“Everyone, at some time or another, sits down to a banquet of consequences. ”
― Robert Louis Stevenson
It is a year since this started for us. For Avon & Somerset HR this has been in their planning back in January 2013.
Annus horribilis is an understatement.
On the 29th May 2014 the world collapsed for 16 people – sixteen people who have had no contact from their former employer for over 13 years and some for up to 20 years – when Christine Jones, a HR manager for Avon & Somerset sent this letter:
It has been a roller-coaster trying to teach to the unteachable, attempting to show the HR department that the PIBR (2006) does not give them free reign to act totalitarian and do whatever they wish. If you read the opening sentence you will notice that Jones states that forthcoming regulations are a justification for starting reviews.
How weird? Given the Home Office circular for the PIBR 2006 amendments had not been published in any form at the time she wrote this. A year later they have been published; unsurprisingly they are not retrospective and are only concerned with integrating members of the 2015 scheme into the Injury Pension/Award regulations. Nothing to concern those all-ready retired.
She also states that reviews are about to commence – she is strangely blind to the fact she has started a review already by sending the letter in the first place. IODPA will fix it for you, Mrs Jones, and rewrite it in the manner you intended:
Dear Parasite on the public purse
We need to save money and your undeserving injury pension, that we gave to you and can so easily take away, is our target. We will say some guff about new regulations that will not in any way apply to you in order to bamboozle you into compliance. We will try to squeeze you until the pips squeak. We will in no way take your individual circumstances into account and the interval since your last decision is entirely suitable to us and so blow the rest of you. Our guidance has been purposely drafted by NAMF and this policy has absolutely no legality and has zero precedence over the regulations…
And in this ‘review of the year’ blog post (excuse the pun) here is the HR department kindly telling a band four injury pension recipient that it’s all to do with ‘their’ financial constraints that you’ve been chosen. Jeez, thanks for that Christine.
So where does this leave us 12 months on? Of the 16 people receiving review papers on May 29th 2014 no 1 person has been given a reason, individual to their circumstances, why they have been reviewed.
Six were seen by Dr Johnson over the 12th and 13th of November. None of these 6 have had a final decision and are still in limbo. Two were seen by Dr Judge in early December – all those seen by this SMP have had a final decision. Another three were seen the week before Christmas day by Dr Johnson – and a jolly festive period to you to! None of these have had a decision from Johnson. Two as yet have not been seen at all. One was shocked to receive the letter on the 29th telling them they are to be reviewed by virtue of them receiving a band 4 injury award, as in fact they are not a band four but have been a band two for the past 20 years. HR thought they were a band four because they hadn’t updated their spreadsheet when the person was previously reviewed and unlawfully reduced.
The farce has blamed the delay on medical notes but Johnson has had full disclosure of all medical notes from 90% of the people he has seen. He has had the majority of all medical files sent to him by late August 2014. So that pony excuse doesn’t wash. Johnson has stated on tape for the majority that he can see no change. But has not done the decent thing and signed off the interview with no alteration.
Other excitement over the past 12 months includes the farce declaring that any freedom of information request concerning IOD awards are vexatious. The ICO may or may not have a differing view on the matter.
Move forward to the present and the stalement persists so what does the future hold? Well it seems the force has employed the services of a barrister to either protect itself from itself or to go full bore on the poor people who were unfortunate to receive a letter on the 29th May 2014. Also the force intends to start further reviews but this time on a first-in/first-reviewed basis. Those the longest with an IOD are to be called in. So those 80 year olds last reviewed in the 1970s seem to be fair game in Carol Wood’s eyes.
What has IODPA learnt over the past 12 months? Lots. But primarily that Avon & Somerset HR department has some sort of delusions of megalomania. They are incapable of listening, they have a bunker mentality and refuse to admit mistakes, they will not apologise or in any way just ‘Do the Right Thing’. Shame on them. The force seems to be run by an Oligarchy who are not held to account by anyone. Perhaps this is due to the void of having a suspended CC. They eventually will sit in front of their created banquet of consequences .
IODPA has met some fantastic people over the year and are extremely thankful for the national support provided. We IODs are not alone any more. So for all the hardship, new friendships have been formed and we are thankful that there are genuine people always willing to give up their time for others. Thank you to the good guys.