Linda Clark to head ACC client information and privacy review

linda-clark-to-head-acc-client-information-and-privacy-review

An independent review into the access and use of client information within ACC will be led by prominent lawyer Linda Clark.

ACC Building in Wellington

ACC Building in Wellington Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The review was announced after RNZ revealed a group of ACC staff shared and laughed at client information in a private Snapchat group, amid recent concerns around inappropriate access to sensitive claims which relate to sexual abuse.

It follows a decision by ACC management to suspend 14 staff due to alleged inappropriate access and use of client information. This included 12 staff allegedly sharing client information in a private Snapchat group. ACC said internal investigations led by the acting chief executive are now under way.

The terms of reference, released by the Treasury and the ACC board today, show the review will look at two key areas: the number of staff who have access to client information and the alleged inappropriate access and use of client information among staff.

The review will take up to six months to complete, though ACC management would continue to make operational improvements where they were needed.

ACC Board chair Hon Steve Maharey said the board took the privacy and management of customers personal information extremely seriously.

The alleged inappropriate access and use of client information is deeply concerning, which is why an independent review is needed to ensure the public has confidence in ACC by looking at access and handling of client data and recommending any improvements.

The objectives of the Review will be to:

1. Carry out an overarching review of the recent alleged inappropriate access and use of client information (and having considered the causes, including examining the potential impact on internal information security of the recent changes in the way sensitive claims are administered)

2. Make recommendations to the ACC Board about appropriateness, effectiveness and how to improve:

  • Systems and policies in relation to access and use of client information among ACC staff
  • The oversight, monitoring and auditing of access and use (to detect and deter unauthorised access and use of client information)
  • The ongoing training related to such access and use of client information

Clark, a former RNZ journalist, is a partner at Dentons Kensington Swan and co-leads the firm’s Wellington public law and litigation practice. She is on the All of Government investigations and inquiries panel.

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