The Accident Compensation Corporation's leadership of the implementation of the national falls prevention strategy

Performance audits from 2008: Follow-up report.

In June 2003, the Government launched the New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy (NZIPS). The NZIPS was a response to the significant cost of injuries and fatalities, the lack of a clear and consistent strategic direction for injury prevention activities, and the need for co-ordination between government agencies. The NZIPS has six groups of priorities, and each group has its own lead agency or agencies. One of these groups is falls prevention. The national falls prevention strategy was published in August 2005.

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is responsible for leading the implementation of the national falls prevention strategy (the Strategy). It published an implementation plan in December 2006.

The scope of our audit

We carried out a performance audit during 2007 and early 2008, to assess how well ACC was leading the implementation of the Strategy. At the time of our audit, the implementation of the Strategy was still in its early stages.

We focused on how ACC had prepared the implementation plan, and how it was using the plan to lead and promote the implementation of the Strategy. This was both within ACC and through the large number of government agencies and non-government organisations with an interest in falls, injuries from falls, and falls prevention.

We also assessed progress against the Strategy implementation plan, and how ACC was monitoring progress and evaluating results.

Our findings

ACC had drawn up an implementation plan through a consultative and managed process. The plan contained an appropriate mix of specific and more general objectives and actions, and provided a useful basis for implementing the Strategy. It defined responsibilities and set out a progress reporting system, the expected results, and time frames for achieving results.

ACC had also established a useful framework for ongoing implementation of the Strategy.

However, progress with the implementation of the Strategy had been uneven. Reporting described activities rather than, for example, any reduction in the number of recorded falls. We noted in our report that ACC was considering the need for more meaningful progress reporting and a closer focus on selected priorities.

ACC had established accountability relationships with government agencies to promote co-ordinated injury prevention. However, we found some evidence of variable commitment by those partners to implementing the Strategy. In the longer term, this poses a risk to achieving the Strategy's goals.

We recommended that ACC:

  • draw up a protocol with those agencies responsible for actions in the implementation plan, to guide work on the national falls prevention strategy; and
  • give priority to finalising a comprehensive and results-oriented evaluation framework and methodology.

The response to our findings and recommendations

ACC identified specific actions to address our two recommendations. These actions were to strengthen the accountability framework for implementing the Strategy, and to draft a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework. From the information ACC has provided, we are satisfied that ACC is actively addressing our two recommendations.


We recommended that ACC draw up a protocol with those agencies responsible for actions in the implementation plan, to guide work on the Strategy. In response, ACC had established a Chief Executives' Injury Prevention Forum. The Forum was to provide a framework for planning, decision-making, and reporting for agencies with shared accountability for injury prevention. The Forum agreed to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which expanded its decision-making role. The MoU also more effectively promoted co-ordinated planning and decision-making by those government agencies with responsibilities for achieving the NZIPS outcomes.

ACC told us that it has also set up a Steering Group to strengthen the engagement of those agencies with key responsibilities for falls prevention. The members of this group are senior managers with the authority to make decisions on behalf of their organisations on matters relating to implementation of the falls prevention strategy. ACC was using this group to promote collaboration and collective decision-making.

Evaluation framework

We recommended that ACC give priority to finalising a comprehensive and results-oriented evaluation framework and methodology. ACC had drawn up a monitoring and evaluation framework in consultation with an advisory group from the sector. This framework was being used by Steering Group members to record each agency's achievements in working towards the implementation of the Strategy. Early in 2010, ACC was intending to collate this feedback in a single evaluation report of its own.

At the time of this report, ACC was about to publish a guide for community groups to complete an injury prevention project. This was to include advice on how to measure the effectiveness of the project in achieving its goals and objectives.

ACC had also replaced the website it uses for reporting progress with activities identified in its falls strategy implementation plan, to show more clearly any current and/or ongoing work. It had also replaced its electronic mailbox to respond more effectively and promptly to queries about the Strategy and its implementation.

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