AUT to be ACC charm school

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014

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ACC has picked a charm school for its staff in an effort to improve their "almost cavalier" attitude towards clients.

Dubbed the ACC Academy, the programme aims to provide better staff training in the wake of the privacy breach scandal in which ACC mistakenly emailed the details of thousands of clients to a claimant.

In 2012 an independent review team found ACC lacked a comprehensive strategy for protecting and managing claimants' information.

It reported there was a culture that had at times an "almost cavalier" attitude towards its clients, and focused on breaches and complaints rather than emphasising respect for claimants and their details.

The corporation put out a tender document a year ago to find an education provider to create a formally recognised qualification that would be attained after three years of study and on-the-job training.

Auckland University of Technology has now been chosen, and will initially provide a paper for a graduate certificate in health sciences (case management), and a postgraduate certificate in business administration, beginning in the first semester.

ACC acting people and communications manager Celia Wellington said a range of study options would eventually be available in graduate and postgraduate levels. In the first semester about 20 to 25 staff would take part in the programme, with study made up of face-to-face and distance learning.

"Building staff capability is critical to improving service delivery, building trust and confidence with our customers and enhancing ACC's reputation as an employer of choice," she said.

ACC refused to comment on the cost of the academy, saying its staff development budget was "a percentage of payroll similar to that of most other organisations within New Zealand".

Documents have shown it has spent close to $2 million on consultants to improve its tarnished public image and redesign its operating model.

Information provided under the Official Information Act shows Australian consulting firm Bain and Co began working on the project on October 21 last year and had billed ACC A$1.54m (NZ$1.66m) for the first five weeks of work.

The contract has a budget of A$6m and involves eight fulltime equivalent consultants, as well as assistance from three Bain and Co partners.

Central to the project is improving ACC's privacy systems and processes, as well as reviewing the core IT infrastructure of the corporation.

A second company, BRR, has also billed ACC NZ$217,687 for work done up until December 16, producing a communications strategy for the corporation to "significantly lift stakeholder trust and confidence".

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- The Dominion Post

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