Snakes, no Ladders

The only way is up down, baby
For you and me now
The only way is up down, baby
For you and me
Read more: Yazz – The Only Way Is Up Lyrics | MetroLyrics

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and first published in Colliers Magazine on May 27, 1922.  The film version stared Brad Pitt but wasn’t as good.

Fitzgerald wrote a comic farce, which the film turned into a forlorn elegy. The film’s approach makes Benjamin the size of a baby at birth. Fitzgerald sardonically but consistently goes the other way: The child is born as an old man, and grows smaller and shorter until he is finally a bottle-fed baby.  He starts as infirm and dilapidated and becomes more healthier and youthful as he ‘ages’.

And? … you say, whether Benjamin started as a baby-sized old man or old man sized newborn is moot as both versions of Benjamin Button’s story is a fantasy – and what’s your point anyway? I hear you ask.  

A tragic story in the style of the great Fitzgerald could be written in the modern day as the telling of the story of the disabled former officer, injured on duty through no fault of his or her own, who as they age, they can only get better. In other words their degree of disablement can never, ever deteriorate by means of a substantial alteration and their degree of disablement never spirals upwards.

Is this still fiction?  No.  It’s happening in Merseyside.

No single person on a band one in Merseyside was reviewed in 2015.  Of the 502 reviewed they were all band two or higher, of these 25 were reduced and 477 unaltered.  But this force has 880 IODs, so what happened to the remainder?  The stark answer is that the 378 that were left alone and not reviewed were all band ones – just like Fitzgerald’s Benjamin Button, Merseyside has taken the view that they can only become healthier as time progresses.

Hang on though.  Is there more devious and nefarious  plotting going on here.  Could it actually be that Merseyside hasn’t reviewed band ones because this opens them up to the possibility of increasing the awards of those they review?  Enough of the grimly mocking  tone.  This is real and is exactly what has happened.

The Merseyside review process has deliberately ignored the tranche of IODs that can only have two responses if ever reviewed – increased, or kept the same.  This is not down to chance – this is overt maladministration in its dirty and unambiguous obloquy .  The blue in the below chart shows the band ones that were not reviewed against those higher bands that were.


As mentioned before on these pages, we have data from most other forces concerning recent reviews and, overall, nearly 7% resulted in an increased injury pension payment – so, of the 502 reviewed, we should have seen approximately 35 people increased in 2015.   Not only are Merseyside deliberately failing to review those band ones whose degree of the pensioner’s disablement can alter only by virtue of his or hers earning capacity deteriorating, of those that they did review not one person was increased.  The probability of no person out of 502 being increased when 35 should be expected to be increased is 0.0000000049 (chi-square test). In context, the probability of winning the National Lottery is  0.0000000222.

In other words there is no fluke here,  no bizarre influence of chance that saw not a single increase in banding – it was deliberate.  As deliberate as ignoring all those who are band one.  Merseyside has acted totally contrary to the purpose of the Regulations and are unlawfully using reviews as a cost saving device.

If mass reviews could ever be fair then there is a prerequisite that it is more likely for someone to be increased as there is for someone to be reduced.  After all, time is by it’s nature degenerative – only Benjamin Button enjoys the opposite. It is a travesty that band ones are likely to remain trapped in the lower realms of percentages, unable to become upwardly mobile because they are deliberately ignored purely as a review of them will increase the forces injury award commitment and, in the absence of any knowledge that they can ask to be reviewed, likely to continue to struggle with an award too low in relation to their lost capacity to earn.

Too many snakes and no ladders.  For every snake, there should be a ladder; for every ladder, a snake.  But not in Merseyside – here there is one snake: the HR department.  And this creature is greased with slime.  Once down, there is no way back up.   This is not the purpose of the Regulations.  Merseyside are blatantly abusing their position as the administrator of the injury award system and should be held to account.

Snakes, no Ladders

3 thoughts on “Snakes, no Ladders

  • 2016-04-03 at 12:35 pm

    There should be criminal prosecutions for this. This has to be contrary to the Disability Discrimination Act as they are deliberately targeting those who have a higher level of disability purely for the purpose of reducing awards. They are aware that those on the lower bands cannot be reduced any further.

    Perhaps if those ‘clever’ HR types were aware that they may end up in the dock for their actions, they would think twice about their discriminatory behaviour.

  • 2016-04-02 at 12:45 pm

    I think that a Band one IOD pensioner should be reviewed or at least asked if they need to be reviewed. It would be a more moral way of dealing with their ‘reviews’. Yes, they can only have two outcomes, up or stay the same, but even staying in Band 1 doesn’t mean that their disability has NOT been altered. I was on Band 1 for over 20 years and never reviewed. At my FIRST review, My assessment was reduced from 25% to 15.25%. Then, following a PMAB hearing, I was assessed at 88% and placed into Band 4.

  • 2016-04-02 at 12:42 pm

    And this is what our Fed reps should be fighting. All those subs for an appalling service. The law regards the fed needs changing and staffed by civilians who are not in hock to a corrupt organisation.

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