New Zealand Law Society - Independent report on ACC dispute resolution released

Independent report on ACC dispute resolution released

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Acting ACC Minister Nathan Guy has released an independent report by Miriam Dean QC on ACC dispute resolution processes, saying all 20 recommendations will be addressed.

The review was prompted when advocacy group Acclaim Otago released a report which identified issues with current accident compensation resolution processes. An independent review of the issues was commissioned.

Ms Dean's review 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.

Mr Guy says the independent report notes that both ACC and FairWay Resolution, the Crown company conducted 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."Ms Dean's report finds that many of the issues which were raised by the Acclaim report are valid, and it recommends a number of possible improvements to existing practice.

Mr Guy says the Ministry of Business, Innnovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a discussion paper for consultation, seeking views on increasing the review costs paid to people challenging ACC decisions by 14.9% to bring them into line with the Consumer Price Index.

Submissions on the discussion paper close at 5pm on 31 October 2016.

He also says 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.