Improving the Accredited Employers Programme

Over the last two years we’ve been seeking ways to improve the Accredited Employers Programme (AEP). We’ve worked with our customers to better understand the challenges within AEP and how we might improve it.

Growing health and safety leadership

This is an opportunity for us to grow health and safety leadership amongst accredited employers. By keeping workers safe and providing better support, we can influence a large-scale positive change for almost a quarter of New Zealand's workforce.

We appreciate the time our customers have taken to get involved and share their expertise and views. With the help of our customers, we co-designed a new vision which identifies the ways we can improve the AEP programme

We worked with our customers to better understand their concerns and what would improve AEP to lift workplace health and safety outcomes. Alongside this, our project team worked to review and improve the internal programme features.

Through the co-design process, we identified opportunities for improving the programme as well as the pain points.

Our focus

Co-design focused on specific aspects of the programme including:

  • those that impact most on strengthening worker experience
  • participation and representation
  • improving accredited employers (AEs), third party administrators (TPAs), and programme performance.

Who we worked with

For co-design we worked with our customers, including

  • accredited employers and their employees
  • unions
  • third party administrators
  • industry associations eg New Zealand Association of Accredited Employers (NZAAE)
  • treatment providers
  • other stakeholders eg auditors
  • our staff.

We used design methodologies to look for opportunities to improve the programme. These included:

  • drop-ins
  • focus groups
  • one-to-one interviews
  • design workshops
  • online consultation.

What our customers told us

We learnt that some features of the programme have not functioned as intended. There are also indications that some programme objectives are not being achieved.

It's clear from the feedback that injury management outcomes are not as positive as expected. While satisfaction with injury, claims, and rehabilitation management for employees in the programme is low compared with ACC-managed work claims.

AEs told us they want to improve health, safety and wellbeing for their employees, and to look after them when they’re injured. They want a more relevant audit process and better information from us on how to improve

There are some positive outcomes. The programme currently delivers better return to work outcomes for employees and lower compensation costs than for those not part of AEP.

What's not working for those in AEP?

Our vision is to create a unique partnership with every New Zealander. We want to improve their quality of life by minimising the incidence and impact of injury. AEP is designed to allow AEs to provide the same or better claims and injury management service as ACC to their employees when they have an injury at work. 

Currently, the programme is not delivering consistent and positive outcomes for those employed by AEs when they have a work injury. Improving their experience provides the greatest opportunity to move the programme forward. To do this, we need to ensure that employees have the opportunity to influence the work environment and that AEs and TPAs are performing well.

Our customers helped us identify the following pain points:

Employee outcomes and experience

Leadership and capability

Communication and relationships

Operational processes


We held workshops with business customers, advocacy groups, unions and employers across New Zealand. These focused on improving ACC’s workplace safety incentives. The insights from this engagement highlighted opportunities to improve the Accredited Employers Programme (AEP).


We worked with accredited employers (AEs), third party administrators (TPAs), and union representatives and internal stakeholders to identify pain points and opportunities for improving the programme.

The resulting draft conceptual target operating model sought to address these pain points as well as programme issues we identified.


We tested the direction of the target operating model with customers and stakeholders, and ran focused co-design workshops to get feedback on and develop components and features of the programme.

The consolidated learning from previous two years of work produced the co-designed vision for AEP.


Due to the scale of the programme and the number of customers affected (23% of NZ’s workforce are employed by AEs), improving the programme is going to take time and so we have recommended a phased delivery approach to implementing change.

The ACC Board and Minister have agreed to this and for us to begin implementing initial improvements to the programme, which will focus on foundational, cost-effective changes that will deliver benefits for our customers. 

We are committed to working with our customers on this detailed design work, which includes building and testing key improvements and establishing on how best to implement changes incrementally.

We’ll begin working with you on this when the time is right.