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MSD staff available to answer questions about fraud investigations

17 May 2019.

The Ministry of Social Development is available to help people with any concerns they may have regarding their fraud investigations.

"We want to make it clear people have an avenue to ask us questions,” says Deputy Chief Executive for Service Delivery Viv Rickard.

"We have established a process for dealing with any questions someone may have about their fraud investigation.

"If we have investigated someone it’s likely they will know already, and we would have been in touch with them as part of the investigation.

"If anyone has a concern and believes there may be a potential privacy breach as a result of a fraud investigation, they should please contact us and we will deal with them directly and as quickly as we can.

"We do want to acknowledge the calls for apologies and we have been very clear that if we have done wrong, we will stand up and say sorry to that person.

"Potential Privacy Act breaches must be looked at on a case-by-case basis because identifying exactly what’s happened, and the outcomes, is based on the facts unique in each specific situation.

"The Privacy Commissioner has found we have been acting inconsistently with our legal obligations, we accept this finding.

"The report makes five recommendations, which we have accepted and are working to implement.

"So far, we have amended our fraud processes to ensure that investigators decide in each case on whether to go first to the client, or third party and to make sure that the right amount of information is collected.

"We’ve also suspended all requests for information to telecommunications companies and the Police.

"We will now review the rules for fraud investigation, which includes the Code, and the law on which it is based.

"We will also review the overall fraud investigation processes including how decisions are made about which cases are investigated."