Hold it. You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see the three bears eat the three little pigs, and then the bears join up with the big bad wolf and eat
Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hoodall who attend NAMF!
Tell me a story like that, OK? ― Bill Watterson,
A question … what does ‘neither too little, nor too much’ actually mean?
The term derives from the fairytale about a little girl named Goldilocks and her encounter with three bears. The nightmarish modern versions recount a Director of HR who, every 2 years, breaks and enters a home and keeps sampling the possessions of the medically retired mother bear with an injury award, the father and the child, choosing, for example, an injury award which is not too low, not too high, but just right.
The term has now been adopted into a phenomenon often referred to as the Goldilocks principle and the Goldilocks effect. Often Directors of HR put the term into their garbled ‘guidance’ when they write to the poor mother mentioned above.
Julian Kern, one such Director of Resources (and Chief Finance Officer!), keeps using it in his letters and his minions keep typing it out in their ‘guidance’.
The purpose of a review is to ensure that the pensioner is receiving the correct injury pension, neither too little nor too much
Another question … what has the Goldilocks principle got to do with reviews of injury awards?
Answer … absolutely nothing.
A review can only look to see if there has been any substantial alteration…has the degree of disablement caused by the IOD injury substantially worsened or substantially improved since the previous review or retirement, whatever was last. If there is substantial change, your pension will be altered accordingly. Up or down.
- If the award was too little and there has been no change, then it stays the same.
- If the award was just right and there has been no change, then it stays the same.
- If the award was too much and there has been no change, then it stays the same.
Or in words our Director of HR might understand; if mummy bear’s porridge was too hot before and it is still too hot now, you can’t add cold milk to make it ‘just right’. If daddy bear’s porridge was too cold before and it is still too cold now, you can’t heat it in the microwave to make it ‘just right’.
Laws Appeal, paragraph 19
It is not open to the SMP/Board to reduce a pension on a Regulation 37(1) review by virtue of a conclusion that the clinical basis of an earlier assessment was wrong. Equally, of course, they may not increase a pension by reference to such a conclusion
The level of the award is a given. It is decided once, when the award is originally granted, and there is no legal way for a police pension authority to adjust an award up or down because it is seen by an ignorant functionary to be, ‘too little or too much’. Quite the opposite – the result of all reviews is to provide a high level of certainty in the assessment of police injury pensions and not to waver as the wind blows.
What can’t be done in a review is any calculation to determine the current degree of disablement to enable the SMP, or more often than not a HR minion, to compare this figure with that of the last decision.
Simpson, Paragraph 28
…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
Simpson, Paragraph 31
The Court of Appeal in Laws expressly approved the decision in Turner. Rejecting the submission made by Mr Pitt-Payne for the police authority to the effect that the starting point for the Board or the SMP is to consider the pensioner’s current degree of disablement and compare it with the previous assessment
So a calculation of any sort is unlawful. If at a review the SMP pulls 3 jobs out of their rear end then they have contravened Simpson, Laws and the Regulations.
In both the Turner and Laws cases, it was accepted that the degree of a pensioner’s disablement could alter by virtue of his earning capacity improving either by some improvement in his medical condition or because a new job had become available, which the pensioner would be able to undertake, which was not available at the time of the last final decision.
Is it unlawful to use a review to perform any calculation to use as a comparison tool? Does Ursus Horribilis defecate in a deciduous forest biome?
So the Goldilocks principle is pure bear excrement. The only questions the SMP can answer are:
- Has there been any change in the disabling condition since the last review or decision?
- Are there now jobs available to which could be undertaken, but which had not previously been available?