Wellington.Scoop » Shock and concern over ACC job cuts – quality of service will be impacted

News from the ACC Futures Coalition
The scale of today’s announcement by the ACC that it will cut 390 jobs, including 29 in the injury prevention sector, has shocked and surprised the ACC Futures Coalition, which has expressed concerns about the impact on the quality of services provided by the company.

“We understood that the 6.5% savings that ACC was expected to achieve would be manageable and came primarily from transition staff left over from the last major review of the corporation’s administrative functions,” said Hazel Armstrong, co-host of ACC Futures. “But the loss of 29 injury prevention positions is a real concern.”

The ACC Futures Coalition highlighted that ACC received 1.9 million registered claims per year and that 152,000 of those claims were for injuries so serious that they had to receive weekly compensation because they could not work. Nearly 20,000 people have benefited from weekly compensation for more than a year.

“These people are seriously injured,” Hazel Armstrong said. “The ACC’s goal must be to reduce this terrible injury toll. We have an extremely high injury rate in certain sectors of the economy: construction, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing. WorkSafe and ACC must invest together in reducing injuries in these sectors which include many small and medium-sized businesses. The ACC has been criticized for not investing enough in injury prevention and the reductions of 29 staff will have serious consequences for our injury prevention efforts in New Zealand.

Although ACC and WorkSafe can rely on some of the larger employers having their own injury prevention staff, this is not true for small and medium-sized businesses who rely on the resources and advice of WorkSafe and the ACC.

“The ACC injury prevention staff should be expanded, not reduced,” Hazel Armstrong said. “Currently, the ACC pays more than $2 billion in weekly compensation and only $62 million has been invested in injury prevention, according to the ACC 2023 Annual Report.”

The ACC Futures Coalition understands that these roles include specialist roles in Māori injury prevention. Some regional injury prevention roles will also be lost.

“We also know that Māori have higher injury rates than non-Māori, so the loss of specialist roles here is deeply disappointing,” Ms Armstrong said. “The ACC strategic plan aims to integrate Te Tiriti o Waitangi, so we want to know how the removal of these roles aligns with that.”

“The ACC Futures Coalition will meet with the ACC about injury prevention next week and seek assurances on what these job losses will mean for this vital work,” Hazel Armstrong said.

The ACC Futures Coalition will also seek further information from the ACC on other job losses and seek assurance that they will not impact the management and processing of claims.

“A few years ago, ACC came under increased scrutiny based on increasingly automated complaints processing, which made it much more difficult to discuss complaints with the right person at the ACC. ACC. We know the ACC is aware of these issues, but we will seek further assurances that these job losses will not have a negative impact on the management and processing of claims,” Hazel Armstrong said.

ACC Futures Coalition is a coalition of ACC advocates, community groups, health professional associations, ACC consumers, academics, advocates and unions committed to a public ACC agenda that aligns with the “Woodhouse Principles” and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.