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Ministry challenging Social Security Appeal Authority’s decision

22 September 2017.

Social Security Appeal Authority’s interlocutory decision [2017] NZSSAA 052, regarding the use of pseudonyms in cases where the Benefits Review Committee is making a decision in relation to a client of the RCU.

To be attributed to Brendan Boyle, Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development:

The Ministry for Social Development is challenging the Social Security Appeal Authority’s interlocutory decision and has today lodged an appeal.

As the matter will now be decided by the High Court, the Ministry is unable to make any further comment.

Please find the Chief Executives previous statement (21 September 2017) below:

Our position on the use of pseudonyms by staff dealing with our most volatile clients

In response to an interlocutory decision of the New Zealand Social Security Appeal Authority:

The health and safety of my staff is absolutely critical.

That is why we use pseudonyms for staff in the Remote Client Unit.

The Remote Client Unit works with our most volatile clients, to the extent that our people do not meet with them face to face.

These are a tiny group of our clients, around 80 clients out of a total of 1.1m.

Pseudonyms protect Unit staff and on occasion members of the Benefit Review Committee from being identified and potentially placed at greater risk of harassment, threats or even violence, both within and outside of their work environment

We take the Authority’s interlocutory decision extremely seriously, given the issues raised, and our commitment to ensuring the safety for our staff.

We are considering our legal position in relation to the Authority’s decision.

I refute any claim that a personal undertaking was given to discontinue the use of pseudonyms.

The documents will show that.

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