Charm school for ACC staff

SHANE COWLISHAW AND KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2013

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ACC is hoping to create a charm school for its staff as it looks to improve relationships with clients and rebuild after a disastrous year.

Proper training for staff has been called for since a privacy breach scandal where ACC mistakenly emailed the details of thousands of clients to a claimant.

An independent review team, which interviewed 150 ACC staff last year, found the organisation lacked a comprehensive strategy for protecting and managing claimants' information.

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

In a tender document released this week, the corporation said it was considering establishing an "ACC Academy" for staff with an "emphasis on a client-centred approach".

The course would initially offer qualifications in case management and leadership tailored to the ACC environment, probably through an existing tertiary provider.

It would be a formally recognised qualification, attained after three years of study including on-the-job training. After completing the course, staff would be required to complete modules each year.

ACC expected 300 staff to enrol initially, although this would probably increase.

A second tender called for expressions of interest from communication and marketing agencies interested in helping ACC "define its unique brand value proposition".

The successful company would complete a current brand assessment and prepare a three-year plan that could include advertising, displays and sponsorships.

The corporation is trying to recover from a tough year, which included savage criticism following several privacy breaches as well as further allegations over its assessment policies.

Expert ACC lawyer John Miller said the academy was an encouraging sign, but it would depend on the content of the training and who was teaching it.

"Training people is very important - even McDonald's has a hamburger academy."

ACC staff were dealing with people's lives so it was important that they were adequately trained, he said.

Last year the corporation spent $2 million on advertising and marketing.

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- The Dominion Post

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