14 Mar 2012

No action against ACC employee over breach

3:42 pm on 14 March 2012

The head of the Accident Compensation Corporation says no one person will be held to account for releasing personal details of thousands of clients.

ACC has confirmed that details of more than 9000 claims, covering about 6000 people, were accidentally emailed to one of its clients and 50 of its managers last August.

Included in the list is information about 137 people from the sensitive claims unit, which deals with sexual abuse and rape victims.

ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart, says the staff member who sent the information thought she was doing a normal routine task of sending an email to a claimant with a number of attachments, and one of the attachments was wrong.

Mr Stewart says no one person is responsible for process failure and there will be no disciplinary action taken against the employee.

ACC says it will be ringing all 6748 clients affected, and those not available by phone will receive an apology in the mail


The corporation is being called on to compensate thousands of people whose claim details were inadvertently emailed to an ACC client.

Mr Stewart told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the file contained the claimant's name, and the reference number and branch number used for the claims.

"The file was actually a file that explains the number of cases every year that are put into review, those that succeed and those that don't."

Wellington's Rape Crisis agency manager, Natalie Gousmett, many of its clients are in the ACC system feel traumatised that their names could be in the email.

"Once they (ACC) have worked very quickly to find out and notify those people who are involved, they need to provide those people with appropriate support or compensation."

Hazel Armstrong, a lawyer who represents clients with sensitive claims, says they should be compensated because they feel re-victimised.

Mr Stewart says that if compensation is paid, the amount will depend on how much damage each client has suffered.