Misguidance

“The mastermind is driven by his own boundless conceit and delusional aspirations, which he self-identifies as a noble calling. He alone is uniquely qualified to carry out this mission. He is, in his own mind, a saviour of mankind, if only man will bend to his own will. Such can be the addiction of power. It can be an irrationally egoistic and absurdly frivolous passion that engulfs even sensible people. In this, mastermind suffers from a psychosis of sorts and endeavours to substitute his own ambitions for the individual ambitions of millions of people.”
Mark R. Levin, Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America

Those that have read the posts on this blog know all about the now unlawful Home Office circular 46/2004.  It’s a fact that numerous police pension authorities have not updated their own internal ‘guidance’ concerning the administration of injury awards.  It is absolutely clear that the regulations always take precedence over any form of guidance but why do some police forces think they can interpret the regulations in their own sweet way?

Any freedom of information request asking for local guidance will reveal  that rarely is there a force that uses procedures that  are in-line with the regulations.  As the Home Office has capitulated and realised it can’t tell forces how to subvert the regulations, it is odds-on that the floundering force will have either out-of-date or blatantly wrong internal guidance. Even the College of Policing admits that:

“Many forces are struggling due to the lack of expertise within their organisations.

The only required guidance  is that forces shall abide by the regulations.  To all those concerned – just stop inventing your own made-up connotation of the regulations – abide by the legislation literately and as it is stated.

Let’s look at Northumbria (remember this is where Nicholas Wirz, Principal Solicitor Northumbria Police, thinks up the course material to bamboozle and groom SMPs into thinking they are all-powerful Coroner ‘judicial warranted’ investigating type deities – which they surely aren’t … SMPs are just vanilla Doctors with zero special powers).   This is Wirz’s guidance for his home force.  This same man runs training courses for SMPs nationally.

FOI 804 11 Northumbria

“Northumbria Police is under a positive duty to periodically review Injury Awards at intervals considered appropriate. Once a decision has been taken to review an award the former officer is required to comply with the injury award review process. A former officer may request for their injury award to be reviewed at any point, upon submission of relevant medical evidence”

Fail. The PIBR states that after a suitable interval the police pension authority should consider whether the degree of disablement has altered.  A suitable interval isn’t defined by the PIBR and this is by design. It is unique to the circumstances of the individual and not dependent on banding or age.  It works for both parties and nowhere in the regulations does it state it shall be unilaterally decided by the authority. A suitable interval could be never – it definitely isn’t dictated by a revolving calendar schedule.  How come Northumbria thinks only it can decide, not solely if the interval is appropriate, but also that said  retired officer has to justify his/her own self-referral by submitting evidence just to get a review.  The one-sidedness is sickening; they are basically saying we can review you whenever we feel like it but you have to convince us by proving substantial change before we decide if we think you have a need to be reviewed.  ‘Only once you prove it, will we then decide if your proof is our definition of any change’.

‘Required to comply’ … quite a forceful phrase.There is nothing in the PIBR that supports such acquiescence.  Regulation 33 talks about refusal to be medically examined but there is no  compulsion or penalty for non-compliance.  Only discretion to make a judgement on the available medical evidence.

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance was the aim of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.

The designated Support Services Administrator, Human Resources Department will run a monthly report to identify which former officers are due an injury award review that month

Ahh !  The truth of it.  The suitable interval is actually a spreadsheet run by an administrator.  So no medical justification there then, is there? !

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance was the aim of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.

Human Resources Department will send out the Notification of Injury Award Review Letter (Appendix 15 – Notification of Injury Award Review Letter) to the former officer, along with the Injury Award Questionnaire and medical consent form. This should be completed and returned by the former officer within 28 days

Fail.  No mention of a questionnaire in the regulations.  If they need to fish for information to justify a review then surely the interval is not suitable.  What if a questionnaire has never been filled in when the person was retired?  How can a non-medical HR administrator consider any alteration by a comparator when there is only an ‘after’ and no ‘before’.  At this point Northumbria has made its mind up that a review will happen (because the spreadsheet says so)  but no doctor has looked at this former officer’s occupational health file.  These people have no idea whether a letter from their organisation to a sufferer of mental illness will cause a catastrophic relapse.

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance was the aim of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.

if it is indicated from the injury award questionnaire that the former officer’s current salary will place them within the lowest banding it will not be necessary for the Injury Award Team member to complete an Injury Award Review Summary Report. In these cases the questionnaire should be forwarded to the SMP, indicating that the former officer’s current earnings place them within the lowest banding

Fail. Only after consideration of alteration of the degree of disablement can the question of whether it is substantial  be passed to a selected medical practitioner. This isn’t what Northumbria is doing here. HR have decided on the basis of an answer to a question that the person now has no loss of earning capacity. And they think it’s OK for HR types to then decide and for this to be passed to the the SMP for rubber-stamping? A clear abuse of the PIBR.

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance was the of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.

In line with Police Injury Benefit Regulations 20 2(a), (b), and (c), the SMP will then look to establish: 1. Whether the former officer is disabled; and if the answer is yes;
2. Whether the disablement is permanent; and if yes,

Fail. Did I just read this right? They wish to revisit the question of permanence? They are not allowed to this. Only part (d) of regulation 30 can be regarded upon review.  This is limited to the degree of disablement. Everything else decided previously is a given and can not be redetermined.

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance was the of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.

The letter also contains a recommendation for when the former officer’s injury award should be next reviewed. In some cases it may be recommended that no further reviews are undertaken e.g. when the former officer is already over State Pension Age and is in the 025% banding

Fail. Oh, the hypocrisy ! Northumbria are happy never to review again if they have managed to get the person down to band 1. I think this shows their agenda quite starkly. Is their spreadsheet so magical that once their nefarious objective is achieved, the spreadsheet can overrule Northumbria’s ‘positive duty to review’ and make the regular calendar events disappear when the force are unable to reduce any further.  The formulas in the Excel cell seem unable to cope with the logic that a condition can worsen no matter what band they are. 

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance  was the of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.

Following the decision, the relevant member of the Injury Award Team will notify the former officer of the outcome in writing (Appendix 29 – Standard Notification to Former Officer of Management Decision). In these circumstances the former officer has no right of appeal other than to the High Court

Fail.  Let’s imagine that the force has made a discretional determination based in the available medical evidence using regulation 33 (failure to be medically examined).  Northumbria’s guidance saying the only right of appeal is a judicial review is an outright lie.  Any determination of a police pension authority can be appealed  to a police medical appeals board.  But if the appellant does not submit to medical examination to the PMAB then the appeal is closed.   Why isn’t this made clear I hear you ask?  You can envisage the pensioner saying to Northumbria:

  • IOD: “I don’t agree to that because you want my medical records from birth but the last decision can not be revisited.  You can have partial disclosure from the last decision”
  • Northumbria:  “If you don’t give us full records from birth then that is failure to comply.  You are now a band 1”
  • IOD: “Thats unlawful.  I want to appeal”
  • Northumbria: “You can’t. Tough. Take it to judicial review”

Double Fail. Northumbria doth protest too much.  In the real world the IOD can take it to PMAB.  The appeals board will decide that only part d of regulation 30 can be considered and full medical notes since birth are irrelevant.  The pmab may even query why this person was ever reviewed in the first place. The question is always and only alteration – substantial – since the last decision.  Medical records since birth are silent to this therefore the appeal is upheld.  No need for judicial review.  Northumbria are trying to bully the IOD into compliance.

If an SMP considers the following steps necessary: a former officer does not fully complete and return a review questionnaire; supply consent to access medical records; follow directions of an SMP; give consent for an SMP to provide an advisory letter; attend any appointment or fails to do anything else deemed necessary by the SMP by the date specified within correspondence this may be considered a refusal to be medically examined

Fail. Where does the regulations anoint the SMP with such super powers? “Fails to do anything deemed necessary by the SMP” … the targets of the power-crazed doctor are injured former officers with varying and individual afflictions.

Some are elderly, some have PTSD, all are no longer warranted police officers and are now members of the public with an injury pension; not a benefit or a means-tested allowance – an injury pension with finality. The term ‘pension’ is important, the meaning of which is lost on Northumbria. The PIBR is clear in that only a substantial alteration merits a review and this is not a trivial matter. Tellingly ‘substantial’ is a word not to be found in Northumbria’s guidance.

substantial

If this part of Northumbria’s guidance is the aim of the regulations then it would be explicitly defined in the PIBR legislation.  But it isn’t.  Not only that, but the regulations, GMC guidance,  data protection, case-law and civil liberties stop the victimisation of pensioners on the arbitrary whim of a police pension authority.  If only they woke up to this fact.

Misguidance

One thought on “Misguidance

  • 2015-09-21 at 3:17 pm
    Permalink

    This is frightening when you consider that Police are upholders of law….
    A total abuse of human rights.




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