Month: October 2015

The Disgrace is National

The Disgrace is National


“Divide and rule, the politician cries;
Unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gedichte

An objective reader might assume that many of the posts on this blog are Bristol-centric.  There is no doubt that Avon & Somerset wins the prize for most maladministration at the moment, but this should not deflect attention from other Police Pension Authorities, some of whom who are keeping their powder dry, ready to  attack their own IOD pensioners once they think the coast is clear. Also let’s not forget the individual battles some IODs are fighting, and have been for many years, against forces that have never been dormant in their abuse of the Regulations.

The posts and pages on site are of concern to every IOD pensioner, and to serving officers too, as they touch all areas of the Regulations irrespective of those abusing them.

IODPA has heard of the shameful actions of some forces who deliberate target the same individuals repeatedly, and of the cases decided by the Pension Ombudsman in the IOD’s favour only for the forces concerned to repeat the maladministration. We have noted well the use by some forces of a particular couple of SMPs who have the distinction of managing to combine shameful ignorance of the Regulations with obvious disregard of the ethics of their profession, and who are nothing less than hired guns whose purpose is solely to reduce injury pension payments.

It is a disgrace that disabled former officers are being compelled to spend the twilight of their lives fighting continuous legal battles to just keep the injury pension they are entitled to after being injured on duty. Like all of us, they never gave much thought to the possibility or consequences of injury, and certainly never in their wildest nightmares anticipated that they would face determined attempts by corrupt and spiteful administrators to unlawfully reduce their pension entitlements

We have heard some of the stories of individuals, but we also need to hear about systematic institutional abuses.  Isolated victimisation is the weapon of choice by some HR managers and legal services – divide and conquer.  But when all these narratives are viewed as a whole, the picture changes to that of misfeasance in a public office – an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The tort of Misfeasance in Public Office was designed to target ‘the deliberate and dishonest abuse of power’ in the event of a person suffering loss or damage as a result of administrative action known to be unlawful or carried out with reckless disregard or indifference to the consequences.

The offence of ‘Malfeasance’ takes the reckless element a stage further and is when a public official intentionally does something either legally or morally wrong which he had no right to do. It always involves dishonesty, illegality, or knowingly exceeding authority for improper reasons. It is conduct in violation of the law.

Here is an example of how those administrating injury awards think:


…as of now I believe Carole and I are clear about what to do.  They’ll be an awful lot of appeals though.

Yes, you read it right.  They heard that the Home Office guidance was withdrawn in full but they plan to continue with their ‘plan’ anyway.

They know their actions are unlawful as they fully expect appeals.  Why would they expect appeals if they were doing the right thing?  Obviously they know their continued actions are illegal – but still they go on.

But this appalling behaviour isn’t confined to those at Portishead (A&S’s HQ) – similar emails exposing maladministration exist in numerous police forces throughout the country.  Dr Bulpitt, the author of the above email, used to be the force medical officer (FMA) of Cambridgeshire.  Before Bulpitt became the FMA he was the director of Premier Occupational Healthcare Limited (again there’s another story here with how the director of the contractor eventually became the substantive FMA of the client).  Under his stewardship this company provided a SMP by the name of Dr Roberts to Cambs.  This force then fanatically, zealously and unlawfully set out to place all those receiving a band four pension, and who were over 65 years of age, onto a band one. Every single one of these IODs eventually had their rightful band restored. But the people who abused the Regulations and foisted such distress on vulnerable disabled former officers never suffered any censure or punishment.

Bulpitt’s Chief Constable around this time was a former A&S senior officer named Julie Spence.  This Chief Constable’s extraordinary claim was that the guidance in HOC 46/2004 was mandatory.  In March 2010 she announced her retirement following repeated challenges over her claim and a matter of days after the Home Office advised all forces to suspend reviews – a clear signal of admission that the guidance she insisted was ‘mandatory’ was in fact unlawful. Julie Spence was an accomplished self-publicist, and was undoubtedly ambitious. She had even chosen to suggest, to a reporter from the Guardian newspaper in November 2008, that she might be interested in being considered for selection to the post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Instead, at the age of 54 she decided to quit policing in order, as reported, ‘to spend more time with her husband, John’.

We may never hear the full truth behind her departure, but the evidence we have seen may shed some light on her very individual approach to the Home Office Guidance. You might care to bear in mind that Julie Spence has a law degree, which would lead one to presume she should have known full well the true status of Home Office guidance, and if she was in any doubt about the status of HO guidance she had a telephone on her desk which she could have used to call the HO for clarification. Perhaps she did make that call? And perhaps she received encouragement and offers of support for her extra-regulatory adventure.

Isn’t it indicative of the web of corruption at senior levels that Bulpitt, who was at the heart of Spence’s unlawful attack on injury pensions, was still, in 2014, writing inflammatory emails, and is still  allowed to be employed today, when his main raison d’être seems to be to manipulate SMP Johnson into breaking the law?

All these degrees of separation are being diligently joined up.

We intend to collate a true census of the abuses and then make the transgression public knowledge. If you think your battle with your former force is isolated local malfeasance, think again.  From our experience, confirmed by a recent shot-in-foot survey by the College of Policing, there is widespread ignorance, incompetence, indifference, lack of training and underfunding of injury pension administration. Add to that the morally reprehensible attitudes and actions of the likes of Bulpitt, Wirz, Broome, Kern, Johnson, Cheng and others, we should not wonder there are so many instances of unlawful application of the Regulations. It is a sobering thought that there is more than likely an IOD living within a short distance from you who is a victim of pension injustice.

Please email with your news and anything you want given a public platform concerning your force.

Rules? What Rules?

Rules?  What Rules?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The authors of this blog have been weighing up what to write for our next post.  Not because we lack material – quite the opposite; in fact we have an embarrassment of material. The embarrassment would be all Avon and Somerset’s if they had any ability to feel shame for what they have done

The reason for our publishing predicament is that at the moment some of the material we’ve gathered from various sources is ground-shatteringly explosive.  It’s an agreeable predicament, in that by writing about it in a public blog we expose the existence of the ticking nuclear device which IOD pensioners have obtained and are preparing to use.  So we won’t ruin the surprise. Let’s just move on for the moment and we can talk about this another time, when the fall-out dust has settled and the heads have rolled.

So, after a bit of consideration, we are back onto our least favourite topic. A topic which makes it hard for us to hold on to our view that human beings generally chose to do the right thing when given a choice between doing harm or doing good. Our hearts sink when we contemplate the walking contradiction which is the supposedly ethical medical doctor who consistently prefers to cause harm rather than do good.  Yes, we are talking about Dr Philip Johnson.

He is the medic who ambled blindly into the role of being the patsy for A&S. We think he was conned. He was told he would be paid handsomely for performing a routine assessment of disabled former officers. A task which would take an hour of his time per pensioner, plus another hour to write up a short report. ‘Nice little earner,’ he was told. ‘We have 480 of them all lined up like ducks in a row.’

Kerching! Johnson did the maths. Visions of barrows loaded with money.

A&S didn’t tell him that two other doctors had been approached earlier and had seen right through the cunning plan devised by A&S to save money by unlawfully reviewing and reducing pension payments made to disabled former officers; 2 doctors that A&S attempted to groom in-house for the exclusive role of reducing the banding of injury awards by any means necessary. Those doctors left suddenly under a cloud – they had declined to prostitute their talents by dancing to A&S’s tune (that’s a story deserving of its own blog post).

His dreams of cash-flow were soon shattered when he realised it wasn’t about to be so easy. There was a small problem called the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006. It came as a shock to him to realise that he actually had to follow them. You see, Johnson was told otherwise.

He was subjected to a ‘training event’ held at the College of Policing. The core of this ‘training’ was a rambling load of crap delivered by none other than that fine upstanding example of legal rectitude, Nicholas Wirz, who is the head solicitor for Northumbria Police. He is the pheasant plucker who advised Northumbria’s SMP Dr Broome to unlawfully reduce the pensions of some 70 disabled elderly former officers to band one.

Yes, you read that right. A solicitor whose advice was to do something against the law, on the basis that the intended victims were too weak to do anything about it.

When the inevitable applications for appeal were made, our old Nick threatened the applicants (he would say he warned them) that their appeals would be deemed vexatious (where have we heard that word more recently?) and they would have to pay £6,200 adverse costs when their appeals failed.

Johnson had soaked up the wonderful professional atmosphere of the College, enjoyed the socialising with his intellectual equals, and hung on the words of the eminent legal expert Wirz. Being naïve, Johnson took as gospel everything Wirz and his little sidekick Trevor Forbes had to say.

But when pensioners began to tell him that he was breaking the law, that he was not following the Regulations and that they would not bow to his ridiculous demands to allow him unrestricted access to their medical records from birth, and that if he insisted then they would be seeking legal representation – from a proper solicitor – he slowly began to realise that his nice little earner was in fact a purse of counterfeit currency.

He turned to the other ‘organisation of excellence’ the National Attendance Management Forum (NAMF).

Before detailing how the NAMF influenced Johnson we have to divert for a moment and wonder what a bunch of HR functionaries and others are doing when they diversify from discussing issues around why employees go sick and what can be done about it, to issuing detailed so-called guidance on complex legal matters concerning police injury pensions.

For that is what the NAMF did. It produced some guidance for SMPs like Johnson. Presumably on the basis that some SMPs were so thick they couldn’t be trusted to understand the Regulations and apply caselaw properly.

Johnson was fully trained and guidanced-up. He was good to go.

Then it all went pear shaped, with queries and challenges. And that was when he showed his true colours. That was the moment when he had a choice to make. Brave soul that he is, he did not hesitate – and chose to cover his substantial ass. He chose self preservation over doing the decent thing.

Drawing on his considerable Army experience, (and on the Book of Wirz) he decided the best form of defence was attack. He insisted he was right, that he could demand access to medical records from birth. In this way, he was able to not conclude the reviews he had conducted, and blame the lack of a decision on the pensioners who had failed to cooperate with his demands.

By not making any decisions, he reckoned he could not be criticised as there would be nothing to appeal against.

However, Johnson, he who can’t spot a legal charlatan when he sees one, who is blinded by thoughts of earning easy money, who seems to lack the wit to read and understand the Regulations, who has difficulty in researching the readily-available transcripts of relevant High Court cases and who when given a choice between doing good or doing harm, chose the latter in a feeble attempt to save his own skin, is a man who can’t even follow the guidance issued by the NAMF.

Here is the NAMF politburo directive in black and white:

namf directive

… the only evidence he may consider upon review is that which post-dates the earlier review.

Seems straightforward enough doesn’t it?  This comes from the NAMF’s verbosely titled ‘Procedural guidance on Assessing and reassessing the degree of disablement as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty’ [sic] dated 01/03/2013. It seems that even in a pile of manure there may be found a single pip of legal accuracy.

We all know that NAMF has zero legal jurisdiction on matters covered by a statutory instrument passed by Parliament, a.k.a. The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006; but NAMF guidance is what some forces cling to for legitimacy.

It’s a crying shame then that this willing recipient of NAMF codswallop can’t even follow its directives.

Our premise is that Johnson was conned. Not just by A&S when they hired him and failed to mention the intention was to have him conduct unlawful reviews so that injury pensions could be reduced – to act as the front man, the fall guy, should anything go wrong. The first fifteen reviews were, it is now admitted by A&S, to be a ‘trial’ of the process (we haven’t miscounted, we know the saga of all the 16). You don’t need to trial the law – you need to apply it correctly. What was being trialled was a way to abuse and subvert the law.

Johnson was further conned by the training event held at the College of Policing. There he listened attentively to what will in due course go down in injury pension history as the biggest load of bovine excrement ever produced.

To a neutral observer it’s clear that he lacked the moral fibre to do the right thing and tell those who hired him that he would follow only the Regulations, not so-called guidance from any source. When he saw the harm the review process was causing to vulnerable, damaged, disabled people he suppressed his Hippocratic principles and chose not to do what he could to repair the harm. Instead of accepting responsibility for his failing to make decisions for over a year, he chose to seek to blame the pensioners.  Instead of acting honourably and resigning his position, he chose to cling on by his fingertips, hoping that by so doing he would not be exposed to the inevitable litigation that would result from such widespread and determined maladministration. Rather than blow the whistle on the damning evidence of unlawful intent in the conversations he has been privy too at A&S he chose to keep silent.

Dr Johnson has made his choices. He must eventually face the consequences. He may not have long to wait.  That said, it might be wise to find a tin hat to wear if you are also part of the ‘J-K-W-B’  posse of four employee ‘enablers’ who merrily have overseen the maladministration.

Same old, same old …

Same old, same old …

Featured image

“Of course it’s the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.”
Margaret Thatcher

 Truth is the same old story. That’s the truth by the way, and not the spin of Avon & Somerset.  It is almost 12 months since the 12th and 13th of November 2014 when, of the first group of 16 band fours (all the youngest of those receiving an IOD award and after waiting 6 months already), a subset of 6 were forced to see the selected medical practitioner (SMP),  Dr Johnson, at the occupational health unit at  Portishead. At £500 per IOD, Dr Johnson invoiced at least £3000 ( expenses an extra of course) for 2 days of work.

None of these 6 unfortunates have received a final decision from Dr Philip Johnson.  Twelve months of incompetence, dishonesty and deceit.

Quite a few were told that this is a ‘2 stage process’ and ‘there may be no need to see the SMP’; whilst all the time the Janus-faced HR  managers of Avon & Somerset and the force medical officer had always craftily fully intended to push all 16 in front of Johnson for reasons given below in this post and ‘test’ their processes.  The 6 seen in the 2nd week of November 2014 were the forlorn – the guinea pigs of the 16 guinea pigs.

Avon & Somerset HR would be eager to tell anyone listening that the apathetic delay is no fault of theirs.  That they have been acting within the Regulations throughout, that their actions are beyond reproach and that it is the fault of the IODs and those that have advised them.  Blame the victim for being a victim – isn’t this the first rule of ‘101 Rules on How to be a Bully’?

But the truth is more prosaic.  There is no poetic narrative that allows A&S to spin this in a positive light.  They have royally cocked up. A correctly managed review under Regulation 37 should take no more than 3 months from start to finish.

Dr Johnson is still adamant that if the force wants him to review someone then he has determined that he has absolute rights to have full medical records since birth as he needs to ‘understand the reason for the retirement’.

It is strange then that the same force using Johnson has sent those IODs lucky enough not to see Johnson to other SMPs who are happy and content to accept partial medical records only since the date of last decision.  Why the inconsistency?  Easy.  It’s because Johnson has set his position in stone with a few individuals and if he accepts partial notes with others whilst refusing to make a decision on those he (and A&S) wants to perform a fresh assessment upon, he will not be able justify the juxtaposition.

We all know by now that when a review is held it is unlawful to conduct an entirely fresh assessment of degree of disablement. Note to A&S: That is not IODPA’s opinion, it is the pronouncement of the High Court. Please read the case of SIMPSON, where it was determined,

‘ I accept Mr Lock’s submission that the SMP and the PMAB cannot conduct a fresh review of the uninjured earning capacity and the actual earning capacity of the former officer and then, comparing the outcome of that assessment with the previously determined degree of disablement, conclude that there has been an alteration in the former officer’s degree of disablement.’

There is no justification for a SMP demanding access to full medical records since birth to ‘understand’ the reason why the IOD was given in the first place, as the degree of disablement, the disablement itself, and the reasoning and/or medical evidence which was used to arrive at those decisions are not open to question or challenge.

The singular question requested of a SMP at review is whether has been any alteration in degree of disablement. But Dr Johnson seems not to understand, or to care. He doesn’t like the Regulations, so he thinks he can ignore them.

The Regulations and caselaw demand stability and finality.

In other words there is no devil’s advocate position of asking ‘why not just give Johnson what he wants’.   Johnson is not required to ‘get in the mind’ and understand the logic of the previous SMP that either retired or last reviewed the IOD.

As the regulations say,

The decision of the selected medical practitioner on the question or questions referred to him under this regulation shall be expressed in the form of a report and shall, subject to regulations 31 and 32, be final.

And stated by Justice Burton in Turner v PMAB

It is important from the point of view of disputes such as pension entitlement that a decision once made should be final if at all possible, and that is what is provided by these Regulations

Continued by Lord Justice Laws in the Belinda Laws appeal

The premise is that the earlier decision as to the degree of disablement is taken as a given; and the duty – the only duty – is to decide whether, since then, there has been a change

The real truth of it is that A&S have lost or destroyed quantities of occupational health files and other personal records, dating back in some instances to when the individuals concerned were retired, many years ago. This force has 490 IODs but A&S seem to have lost the majority of files it has on these people.

Where they have files they whinge that they are unable to read the handwriting of the doctors who were involved in the grant of injury awards. Why would they need to? There is no lawful reason. The truth behind why Johnson wants full medical records is that he simply can’t accept that he has to conform to the law. He wants to second-guess final decisions which are not there to be questioned. Remember that Johnson was drafted in by his ‘mate’ Dr Bulpitt, the force medical officer. These 2 sat together and devised the current ‘procedures’ to review people and Dr Johnson is therefore their main agent.

Bulpitt no doubt would like to have all the medical records he mistakenly thinks he is entitled to and therefore to rebuild the stocks of the ones the force has either lost or destroyed.  What better way than to get the IOD, his or herself, to willingly provide all the medical records the force should have retained in the first place.  And whilst at it, they can use the newly gleaned information to have another pop at apportionment and causation.

This is why the other 2 SMPs used in 2014 kept to their remit in regard to disclosure and were quite content with only partial records.  They were ‘contracted’ in and had no involvement or desire to join in the schemes of Bulpitt to rebuild his library of medical records.  Each of these managed to finalise their own reports expeditiously, showing what a true laggard Johnson really is.

Why has a force such as Avon & Somerset been so lackadaisical with pertinent medical data of those it has retired?

Police Public bodies do not have a great track record on data protection and A&S is a particular offender that has allowed personal medical data of retired officers to ‘disappear’.

Arguably Avon & Somerset has lost medical records and personnel files as it didn’t want to be burnt with the potent stuff written within.

So Bulpitt wants another pop in getting all the medical history without the nasty (to him) truth that complicates his job of what truly happened when the person was originally retired.  (Shamefully, illegality with regard to injury awards isn’t a new thing in Portishead police HQ.  It seems they have been up to their devious tricks for quite a long time, and repeatedly the names of the same offenders HR people keep cropping up).

Why stop there? They no doubt thought. Why not have another go at the full decision itself !  Could this be the reason why no person who saw Johnson on the week in mid November 2014 has had a decision.  Has Bulpitt and Johnson realised that not only are they skating on thin ice but in fact they have slipped into the depths of pure illegality, both by breaching the Regulations but also the data protection act?  A 18 month time period does not strike of a public authority with the confidence to defend a decision.

So in mid October 2015 it is the same old story.  A&S thinks it can carry on regardless by continued procrastination, it shows no remorse, it hides behind a cloud of obfuscation and thinks no one is noticing that they have been ruining peoples lives for 18 months.

The baffling thing is that they somehow still believe if they send letters to IODs so far unaffected, that they will happily trot along with their plans without a second thought.

Even if A&S wakes up to what it has done, the damage to its reputation is already insurmountable. What IOD will now place themselves helplessly in the jaws of such a monster?

Tell your version of the truth to whomever will listen A&S, no one will believe you any more.