Pipin News & Comment.
25th June 2019.
Your attention is drawn to this circular entitled:
DEDUCTIBILITY OF INCAPACITY BENEFIT AND INDUSTRIAL INJURY DISABLEMENT BENEFIT.
This relates to the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Evans & Ashcroft v Chief Constable of South Wales Police and the impact this will have on the many injury retired officers who may have had their injury pensions over-deducted since 2010. Constabularies have an obligation to take steps to refund the monies which have been unlawfully deducted and the Police Federation has produced a questionnaire for retired officers to work out whether they may be eligible for a refund. For those that consider they are, a template letter has also been attached for officers to edit and send to their Chief Constable.
1st June 2019.
Once again we have heard there is some speculation that the Home Office are intending to introduce new regulations. As we know, speculation and rumours surface quite regularly. There is probably not too much wrong with the current regulations if it is understood that their primary purpose is to ensure that the injured pensioner receives their correct amount of pension. However, official attempts at reinterpreting (or misrepresenting) the regulations in pursuit of financial savings has caused untold anxiety for IOD pensioners. When HOC46/2004 was introduced, it was suggested that there would be a short-lived outcry from pensioners who would be forced to accept reductions in their pensions and then any controversy would fade away. Around half of police forces implemented the HOC guidance with the other half not accepting it, some forces would have nothing to do with it. Some forces applied the guidance more aggressively than others, certain forces boasted openly of the 'savings' they would make. How wrong they were, IOD pensioners responded through the appropriate procedures and there are now a great number of High Court and Pensions Ombudsman decisions which have shown that the Home Office and police forces acted unlawfully and with what may be described as 'institutionalised maladministration'. The pursuit of intended 'savings' actually resulted in huge costs.
Even though the guidance was declared unlawful and withdrawn, some police forces continue to try to deny injured ex officers their correct entitlement. It seems that policies put forward over the years stem from the same old regurgitated ideas from the same individuals and organisations which keep appearing and, despite failing, crop up again and again – a bit like the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement! What has happened to injured police officers should be a national scandal and rectification of the situation is long overdue. We deserve a lot better than this.
What does the future hold? It is obvious that there needs to be a clear plan which would bring stability and security and end the current scenario where the authorities let this drag on with the same discredited people hawking their discredited policies and pensioners constantly being forced to challenge their decisions through the courts.
A few years ago in Northern Ireland, David Scoffield QC reviewed the subject of IOD pensions and produced a report. We suggest that, initially, a similar completely independent review into police injury pensions be conducted by someone, or preferably a panel, of Mr Scoffield's standing. We suggest that all aspects of the IOD pensions are closely examined with particular emphasis on the essential purpose of the regulations with their limits and parameters being clearly defined together with full consideration of the rights of the pensioner. All involved parties should be consulted with full participation of injury pensioners themselves. Previously the pensioners have not been properly consulted and official representation has been seen as weak. Now that IOD pensioners are effectively organised with our charitable organisation IODPA, any consultation which did not involve full IODPA participation would certainly not be considered as valid by the pensioners for whom the regulations exist. Such a high level review of the IOD pension issue would be able to forensically examine each aspect and hopefully produce a comprehensive report with recommendations that would determine how existing pensions should be correctly administered and establish criteria for future Regulations. It should be to the benefit of all concerned to bring this matter to an acceptable conclusion.
It is in the interest of any IOD pensioner or injured police officer to become involved with IODPA, the organisation is able to assist and support IOD's in many ways, not least, with legal advice from our very experienced legal team. IODPA is constantly developing and is preparing to offer services specifically for IOD's which are not available elsewhere.
This message from an IODPA member has been sent to NARPO Branches, some have posted it for the benefit of their IOD members, others have chosen not to. Thanks to Derbyshire NARPO for their support in posting the message on their .web site
4th May 2019.
Injury pensions are granted 'for life' but are subject to reviews to ensure that the pensioner receives the correct level of entitlement. The level of disability is calculated by the SMP determining how much the pensioner's earning capacity is affected by the 'index' injury and, as we are only too aware, this review process has been manipulated to achieve cost saving for some police forces. Briefly, a number of factors can influence the outcome, including actual or notional employment and the apportionment of other injuries or conditions. Before some forces adopted the HOC 46/2004 Annex C 'guidance', Police Authorities exercised discretion in their conduct of the review process. Although some chose not to conduct reviews, others did so and, in many cases, had a cut off point where reviews would no longer be conducted and the pensioners were duly advised that they wouldn't be reviewed again unless they, the pensioner, requested a review. Of course, this all changed with the disastrous HOC 46/2004 (later exposed as unlawful and withdrawn).
Pipin does not object to lawful, fair reviews but we have long argued for a 'cut off' point after which the pensioner is no longer exposed to the constant anxiety and financial uncertainty brought about by the review process. We understand that certain forces are currently reviewing and, in certain cases, have reduced IOD pensions after apportioning the effects of serious conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer disease. The effects of such conditions in old age are bad enough without a cruel and callous review procedure adding financial reduction or even destitution. Pensioners on ordinary police pensions do not have to face this worry. The financial effect of reductions is particularly bad for those who retired through injury when they were young in service (this was actually recognised in Annex C) - here the reductions in banding can have a disproportionate impact, especially if the retirement was long ago and the pensions has also lost value because they have lost ground against inflation.
Having a cut off point makes sense and there is a precedent. In the case of ill health retirements, Regulation 51 of the Police Pension Regulations 2006 provides just such a cut off point for reviews. Can the Home Office and our Police Forces not see the grief they are causing to injury retired officers and face the fact that they can easily and quickly resolve this injustice.
1st May 2019.
There are indications that the Home Office may advise forces to start reviewing again next year. The information is imprecise at this time and may be nothing more than rumour. It is around ten years since the Home Office advised forces to cease their review programmes and, although some forces have conducted reviews, it has always been our expectation that reviews would generally commence again. IOD's are now much better organised and advised to meet any challenges. IOD reviews are always stressful but the process is part of the Regulations. We do not object to reviews being conducted in a fair and lawful process - it is the unfair, insensitive, intimidatory and unlawful conduct of reviews that we oppose. Many IOD's have suffered at the hands of certain greedy police forces intent on using the review process for their own financial advantage. Once again we urge all IOD's to become members of IODPA, the dedicated IOD charitable organisation.
14th April 2019.
The Pensions Ombudsman has made a number of IOD related determinations over the last decade or so and has ruled in favour of the pensioner in a high percentage of cases, (see our PO Determinations page for list of determinations). In the latest determination, the PO has decided against an Essex pensioner who has failed to obtain an injury award. The PO decision can be downloaded from the link below:
PO - 11718.
10th April 2019.
The Leeds Crown Court has ruled that Angie McLoughlin, a former police officer with the West Yorkshire Force, should be paid her full injury pension dating back to 1984 after her award was upgraded from a Band 1 award to a Band 4 award. As the Judge noted in her judgment, this claim will have consequences for many other former police officers who have their pensions adjusted due to incorrect awards. The court verdict will result in a substantial back payment of unpaid pension monies for Mrs McLoughlin -
The judgement can be downloaded from the link below. This is a very important and interesting case and study of the judgement is recommended. Our congratulations to Angie McCloughlin and, once again, our thanks to the David Lock QC and Ron Thompson of Haven Solicitors.
Judgement - ANGELA McLOUGHLIN and THE CHIEF CONSTABLE OF WEST YORKSHIRE
29th March 2019.
The Derbyshire NARPO Annual Report 2018 carries this item from the Secretary under the heading 'Injury on Duty'. "The latest news is that they still don't have any plans to implement a programme. As soon as they do, I will let you know". The inference is that the force intend to commence a review programme at some future date. When that time comes it will be necessary to scrutinise the policy and procedure to ensure that the Regulations are strictly adhered too and, where challenges are required, to pursue matters through the appropriate channels. A number of Derbyshire IOD's are already members of IODPA and the organisation will provide the necessary assistance and legal expertise when required, therefore it is in the interest of all IOD's to become members.
28th February 2019.
Our legal team applied for an injunction regarding the IOD pension reductions made by Staffordshire Police resulting from the PPA's interpretation of Regulation 33. IODPA report that Staffs Police have conceded the Injunction application and no reductions will be made until after the full Judicial Review, however, if the JR should be unsuccessful, reductions could be backdated.
24th February 2019.
Are police officers mere cannon fodder to be discarded without regard when injury and ill health result from their duties? Your attention is drawn to this item from the Mail on Sunday:
Homeless Police Officer - Mail on Sunday 24.02.2019
We should all be very concerned. We should also never forget the tragic case of Adrian Bill.
See also this story from Big Issue: Homeless ex-policeman Russell Monk on how, like many others, he has fallen through the cracks of a broken system
13th February 2019.
This item 'Police shortages: 'Working alone left me with PTSD' from the BBC today reports that a Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) survey found nearly 90% of officers say they are under-staffed.
PTSD is the cause of many injury on duty retirements and officers and ex officers suffering from this and similar conditions have found membership of our own IOD Charity has helped. Further information on Police Charities is available from this list Police Charities (it is noted that IODPA does not yet appear on this list.)
Our members may also be interested in information available on the Police Federation Survey Hub
2nd February 2019.
Following his decision late last year to invoke Reg.33 on seventeen IOD's, we understand that the Chief Constable of Staffordshire has now informed those ex officers of the reassessment of their IOD pensions. We further understand that the decisions involve reductions, although we are not aware of the details. As IOD's we are only too aware that the administration of IOD pensions is rotten to the core. IOD's are forced to defend their entitlement to the correct level of pension and they will continue to do so. This particular issue is but one aspect of in a wider scenario and it is indicative of the attitude that prevails in some police forces who treat their own injured officers worse that the criminals who, so often, have been the cause of those injuries. This particular Chief Constable has decided to pugnaciously progress this issue and the lawyers from the IOD legal team will defend it through the appropriate process.
19th January 2019.
The Thames Valley Police (TVP) NARPO newsletter announces that the force intend to start reviewing ALL of its IOD's. 'at the behest of the Home Office'. It is stated that this will not be a money saving exercise and the Regulations will be complied with. As more detail becomes available, we will be able to make a more informed assessment but It is hoped that this will be a fresh approach and has been positively received by the IOD representative organisation IODPA. IOD reviews are always very stressful for recipients but IOD's are not opposed to fairly conducted reviews which comply with the Regs. Naturally, given the recent history of IOD reviews, there will be some scepticism and each aspect of the policy and process will be closely observed and, if necessary, tested through the appropriate channels. Perhaps this development may be the way ahead but, after the way so many forces have treated us (and in some force areas, continue to treat us) trust will have to be earned.
TVP IOD's who are not already members will find it beneficial and reassuring to contact IODPA, a charity for IOD's, run by IOD's.
TVP NARPO Newsletter.
1st January 2109.
2019 opens very much like 2018 with the situation in Staffordshire dominating events. The mass review programme which started in 2017 saw three SMP's come and go. IOD ex officers took sound legal advice to establish their responsibilities under the Regulations, attended the review interviews and cooperated to the level demanded by the Regulations.. As we are only too well aware, our compliance with the Regs does not satisfy the demands of the Police Pension Authority (PPA) and IOD's believe they have fulfilled their obligations with the Regulations as they are written, not as the PPA would like them to be written! As a consequence, the Chief Constable, in his role as PPA, has recently written to a number of our colleagues informing them that he was invoking Regulation 33 with the intent of reducing their IOD pensions. This move has been widely seen as an attempt to intimidate or bully pensioners into complying with the PPA's unwarranted demands. Hopefully, in 2019, we should see this issue examined and resolved in the Administrative Court.
Some in authority may claim that their problems with IOD's result from a small minority of disgruntled troublemakers. Fortunately, it is easy to dispel this myth and the truth of the matter is plain. IOD ex officers did not cause the problem and the responsibility lies completely with the authorities who have subjected IOD's, often very vulnerable IOD's, to underhand and unlawful procedures aimed at reducing pension expenditure. We have experienced abusive policies based on unlawful guidance, dubious legal advice, medical reviews skewed to favour the authorities finances, not to mention intimidating practices, demands for unnecessary and unwarranted personal data etc. Against this background, for more than a decade IOD's have been forced to defend their pensions, this is not a case of a few individuals being stroppy or difficult – this is a very important subject which has a major impact on the lives of injured ex police officers. Anyone who doubts this can find the truth by studying the findings of important High Court cases and Pensions Ombudsman determinations on the subject of IOD pensions, reviews and administration. Links to many of these cases are available on this web site.
IOD's have been forced to organise themselves and it is very much in the interest of any IOD officer or ex officer to become involved with IODPA, the dedicated IOD support charity.. When the PPA decides to conduct a review, it cannot be relied upon to act in the interests of the officer/ex officer, quite the contrary. It is up to the individual to defend their IOD pension and IODPA is the organisation capable of effectively supporting that defence.
The current situation in Staffordshire is but a single issue in an increasingly complex arena. Once this genie was let out of its bottle, it is unlikely ever to return.
PIPIN wishes all IOD's success in the coming year.