Month: December 2017

A Year Under Review

A Year Under Review

Coming together is a beginning: keeping together is progress; working together is success
 Henry Ford

As 2017 draws to a close we at IODPA have been reflecting on events over the last year.

Before we summarise what has been a most busy, productive and successful year for all involved with IODPA, we pause to salute all IOD pensioners who have joined IODPA. Some have bravely fought individual battles with wayward HR departments and Chief Constables.

For Many of you 2017 has been intensely stressful. We pledge to work tirelessly to help ensure all IOD pensioners are not Scrooged by their respective police pension authorities.

We also offer our best wishes and seasonal greetings to all in HR departments across this fair land who have continued to actively oppose the scope and purposes of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006.

We anticipate that 2018 will be the year when you all come to your senses, recover your moral core and pledge to act not only lawfully but with care and compassion for disabled former officers. IODPA to you is the ghost of Christmas past, present and future. Watch and learn. Absorb and change.

2017 saw IODPA and individuals achieve many successes in various areas in the arena of police injury pension maladministration: a significant judicial review won; one force abruptly stopped their mass review programme whilst another one started them up; IODPA became an official charity and continues to grow at a rate of knots; our membership base grew rapidly; we arrived firmly on the radar of all forces, and we know that our blogs are read and circulated widely.

Let’s look at the year now closing and review all it has produced for us.

2017 began extremely well with the first judicial review (JR) of the year. In FEBRUARY, former Police Constable Stanley Fisher took his former force, Northumbria, to Leeds Admin Court, and won the two main points his legal team, Ron Thompson of Haven Solicitors and David Lock QC, put forward.

Mr Fisher’s successful JR addressed highly important issues with universal application and has huge implications for all Injured on Duty Pensioners.

We admire Mr Fisher’s strength in continuing his fight with his former force. The so-called regulation 37 review of his degree of disablement by Northumbria was one of the longest ‘reviews’ to have been conducted, stretching eleven years in total.

Wirz loses High Court challenge

APRIL saw Staffordshire drop a bombshell announcement on their pensioners that they were rolling out a mass review programme.

This had the effect of IODPA increasing membership numbers hugely as Staffordshire pensioners, concerned at what lay ahead of them, joined in their droves.

In JUNE, the next big news to hit us was the unexpected announcement by Avon and Somerset Constabulary that they were stopping their review programme. They had spent the previous three years unlawfully reviewing a cynically selected handful of pensioners, who are predominantly all band fours and under the age of fifty. (No prizes for working out why this particular group of people were picked on.)

Newsflash: Avon & Somerset Stops Reviews

The news from A&S was welcomed by all their pensioners. However, there was a lot of disgust at how some pensioners who had been in the review process for over three years have never received any any apology for the distress the force had caused.

In JULY, Ron Thompson gave a press release which revealed how Merseyside Constabulary had agreed to a Consent Order regarding the issue pensioners receiving demands to provide full lifetime medical notes to the police pension authority and SMP, and the issuing of intrusive and threatening questionnaires.

A pensioner had had his IOD pension taken away from him as what appeared to be an extra-regulatory punishment for not providing the said documents.

Mr Thompson’s services was engaged and very soon after, Merseyside signed the order and the pensioner’s money was reimbursed and payment of his pension recommenced.

Breaking News: The Tyranny Of The Questionnaire Ends

The summer saw IODPA launch their first Crowdfunding campaign. With the generosity of the public, we raised over £4,200. The funds have already helped to support a number of pensioners, who have expressed their grateful thanks.

In SEPTEMBER, IODPA became a registered charity. This was the highlight of our year. It marks years of dedication to supporting Injured pensioners and serving officers and it was wonderful to be acknowledged as a charity.

Also in SEPTEMBER, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) gave advice to an IODPA member regarding his former force retaining full medical notes ‘just in case’ they might be needed The ICO advised that this was excessive retention of sensitive personal data and Avon and Somerset Constabulary was asked to return all medical notes back to the pensioner.

This was an instance of the ICO looking at the full facts and giving reasonable and advice, which should in theory apply to all forces. The ICO’s advice gave hope to a number of former officers that they could also ask for their personal and sensitive data to be returned to them. Sadly, many pensioners are still in dispute with their former forces over this issue.

3 Big Data Myths: Busted

NOVEMBER saw IODPA’s first collaboration with another charity, Upledger. Five IODPA members who suffer with PTSD went on an intensive five day therapy course which has helped them to develop ways of living with their mental injury. All who attended report that the course was extremely beneficial and has helped them immensely moving forward.

IODPA was able to financially help the members to attend the course of which we are very proud of.

NOVEMBER also saw eminent QC Mr David Lock, write two very relevant comment pieces on his Linkedin page, in relation to IOD reviews and the processes surrounding them.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, they were read by thousands of people, showing that this issue concerns a vast number of the public.

When David Lock QC Speaks the World Listens

In DECEMBER, Northumbrian Federation Rep, Inspector Adrian Smiles, released ICO advice, again, regarding the subject of medical notes. This time, it was about Northumbria (and other forces) demanding pensioners full medical notes on review. Once again, the ICO stated that this was excessive and that Northumbria were potentially breaching the Data Protection Act.

Northumbria Police Federation Wins ICO Assessment Notice

Also in DECEMBER, we were able to break the news that Dr Vivian, the chosen SMP for Staffordshire, had abruptly withdrew from conducting reviews, citing that doing them was proving too stressful and burdensome. This was indeed hot news, particularly as Dr Vivian notified IODPA direct to inform us.

Icarus – Injury reviews, too hot to handle.

Leading on from Dr Vivian’s abrupt departure, just before Christmas, Chief Constable Gareth Morgan of Staffordshire Police, released an open letter astoundingly stating that he believe reviews were being conducted lawfully. He went on to claim, with no evidence or explanation that there was a campaign by a small number of individuals which was trying to ‘besmirch’ the reputation of Staffordshire Police.

His letter was felt to be intimidating and threatening by many and stands as a remarkable insight into the peculiar defensive and negative mindset of this individual. It brought the year to a close and stiffened our resolve to stand up for the rights of IOD pensioners and to deflate the enormous egos of all bullies who think they are above the law.

Chief Constable Morgan’s open letter

We in IODPA look forward to what 2018 might bring. We are confident that it will be twelve months of continuing success and growth.

Chief Constable Morgan’s open letter

Chief Constable Morgan’s open letter

Today Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, the Staffordshire Chief Constable placed an open letter on his website regarding the forces recent Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 reviews under Section 37(1), and the recent resignation of his Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) – Dr Vivian, who informed us last week that performing the role of a SMP in relation to these reviews had, “been a major burden”.

It was our intention to seek permission to reproduce the open letter here, but as Mr Morgan who is a prolific Twitter user, has previously blocked us, we were unable to ask. The article has been marked as an open letter, and so we will reproduce it here in it’s entirety, and also provide a link to the original so you may read it in all it’s glory.

Open letter


Pension review of retired Injured on Duty (IoD) officers

On 26 April 2017 Staffordshire Police began a pension review of retired Injured on Duty (IoD) officers in accordance with Reg. 37 (1) of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 which places a duty upon the Police Pension Authority (the Chief Constable) to review whether the degree of the pensioners’ disablement has altered. Injury Benefit pensions (commonly known as Injury Awards) are granted to retired officers who have been medically assessed as being between Band 1 (slight disablement) to Band 4 (very severe disablement). By law a review cannot result in an injury pensioner being reduced to less than Band 1 so they are never removed in their entirety.

Since this time, and after confirming my intention to continue the reviews after my arrival as Chief Constable, there has been misinformation and misrepresentation of facts in what appears to be an attempt to besmirch the professional reputation of independent medical practitioners and Staffordshire Police. A small number of individuals have set out to campaign against these reviews in a manner which my staff have described as akin to harassment and intimidation – much of it on line and in the public domain.

I have always recognised that these reviews can cause concern and we have committed to expediting the process for that reason. I recognise that everyone is entitled to a view and are allowed to express it. However, the conduct of individuals is such that the independent Senior Medical Practitioner (SMP) no longer wishes to conduct injury assessments for retired officers at this time. The assertion circulating that the SMP left because he was being required to follow the instructions of the force and act unethically is entirely without foundation.

Every care is taken to ensure the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 and related case law are adhered to. I reviewed the process and sought legal and HR advice before confirming my intention to continue the reviews. I am entirely confident that the procedures comply with the regulations and are lawful, both in the way Staffordshire Police conducts itself and in the actions of the SMP.

So far, reviews have commenced for 34 people. To date, 13 have been completed and have reached outcomes, of which four IoD pensioners have had their banding reduced to Band 1. To date, three of these pensioners have stated their intention to appeal as is their right in accordance with the Regulations. Appeals are conducted by the Police Medical Appeal Board, which is independent of Staffordshire Police.

The pension benefit review has not been held in the interests of money saving and no savings are assumed in our forecast budget plans. In fact, the total cost to Staffordshire Police for IoD pensioners amounts to £3 million per annum.

The review is to ensure we are ethical and proportionate in the way that we use public money and to ensure there is a fair and consistent approach to all. The review will ensure that the pensioners continue to receive the appropriate level of award.

I acknowledge we have a duty of care to support IoD pensioners and we are fully committed to providing that support to the most professional of standards. This covers all 360 IoD pensioners we have in Staffordshire. I also have a duty of care to my staff which is why I am writing this letter to iterate that I will not tolerate the treatment they have recently received.

I would ask that everyone reads the information that clearly outlines the review process on our website pages. Appeals, complaints and concerns should be submitted through formal channels and not aired in such a way that discredits the working practices of my colleagues who are simply carrying out their lawful and legal duties.

Gareth Morgan

Chief Constable, Staffordshire Police

21 Dec 2017 17:00:08 GMT

He has stated that reviews are not being conducted to save money.

He has also stated that no-one can be reduced below a band one, despite Staffordshire Police clearly threatening to suspend awards if the IOD does not comply with their demands. (here is the before and after).

What saddens us is the need to blame extremely poorly pensioners for the reason for Dr Vivian to withdraw from the process.

We wonder how the Regulations and case law is being adhered to when we read there are at least three pensioners who are appealing.

Also, what was the end result of the other nine pensioners?

We notice that Mr Morgan has blocked any comments being placed after the article on the Staffordshire Police website, which sort of makes his rant one way. Never mind, we’ll be happy to accept your comments! As always, please make them constructive.

Finally we have to ask, is a “Senior Medical Practitioner”, a SMP who is somehow superior in position or authority to an ordinary “Selected Medical Practitioner”? Answers on a postcard.

Icarus – Injury reviews, too hot to handle.

Icarus – Injury reviews, too hot to handle.

Icarus : the son of Daedalus, tried to escape imprisonment by flying with artificial wings made of feathers glued together with wax. He flew too close to the sun, which melted the wax. Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.

Wednesday 13th December is a day that injured on Duty Pensioners in Staffordshire and across the country will remember for a long time to come.

On that date Dr Vivian, the SMP contracted to conduct Reg 37 reviews, has with immediate effect, RESIGNED from the process, stating that it has, “been a major burden”.

By a strange twist of synchronicity, Dr Vivian conducts his business through his company called Icarus Ltd. It seems that Dr Vivian has found things too hot for him. We have no wish to see him come to harm and his resignation may well be an honourable reaction to being in a situation which compromised his ethics.  But, will his departure cause those in charge in Staffordshire Police to give any thought to the adverse physical and psychological affect that the reviews are having on the disabled pensioners themselves?

Many of you will know, that since the summer, Staffordshire Police have been ruthlessly pressing ahead with reviews, with virtually every reviewed pensioner being reduced in banding or having been unlawfully threatened with loss of their pension for not providing their full medical notes or completing a questionnaire.

Dr Vivian has been at the heart of these reviews. Although pensioners are stating that he has been nothing but courteous and polite, he has been reducing people unlawfully and he has been making outrageous demands for medical records to which he, and the police pension authority, are not entitled. It is bad enough that Dr Vivian and his employer have been acting outside the law, but it is beyond all bounds of normal decency that the actions are accompanied with threats.

We believe that Dr Vivian is a decent physician who appears to have been misled by those paying his fees. His attendance at the laughingly mis-named National Welfare and Engagement Forum (NWEF), lair of the infamous and erroneous Nicholas Wirz and cronies, suggests that his independence is questionable. At those meetings he will have been subjected to abundant bad advice and copious misinformation concerning the duties and legal restraints which apply to the conduct of injury pension reviews.

A doctor should always look after his or patients without causing harm or unwarranted distress. Did Dr Vivian come to realise that he was being forced to sell his soul?

We understand that Dr Vivian has recently been under an enormous amount of stress over performing the role of the SMP during these reviews. This may have been caused by Staffordshire Police putting pressure on him to obtain the results that they want rather than leaving to him providing a fair independent expert assessment.

Dr Vivian has stated of SMP work that, ‘. . . it has a reputation of being highly contentious“. We at IODPA say in response, that If all reviews were conducted properly and fairly under the Regulations, then then there would be no need for stress and contention.

The SMP’s departure leaves Andrew Coley and Chief Constable Morgan in a predicament.

Do they now follow Avon and Somerset Constabulary who terminated reviews in June this year or do they continue to waste tax payers money on pursuing reviews?

IODPA continues to closely monitor events and sincerely hopes that Dr Vivian’s resignation will signal the beginning of the end of unlawful reviews and the abhorrent threats and intimidation which too many vulnerable disabled pensioners have been subjected to.