which it described as the “likely causes of current inefficiencies in the dispute resolution system.” Following this, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) commissioned Miriam R Dean CNZM QC to undertake an independent review to assess the concerns raised.