Pipin News 2014.
20th December 2014.
Further to our last report, our friends and colleagues in Northern Ireland advise us that, at the presentation of the Scoffield review conducted by the CEO of the NIPB Sam Pollock, it was confirmed that the Board had adopted the Scoffield report in full. There are issues appearing which will require full consideration in the days ahead both in Northern Ireland and on the mainland but the parts of the review that have been released (Chapters 1/14) are seen as a very positive move. The whole report has not been made public for reason outlined in this FOI response:
Senior Counsel review of Injury on Duty Awards
The Scoffield Review Chapters 1 and 14
19th December 2014.
In 2013, Mr David Scoffield QC was instructed by the Crown Solicitor’s Office, on behalf of the Northern Ireland Policing Board to conduct a review of the present arrangements for the payment of ill-health pensions and injury on duty awards to former police officers.
Some of the issues addressed in the review are specific to Northern Ireland but other issues are common to forces throughout England and Wales and are a source of concern for us all. The review report, comments and recommendations make for very interesting reading.
Northern Ireland Review - Mr David Scoffield QC.
16th December 2014.
Results of the Narpo IOD survey: apologies for the delay in publishing this item.
Brief summary of findings of IOD Survey.
Narpo Injury Award Summary
11th December 2014.
Avon and Somerset recently commenced reviews on a group of their IOD pensioners, we understand that a number of reviews were conducted in November with others scheduled before Christmas. Our colleagues in that force area report that,so far, there have been no reductions in banding and one has been placed in a higher band. There are two decisions pending from those reviewed in November.
17th November 2014.
Over the weekend representatives from a number of force areas gathered for a periodic ADfPO meeting. The meeting welcomed two representatives from Northern Ireland and a delegation from Avon and Somerset who were attending for the first time. A number of items were on the agenda with members being updated on the progress of ongoing cases together with briefings on the situation in those forces where reviews are currently being conducted and those where reviews are expected to restart in the near future. There was also a very useful talk describing and explaining certain up to date aspects of law, procedure and terminology relating to IOD issues which promoted discussion.
In its present form ADfPO functions as a liaison body between force area self help groups. It is clear that IOD pensioners are likely to be facing continuing hostile attempts to reduce their IOD pensions with greater numbers of pensioners becoming affected. Future development of the organisation was discussed and proposals on how it might achieve a greater influence were put forward for further consideration.
It is very traumatic for a pensioner to be suddenly informed ‘out of the blue’ that they are to face review which may significantly affect their IOD pension. Identifying affected pensioners has proved to be difficult and the PIPIN website has been very successful in bringing IOD pensioners together for mutual support. PIPIN will continue to be a beacon for IOD pensioners and it is hoped to enhance it’s role in assisting IOD’s.
3rd October 2014.
Members are reminded that the Narpo IOD survey will be andclosing towards the middle of this month. Steve Edwards at Narpo has had a good response but members who have not already done so are urged to participate.
For your information, here is the summary of the previous Narpo IOD survey.
The College of Policing has been commissioned to undertake a review of PMABs and the various stages leading up to them with a view to identifying best practice. Please click on this link to access a Freedom of Information response in relation to this review. Please note the following paragraphs under the ‘exclusions’ heading:
It is noted that work is underway in the Home Office looking at the regulatory provisions regarding this work. While it is acknowledged that information ascertained in this review may assist the Home Office develop this work this review will focus on the service’s management as per the existing regulatory process.
It is noted that at the time of writing some forces are conducting reassessments IoDs and it is acknowledged that this is a complex and contentious issue. While it is recognised that this is important work, due to the current absence of clarity on this issue and the need to first review the initial management processes first, this issue has been excluded from this review. It is expected that the need to consider this issue may form part of the recommendation for future work.
12th September 2014.
The College of Policing are currently conducting a survey into ill health and IOD procedures and processes. IOD ex officers have responded to this survey via a link on the Narpo web site. The College of Policing have requested that the link be removed because the survey was intended for Staff Associations and not IOD pensioners. The link has duly been removed but Narpo have substituted a similar survey of their own which you are all urged to complete. Our senior member ‘Urtica’ will be circulating an email on this subject to our registered members:
Narpo IOD Survey.
11th September 2014.
The Pensions Ombudsman has published a determination in the case of a West Yorkshire IOD pensioner. This is an unusual case in which the PO has identified maladministration on the part of the force. The determination can be downloaded from the link below:
Pensions Ombudsman Ref: P O 2799 Mr Trevor Hughes 5th August 2014
2nd September 2014.
The latest Derbyshire Narpo newsletter indicates that Derbyshire are not automatically reinstating IOD pensions following the withdrawal of HOC46/2004 and the branch are advising that any ex officer affected by this should contact Narpo. The infamous Home Office Guidance was declared unlawful and finally withdrawn earlier this year. The newsletter adds that Derbyshire do not consider that the withdrawal of HOC46/2004 casts any doubt on the use of ASHE as comparator where it is considered (by the force) to be appropriate.
We are aware that one of our members, aided by our legal representatives, is currently pursuing his case, in which Derbyshire have failed to reinstate his IOD pension which was unlawfully reduced by the use of average earnings as a comparator at CRA.
Clearly, if Derbyshire are intending to retain the use of ASHE as a comparator then, as Derbyshire Narpo suggest, the matter will be settled eventually by the High Court.
In the three months from the end of May until the end of August, the PIPIN web site registered well over ten thousand visits. This includes those who visit the main web site and does not include those who visit the forum directly via bookmarks etc.
19th August 2014
Thanks to one of our members who has posted the following link on the Pipin Forum. This item is from the Avon and Somerset PCC blog in which the PCC apologises for the tone and content of correspondence with Damian Green MP on the subject of IOD pensions. The comments offended IOD’s in general and Avon and Somerset IOD’s in particular, no doubt serving officers in that force may have been given cause to reflect also. As yet, we are unaware if this will have any bearing on the force IOD policy but the very active IOD group in A&S will be prepared to oppose unfair or unlawful policies designed to reduce IOD pensions.
Avon and Somerset PCC Blog.
The Home Office have written to one of our colleagues as follows regarding the deduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA),
I can confirm that the Home Office has not communicated a position or advice to forces, but we have stated what course of action we plan to follow. In principle, we believe it would be appropriate to change both the police pension and injury benefit regulations to make the ESA deductable. However, forces must comply with the relevant regulations as they stand at this time; we would advise forces to do so, and would not direct them to any other interpretation.
You will appreciate that while we consider the legal position we are unable to confirm whether future changes would be retrospective. I would like to reassure you though that I understand your concerns and that we are taking positive steps to resolve this matter.”
We have restated that on an online forum for police pensions practitioners and we have responded to a number of individual queries with advice to adhere to the regulations. The regulations do not currently cover ESA so we would expect forces to stick to the regulations and not deduct the ESA.
31st July 2014.
The agenda of the NAMF quarterly meeting held on 6th June 2014 is available following a freedom of information request. Points 3 and 4 are directly of interest to us. Point 3 covers progress on the new PIBR which have a target date of this summer. Point 4.3 refers to the implications of the Derbyshire case involving one of our members that resulted in the Home Office (HOC46/2004) guidance being withdrawn and, since the date of the NAMF meeting, we have been advised by our colleague that his case is ongoing and moving to the next stage. We are therefore interested to know from any other member who had their IOD pension reduced at CRA and have applied for it to be reinstated and how their force(s) have responded. Point 4.4 is intriguing, and is initially of interest to our Northern Ireland colleagues but could develop to affect other forces nationally. Once again there is no indication that our official representatives, Narpo and the Police Federation, have been included, consulted or views taken into account in the deliberations of this organisation.
NAMF Quarterly Meeting . June 2014
7th June 2014.
Further to the previous item. A new group has been specifically formed for Avon and Somerset IOD’s affected by the proposed review procedure. This is a private group with ties to our networks. To join this group please click on the link:
Avon and Somerset IOD Group
6th June 2014.
Avon and Somerset have written to IOD pensioners informing them that it intends to commence reviews in the near future. The force claims that the Police Federation have been consulted but, as far as we are aware, there has been no Narpo involvement.
Avon and Somerset Letter to IOD Pensioners
2nd June 2014.
The Home Office have written to NARPO regarding the current relationship between Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and police injury pensions and, in particular if ESA is deductible from IOD pensions.
Home Office Letter
28th May 2014.
It appears that a number of Injury Pensioners have now written to Capita and the DWP regarding the correct position with ESA. There is now, as a result of the NARPO Survey, a large question mark over the deduction of Incapacity Benefit for those who were medically retired between 1995 and 2006 and in receipt of Incapacity Benefit as IB wasn’t included as a Relevant Benefit and the Police Pension Regulations,1987 were never amended to take into account the introduction of I B in April 1995 - I B being only included as a Relevant Benefit in the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations, 2006.
We have also been asked to assist colleagues who are carrying out research to establish the numbers of Police Officers who have been medically retired during the last fifteen years or so due to ME, CFS and Myalgia. Please contact Brent on the following email address if you can assist: email@example.com
12th May 2014.
In the Autumn Statement (5 December 2013), the Chancellor announced additional support for the care of emergency services personnel and their dependents who are injured, suffering ill-health, or bereaved, as a result of active service for the public. To help ensure that the money is invested fairly, equitably and sustainably, Cabinet Office has engaged NPC to help them draw in views and evidence to determine the best use of the money.
We have to question the motives of this initiative given the callous way that our IOD pensions have been attacked in recent years and the anxiety and financial loss that have been inflicted on our colleagues.
Apologies for the lateness of this item. Please use the link below to access full information and a survey.
Needs of Emergency Personnel and their Families
Please click on the link to
2nd May 2014.
The National Attendance Management Forum (NAMF) issued new guidance to forces last year. This ‘guidance’ has no legal authority and confirms suspicions about certain aspects which are clearly aimed at reducing the costs of injury pensions. Our legal advisers are aware of this development and we will bring more information in due course.
NAMF Guidance (Implemented 1st March 2013).
26th April 2014.
We have received a report which, at this point we are treating as an unsubstantiated rumour, that Derbyshire intends to restart reviews soon using average earnings to determine IOD bands.
Forum members have already notified us that NARPO have introduced a short online IOD survey on the NARPO web site. We see this as a useful development in which our members should participate .
Narpo IOD Survey
23rd April 2014.
The Pensions Ombudsman has published an interesting determination regarding a West Yorkshire IOD pensioner. In this case the pensioner has complained that, in pursuing his complaint about a review of his injury benefit the West Yorkshire Police Authority will not award any compensation in respect of his distress and inconvenience, or reimburse him for his legal fees and other associated costs incurred.
PO - 1407. Mr C Brunning. 17th April 2014
10th April 2014.
Our senior member ‘Urtica’ draws our attention to a truly shocking letter from Avon and Somerset PCC to the Home Office, and a remarkably decent letter back from Damian Green. Both letters have been obtained through the Freedom of Information process.
The appalling attitude displayed by the PCC in the letter indicates concern only for finances and none for the sacrifices made by police officers in the execution of their duties. Letter from Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner
In his response, Damian Green outlines the Government position on IOD pensions and explains what is being done including the introduction of new Police Injury Benefit Regulations expected to come into force early in 2014. It is quite clear that the new Regulations will reintroduce elements from HOC46/2004, such as automatic reduction at state retirement age, that we have fought so hard to have declared unlawful and be withdrawn. Response from Rt Hon Damian Green.
Steve Edwards at NARPO tells us that NARPO had some input in discussions on proposals for new PIBR some years ago. The new Regulations shouldn’t be applied retrospectively but will affect new IOD when they are introduced.
8th April 2014
Further to the previous report Merseyside have responded to a freedom of information request and provided some details of their intended review programme. There are concerns that the sudden appearance of the questionnaires may result in distress and anxiety to some of our colleagues. There are also concerns regarding the level of personal information sought. The information provided shows that it is intended to look at the Band Fours first followed by Band Threes, then those receiving Band Two awards. Band Ones are not included unless the pensioner requests a review. We will report further on developments in Merseyside in due course. Please click on the links for more information :
FOI Response Questionnaire
25th March 2014.
Merseyside appear to be preparing to conduct reviews as questionnaires have been sent out to some IOD’s. At present we are not aware how recipients are being selected, or are we aware of the criteria being employed, there are also a number of issues regarding the relevance of the questions being asked. If you have any information on the review process in Merseyside or any other force area please update us at firstname.lastname@example.org
27th February 2014.
The Home Office has written to Chief Constables informing them of the withdrawal of HOC46/2004 Annex C. Any former officer who had their IOD pension reduced as a result of reviews based on this guidance is entitled to have that review reconsidered. NARPO have helpfully produced a template letter for this purpose.
Nottinghamshire informed it’s IOD pensioners at New Year that they intended to restart reviews shortly. The situation in Notts is rather confused, it appears that there outstanding issues which have not been agreed by Narpo and, as reported on our forum, the letters sent out by the force had been sent in error!
Colleagues in Northern Ireland report that, earlier this week, members of NIRPOA,
(Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers Association) met the NIPB (Northern Ireland Policing Board) appointed QC who is conducting the IOD procedures review in Northern Ireland.
21st February 2014.
The Home Office: Circular 46/2004 - Annex ‘C’ Withdrawn.
The case of Simpson (2012) found that the part of Home Office Circular 46/2004 dealing with reviews of injury benefit at state pension age (SPA) was unlawful. This section of the guidance was withdrawn by Home Office Circular 007/2012. A further section of the guidance, relating to reviews at compulsory retirement age (CRA), was not explicitly withdrawn at that point.
An application for a judicial review has recently been made claiming that a further section of Circular 46/2004 in respect of CRA is also unlawful. It is clear that the judgement in the Simpson case would apply to CRA as well as SPA and the Home Office has undertaken to withdraw Annex C of Home Office Circular 46/2004. This has been publicised on the Home Office website and this letter is formal notification to you of the withdrawal of Annex C of Home Office Circular 46/2004. The Home Office is also withdrawing paragraphs 17, 18 and 19 of Guidance on Medical Appeals which refer to CRA.
Home Office Web site
20th February 2014.
Home Office Circular 46/2004. Reviews at Compulsory Retirement Age.
We can announce that a legal team initiated by Solicitor Mark Lake and headed by David Lock QC funded by the Police Federation, made application for Judicial Review on behalf of a Derbyshire Injury on Duty Pensioner who had his IOD pension reviewed and reduced at the age of 60 (CRA) in April 2007.
The Defendants in this case are the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Chief Constable of Derbyshire.
As a consequence of the application, the parts of the guidance contained in Home Office Circular 46/2004 relating to reviews at Compulsory Retirement Age are quashed and the guidance is declared to be unlawful.
HOC 46/2004 A Personal Comment
17th February 2014.
Force Representatives from a number of areas throughout the country gathered over the past weekend for a periodic ADfPO meeting. The well attended meeting discussed a range of issues including the decisions to recommence reviews in certain force areas. Legal adviser Ron Thompson spoke about the legal situation and referred also to the new rules on financing legal cases. There were updates and briefings from various force areas on specific IOD issues and more general matters which affect us. We also understand that an important case has now made significant progress and we hope to report this as soon as possible.
3rd January 2014.
One of our Nottinghamshire members informs us that Nottinghamshire Police have begun sending out letters announcing that they propose to recommence IODA reviews in Spring 2014.
Accompanying the letter is Appendix 1 & 2 which outlines the process by which they propose to carry out the reviews with emphasis on ‘substantial change’ in either the injury, other medical condition for apportionment or new or altered earning capacity through employment prospects.
1st January 2014.
This year will mark the passage of a decade since the issue of Home Office Circular 46/2004 and the guidance suggested in Annexe 'C' of that document. Policies based on the guidance have resulted in robust legal challenges with a number of significant successful cases brought by our legal team on behalf of individual pensioners. Instead of achieving the cost savings intended, application of policy based on the guidance has proved to have been a costly error for those police forces involved.
Recently things have been quiet but that does not mean nothing has been happening. Our legal team have been working on a number of different issues affecting IOD pensions, some of which should impact on the the future handling of IOD pensions, other matters involve aspects of the way that IOD pensions have been handled in recent years.
In 2013 a number of forces indicated their intentions to restart reviews and naturally we are concerned that certain forces will attempt to apply local, possibly unlawful, policies which are disadvantageous to their pensioners. Police pensions and IOD pensions are regulated and that should mean that pensioners throughout the country are treated in the exactly same way.
It is not difficult to see areas where future challenges are likely to arise and it is very likely that there will be a need for further legal clarification on how disability based on earnings capacity is to be properly determined. There are also serious concerns that the essential impartiality of the SMP has been diminished since the guidance was adopted.
For several years predatory police forces have tried to unlawfully reduce injury pensions without regard for the consequences on the health and welfare of their IOD pensioners. The review process is part of the system but it has been corrupted so that reviews are an event to be feared and that was certainly not the intention of the legislators who drafted the Regulations. Every IOD pensioner has permanent injuries and the way we have been treated has created ongoing permanent anxieties, locking many pensioners into a cycle whereby they cannot move on from the events that caused their injuries.
It is in the power of the authorities to put things right. Eventually this will be settled, but should it be necessary for IOD pensioners to continue to battle through the courts, possibly for years, to achieve justice and fair treatment? It is time for sensible and responsible people in the Home Office and Police Forces to take control of this and end the dishonourable treatment of injury pensioners resulting from that infamous circular of ten years ago.