NAMF: The National Attendance Management Forum.
A committee of HR managers, finance managers, force medical officers made up from a large number of police authorities throughout England and Wales, that meet up to discuss how they can ‘deal’ with those entitled to and in receipt of Injury on Duty awards. After the Home Office’s guidance was declared unlawful, the meetings provide a convenient avenue for the Home Office to drip feed advice to the forces, instigate a culture and then set the fuse for the encouraged HR managers to go off and work themselves up into a feeding frenzy.
NAMF is semi-clandestine because IOD pensioners generally remain unaware of it. The Forum does not advertise its existence, whilst not exactly attempting to keep itself secret. References to it do occasionally appear on force documents but it does not routinely publish its agenda or minutes. If you Google the Forum you will see that most references to the NAMF result from Freedom of Information Act requests.
The National Attendance Management Forum meets at premises provided by West Midlands Police at their Tally Ho! training centre. Meetings are held every three months.
The Forum comprises representatives from c. 35 forces from across the service, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. A unique feature is the mix of professional skills and background of representatives, which include Lawyers, Personnel Professionals, Doctors and Occupational Health Practitioners. Colleagues from the Home Office and NPIA also attend.
The mix of disciplines allows the Forum to debate and progress a wide variety of work from across the occupational health, legal and HR fields. The views of IOD pensioners are never sought by the Forum.
The NAMF is infamous for being used by the Home Office in its attempts to circumvent the Regulations. A steadfast regular attendee was none other than John Gilbert – the civil servant author of Annex C to Home Office circular 46/2004.
As to the ‘lawyers’ the list of delegates shows Nicholas Wirz (Northumbria), whose legal advice to his force seems to have been somewhat lacking as he was the instructing solicitor to Johnathan Holl-Allen, QC in the case of Crudace V PMAB, decided that significant parts of the Home Office guidance were unlawful. Written evidence supplied by Wirz to the Haworth case was equally unconvincing. Wirz was the gentleman who wrote threatening letters to 45 of the 70 disabled former officers whose injury pensions had been reduced in one afternoon on 20th February 2009 by SMP Dr. Broome. The 45 pensioners had given notice of appeal, and Wirz’s letters effectively threatened them with having to pay the £6,200 costs of any appeal and also contained his opinion that any appeal would be hopeless. Northumbria is the force listed in several judicial reviews and pension ombudsman decisions.
Rather worryingly given his track record Wirz now provides guidance to selected medical practitioners who attend NAMF functions: MR+NICHOLAS+WIRZ+PRESENTATION+(1)
The paradox is that despite the guidance that NAMF churns out having no legal basis and no substance that it is in harmony with the regulations, shamefully forces now use it as a badge of honour when conducting a review – basically saying ‘Its OK we’re following NAMF guidance’. In fact what they should be saying is ‘It’s OK – we’re following the regulations to the letter’. NAMF guidance is now being used as the Injury on duty equivalent to the Nuremberg defence.
There seems to be little doubt that the NAMF is the source of poor and ill-thought out information which can be readily seized upon by lazy and ignorant HR and OH ‘professionals’ who can’t be bothered to read and understand the Regulations and stated cases for themselves. It is also a platform for a small number of people whose motives are suspect and who seek to manipulate opinion. As a showcase for the talents of the people who are entrusted with the administration of police injury pensions the NAMF is more of an example of a group of people with which to frighten your grandchildren than to inspire them with role models.