Most ACC clients who complain about their treatment by the accident insurer believe their grievances have been handled poorly by the corporation, an Auditor-General's report has found.
Auditor-General Lyn Provost's report yesterday on ACC's complaint handling process found more than 60 per cent of those who complained were unhappy with their treatment while little more than 20 per cent were happy.
That represented a steep deterioration on numbers in 2008 when fewer than half were dissatisfied with the way their complaint was handled.
While complaints to ACC have declined from about 2200 in 2011/12 to 1400 in 2013/14, Ms Provost said that may be because thousands of dissatisfied claimants were deciding against complaining because they believed it was of little use.
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She noted that in 2012/13, research suggested 16 per cent or about 200,000 of those who had a claim accepted by ACC said they were dissatisfied with their service from the corporation. However, only about 1600 complaints were recorded that year.
"ACC does not know why dissatisfied people do not complain, and has not carried out any recent research to find out why," Ms Provost said.
However she noted that "if people see little value in complaining, then the number of complaints might fall because people's confidence in the system and processes is weakened".
Ms Provost made five recommendations to improve ACC's complaints handling process, including seeking and implementing measures to make it easier for people to complain, maintaining a consistent record of complaints and the corporation's response, and better reporting of its performance in handling complaints.
ACC chief executive Scott Pickering said it would implement all five recommendations.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) also released a report on the Ministry of Social Development's complaints process and found while it generally dealt with complaints professionally and had changed some of its practices as a result of complaints, it could take too long to deal with them and complainants were not kept well enough informed.
The OAG contracted a research agency to survey 669 people who had complained about Work and Income and StudyLink, and conducted fuller interviews with 10. They found while most believed their issue was resolved fairly in the end, only 36 per cent were happy with the way the complaint was handled.