Sunday, September 05, 2004

ACC bosses are breaching the Bill of Rights

ACC is telling some claimant advocates that they are not welcome any more. It is saying that only advocates who have the express permission of ACC can represent ACC claimants.

Perhaps that means people who don’t know much about ACC legislation and policy, and are unable to argue their case. Then again, if ACC got it right first time there wouldn’t be a case to argue.

One ACC manager - in the Hawkes Bay - has even written to advocates saying that they could not do their job without the permission of ACC. They have been told they are not considered "support" people under the ACC Code of Claimants rights, even though the dictionary meaning of "supporter" includes advocating.

Other ACC managers say they will not respond to correspondence from advocates. We now have ACC insisting it is "the highest practicable standard of service and fairness" to refuse to allow claimants to have an advocate to assist them.

However. the Bill of Rights 1990 provides the right to representation of anyone the person sees fit. This would usually include an advocate.

The ACC Act also says that claimants have the "right to have a representative involved in the preparation of an Individual Rehabilitation Plan."

The ACC Minister agrees. ACC staff, however, ignores the Minister.

Right 1 of the ACC Code of Claimants rights says:
You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to have your views considered.
- we will treat you with dignity.
- we will listen to you and consider your views

Right 4 of the code states:
You have the right to a support person or persons.

But not if that person is an advocate, apparently. Perhaps an ill informed 14-year-old child.

Right 6 of the code states a claimant has the right to be fully informed

Well, as long as an advocate is not involved. It is clear that the ACC Code of Claimants' Rights is hypocrisy, for the above reasons and also as it cannot be challenged at Review

The breach of the Bill of Rights is a more serious issue.

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