PEAM and Bad Maths

PEAM (Police Earnings Assessment Matrix)

“The Police Earnings Assessment Matrix (PEAM) was independently developed by Grantwood Consulting to enable the force to arrive at fair, reasonable and defensible assessments of the earnings potential of Police Officers. PEAM’s underlying principle is that there are a number of generic job levels in the police, public sector and the wider job market. The job levels enable:  The size of jobs to be assessed, particularly jobs in different functions or disciplines.  Base salary levels for a number of different market sectors or geographies. The job levels allow police officer positions to be compared with jobs of comparable size or weight in the public sector, private sector or police support staff populations. PEAM therefore combines best practice from both outside and within the police sector. It has also been tested to ensure compliance with equal opportunities requirements.”

Why is this bad maths.  Well its contrary to regulations for a start.  The regulations are quite simple and split the degree of disablement of earning capacity into 4 bands: slight, minor, major and severe:

Degree of disablement Gratuity expressed as % of average pensionable pay Minimum income guarantee expressed as % of average pensionable pay
Less than 5 years’ service 5 or more but less than 15 years’ service 15 or more but less than 25 years’ service. 25 or more years’ service.
(1)       (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
25% or less (slight disablement)         12.5% 15% 30% 45% 60%
More than 25% but not more than 50% (minor disablement)         25% 40% 50% 60% 70%
More than 50% but not more than 75% (major disablement)        37.5% 65% 70% 75% 80%
More than 75% (very severe disablement)          50% 85% 85% 85% 85%

What the PEAM manages to do is turn a % given by a medically qualified selected practitioner  into another lesser % used by HR for the award.  For example, 75% (major and band 3) once put into the Police Earnings Assessment Matrix can be magically distorted into a minor band 1.  Basically PEAM is a device that is used to reduced an IOD banding into its lowest factor.  This fallacy was spotted in a Senior Counsel review of Injury on Duty Awards commissioned by the Northern Ireland Policing Board where Mr David Schofield QC stated in section 1.35

“I also recommend that, in the course of such a further review of Northern Ireland specific policy guidance in this area, serious consideration should be given to abandoning the currently recommended method of calculating percentage disablement, including detailed reliance on the ASHE survey and comparison with the officer’s notional uninjured police salary, in favour of a much more basic approach, whereby the relevant medical authority would simply make a judgment in the round as to the severity of the impact of the duty injury on the officer’s earning capacity, so as to select the officer’s appropriate band without the need to calculate a specific percentage disablement figure”.


In other words the injured former officer should be placed in band 1,2 3 or 4 based on a judgement ‘in the round’.  The regulations do not allow for inclusion of any manipulation by use of an invented earning matrix therefore this PEAM device has no de jure.

So the use of PEAM (or any convoluted matrix) is unlawful.  PEAM and other methods involving wage comparison resulting in a figure which purports to reflect future loss of earnings. An injury pension is paid as compensation for loss of the capacity to work, and the Regulations are blind as to how much or how little an individual might be earning, or be capable of earning.

The SMP (selected medical practitioner) is not permitted to look to the future when deciding degree of disablement. He must make his decision on the medical evidence at the time he makes that decision. The wording of the Regulations is,

‘Where it is necessary to determine the degree of a person’s disablement it shall be determined by reference to the degree to which his earning capacity has been affected as a result of an injury received without his own default in the execution of his duty as a member of a police force.’

Note, ‘has been’ not ‘will be’.

Note also, ‘capacity’ not ‘earnings’.

The SMP must make a decision in the here and now, and should relevant circumstances alter substantially in future, then the Regulations allow for a police pension authority to review the degree of disablement and revise the amount of pension paid.

PEAM and Bad Maths
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