14 August 2013

ACC staffer faces inquiry after clients' records stolen

An article from the Press by Anna Turner
The personal details of dozens of Christchurch ACC claimants have been leaked after a staff member's home was burgled.
ACC confirmed yesterday that the home of a Christchurch ACC case manager was broken into on Saturday, August 3 and among the things taken was a notebook containing the details of 35 ACC clients. ACC general manager of claim management Sid Miller told The Press the case manager had kept a handwritten notebook of client details as an "aide-memoire" to help her while she was working out of Christchurch.
"She returned to Christchurch over the weekend and brought the notebook with her at her house," he said.
"Unfortunately, during that time her house was broken into and the notebook was taken. It is an unfortunate situation for a number of our clients."
The notebook contained details of the 35 people's claim numbers, details of their accidents, as well as more personal details such as dates of birth and bank account numbers.
ACC contacted every client that the case manager had dealt with this year, Miller said.
"There were 35 people we believe were in the book but we contacted all her clients [124] as a precaution in case any other details were in there."
Of the 124, ACC have spoken to 83.
Miller said a staff member keeping a notebook of details was not "at all in line with our policy and procedures". The case manager was not at work due to family circumstances, but when she returned would face a "full HR investigation".
One of the ACC clients, who did not want to be named, told The Press he was "horrified" his details had been leaked.
"It's got all of my information in there. My date of birth, my bank account number. Now, who knows who has it. This is a serious breach of privacy."
He did not understand why the case manager had the information at her home.
"It's a pretty major error."
The client said he was considering what legal action he could take.
Miller said ACC was "very apologetic" for the breach.
It is the latest in a long line of privacy breaches from ACC nationwide. Last year, the corporation accidentally sent out the details of at least 9000 claimants in what has been described as one of the worst breaches in New Zealand history. The details included personal information on nearly 250 clients from ACC's most secure unit - the sensitive claims unit. Full names, the nature of each claim and dispute, and individual claim numbers were among the information revealed. In 2010, ACC apologised after it admitted sending up to 2000 companies private information about workers' accidents that should have gone to other employers. The information included names, descriptions of accidents, injuries, treatment and ACC payments.
© 2013 Fairfax NZ News


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