PIPIN News 2018
22nd December 2018.
As the end of another year draws close, our thoughts are with our Staffordshire colleagues who face IOD pension reductions in the New Year as a result of the Chief Constable's decision to invoke Regulation 33. This decision originally involved a backdated reduction which was cancelled so, in this pantomime season, there does seem to be an element of 'Oh yes, we will', 'Oh No you won't' going on. If this is indeed a grotesque pantomime then Staffordshire seem to have a ready made cast of characters!
On behalf of all IOD's we would like to thank all the members of our legal team for their efforts and commitment on our behalf throughout the last year, especially Ron and Mark at Haven Solicitors, Mark at Cartwright King and Mr David Lock QC, Landmark Chambers. We should also remember our trustees, friends and colleagues who make up IODPA.
A happy Christmas to all from Pipin.
6th December 2018.
On the 26th November Staffordshire sent out the letters informing seventeen IOD pensioners that the Chief Constable (in his role as PPA) was invoking Reg. 33 and their IOD pensions would be reduced, the adjustments were to be backdated. It has now been reliably reported that, just a few days after notifying the pensioners of this action, the force have decided that no reductions would be made to the IOD pensions before 7th January. The authorities will have known the serious impact that applying these reductions would have on the pensioners income, wellbeing and lives in general. The timing, just before Christmas, would not have been unintentional. There have been many instances over the past few years when some forces have subjected their IOD pensioners to heavy handed and intimidating treatment. Readers can draw their own conclusions from the actions of this PPA which further reinforces the need for all IODs to be aware that the system is not on their side and cannot be trusted. Fortunately we have a legal team who will readily provide good advice to any IOD pensioner requiring it.
29th November 2018.
Comment on the latest developments in Staffordshire,
Mr Gareth Morgan, Staffordshire Chief Constable, has invoked Reg.33 and reduced the IOD pensions of seventeen pensioners on the grounds that they have not cooperated and frustrated the IOD Review protest. It should be pointed out that there has been considerable debate on this subject and legal opinion had been made available to those pensioners who have had their pensions 'adjusted' . Those pensioners will have acted in good faith to comply with the requirements of the Regulations as they are written. The pensioners will not have cooperated to the level required by the PPA who may be interpretting the Regulations as he wishes them to be, not as they are. This scenario is unfortunately not new and the most recent instance is contained in a determination by the Pensions Ombudsman.
Furthermore, the Chief Constable states that he has taken this action after guidance from legal and medical professionals. Police Injury pensioners have been defending their IOD pensions for well over ten years, there have been a large number of Judicial Reviews and PO determinations following actions based on 'legal and medical' advice. We have seen guidance declared unlawful and the whole process has suffered from large scale official maladministration. Over the last decade, we have seen such legal and medical guidance thoroughly discredited. Last year, the Merseyside Chief Constable was forced to back down from a case where he had unlawfully acted against a pensioner who had complied with the requirements of the Regulations but had not complied fully with the demands of the PPA. Please see this Press Release.
As noted previously, this unfortunate course of action was predictable and will inevitably be decided through due process in the Courts. This should clarify the lawful interpretation of the Regulations in this respect.
At the present time, it is only the Staffordshire force that are proceeding in this manner but there can be no doubt that other Police forces will have an interest and will be closely monitoring the progress of this issue. Chief Constable Morgan may be acting independently here, more likely he will have some form of discrete collaboration with other, more circumspect, forces.
IODPA have arranged for a meeting with our legal team in the Staffordshire Force Area and an invitation has been extended to all IOD's from all forces. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
28th November 2018.
The ongoing situation in Staffordshire has escalated with the Chief Constable writing to certain IOD pensioners advising them that their IOD pensions have been reduced. This follows on from the Chief Constables letter to pensioners earlier this year where he requested a meeting to explain the next stage of the process when Reg 33 was specifically mentioned. (Reg 33 - Refusal to be medically examined). This course of action by the PPA was predictable and most, if not all, of those affected will already be in touch with our legal team. Any IOD pensioner affected by this development or is concerned in any way should contact IODPA, who can advise and refer such matters to our legal representatives if necessary.
From the Staffordshire Police Web site:
"Update - November 2018:
In April 2017 Staffordshire Police began reviews of Injury Benefits in line with the relevant regulations which place a duty upon the Chief Constable, acting as the Police Pension Authority for Staffordshire Police, to review whether the degree of the disablement has substantially altered. This is a fair and transparent process which ensures that recipients continue to receive the appropriate level of Injury Benefit - which is paid in addition to the police pension entitlement - and that public money is used most effectively.
Upon being appointed in June 2017, Chief Constable Gareth Morgan continued with the review after seeking legal and HR guidance to ensure that the process was lawful and compliant with the regulations. The majority of Injury Benefit recipients have cooperated with the process but despite the best efforts of the force a small number of individuals have repeatedly tried to frustrate the process. Therefore the Chief Constable, acting as the Police Pension Authority in line with the regulations, has been left with no option but to make a determination in relation to these individuals based on the evidence available, with guidance from legal and medical professionals.
On 26 November Chief Constable Morgan wrote to 19 Injury Benefit recipients to advise them of the outcome of the review of their Injury Pensions. While it is not appropriate to comment on individual cases, we can confirm that two individuals have had their benefits maintained and seventeen have had their Injury Benefit payments reduced in line with the evidence available."
22nd November 2018.
The leading IOD lawyer, the highly respected Mr David Lock QC, has produced a very informative guide explaining some aspects of ill health retirement and injury on duty awards. Please click on the link below to download the guide. Copyright Mr David Lock QC.
Guide to Some Aspects of Illhealth and Injury on Duty Retirement.
8th November 2018.
The latest IOD determination by the Pensions Ombudsman is case Ref: PO 19120. "The complaint against Kent Police concerns its decision to refuse to award him (Mr N) an injury benefit entitlement."
2nd November 2018.
The November 2018 edition of Narpo News carries a full page article entitled "An Update on Injury Awards" by Mark Botham. Many IOD's will know Mark from Haven Solicitors as a member of our legal team who has considerable experience in helping IOD's. It is a sad fact of life that we, as injured ex officers, have to go to great lengths to defend our IOD pensions and we are fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of our legal representatives. It is pleasing to see that Narpo have featured this update and doing so must be regarded as a positive step forward in relations between IOD's, many of whom are members, and Narpo. Every IOD who is able, must challenge each and every attempt to degrade our pensions and, as many IOD's already know, the best advice is readily available from Mark and his colleagues in the legal team.
26th September 2018.
The latest update from Derbyshire NARPO Newsletter:
"Injury on Duty. With regard to members in receipt of injury on duty pension the latest information from Headquarters is as follows: ‘Nothing further to report in injury reviews, we still have no plans to implement a review period’. Good news but if and when they do, I will update you"
Derbyshire have indicated that reviews would commence on a number of occasions over the past few years but have not yet implemented any programme. Needless to say, once they do, each and every aspect of their plan will be referred to our legal team for scrutiny and advice will be readily available to Derbyshire IOD's.
21st July 2018.
In a ruling on 20th July 2018, that may have significance for many other disabled former police officers, HHJ Moore has decided that Chief Constables who require a police officer to retire on the grounds of permanent disablement can be under a legal duty to refer the officer to an SMP to decide whether the officer is entitled to a police injury pension. The Judge decided the legal duty will arise in a case where the SMP report contains information which indicates that that the officer may have a right to a police injury pension. This positive duty means that the Chief Constable is required to take the initiative by making an SMP referral in appropriate cases, and cannot just wait until the officer makes a request.
The Judge also followed the cases of Tully and Schilling in deciding that the police pension system provided for back-dated pensions payable from the date of retirement for officers who were permanently disabled on retirement, even if the pension award decision was taken at a later date.
More on this case from David Lock QC:-
Chief Constables are under positive duty to refer permanently disabled police officers to SMP
The Pipin Forum has now closed. IOD's are reminded that IODPA have very active secure forums. IODPA has members from all UK police forces and it is in the interest of all IOD's to become members.
13th July 2018.
Staffordshire have recently continued their review programme using yet another SMP. As many will know, IOD's have complied with the requirements of the Regulations by submitting to the required examination or interview but have not consented to the force accessing certain personal and medical records demanded by the force. In doing so, IOD's are acting legitimately and in accordance with the legal advice provided by our legal team. The Chief Constable, as Police Pensions Authority, has now written to ex officers requesting them to attend a meeting where the next stage of the procedure will be explained. Regulation 33 is specifically mentioned and therefore the next stage of how the force intend to proceed is predictable. Ex officers should not be intimidated, the outcome of this situation will not be dictated by the PPA but will be ultimately decided in the High Court.
For more information on this development, please contact IODPA - email@example.com
22nd June 2018.
IODPA have circulated the following information from the Police Dependents Trust:
According to our research; 66% of those who left the service because of an injury on duty worry about having enough money to pay for unexpected expenses, yet less than 22% knows the Police Dependants’ Trust could help. We exist to provide financial aid to those seriously hurt either physically or psychologically due to the hazards of policing and we need Ambassador volunteers to be our local representatives, spreading the word and raising awareness of how we can help.
Ambassadors will be representing the Trust at local events, conduct presentations and spreading the word; ensuring that those that need help know how to turn to us.
Full training and support will be provided for and once inducted volunteering times will be flexible ranging from 2 – 8 hours a month. If you are interested please contact us for more information at Volunteer@PDTrust.org or check out our website: https://www.pdtrust.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Closing date for applications is 31st August
Injury on Duty Research from Police Dependents Trust
INJURY ON DUTY PROJECT FORMER POLICE OFFICERS FINAL REPORT
25th May 2018.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an evolution of the current Data Protection Act (1998) and comes into effect today. IOD's will be aware of recent ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) involvement concerning data held by our forces and has acted on complaints that police forces have breached the Data Protection Act with their demands for and retention of excessive amounts of personal data and medical records. You can access personal information that is held by submitting a Subject Access Request (SAR), this is useful to check the relevance and accuracy of the information held on you.
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
How to request your personal information.
26th April 2018.
Our legal team have won another very important Judicial Review against Cheshire Constabulary in the Manchester Administrative Court on the 14th March 2018. This case centres around whether an SMP who is considering an injury award can revisit the same questions already answered during the ill-health retirement process. Mr Justice LANE quashed the decision of the PMAB stating "police officers who are required to retire on the grounds of permanent disablement are entitled to a degree of finality in respect of their entitlement to pensions. A police officer who has to retire as a result of what is then considered to be permanent disablement caused in the line of duty should not be at the mercy of a subsequent medical assessment, that he or she was not, in fact, permanently disabled".
Press Release from Haven Solicitors.
The latest news from Derbyshire NARPO regarding IOD reviews is that the force still don't have plans to implement a programme.
Members of IODPA are reminded that the next national conference will take place on 21st October, local meetings will be held when necessary in those force areas where reviews are being conducted. For further details please contact IODPA.
18th March 2018.
There is an important Employment Tribunal currently underway in Northumbria regarding a Northumbria IOD. This item from the Newcastle Chronicle gives the background:
"Hero bobby fighting to stop Northumbria Police reviewing his injury payout"
The Chief Constable of Essex has responded to a letter from Essex Narpo re the force's decision to start reviews:
Letter from Essex Chief Constable
25th February 2018.
IOD's representing eighteen UK police forces attended today's IODPA Conference. As expected, there was plenty to discuss, especially regarding the ongoing situation in Staffordshire and Essex, where review notifications have been sent out. There were updates on other forces and discussions on a number of subjects including Regulation 37, data issues, employment tribunals and audio recording of reviews. Solicitors from the legal team were present throughout the weekend and conducted a question and answer session as well as providing advice, guidance and opinion on a variety of pertinent issues.
23rd February 2018.
An initial three day Employment Tribunal hearing brought by a group of Avon & Somerset IOD's against their force has concluded today with the case going forward to a full trial, expected to last two weeks, in October. This is an important issue which affects all IOD's
16th February 2018.
The Pensions Ombudsman has released the latest IOD related determination - PO-17071 . Although this has resulted in a negative outcome, it is just one aspect of a number of areas of complaint made by our IOD colleague which have had greater success.
1st February 2018.
Essex Narpo have issued sound advice for those Essex colleagues who are facing review.
Essex Narpo Advice
There is considerable concern about the way that the force has embarked on this review programme apparently without regard for recent developments. We are all particularly concerned that the questionnaire / consents form which the force requires it's IOD pensioners to complete is highly intrusive and outrageous. The force also appear to be attempting to mislead pensioners by misrepresenting the Regulations in their letter which warns that: a "procedure where a pensioner willfully or negligently fails to submit him/herself for medical examination or attend interviews / completion of review questionnaire as the pension authority consider necessary". The Regulations actually say: the person concerned wilfully or negligently fails to submit himself to such medical examination or to attend such interviews as the medical authority may consider necessary in order to enable him to make his decision".
The force appear to be trying to gain compliance through fear and IOD's should not be intimidated. Very good advice is available through IODPA and the legal team.
IODPA advise members that the Conference on 25th February is now fully subscribed. for further details; firstname.lastname@example.org.
18th January 2018.
We are informed that Essex Police have decided to commence IOD reviews.
8th January 2018.
The next IODPA national conference will be held on 25th February and the association advises that only a few places remain. Any members who have not registered and wish to attend should contact email@example.com without delay. The conference venue is at a central location with good motorway access. Three solicitors from the legal team have already confirmed that they will be attending.
Please contact IODPA for further information.
5th January 2018.
The Pensions Ombudsman has published the latest IOD determination in which an Avon and Somerset IOD pensioner has had the complaint partly upheld.
PO-12007 Mr S. 20th December 2017.
Staffordshire have apparently contacted some IOD’s who have received Subject Access Reports (SAR) seeking the return of documentation. Quite why this is occurring is not yet known but this move has caused concern among affected IOD’s.
1st January 2018.
As we start the New Year it is worthwhile to take a look back at 2017.
2017 saw a number of IOD issues clarified through successful challenges in the Courts and official bodies like the Information Commissioners Office. These clarifications include issues such as police pay comparator/ uninjured earning capacity and the provision of medical records and personal data. In some respects the situation appears to have become more complex and a further important development was the ruling that IOD pensions are an occupational pension in relation to the Equality Act 2010. Our legal team, including David Lock QC, have provided advice and opinion on a number of aspects of the IOD situation.
IODPA has continued to evolve rapidly and 2017 saw it gain full charitable status. IODPA is very proactive, supporting IOD's and defending our pensions. Although it is still early days the organisation is trying to introduce innovative support and services that have not been available elsewhere . IODPA has held two very successful national conferences in 2017 as well as a number of local support meetings in areas where review programmes are underway.
2017 saw reviews carried out in some force areas with Staffordshire starting their controversial programme late in the year. Part way through the programme, their SMP withdrew his services abruptly and we await news of how the force intends to continue its planned reviews for early in the New Year. We can expect other forces to introduce review programmes which are likely to consist of reworking previous failed policies and Police Pension Authorities (Chief Constables) will always claim that their process is lawful, fair and in accordance with the Regulations. The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure that the pensioner receives the correct level of pension, not, as the PPA's seem to think, the lowest level of pension! Our forces will probably also continue to perpetuate the erroneous notion that our opposition to their review policies is based on a few disgruntled ex officers!.
Our response will follow the established lawful route of appeals to PMAB and the Administrative Courts coupled with the possibility of other legitimate appropriate avenues and it is our response that will ultimately determine the correct interpretation of the Regulations.
As other forces start reviewing can expect contact from previously unaffected IOD's who will have access to good legal advice straight away from our legal team on our rights and responsibilities in relation to the Regulations and issues such as the correct response to intimidating demands for medical records and unnecessary personal information which are not required under the Regulations.
It was intended to assimilate PIPIN into IODPA in 2017/18 but there has been an upsurge in interest and the web site will continue to operate independently for as long as it is required. The popularity of the IODPA secure forum has resulted in a considerable reduction in participation on the PIPIN forum. It would appear that participants understandably prefer the more secure platform. Therefore if usage remains low, the PIPIN forum will be closed.
PIPIN wishes all IOD's and our supporters a very successful New Year.