Wednesday, 27 October 2021

ACT reveals ACC privacy overreach


“The ACT Party has revealed through Written Parliamentary Questions that 1,414 staff at ACC have access to sensitive file claims,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“When someone goes to ACC with a sensitive claim, they have every right to expect their private information will be just that, private.

“There is absolutely no need for so many people to have access to sensitive claims. There are 27,000 active sensitive claims a year. That means on average one person is reading 19 files a year.

“ACC should limit the number of people who access these files. There should be specialist people who deal with these claims. It might even boost productivity. 

“The fewer people who know a secret, the less likely it is to get out.

“Reports today by Radio NZ that staff have taken Snapchats making fun of people’s private information shows just how dangerous widespread access is.

“ACT is calling on ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni to rein in her department, set some boundaries around who can access these files and give people with sensitive claims the privacy and dignity they deserve.”

WPQ: Portfolio: ACC (Hon Carmel Sepuloni) 
Question: How many, if any, staff at ACC have access to sensitive claim files? 
Reply: I am advised that access to sensitive claims is provided only to ACC staff who absolutely require it in order to complete the functions of their role. As at 14 October 2021, 1,414 ACC staff members have access to sensitive claim files. Approximately 27,000 sensitive claims are actively managed by ACC each year, and this number continues to increase as demand for support increases. It is critical that ACC has enough appropriately trained staff with access to the right information available to manage all aspects of a survivor’s claim in order to provide them with the support they require. I am assured that ACC takes the privacy of the information it holds very seriously and all information provided to ACC by clients and providers is handled with care and respect. ACC is working to determine whether it needs to change or improve its systems and processes with respect to access to sensitive claims information. How ACC collects, secures, uses and shares information is governed by the Privacy Act and the Health Information Privacy Code. I refer the Member to the following link: https://www.acc.co.nz/newsroom/stories/protecting-our-clients-privacy/. Please note that the number of ACC staff with access to sensitive claim files may change if run at a later date due to staff movement within teams and roles that require this access. 
46729 (2021)