Month: June 2017

More on Case Law: A Brief History …

More on Case Law: A Brief History …

The rules and principles of case law have never been treated as final truths, but as working hypotheses, continually retested in those great laboratories of the law, the courts of justice. Every new case is an experiment; and if the accepted rule which seems applicable yields a result which is felt to be unjust, the rule is reconsidered. It may not be modified at once, for the attempt to do absolute justice in every single case would make the development and maintenance of general rules impossible; but if a rule continues to work injustice, it will eventually be reformulated ~ THE NATURE OF THE JUDICIAL PROCESS BY BENJAMIN N. CARDOZO, LL.D. (1921)

Staffordshire police have employed an Andrew Colley, a HR minion formerly of West Mercia, to perform the role of modern-day witchfinder general of this force’s mass review programme without delegated authority nor even a smidgen of scant knowledge of what he is doing.

The original 17th century witchfinder, Matthew Hopkins, actually claimed to hold the office of Witchfinder General, although that title was never bestowed by Parliament. Andrew Colley, however, deserves the dishonoury title of HR reviews minion-in-chief. Hopkins, after spending his short career of just three years hanging the innocent, met his own demise. The exact way of his end remains a mystery. One account, by William Andrews a 19th Century writer on Essex folklore, argues that Hopkins was accused of being a witch himself. Other sources say he passed away peacefully from consumption.

Only time will tell how history will record what happens to Colley – if anyone can be bothered to record his deeds. Chances are that he will play out an Aesop-like moral tale where victimising the vulnerable, abusing the law and usurping the powers of others, leads to some fitting just deserts.

It is amazing how easily some people employed by police forces fall into the trap of ignorance and fail to read about how the law has evolved over the years in respect of police pension maladministration. As evidence of this, you need only listen to the raving lunacy of NWEF (formerly the national attendance management forum).

When considering maladministration of the police injury benefit regulations it would be hard to find examples of other areas of public sector law which have given rise to so many judicial reviews.

We already publish a live link to the British and Irish Legal Information Institute:

Caselaw Only

All Police Injury Award Case Law – live

Now we have gone a step further and provide our readers with a short summary of each judgement.   We always recommend to read the judgement in full, as a summary rarely does it justice.  You can then play “spot the deliberate mistakes” made by SMPs, police pension authorities, HR administrators and of course those by frequent attender in the High Court, Northumbria police’s solicitor Nicholas Wirz.

We’ve made this point before – it always shocks us when we see the frequency Northumbria finds itself in the High Court. But it is even more shocking to see the widespread ignorance displayed by police injury benefit scheme managers, and to note just how far they are prepared to go to try to justify and defend their maladministration.

Enjoy!

Fisher v Northumbria It will not be permissible for Chief Constables to put forward hypothetical comparators, which bear no relation to the individual circumstances by, for example, referring merely to national wage averages. There must be consideration of the available evidence of what the uninjured officer’s earning capacity was in fact likely to be.  The Fisher decision does not obligate an SMP or PMAB to use the officer’s police earnings prior to injury in all cases, it merely stresses that they must form part of the consideration or act as a starting point. If there are good reasons in a particular case for a departure from that level of earnings it is permissible, but it must be objectively justified on the facts of the particular case and on the evidence available. 2017
Sharp v West Yorkshire Mr Sharp was denied an ill health pension despite the evidence that the stresses of work would “cause a recurrence of his depressive disorder”. That decision was quashed by the High Court.  This gives guidance on the nature of work related stress and the entitlement of those with mental illnesses which have intermittent symptoms to an ill health pension. 2016
Sidwell v  Derbyshire This particular case the claimant was suffering from a psychological condition which on the face of it was not permanently disabling.  The definition of permanent disablement and the three distinct elements which need to be proved under Regulation A12. Although the first is a question of fact, the second and third are a mix of both factual and expert evidence. Whilst  expressing some criticism of the PMAB’s specialist member’s ‘demolition’ of the claimant’s expert evidence, the PMAB had acted within its legitimate remit in preferring its specialist member’s opinion, its reliance not being so contrary to the weight of the evidence as to invalidate its conclusion 2015
Scardfield V Hampshire This case was primarily concerned with the availability of treatment that had not been tried when assessing permanent disablement.  The judge found the Board had erred in law in its interpretation of the words “permanently disabled”.  But that that would have come to the same conclusion in denying the award even had they got this right.  The judge stated  that “permanent” in relation to the Regulations does not mean for life; it means until the date of retirement. Scardfield lost the judicial review on as he had barely scratched the surface of the treatments available 2013
Commissioner of Police v PMAB (Walther 2) After Walther 1, Walther was again refused an injury award by a SMP. He appealed to a PMAB which considered that
the concepts of acceleration and aggravation were not helpful and concluded that the injury on duty had substantially contributed to the permanent disablement. The Met challenged the PMAB at judicial view. The Judge agreed with the PMAB that an approach based on aggravation or acceleration and the extent of any acceleration was not appropriate, because the relevant time for assessing causation of disablement was the time the question was referred to the SMP. Thus, even if a duty injury had caused only an acceleration of symptoms of 18 months to 2 years, if at the time the question was being considered by the SMP, the disablement was the result of the injury, then the officer would be entitled to an award
2013
Simpson v Northumbria A further judicial review hearing, before His Honour Justice Supperstone at Leeds High Court in February 2012 held that part of Home Office circular 46/2004, concerning “Review of Injury Pensions once Officers reach 65”, and paragraph 20 of section 5 of the Home Office ‘Guidance on Medical Appeals under the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006’ are inconsistent with the Police (Injury Benefits) Regulations 2006 and therefore unlawful. 2012
Crudace v Northumbria Police Authority In Crudace the officer’s degree of disablement had been reduced to 0% on a regulation 37 review on the sole ground that he had reached state pension age and accordinglyhome guidance asserted his uninjured earning capacity would ordinarily be expected to be nil.  The officer had instituted an appeal, but had abandoned it when told by the force solicitor that his case lacked merit and that he was on risk as to costs. Only much later did he request a reconsideration of the decision under reg.32(2).In Crudace the judge if necessary would have quashed the decision not to agree to a reconsideration on the ground that it had been made by an HR manager and there was no evidence that what was then the Police Authority’s power had been delegated to her. The Police Pensions Regulations 2015 permit, without express limitation, delegation of the functions of the PPA, and it is important to ensure that any decision-maker acts with appropriate statutory authority. 2012
Haworth v Northumbria In Haworth it was said that the SMP, and on appeal the PMAB, had fallen into the error noted above of reconsidering causation on a reg.37 review.  In Crudace and Haworth it was held that where a request for reconsideration is made under regulation 32(2) the PPA is under a public law duty to consider the request in the light of the statutory purposes of the provision. Delay, even inordinate delay, since the original decision was made is not in itself a sufficient reason for refusing to consent to a reconsideration without regard to the underlying merits of the challenge.  Reg.32(2) is “in part a mechanism (and indeed an important mechanism) to correct mistakes either as to fact or as to law which have or may have resulted in an officer being paid less than his full entitlement under the regulations, which cannot otherwise be put right”. In other words a reconsideration under reg.32(2) may take place when the time for an appeal or a judicial review has long passed. 2012
Williams v Merseyside Police Authority Performing his front-line policing role without training, exacerbated by with tutoring a probationer, which had caused his symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and deep depression. Simply to decide that Mr Williams’ illness was not caused by proven lack of training, lack of support, bullying or harassment did not decide the question which the Board had to decide. The PMAB did not consider the totality of the evidence before it. The PMAB went on to conclude that it was not related to proven lack of training, lack of support, bullying or harassment. It did not, however, reach any decision as to what workplace exposures it was related to. Had it done so if may well find that workplace exposures (lack of support, bullying, victimisation) rationally has to be viewed as substantial contributors to the psychiatric illness and therefore can be suffered in the execution of duty. 2011
Commissioner of Police v Laws Reg.37 reviews do not provide a mechanism for the correction of errors in the original decision. The Board should have concentrated on whether there had been any “substantial alteration” in the degree of her disability since that had last been reviewed in 2005.  The Court of Appeal accepted that Ms Laws’ law degree can be taken into account in subsequent reviews of her pension rights, the judge said its impact on her pension was “likely to be modest” as unless it has concrete results in terms of actual job prospects (and the degree is not, of course, a professional qualification) its effect on her earning capacity was largely speculative. 2010
Walther v PMAB & Met (Walther 1) A short acceleration of the onset of a permanent disability is unlikely to be held to be a “substantial” contribution to that disability. Acceleration to any degree is some contribution, but not likely to be regarded as substantial. The opposite applies,. A significant acceleration – taking the extreme case, an acceleration of a decade or more – clearly would be a significant contribution to a permanent disability. Given this significance it was concluded that it was appropriate to consider aggravation, acceleration and the extent of any acceleration in determining entitlement to an award 2010
Doubtfire & Williams v West Mercia Police Authority & Merseyside This case stops the absurdity of a SMP, on deciding the injury award entitlement, saying the duty injury was not permanently disabling – even when this question was answered to the positive for medical retirement. The test concerns the disablement and not the specifics of the diagnosis 2010
Merseyside v Police Medical Appeal Board & Ors (Hudson & McGinty) Two police officers had been granted injury awards on the basis that they had been injured in the execution of their duty. The chief constable denied this and appealed to judicial review. Merseyside lost. McGinty by taking them his dogs exercise on his annual leave he was carrying out the same function as he would have on an ordinary duty day and for the same purposes. What he was doing was an integral part of his functions as a dog handler. He was acting in the execution of his duty.
Hudson suffered suffered numerous drip, drip of a number of nondisciplinary related events over a period of time which led to the depressive illness. An injury caused by having to work without support an officer is entitled to expect can be regarded as an injury received in the execution of duty. That would also be the more so if there was deliberate victimisation of an officer by superiors.
2009
Laws v PMAB [2009 The pensioner’s degree of disablement had been reduced from 85% to 25% on a review. The SMP had undertaken an entirely new assessment of the range of work which the
pensioner was able to perform, and it had been taken into account that she had recently obtained a law degree. There had been no material change in the extent of her symptoms. scope of the review was to determine whether there had been a substantial alteration in the degree of disablement due to the injury on duty since the preceding review, and not to conduct a wholly fresh assessment
2009
Turner v. PMAB (Met) Reaffirmed Pollard. An appeal against a decision by the SMP on a reg.37 review.
That the PMAB had impermissibly reduced the pensioner’s degree of disablement on the ground that only 50% of his hearing loss had been caused by injuries at work. The PMAB was wrong to re open the 2001 causation decision, when they unlawfully concluded that Mr Turner’s injury on duty accounted for only 50% of his overall disability, and not 100% as decided in 2001
2009
Pollard v Police Medical Appeal Board (West Yorkshire)

 

Causation can not be revisited in a Regulation 37 review as the medical authority used (SMP or PMAB) cannot change findings of SMP on review once IOD established. The PMAB in purporting to re-open the issue of the causal
link between the duty injury and the disablement the decision-makers had gone outside their powers under regulation 37, which were to re-consider only the degree of
disablement.
2009
Corkindale v West Yorkshire The judge said he had to decide whether Pc Corkindale was permanently disabled within the meaning of the 1997 Police Pension Regulations and therefore entitled to an “ill-health award” under the pension scheme.
A doctor initially decided against her.When she appealed, the Police Medical Appeal Board ruled she could not be said to be permanently disabled because although she could not carry out ordinary duties with West Yorkshire Police, she was fit for service with another force which did not use CS gas. But Mr Justice Underhill overruled the board’s decision. The judge said CS gas was routinely employed in “the great majority of police forces” and therefore its use “plainly forms part of the ordinary duties of an officer in the police service”.
2006
R (Edwards) v Police Medical Board The injury had not been sustained because of being at work, but because of the impact of the notification of transfer. That was received when he was at a conference which he was required to attend, but he attended as a police officer, not in the execution of duty 2005
Northumbria v Clementson & Doyle Northumbria argued the former officers’ problems did not amount to a permanent disability as doctors had only diagnosed a vulnerability and not a current medical condition. At the High Court, Mr Justice Bennet upheld the challenge and overturned the permanent disability certificates issued to the ex-officers as neither had, at the time, a definitive diagnosis under the required medical definitions (WHO ICD10 codes) 2005
McGinley v Schilling Whether a medical referee determining an appeal under Reg H2 Police Pensions Regulations 1987 decides the appeal at the date of the appeal, taking into account up-to-date evidence, or whether he is confined to reviewing the material that was before the selected medical practitioner that earning capacity and degree of disablement are to be determined at the date of the PMAB hearing. The latter was found. The appeal was a re hearing and not simply a review of the contested decision 2005
Merseyside Police v Gidlow The psychological harm suffered by a police officer as a result of a grievance procedure brought against him was not an injury received in the execution of his duty within the meaning of the Police Pensions 2004
R (on the application of Sussex Police Authority) v Cooling A stress-related psychiatric condition developed while an officer was suspended from duty could not be regarded as an injury received in the execution of duty. While suspended the officer could not be on duty 2004
Clinch v Dorset Police The claimant appealed refusal of his application for a police pension following an injury suffered, he claimed had occurred on police duty. He claimed to have suffered depression since he failed to be promoted. He said that they had wrongfully refused to refer his application for medical assessment. The judge ruled that the disabling psychiatric injury deriving from failure to achieve promotion to other duties does not meet the statutory test 2003
South Wales Police Authority v Morgan A case of a police officer’s depression being caused by (1) overwork  exacerbated by stress and anxiety from an investigation into an (2)  injury suffered by his three year old foster son, and (3) financial difficulties experienced during sickness absence and the resultant reduction in pay. In relation to the second and third of those, it was found could not have been injuries received in the execution of duty. On the other hand, the first – stress and depression caused by overwork – gave rise to different considerations and if it were a substantial cause of disablement the disablement could be an injury received in the execution of duty. 2003
South Wales Police Authority v Medical Referee (Dr David Anton) (Crocker) The courts had found that the task in assessing earning capacity was to determine what the person was capable of doing and thus capable of earning.
It was not a question of whether an employer would actually pay that person to do what he or she was capable of. Also Before apportionment can arise, each factor must separately have caused some degree of loss of earning capacity on its own
2003
Jennings v Humberside Police In Jennings the test was whether the injury sustained had caused or substantially contributed to the disablement. A police officer, whose injuries sustained in a road accident while he was on duty had brought forward the symptoms of a pre-existing condition, was not permanently disabled as a result of those injuries for the purposes of the Police Pensions Regulations, and therefore was not entitled to an injury award 2002
Commissioner of Police v Stunt However elastic the notion of “execution of duty” could be, it did not encompass stress-related illness through exposure to disciplinary proceedings. Accordingly, an award was not payable to an officer disabled through his reaction to disciplinary proceedings. 2001
Stewart v Sussex Police Within the meaning of the Police Pension Regulations 1987, a police officer’s “ordinary duties” included operational duties. 2000
Yates v Merseyside Police Authority Police Pension Authority must refer the questions of the Regulations to a medical authority (SMP) unless the claim is “obviously spurious or vexatious”. 1999
R v Kellam ex parte South Wales Police Authority Officer contending that medical injuries were the result of harassment at work after his wife made a complaint about the chief constable – Whether causal connection between injury and service as police officer. Police officers whose depressive illness developed from the accumulated stresses of work qualified for an award. 1999
Dorset ex parte Vaughn The decision of the Selected Medical Practitioner is final
upon the Police Authority unless there has been fraud by the officer. In the absence of fraud the only remedy to challenge the certificate is through a Judicial Review, only if the Police Authority can establish that the SMP misunderstood the law.
1994

Update: Fisher Revisited

Update: Fisher Revisited

Oh dear.  Nicholas Wirz, Northumbria’s solicitor, isn’t getting any love from his fellow legal practitioners.  Indeed they seem to totally contradict Wirz’s own interpretation of the Fisher judicial review, the one that he lost, and at the same time these real legal eagles agree with our own explanation.

Let us remind you what we said:

The Fisher Judgement & Uninjured Earning Capacity

And here is what the unprofessional lawyer Wirz told NWEF delegates in March 2017:

Ground 1 of the Fisher judgement related to comparator and the use of Police Salary, the high court judge quashed the PMAB determination for the reasons that the comparison between injured and uninjured earnings was not analysed sufficiently and there was no rationale as to why police officer salary was not used.
Clarification is provided by this judgement that police officer salary would be the correct comparator where the former officer has only one qualifying injury and is otherwise healthy

Sarah Simcock writes in UK Police Law Blog, a blog of the Serjeant’s Inn barrister Chambers, that it isn’t about being otherwise healthy as Wirz told the NWEF conference, and it clearly isn’t about always using the police salary as the uninjured comparator – like we say, someone could have been underemployed as a police officer and their uninjured earning capacity can be a lot higher.  We used an example of a maxillofacial surgeon.

And if you read all of what Sarah and her fellow professionals of barristers and lawyers actual think … it’s fair to say you will decide that our explanation is closer to the truth.

The Fisher decision does not obligate an SMP or PMAB to use the officer’s police earnings prior to injury in all cases, it merely stresses that they must form part of the consideration or act as a starting point. If there are good reasons in a particular case for a departure from that level of earnings it is permissible, but it must be objectively justified on the facts of the particular case and on the evidence available.

What is crucial is that there must be sufficient reasons provided to justify a decision in relation to the level of a particular officer’s uninjured earning capacity.

 

Assessment of uninjured earning capacity in relation to a police injury pension

The recent decision of the High Court upon an application for judicial review of a Police Medical Appeals Board (‘PMAB’) decision in the case of R (Fisher) v (1) Chief Constable of Northumbria (2) PMAB [2017] EWHC 455 (Admin) highlights the pitfalls in the assessment of a former officer’s uninjured earning capacity when reviewing the level of an injury pension under regulation 37 of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006.

We think people should stop listening to Nicholas Wirz.  Northumbria could save millions by paying him to stay at home in a locked broom cupboard.

 

Update: A&S refuse to come clean with the Bristol Post

Update:  A&S refuse to come clean with the Bristol Post

Yesterday the Bristol Post rightly criticised Avon & Somerset Constabulary for wasting public funds and, even more tellingly, reported that the constabulary didn’t come clean with the paper by refusing to inform them of the total expenditure.  In an feeble attempt to cover their tracks freedom of information requests on this topic are now (unlawfully) banned by this police force.

Police abandon ‘three years of hell’ pension reviews for injured officers

Police officers injured in the line of duty do not have to fear their pensions being reduced after Avon and Somerset Police U-turned on a decision to review them. In a three-year ordeal, officers receiving the Injured on Duty Pensions were told their payouts would be reviewed, but that decision has now been abandoned by the force.

It just so happens that previous freedom of information requests give a running commentary.

We retweeted the Post that over £146,000 has been paid to one doctor – the selected medical practitioner, Dr Philip Johnson.  This figure does not include the money spent on legal advice and barristers defending pension ombudsman complaints or appeal boards.

Our blogs have been a constant update of the money flow.  In November 2015, just over  year into the mass review program, £46k was sent to Johnson’s business, Sarum Occupational Services.

For the Love of Money

By November 2016 the figure was above £120,000

Money Trail

Now its over £146,000…

 

 

 

Chief Morgan’s Conundrum

Chief Morgan’s Conundrum

“A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.”
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Gareth Morgan, the newly appointed Chief Constable of Staffordshire, who takes up his post on the 19th June, has a problem.

During his tenure as Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police he will have become well aware that maladministration of police injury pensions leads inevitably to increased costs, litigation and disaffection amongst serving officers. Gareth witnessed how attempts to subvert, twist, or bypass the Regulations governing injury pensions achieved nothing more than the transfer of large amounts of ratepayers’ money into the pockets of a certain Dr Phillip Johnson.

This less than eminent medical practitioner, was paid to carry out reviews on the degree of disablement of former officers who are in receipt of injury pensions. In over three years and forty-six billed days he managed only six for which he was paid £146,000 Avon and Somerset Police Pension Authority (PPA) , which is none other than the single personage of the current Chief Constable, has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn and has announced that the planned mass review programme is abandoned.

The force has no will to attempt any further reviews. So, when Gareth becomes the PPA in Staffordshire, what will he make of that force’s plans to hold a similar unlawful programme of mass reviews? He can’t claim he is not very well aware of the issues, for in November 2013, the College of Policing started a scoping review of forces’ management of Police Medical Appeal Boards (PMAB). Gareth agreed to act as the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the exercise. Tellingly it was then Chief Constable Mike Cunningham of Staffordshire Police, in his capacity as the Workforce Development Business Area Lead, who for reasons unknown, requested this commission.

The College of Policing soon increased the scope of the review from the original issue of PMABs to the management of police officer ill health retirements and injury on duty assessments, as these areas form the basis of any appeal to a PMAB. And the conclusions Morgan’s College-backed enquiry came to? Given pride of place was the startling figure that appeals against the mistakes made by HR managers and SMPs had cost forces some £4.3 million pounds since 2008. The enquiry revealed that the ill health retirement process is in chaos, with poorly trained personnel performing functions they don’t understand, regularly failing police officers.

It is recognised that these processes are complex and expensive to the force and potentially led to a disservice of officers who have been injured in the line of duty.

Morgan also accepts there have been a number of occasions in recent years when the established practice of police forces, supported by the Home Office, in interpreting the meaning of the 2006 Regulations, has been found to be inconsistent with the true wording of the Regulations!

6 At the time of writing, very few forces are currently engaged in performing
reviews of previous IoD decisions, many having not done so since the Home
Office correspondence in 10 March 2010 following critical case law. The issues
relating to the appropriateness of conducting reviews notwithstanding, the
decision not to review has resulted in a significant degradation of the skill level of those staff members who had previous experience of this work. Many of whom, as a result of ongoing financial cuts to relevant departments, are no longer working for the police service.

The ‘Home Office correspondence’ referred to was a letter from the HO advising that all forces cease reviews, pending a seminal judicial review upcoming in the Administrative Court. That case concerned a former Met officer, Belinda Laws. She won her case. The reviews then being conducted in some forces were unlawful as they were based on the infamous guidance issued by the Home Office in Annex C to its circular 46/2004.

The Home Office later suffered a hammer blow when it had to concede the guidance was unlawful and withdrew it. The Home Office gave a clear indication in a later judicial review case that it was unlikely to want to issue any revised guidance, or indeed, any further guidance whatever concerning injury awards and ill health retirement processes.

Peter Spreadbury, then Head of the Police Pensions and Retirement Policy Section within the Home Office gave a witness statement in the case of Simpson held at Leeds High Court in February 2012. He stated,

‘Should it appear that repeated legal challenges and uncertainty are likely to continue in this area, one possible option is the withdrawal of the relevant guidance and the abandonment of any attempt to give central guidance on the topic.’

Well, legal challenges have continued apace, and uncertainty within HR departments has increased, and the Home Office has withdraw its guidance, and it remains sensibly silent on all matters concerning injury pensions. The ball is firmly in the court of each PPA. They can expect no overt help from the Home Office, though we know that august Department of State sends a representative to meetings of the National Welfare and Engagement Forum. We believe this is more to keep an eye on the rampant idiocy which is displayed there than to try to advise more unlawful attempts to subvert the Regulations.

It is reasonable to assume then that Gareth Morgan is more acquainted than most Chief Officers with the institutional failures of HR departments to properly administer the police injury benefit Regulations.

Gareth also knows first hand of the most vile abuse foisted on vulnerable disabled officers, for it was in Avon and Somerset that the now deceased Dr Reginald Bunting was allowed free rein to practice his sexual perversions on officers and former officers who he was called upon to examine.

Speaking about Operation Hay which investigated the historical abuse he went on record as saying:

“Anyone requiring a police medical examination held on police premises by a police doctor should have had an expectation of being safe. It is clear that the conduct of some of these medical examinations fell well below this standard.~Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan

Wishful thinking on Gareth’s part, for the day after Avon & Somerset decided enough was enough in their abuse of those injured on duty, the Bristol Post reported that more victims have come forward:

Investigation into pervert doctor continue as more victims come forward

The police investigation into a pervert Bristol doctor is being continued as more potential victims have come forward. Dr Reginald Bunting was said to have been ‘inappropriate’ towards 52 police recruits and staff while he worked for Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Investigations into the doctor’s behaviour and complaints made about him ended this year after a two-year probe.

So, Gareth Morgan’s problem as he takes up his new post is this: he now has a choice to make. Does his follow the lead of his former boss in Avon and Somerset, Chief Constable Andy Marsh and halt the reviews, or does he continue to zealously pursue Staffordshire’s review program as if nothing has happened?

Will we see Morgan fall back on repeating the tired and empty mantra in respect of reviews where various administrators have falsely claimed the Regulations say they “shall“ conduct reviews, or that they are “obliged to review“ as they have “a positive duty” to review? Will Morgan chose to ignore the looming disaster that Staffordshire’s proposed mass review programme will bring? Will he chose to ignore all the evidence which proves most, if not all, forces are utterly incapable of administering police injury pensions within the law?

To add to his problem he has to take ownership of the ill-judged and illegal Staffordshire 2008 “agreement“ which favoured certain IOD pensioners at the expense of others. He will have a tangled mess to attempt unravelling now that Staffordshire’s IOD pensioners have realised the agreement was not worth the paper it was written on. Staffordshire will have to deal with that before it could even contemplate holding any reviews – unless of course Gareth has the stomach for a costly round of appeals and trips to the Administrative Court.

We hope that new Chief Constable Gareth Morgan will look back on his time with Avon and Somerset and reflect on the sour sans-apology June 12th letter to all IOD pensioners from Julian Kern on behalf of Avon & Somerset Police Pension Authority cancelling what he called the “automatic reviews“.

Of course the term “automatic review” is an euphemism for holding reviews only for the purpose of discovering whether there has been substantial alteration in degree of disablement, without any pre-consideration as to whether the degree of the pensioners disablement has altered. This, as regular readers of these blogs will know, is not a lawful process. A review held without first deciding there has been a suitable interval since the previous decision on degree of disablement is unlawful. A review held without any individual consideration of individual circumstances is unlawful. A review held with a view to saving money is unlawful.

The Regulations prohibit anything which might be called an ‘automatic review’. The fact that Kern used this phrase, in what we sincerely hope will be the last letter he is allowed to pen for Avon and Somerset Police Pension Authority, sums up all we need to know about the sheer incompetence of the man. He knows nothing about the Regulations.

We will touch in later blogs about Kern’s reference to suspension of reviews pending future legislation or Home Office guidance but suffice to say IODPA is confident there will be no retrospective legislation, nor will the Home Office ever offer any more central guidance.

Avon and Somerset’s climb-down suspension of all reviews sends a strong signal to Staffordshire, and the other few forces which are still mistakenly in thrall to the idea that reviews can save them money. It also tells anyone who cares to listen that the hugely ignorant and dangerous guidance issued by Nicholas Wirz via the the National Wellbeing and Engagement Forum is a poisoned chalice.

IODPA wishes Mr Morgan well in his new role in Staffordshire. We hope that once he is his own boss, free of the shackles of being merely the number two he was in Avon and Somerset, that he will make some sensible decisions and not only halt the proposed mass review programme, but set about clearing up the historic mess that is the administration of police injury pensions in that area.

Newsflash: Avon & Somerset Stops Reviews

Newsflash:  Avon & Somerset Stops Reviews

All injury on duty pensioners in Avon & Somerset have today received a letter from the, apparently outgoing, director of resources Julian Kern.  The letter says:

After careful consideration, the Avon and Somerset Police Pension Authority has decided not to progress with their automatic review process of injury on duty awards.

This is consistent with a number of other forces and we will not recommence these reviews until such time as there is a change in legislation and guidance from the Home Office.

The Police Pension Authority will however continue to support and facilitate any reviews requested by a pensioner (in accordance with the relevant statutory framework) to enable injury on duty awards to be adjusted to reflect any change to the degree of disablement, or relevant earnings capacity in accordance with regulations.

We understand that your review may already be in progress but have decided to stop these with immediate effect unless you advise us that you wish the review to continue. If this is the case you can contact us via email using the following email address: IODReviews@avonandsomerset.police.uk .
Yours sincerely
Julian Kern
CFO and Director of Resources

For three long years IODPA as been shouting about the illegality of the process conducted by this force as well Nottinghamshire, Merseyside, Northumbria and more recently Staffordshire.  It seems A&S have finally worked out that they could never be successful in buying a new vehicle fleet to the expense of those injured on duty and at last it has dawned on them that their legal costs would just keep on mounting.

Note that A&S do not admit having done anything wrong.

Gareth Morgan was the DCC of Avon & Somerset.  He has recently been appointed as the Chief Constable of Staffordshire.  We challenge Staffordshire to follow the lead of A&S and send out a similar letter.

We will continue to place pressure on all the above forces to make them comply with the Police Injury Benefit Regulations.

A and S stop review letter

 

Injury Awards: Why The Past Matters

Injury Awards: Why The Past Matters

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Confucius

There has been a massive reception to our recent post of John Giffard’s 2004 letter to the Home Office in which he wrote, without ambiguity, that ACPO wanted all injury awards stopped when IOD pensioners got to age 65.

‘ I suspect that my original intention was always to deal with people reaching 65 years of age and that remains the most important part. We continue to think that at that stage anybody inreceipt of an injury award should be automatically dropped to the lowest band or possibly even completely dropped.’

When he penned this letter Giffard was ACPO’s 1st Vice President and their spokesman on pension matters, having held this role since 2003. Had he read the Regulations, he would have known that an injury pension can not be stopped. It is payable for life.

The inference is though that Giffard knew that, but wished to disregard it. It is hard to find words to describe the utter corruption displayed should it be the case that Giffard, and ACPO, and the Home Office knew that injury pensions could not be stopped as proposed.

What do you call someone who is in authority but chooses to use their position to undermine a benefit scheme intended to be a vital component of the contract between police officers and their employers? It must be regarded as one of the most despicable acts of betrayal ever perpetrated on any body of loyal officers of the Crown.

Every problem disabled former officers have faced over the last decade or so have come about by the mismanagement and meddling of the Home Office, aided and abetted by a compliant ACPO. Every decision made in respect of degree of disablement, or grant of an injury award, since the time ACPO and the Home Office poisoned the well must be viewed as potentially flawed.

Even the national media reported the shift towards pure antagonism from ACPO viewing those injured and receiving injury pensions form heroes to a burden.  This Telegraph article is dated 2002 and mentions a quote from Giffard.

Police pension crisis looms

Already the number of former officers on pensions almost matches the 125,000 currently serving. As with the rest of the population, they are living longer. There is no separate, superannuated pension fund for the police, so the costs of retirements comes from money which could be spent on fighting crime.

There may be some who think the past is the past and should be left alone.  There is a popular adage in our society that goes something like this: Forget the past, don’t worry about the future, live in the present.

This position is untenable when considering how widely injury awards have been mismanaged. The past is vitally important, for the whole validity of each and every medical decision made by SMPs in regard to injury pensions is defined by the legitimacy of the last final decision.

Any review of degree of disablement, such as the mass reviews Staffordshire wants to conduct, depends on the fact that the previous decision on degree of disablement, whether this is the original decision or at an earlier review, was lawful. Once a decision is made, it is to be regarded, in law, as a final decision. It can be revisited or challenged by way of appeal, but if there has been no challenge then it must stand inviolable.

No matter that it may have been a bad decision. It has to be taken as a given, and as the starting point from which any future decisions on degree of disablement must proceed.

When mistakes have been made, whether in law or in fact, there is no way anyone in receipt of an injury pension can move forward until the past is fixed.  A review under Regulation 37 cannot fix the past; all it can do is only reaffirm the damage already done as the only test it can apply is “has there been substantial change” … a review can’t ask, “was the previous review lawful“.  Only a reconsideration under Regulation 32 has that power.

A medically retired former police officer in receipt of an injury pension should not have to face a Regulation 37(1) review when the last decision was corrupted, for as to do so would be accepting the unlawful determination of the SMP as a final decision.

And this brings us to Staffordshire police’s current eagerness to conduct a mass review program and the history behind it.

Giffard’s letter was the starting gun for around half of Staffordshire’s IOD pensioners to be reviewed from 2005 to 2008.  All these reviews were conducted mostly on paper without a medical authority making any decisions. We have yet to find out, but we believe it likely that the people selected were all on bands two, three and four. Those on band one were left alone, and we can guarantee the reason was because Staffs figured out that anyone on band one could not have their pension reduced, but there was a danger some of them might qualify for it to be increased.

Some pensioners at the time put up a valiant effort to inform  and educate Giffard and his HR Director,  Graham Liddiard, that the actions of Staffordshire Police was both morally corrupt and unlawful.  Pushed into a corner, Staffordshire saw they were found out and semi-capitulated by promising that they wouldn’t repeat their wrongdoing and the result was the shameful and unlawful agreement made by local NARPO, and local Federation with Staffs police.

This is a 2007 email from Graham Liddiard to Staffs NARPO.  Liddiard actually proclaims that the Regulations allow him to take injury awards away from those vulnerable and medically disabled.  Liddiard says:

The Home Office issued circular 46/2004 because it was clear that in many forces, including Staffordshire, the administration and payment of injury awards had slipped away from the regulatory position. The position adopted by Staffordshire is similar to and, in many cases, more  generous than that adopted by a number of forces outside the Met.  It is clear that Staffordshire, along with very many other forces, has not administered injury awards as  the regulations require.

Slipped away from the regulatory position‘ … in other words to justify the illegality he is claiming he has no choice – the Regulations are making him do it.  And he thinks two wrongs make a right; that by previously ‘not administering injury awards as the regulations require‘ it excuses him from now unlawfully administering the Regulations definitely not as required.

This one-sided statement makes it clear that Staffordshire Police, even in 2007, was still hellbent in implementing the Home Office guidance in it’s rawest form.  Cogent reason, National Earnings Averages … all made up.  No such things exists in the Regulations.

There are countless life-giving lessons those who administer police injury pensions in Staffordshire could have learnt from it’s past but the current police pension authority – none other than an office vested in the sole personage of the Chief Constable – has refused to learn and is rolling on in the present as if the unlawful actions it carried out never happened.

All those people reviewed over a decade ago and who were reduced or wrongly kept on the same banding when their medical condition may have deteriorated to the extent they should have been increased, but with no selected medical practitioner used by Staffordshire back then, the reviews were all patently unlawful.

The Telegraph article makes it clear that Giffard was a major force in helping the Home Office contravene the Regulations. We accept there was some pressure on budgets then, as now, but we firmly reject that as any sort of reason for the actions of ACPO and the Home Office. The duty place by the Regulations on various authorities is to actively promote the scope and purpose of the benefits scheme. There is no duty to try to find devious ways of subverting the Regulations, but this is exactly what ACPO and the Home Office did. They didn’t much like the law, so they conspired to find ways to get around it.

This is the letter from the Home Office to Giffard that explains the thought processes of ACPO and the civil servants.

Letter HO to Giffard Staffs

Neither Giffard, speaking for ACPO, nor the Home Office could change the legislation so they conspired to change how the medical decisions would be made. Colin Phillips, the Home Office’s Police Pensions and Ill Health Retirement Officer wrote :

I write to inform you of some proposed changes that we are considering making to the guidance to police medical appeal  boards … As you know, it is important to balance safeguarding the public purse and safeguarding the interests of pensioners and that the correct band is identified

We worry for the sanity of Colin Phillips if he thought a global reduction to the lowest degree of disablement is safeguarding the interests of the pensioner! The reason for all this schadenfreude is a simple one.

They knew they could not make revisions to the existing scheme, as a) there is a general legal rule prohibiting retrospective application and, b) there is a clause in the parent Act which says that no alteration in terms and conditions which result in a worsening of benefits can be applied to existing members of the scheme unless they are first asked if they wish to accept the changes. The parent act is the Police Pensions Act 1973. Section 2 of that Act of Parliament says:

(2) No provision shall be made by regulations under section 1 above by virtue of subsection (1) above unless any person who is placed in a worse position than he would have been in if the provision had not applied in relation to any pension which is being paid or may become payable to him is by the regulations given an opportunity to elect that the provision shall not so apply.

In other words no person in receipt of an injury on duty could ever be disadvantaged by a change of legislation.

The only ammunition the Home Office had was to shape and influence how the current Regulations would be applied by those under its control. The Home Office issued guidance to PMABs and to all forces which advised actions which were unlawful.

To the eternal shame of all Chief Constables at the time, not a single one of them spoke up and pointed out that the guidance was evil rubbish. Not a one. Nobody. Some of them just kept quiet and did not implement the guidance. Their silence did not indicate any concerns over the legality of the guidance – it served only to make it easier for those forces which had grasped onto the guidance as a way of reducing the ‘burden’ of paying injury pensions to set about robbing their disabled former officers.

Fourteen years of poison, influencing those who make decisions in the administration of injury awards, has produced the likes of Wirz, Cheng and deviant HR directors.

The past is the key to this and with hindsight it is easy to see how the monsters have stepped out from the dark and now perform their roles in full view of those, like PFEW, Police and Crime Commissioners, honest HR managers, and senior officers who should be shouting from the rafters.

This takes us back yet again to Staffordshire.  Giffard and his cronies invoked the Home Office guidance with zeal, but how many of those individuals whose pensions were unlawfully reduced have had their banding restored to the correct level?  How many who were reviewed by a HR minion in order to get to the “agreement” once Staffordshire realised they had a damage limitation problem to contain?

Other forces have paid back millions in unlawful deductions.  The Metropolitan Police does not review at all arguably because of the £80m recompense added to police authorities’ bills.  This huge total doesn’t even reflect the needless self-imposed legal fees these forces spent on compliant lawyers to justify the indefensible.

Retired police officer wins injury pension ruling

Police authorities may have to find tens of millions of pounds extra to fund their pension liabilities after a retired inspector won a landmark legal challenge preserving his income. The ruling by a court in Leeds overturns Home Office guidance that permitted a review of the pensions of injured officers once they reach retirement age and resulted in lower payments.

Staffordshire is again hell-bent on breaking the law by unlawfully holding reviews. IODPA wishes to make it clear to all concerned that no reviews should take place until past errors have been identified and corrected.

Staffordshire Former Chief Constable Wanted Injury Awards Removed

Staffordshire Former Chief Constable Wanted Injury Awards Removed

Theresa May has hailed the ‘unbreakable spirit’ of Mancunians as she signed the book of condolences for those killed in the terror attack. The Prime Minister said that people would remember those who died and ‘celebrate those who helped’, insisting that ‘terrorism never wins’.

“As we remember those who died, their loved ones and those who were injured, we will celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that terrorism never wins, our country and our way of life will prevail.’

PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2017. Photo credit: Arj Singh/PA Wire

The PM’s letter is welcome public show of support for the emergency services.

However, by way of sharp contrast, this is what one former Chief Constable wrote, in a letter which he no doubt never thought would be made public. It exposes a different, dark and sinister view of how police officers who daily face danger should be treated. It was penned way back in 2004 by the then Chief Constable of Staffordshire, John W Giffard and addressed to the Home Office.

Giffard Reply to HO

Giffard advocates that those injured on duty in criminal assaults, which would have included those injured in historical terrorist activities, both here on the mainland and in Northern Ireland, should have their injury pensions taken from them when they reached the age of 65.  So, just at the time when a pension would be most needed, this heartless figurehead proposes to have them taken away. This isn’t the spouting of a civil servant or an accountant.  This was a Chief Constable sending a message to his chums in the Home Office, agreeing to support whatever the Home Office was planning to do.

Significantly, Giffard was not offering a personal statement. He wrote as the spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Thus his view can only be taken as the combined agreed view of all Chief Constables. They were proposing to go along with an unlawful reduction of police injury pensions. The cost of paying injury pensions had become a significant concern, so instead of finding ways to continue to honour the payments which the law set out, the Home Office and ACPO conspired to find underhand, unlawful ways to subvert the pension arrangements.

Let’s make this as clear as we can. Elements in the Home Office conspired with ACPO to break the law.

Giffard proclaims:

We continue to think that at that stage anybody in receipt of an injury award should be dropped to the lowest band or possibly even completely dropped.

Note well, he uses the word ‘we’ which confirms he speaks for all members of ACPO. Note also, ACPO wants injury awards completely dropped, removed, taken away.  If they can’t get their way, then they’ll settle to a reduction to the lowest band.  With total disregard to the law and the severity of the disability of those in receipt of an injury award.

Giffard was not talking about some future, new, pension scheme. He was writing in respect of what would become, a few weeks later, the infamous advice from the Home Office, issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004 which advised all forces that injury pensions could be reduced to the lowest band at age 65.

‘Once a former officer receiving an injury pension reaches the age of 65 they will have reached their State Pension Age irrespective of whether they are male or female. The force then has the discretion, in the absence of a cogent reason otherwise, to advise the SMP to place the former officer in the lowest band of Degree of Disablement.  At such a point the former officer would normally no longer be expected to be earning a salary in the employment market.’

The Home Office felt confident in issuing unlawful advice as it had the assurance of ACPO that Chief Constables would not raise any objections.

That was in 2004. The Home Office guidance has been declared unlawful in the High Court and has been withdrawn. Yet still we see Staffordshire and some other forces plotting to reduce injury pension payments, contrary to the law of the land. The current Staffordshire Chief Constable Jane Sawyers hands over her baton to none other than Gareth Morgan on the 19th June. Gareth Morgan, as we have mentioned in an earlier blog, comes from that other hotbed of injury pension abuse, Avon and Somerset. His well-fed and self-satisfied frame should fit in well in Staffordshire. We can count on him to endorse the proposed unlawful mass review program.

The next time you read an ACPO level press release about the hard work of the emergency services, please remember the true thought processes of certain people who, behind the cameras, commit the most vile disservice to those who protect this country.

We ask the simple question … When those who run towards violence aren’t protected for life when they suffer life changing injuries, then is our society broken?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contractors, Ethics & the College of Policing

Contractors, Ethics & the College of Policing

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
C.S. Lewis

The administration of injury awards is a racket: given what disabled former police officers have had to suffer at the hands of corrupt doctors acting for police pension authorities, aided and abetted by the astounding ignorance of HR departments, it’s fair to say that’s a given. But unless you’ve had personal experience of the devious workings of those who are responsible for the administration of police injury pensions you probably have no idea just how much of a racket it has become.

If you ever have to deal with Inhuman Resources or any (oh-so-carefully) selected medical practitioner used by them then you know that you get sucked into a system which taints almost everyone it touches with corruption so flagrant it’s hard to believe such a thing could be possible in hyper-regulated modern Britain.

All the current platitudes coming from Parliamentary candidates in the upcoming election and media focus about police numbers is so ignorantly abstract when it really boils down to the realism of what happens to those injured on duty that face the system.

The system is run so that a very small band of favoured occupational health companies provide nearly all the SMP services used by police pension authorities. They have cornered the market, with the active connivance of the NWEF. They get their snouts in the trough, grab as much public money as they can, and leave the patsies in HR to take the flak. Outsourcing is the new game now, with forces handing over what should be their responsibilities to private limited companies whose morals and ethos are moulded entirely around the bottom line of the balance sheet.

Even the police medical appeal boards (PMABs) are outsourced to a limited company, Health Management Limited (HML).

Occupational health doctors who act as SMPs mirror HML and set up their limited companies in dubious, but no doubt tax-efficient, manner.

We see that commercial basis as being the driver which impels some SMPs to revel in creating unjustified appeals, by flagrantly disregarding the Regulations and case law, as a means to further their pay-packet in attendance costs. They know that a PMAB will either side with their crass decisions or make a new one. Either way, this lets the SMP off the hook. If there is a judicial review, it is the PMAB and the police pension authority who appear as respondents. The SMP is left free to continue their abuse of the law and of vulnerable and damaged individuals.

Some of these decidely dodgy SMPs work in tandem with a more malevolent master.  For instance, Dr Jonathan Broome.  He is Northumbria’s resident SMP, and seems to be going for the world-record of mentions in High Court decisions purely because he is unable, or unwilling, to say no to his colleague, the solicitor of Northumbria police, Nicholas Wirz.  Ever eager to push their own twisted and perverse take of the Regulations to judges, the dreadful duo are evidently so cold-hearted they never care about the morality.

But morality matters. Ethics is not just a necessary but inconsequential something which SMPs have sworn to when taking the Hippocratic oath. Some SMPs have abandoned the first ethical principle – to do no harm. For that alone their failures need to be challenged.

But would you believe that there is a “Code of Practice for the Principles and Standards of Professional Behaviour for the Policing Profession of England and Wales” which actually applies to people like Broome or Dr William Cheng, even if they are only a fleeting and temporary SMP gun-for-hire?

Quite by accident, we’ve discovered that the College of Policing’s code of ethics actually stretches itself to cover any person engaged in any work for any police force.  Subcontractors are covered and it matters not if the contract agreement to provide the SMP service is verbal, written in stone, toilet paper, carefully scribed in blood, is on vellum or scribbled on the back of a fag packet.

Here it is:

1.3 Scope of the Code
1.3.3
This includes all those engaged on a permanent,
temporary, full-time, part-time, casual,
consultancy, contracted or voluntary basis.

The code of ethics demands honesty, courtesy, equality, the ability to follow the Police Regulations and confidentiality. Let’s look at the scope and detail, and wonder as we do so just how the likes of Broome, Cheng, Nightingale and others square this code with their behaviour.

Standards of professional behaviour
1. Honesty and integrity I will be honest and act with integrity at all times, and will not compromise or abuse my position.  4 6. Duties and responsibilities I will be diligent in the exercise of my duties and responsibilities.
2. Authority, respect and courtesy I will act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy. I will use my powers and authority lawfully and proportionately, and will respect the rights of all individuals. 7. Confidentiality I will treat information with respect, and access or disclose it only in the proper course of my duties.
 3. Equality and diversity I will act with fairness and impartiality. I will not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly. 8. Fitness for work I will ensure, when on duty or at work, that I am fit to carry out my responsibilities.
4. Use of force I will only use force as part of my role and responsibilities, and only to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances. 9. Conduct I will behave in a manner, whether on or off duty, which does not bring discredit on the police service or undermine public confidence in policing.
5. Orders and instructions I will, as a police officer, give and carry out lawful orders only, and will abide by Police Regulations.I will give reasonable instructions only, and will follow all reasonable instructions. 10. Challenging and reporting improper behaviour I will report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the standards of professional behaviour

Stop laughing at the back!

If ever the maladministration of injury awards is adapted into a corrupted game of bingo, you could call house immediately in the above top ten of naughtiness.

By all accounts the code of ethics has guidance on what to do when the code is breached.

Behaviour that does not uphold the policing principles or which falls short of the expected standards of professional behaviour set out in this Code of Ethics will be dealt with:
• according to the severity and impact of any actual, suspected or alleged breach • at the most appropriate level • in a timely and proportionate manner in order to maintain confidence in the process.

For the worst offenders the College of Policing states that the most serious allegations amounting to gross misconduct can result in suspension from duty or restriction of duty, and may involve a criminal investigation and criminal proceedings.

The trouble we have here is the age old problem of who is the custodian of the custodians? Who does an aggrieved person report a breach of the code of ethics to?  Of course, you guessed it – the relevant police force or policing organisation you are complaining about. This is such a sick joke, for all Chief Constables are the police pension authority in their own area, so, under the rules of natural justice should not be allowed to decide any matter in which they have a vested interest. Yet they do. And when they do, they of course always, without fail, decide there is no case to answer. Nobody has done anything wrong. Nobody is to blame. Nothing to see here, move along.

If the local professional standards department cuffs away the complaint or calls you vexatious for having the cheek to tell them their own colleagues are dabbling with corruption then it goes to Britain’s police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission or IPCC.

Home Affairs Committee publishes report on the IPCC – News from Parliament

the Commission is overloaded with appeal cases; serious cases involving police corruption or misconduct are left under-investigated, while the Commission devotes resources to less serious complaints; and public trust continues to be undermined by the IPCC’s dependence on former officers and the investigative resources of police forces.

The IPCC has been slated in the influential Parliamentary report that accuses the IPCC of being overloaded with cases, leaving cases un-investigated, of having no real power and of too often using former policemen as supposedly “independent” investigators.

For us though, it matters not whether the IPCC is fit for purpose.  Concerns about the effectiveness or willingness of the IPCC should never be an excuse to not formally report a breach of the College of Policing’s code of ethics.  Quite the opposite.  Any contravention of this code by any person, working in any facility, needs to be officially reported and recorded to the relevant PSD department.

The volume of complaints can not all be deflected away into a dusty draw of a battered filing cabinet stored in the broom cupboard.

IODPA says this to all injured on duty pensioners.

If a HR minion makes an unlawful threat to remove your injury award, report them under the code.

If a SMP has breached confidentiality of your sensitive medical data, report them to the ICO, GMC and make a formal complaint for contravening the code.

Quite soon the lid will blow off the racket of maladministration of injury awards.  The subsequent inquiry will look, through hindsight, at the College of Policing and all responsible Chief Constables and how they allowed such rampant disregard of their own ethical standards.

 

 

Update: Staffordshire Agreement

Update: Staffordshire Agreement

The Staffordshire branch of NARPO has, quite correctly, asked the Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW) about the “agreement” that was sent out to those as a consequence of being paper reviewed almost a decade ago.  Remember this “agreement” was signed at the time by the individual, local NARPO, local PFEW and Staffordshire police.

Legal Advice March 2008 Agreement

Legal Advice March 2008 Agreement

There is a stand-out point that seems to be missed here …  The test whether the contract is a stand-alone, legally binding thing of absolute validity is arguably the wrong question to apply.  It matters not whether the contract, on it’s own, is a legal document of authority.  What matters is the context underpinning how the signed paper came into being and the legitimate expectation such a document provides as a consequence of the processes that occurred before it.

If the conclusion is flawed  (the “agreement“), then the process (a review conducted under Regulation 37) that led to that conclusion is compromised.

So the real significance lies in the gap between the very start of process (including the motivation behind why it commenced) to the finality of the Staffordshire 2008 mass review program, the conclusion of such being the “agreement“.

If the context of the “agreement” is flawed then it opens the fact that the paper review that underpins the “agreement” is unsound.

All those mass paper reviews conducted a decade ago by Staffordshire, in an attempt to limit their exposure to the illegality of the 46/2004 Home Office guidance, were finalised without the knowledge contained in the later judgements found in the Pollard, Turner and Laws judicial reviews.

A mechanism to fix such wrongs is a Regulation 32 reconsideration and the legal advice of the PFEW, however it is interpreted, is a gateway that brings to stark realism the judgement of Justice King in Haworth, R (on the application of) v Northumbria Police Authority [2012]  that a reconsideration …

should be construed as a free standing mechanism as part of the system of checks and balances in the regulations to ensure that the pension award, either by way of an initial award or on a review to the former police officer by either the SMP or PMAB, has been determined in accordance with the regulations and that the retired officer is being paid the sum to which he is entitled under the regulations.

…and that refusal of the police pension authority to allow such right to a mechanism to fix a wrong is:

potentially unlawful interference with a ECHR right

We could have saved the effort of the PFEW by telling those who asked that the “agreement” is not congruent with the “checks and balances” demanded by the Regulations.  Excuse the use of deliberate tautology, but the point is so important that it needs to be repeated with different words: the “agreement” is a dubious result caveated by Staffordshire Police’s 2008 mass review program that was itself, by its very nature, not congruent with “checks and balances” demanded by the Regulations.

Before a person  starts to think they should ever acquiesce to any review there needs to be answers.  Not only shall the review be justified to the individual, a suitable interval needs to have elapsed and individual discretion applied based on that person’s circumstances.  The disabled former officer also needs to fix the damage done by any previous unlawful paper review.

We will be pleased to field any questions you may have about the information contained in this post and the PDF above.  Either comment below, so others can benefit from the conversation, or email us for a private chat admin@iodpa.org

This group of police force HR managers, occupational health personnel and the odd force solicitor is supposedly concerned in its quarterly meetings with keeping the police workforce fit and well. The clue is in the name - it is supposed to concentrate on people who work. However, it spends time also considering matters relating to disabled former officers. Quite what legitimates this group's interest in disabled private citizens who are in receipt of a police injury pension is a mystery.

The mystery deepens when it is revealed that the Home Office and representatives of the commercial company which has the contract to run Police Medical Appeal Boards, HML, also regularly appear on the list of delegates. The mystery morphs into something smelling of conspiracy when the delegate list is entirely absent of any representative of any of the people whose lives the NAMF seeks to affect. There is nobody from the Police Federation, nor from NARPO, nor anyone from any disablement charity, mental health association, etc. etc. In other words, the NAMF is a one-sided talking shop. Even at that level it is not properly representative of all police forces, for we note that there are rarely, if ever, delegates present from every area.

Those of us with long memories, recollect that the Home Office claimed that it had conducted what it called a 'survey' of all forces, way back in 2004, prior to finalising its unlawful guidance issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004. The HO claimed that their survey showed that it was common practice for forces to review the degree of disablement of injury-on-duty pensioners once they reached what would have been normal force retirement age. This is what the guidance said:

'This Guidance is being issued to help ensure a fairer, more cohesive approach to the payment of injury benefits to ill-health retired officers who have reached the compulsory retirement age with their Force. A recent survey found that practice in this area was diverse. Some forces automatically reduced degree of disablement benefits to the lowest banding when this age had been reached - others continued to pay benefits at the same rate until the death of the Officer concerned.'

The plain truth, revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests, was that there never was any survey. The HO later tried to claim that the bold, unmistakable claim made in its guidance resulted from 'round the table discussions' at meetings of the NAMF. Yet nothing even hinting at such discussions appeared in the minutes and the HO could not produce a single scrap of data nor any record or any other evidence to show quite how it had come to the conclusion that some forces automatically reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age.

Shockingly, further research revealed that absolutely no forces, not a single one out of the 43 in England and Wales, had ever reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age, automatically or otherwise. The Home Office was caught out in a blatant lie. It was a lie intended for one purpose only - its actually intent was to give an air of normalcy to the huge change in practice which the HO wished to bring about.

This astounding act by a Government department tells us what the NAMF was then, and remains now. It's objective in so far as police injury on duty pensions is concerned, is to subvert the law of the land. The law cannot be changed retrospectively, so the inner circle work to find ways to unlawfully manipulate it through influencing gullible HR managers, and by training carefully selected corruptible SMPs how to refuse grant of an injury award and how to conduct reviews which reduce the degree of disablement of retired officers.

And so the machinations of the NAMF continue...