2018 – A Year of Progress, Growth and Achievement

This is the time when we look back over the past year and its events and achievements and forward to the New Year and the challenges and successes which lay ahead.

2018 saw Essex Police commence reviews to a large number of injured pensioners, all, we believe, to be on band four. Letters were sent to them with the Regulation 33 paragraph enclosed. Sadly, someone from within Essex Police had disingenuously given the impression the quoted regulation allowed pensions to be reduced to band one if a questionnaire was not completed. The questionnaire required personal financial information and the pensioners’ signed permission for the force to access HMRC and DWP records, and consent for the force to access full medical records.

IODPA, along with Essex branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (‘NARPO’), wrote letters to the Chief Constable in his role of Police Pension Authority (‘PPA’), and we were pleased to blog his reply to us.

Reviews in Essex were soon halted and we still await their next move.

Staffordshire Police have continued with their review process, bringing a number of pensioners in front of various Selected Medical Practitioners (‘SMP’). All three SMPs used have all subsequently ended their contract with Staffordshire for various reasons. We believe that a new SMP is currently being sought to take up what must be regarded in the medical profession as a poisoned chalice.

2018 ended, as many of you will recall, with seventeen pensioners having their injury pensions reduced summarily by Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, acting as PPA. The reason cited was that failure by IOD pensioners to allow access to their medical records amounted to a failure to attend a medical interview or examination. This was another example of an abuse of regulation 33.

All seventeen had willingly attended their review appointments, many of whom attended twice. IODPA solicitors acting for the seventeen pensioners immediately sought clarification from the police pension authority of its use of regulation 33.

Mr Morgan then promised to give his individual reasons for each decision to reduce and has meanwhile postponed the reductions.

We await the next stage in this legal fight but suffice to say, we wish everyone the very best of luck. You have one of the best legal teams behind you.

2018 has been a year of continuing growth for IODPA, We now have members from every one of the forty three forces in England and Wales plus Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

We are very proud to say that our membership has increased over the last twelve months by a third from the previous year. We will continue to welcome new members on board, after all, there are over 13,000 IODs out there!!

We are still a small charity, but we exert an influence and achieve results that are well above what might be expected. IODPA is uniquely placed to provide a quality of service to our members which cannot be found elsewhere. We focus entirely on the needs of former officers with varying degrees of disablement resulting from duty injury, and officers still serving but about to be retired because of ill health or injury on duty.

With our tight focus, IODPA  provides moral and practical support in the most effective manner. Members have the facility to be in easy contact with each other, no matter where they live. Through that contact they reach out to anyone who needs comfort. They help each other. They exchange experiences and knowledge – and we have some very knowledgeable members. Together our membership can call on hundreds of years of experience and skills for the benefit of all. Sometimes just knowing that you are not alone, that someone else is there to talk to is enough. When more is needed, we provide extensive in-depth advice and guidance on all aspects of police injury pensions.

IODPA has continued to hold regular meetings throughout 2018, all over the UK. We recognise the need to support those who are undergoing reviews. It is a highly anxious and stressful time, but particular so for those with mental health injuries.

IODPA campaigns to raise awareness and promote understanding of the correct application of The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 so that those retired with injury awards receive fair and lawful treatment, respect, equality and inclusion. Our core aims are to:

 

Expose and challenge all aspects of illegality, unfair practices and improper conduct at all levels of injury award administration.

Share information about good practices and support individuals to effect actions for themselves to achieve lawful and fair outcomes.

To develop a wider awareness and acceptance that the continued use of unlawful policies and frameworks for the administration of injury on duty awards is failing everyone.

Provision of unconditional confidentiality and our promise of keeping everything between us. It is fundamental to our core aims that no-one outside of IODPA will know what members have confided.

To provide a secure support network and forum for retired injured officers.

 

Time was devoted to developing a deep working understanding of the new General Data Protection Regulations, which came into force in April 2018. IODPA had become aware that many forces have been lax to the point of illegality in their retention and processing of personal information concerning former police officers. We report below on an example of how the GDPR has been used to protect the legal rights of members.

Our excellent legal team have been kept busy too. We thank them all for their efforts, and congratulate them on their many successes. IODPA would prefer that police pension authorities never gave us cause to go to litigation, but it remains a sad fact that in some areas there is an unfortunate confluence of insufficient knowledge and understanding of the various pension regulations, a lack of training, and sometimes even a certain amount of ill-will towards disabled former officers. Perhaps worse of all though is the almost universal inability in some forces of anyone at any level to admit mistakes or to show any degree of willingness to work towards ensuring the lawful rights of pensioners.

Over the past year, we have continued to maintain our excellent professional relationships with Ron Thompson and Mark Lake.

We also have been working with Lawrence Davies, a solicitor who specialises in Equality Law, and whom is based in London. He has been instrumental in leading Employment Tribunal  test cases involving pensioners.

The public face of IODPA is presented via our own web site, and through Facebook and Twitter, where we post news, provide a portal to obtaining membership, present information and discussion on aspects of pension administration, and in so doing hopefully help to inform and educate employees in HR and Occupational Health departments how to avoid falling into error.  The web site underwent a complete renovation early in the past year, with a new look, new and enlarged content and a new dynamic. It has been met with approval by hundreds of people, and is now a point of reference for Federation reps.

We published twenty four blogs on our web site over the year which highlighted questionable tactics of various police forces around the UK in their treatment of injured officers. The blogs have been met with good interaction from the public, who are able to post their own comments on the site. As is the way of things, the comments were generally not at all complimentary to certain forces. However, IODPA firmly believes that the vast majority of employees who are involved in police pension administration are honest, decent and well intentioned. We applaud them and are sorry to see their reputations tarnished by the wrongdoings of the minority.

A  most important responsibility for the lawful administration of police injury pensions rests in the hands of the doctors employed by forces to make certain vital decisions required by the regulations. Medicine is a profession which demands high ethical standards. Acting as the SMP for a police pension authority requires not only a wide medical knowledge but also a deep understanding of the police pension regulations and other aspects of law. Sadly, some SMPs have shown themselves to be deficient in some or all areas.

IODPA looks to police pension authorities to correct this situation by ensuring that SMPs are all allowed to perform their task without influence or interference. Their decisions and opinions should be free of bias, arrived at from only relevant facts and be fully in compliance with the regulations and other law.

We have accompanied a number of pensioners to their reviews during the past year. We feel that this has had a positive impact, not only on the individuals subject to SMP decisions but on the SMPs themselves. When SMPs have been subjected to misleading information and training the presence of someone knowledgeable can help the SMP to avoid making mistakes which could result in damage to reputation, complaint or an appearance as a respondent in the Administrative Court.

In early spring of 2017, we championed the way for submitting complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office, regarding breaches of data protection law.

In 2018 we concentrated particularly on pushing forward with a complaint regarding Avon and Somerset Police holding on to medical records indefinitely. This was pursued over a number of months and eventually the ICO give compelling advice that A & S should give back medical notes.

The ICO has also issued a decision concerning Essex Police which clearly sets out the limited amount of personal information any force is entitled to retain in respect of discharging its duties under the police injury benefit regulations.

This was in addition to a previous decision concerning Northumbria Police which advised them that asking for medical records from birth is excessive and in breach of the DPA.

These three decisions, together, were a huge achievement, as they open the way for many other pensioners to start pursuing the same issue with their own former forces, and  believe they will provide some much needed clarity for data protection managers within all forces.

We have had over seventy letters of thanks during our first year, which means a great deal to us. It’s endorsing that we are doing a satisfactory job and that we are having a significant impact on people’s lives.

During 2018 we made contact with a number of organisations and we intend on building those links over the coming years.

We met with the Executive board of NARPO in their HQ at Wakefield. Chief Executive Steve Edwards was present as was Alan Lees the Deputy Chief Executive, Brian Bardus, President, and Richard Critchley, Deputy President.

We shared honest views with each other and agreed we were all able to work together in the future for the benefit of all members of both organisations.

IODPA also attended the NARPO conference in September, which was over an enjoyable two days.

We will continue to work harmoniously with NARPO branches and look to doing similar with any others who wish to form links with IODPA.

We are also working together with some local Federation branches, which again, is excellent for all our members. We are stronger working together and welcome contact from other branches if we can assist you to advise your members.

Another connection we made during our first year, was with a Social Enterprise called Upledger UK. They specialise in treatment called Cranial Sacral Therapy and which is used successfully to treat people with PTSD and physical injuries,. The treatment originates from America and has been used on hundreds of army veterans.

Between Upledger and IODPA, we managed to facilitate a week’s therapy exclusively for our members in November 2017. It was gratis for our members to attend because of funds raised. All members who attended reported that the week’s treatment was life changing. One member who attended the course vowed to  raise funds so that others could have the chance of such brilliant treatment. He announced he was going to raise money by doing, ‘a little bike ride’ – from John O’Groats to Lands End.

In May 2018, after months of training, he set off from John O’Groats together with a large support team plus his son and another pensioner, who would do parts of the journey with him.

On Sat 9th June 2018, he cycled into Lands End, having pedalled over 920 miles. He raised £12,000 for the charity – a magnificent achievement which is applauded with gratitude by all members and Trustees.

Fundraising is now firmly on the agenda. Various initiatives throughout the year, always well supported by our members and their families and friends, brought in a steady stream of funds. IODPA also benefited from individual donations.

We are very proud and delighted to announce that in June of 2018 we welcomed our first patron of the charity.

Pete Conway, better known as father of Robbie Williams, agreed to be our patron. He is a big supporter of injured police officers, having been a police officer In Staffordshire in a previous life. He has been active in supporting the charity and its aims, he has lent his support to us throughout the year by attending functions where he can, he also advertises our fundraisers on his Twitter account, which is helpful as he reaches a large audience around the world. Pete is a kind, generous, approachable and big hearted man and we look forward to working alongside him in the coming year.

Since IODPA became a registered charity it has achieved a huge amount of success throughout the past year.

We anticipate some pivotal legal challenges in the New Year, not least with Staffordshire’s police pension authority which seems intent on testing its own peculiar interpretation of an important aspect of the injury benefit regulations. We are more than prepared for that contest and are fully supportive of our members.

So, to all our members, friends and supporters, and to all people of good will we wish a very Happy New Year.

2018 – A Year of Progress, Growth and Achievement
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14 thoughts on “2018 – A Year of Progress, Growth and Achievement

  • 2019-01-17 at 1:21 pm
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    A very busy and successful year and a very well compiled report that highlights the achievements of this growing group.
    Many thanks are due to IODPA for their tireless efforts on our behalf..
    We must all continue to support your efforts and the charity in whatever way we can until such time as misguided PPAs start to comply properly with the regs, however long that takes.

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  • 2019-01-14 at 10:52 am
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    When I joined NARPO twenty years ago I did so for social reasons, never thinking that my injury pension would come under attack. It came as a huge shock when my dear old force turned into a ravening monster and tried to reduce my pension because I had reached the grand old age of 65 – younger than many high court judges, actors, politicians, etc. The Chief Constable (a nasty bully by all accounts) refused to see the flaw in guidance issued by the Home Office which went like this (I paraphrase), ‘When disabled former officers reach the age of 65 they immediately loose all earning capacity. As they have no capacity to earn, they don’t need compensating for loss of earnings, so they don’t need to be paid the injury pension any more. As we can’t stop it entirely the pension should be reduced to band one.’

    I turned to NARPO for help and my local rep accompanied me to my age 65 review. He explained the law to the doctor, who ‘saw the light’ and went against my force’s instructions to reduce me to band one. (A sensible instance of self-preservation on the part of the doctor.)

    Since then NARPO generally seems to have washed its hands of everything to do with injury pensions. NARPO HQ has never assisted anyone by providing legal representation, despite having millions in the bank. NARPO HQ blames its members – it says it is an organisation which is branch-led, and as most members want their branches to arrange golf tournaments, dinners, theater trips, Christmas lunches, and other social activities then HQ has to go along with it. That’s all well and good and democratic, but if NARPO wants to be a social club it needs to change its rules.

    Objective no. 3.1 in the rules says,

    ‘The Association exists to safeguard the rights of members and promote measures for their welfare with particular regard to police pensions.’

    It is very obvious that any safeguarding extends to no more than putting a few lines on their web site about injury pensions, and writing the occasional letter to whoever happens to be Policing Minister of The Moment – letters which are about as much use as a custard pie in a gun fight.

    So, that is why I have recently joined IODPA. Not because my injury pension is currently under attack, but because I want to help support fellow pensioners across the country who are suffering under the same sort of nasty force management I had the pleasure of dealing with. IODPA does what NARPO either can’t do or won’t do – and that is take effective action to safeguard the pension rights of disabled former officers.

    Shame on you NARPO for turning your back on people who need practical help, advice and legal representation.

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  • 2019-01-14 at 9:09 am
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    Its great to see the charity grow and to continue to fight against forces when they act irresponsibly and illegally.

    I hope that membership continues to grow and that all the members can pull together.

    The fight against the wrongdoings of certain chief constables who misuse their position to re write the rules and regulations and abusing this position to then use against some of the most vulnerable officers who have served their community and often paid with blood, pain and life long – life changing injury’s must carry on until the battle for fairness and honesty is won.

    I wish another successful year to all the members and the Trustees who have done so much work for this small charity.

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  • 2019-01-13 at 8:36 pm
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    Without the dedication of the trustees and members of Iodpa I would be like a fish out of water in this process. I would have blindly followed the “advice” offered by other organisations believing what they say and fell into the trap of the PPA’s and there OH and HR departments. I would have been thrown to the wolves.

    To anyone who is an Iod do not hesitate to join the IODPA. You will not be sorry. The help and advice offered is second to none. You will not get better help anywhere else. They are there only to help. You will be glad you did.

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  • 2019-01-13 at 8:14 pm
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    The trustees of the charity IODPA work tirelessly for the benefit of injured on duty police pensioners to protect their pensions. They have made enormous progress on our behalf despite the unlawful and malicious actions taken by a few vindictive police forces.

    Unfortunately this unlawful action continues, no doubt, encouraged by the Home Office i.e. the Government!

    Thank god this charity exists to support injured on duty police pensioners.

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  • 2019-01-13 at 7:30 pm
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    Well what a year that has been. Great help and support from IODPA and the granting of charity status was the icing on the cake.
    We are all in uncharted times with the Staffordshire 17 still waiting for their individual reason for being down banded. I trust this will include the details of the substantial alteration that triggered their individual review. What’s that I hear “I doubt it “. Yes I agree I doubt it too. Well Mr Morgan, you are going to have some explaining to do in Court. Yes that’s where people go to get their wrongs put right. I’m sure Mr Morgan knows that but it probably so long since he’s seen an angry man that he’s forgotten what it’s like to stand in the witness box having to account for his actions. Oh you say he doesn’t have to go to court himself. No he will send his little ginger ninja Andrew Coley to brief his QC. Thank God we have David Lock on our side. The big problem of course is the stress and anguish that the 17 have faced and similar worries that the rest of us have waiting for our time to come. And of course the rate payers of Staffordshire who will have to foot the bill to pay for this debacle. Just let’s hope that someone realised that this continued attack on retired disabled injury on duty Pensioners nationwide has to stop and does just that makes it stop.

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  • 2019-01-13 at 4:52 pm
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    Thank you iodpa for your tireless, unfailing support over the past year, during which the organisation has gone from strength to strength, I have gained such a lot from my membership and have felt supported every step of the way.
    We have many challenges facing us, not least fighting Morgan’s unjust, unlawful conduct towards the Staffordshire seventeen. I would hate to think of anyone dealing with this atrocious, oppressive behaviour alone.

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  • 2019-01-13 at 4:52 pm
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    A busy year with challenges throughout ending with the staffs 17 and many more cases we are not aware of. Well done to all IOD members and staff for their hard work and humanity in challenging times
    Thanks for all of your help and support here’s to 2019 keep up the fight

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  • 2019-01-11 at 8:41 pm
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    Great work being done each and every day IODPA. It has been much appreciated. It is wonderful to know that IODPA is now a registered charity for IOD pensioners because, prior to this there was nothing!

    It’s great to know that bonds are being made with Narpo and the local federation officers.

    Here’s to IODPA doubling in size of membership in this New Year.

    Thank you for your wonderful help and the forums of communication to every other member of the IODPA family.

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  • 2019-01-09 at 6:07 pm
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    Congratulations on a successful first year as a charity, IODPA. Long may you last to support injured officers like myself, as you are so desperately needed in these troubled times.

    I look forward to you continuing to develop and increase in membership.

    Where would I have been without you?

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  • 2019-01-09 at 5:00 pm
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    An excellent end of year report. Thank You to all at IODPA for all that you do on our behalf. Without you we would be vulnerable to some very under hand tactics I never thought my own force or any other would ever use on loyal retired former officers. Obviously times have changed and so have people who make these decisions. The Police Family that once was is obviously no more. At least IODPA can step forward and assist us in our hours of need.

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  • 2019-01-09 at 12:07 pm
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    Well done IODPA.

    IOD pensioners and serving officers from all Forces are at long last being kept up to date and informed about the actions of some Forces. Great news you will be working with NARPO and some Federation Reps (it should be all Fed Reps)

    Keep up the good work.

    Most impressed that you are sending members for the support/therapy they need shame that Police OCcupational Health Units do not see the benefits in supporting injury on duty officers.

    Hope you have a good year.

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    • 2019-01-13 at 4:38 pm
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      This charity continues to grow in strength giving reassurance and advice to its members. The hard work of the Trustees is very much appreciated. I wish them another successful year and will be eternally grateful for all they have achieved.

      Reply

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