Show me the money!
IODPA understands that Chief Constables are having a hard time currently. They have had to reduce their spending and learn how to manage with reduced budgets.
Budget cuts since 2011 up to 2015 amounted to a reduction of 20% in the amount allocated by the Home Office to policing. From 2015 more cuts were imposed.
According to estimates compiled by the National Audit Office, police funding fell from 2010/11 to 2018/19. Overall, funding fell by 19%, taking inflation into account.
This varies a lot locally. That 19% average ranges from an 11% fall in Surrey police force to a 25% fall in Northumbria. This is mainly because some forces, like Northumbria, rely more heavily on government grants and don’t raise as much locally.
With that difficult financial background in mind, we turn our attention how one particular force, Northumbria, chose to deal with the situation by seeking to grab money from the pensions paid to disabled former officers who were forced to retire due to injury received in the execution of their duty.
In June 2015 the force Executive Board was presented with a report written by Jocelin Lawson, Director of Human Resources. Its title was ‘Introduction of Injury Award Reviews, Regulation 37(1) Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006’
Here it is –Joscelin Lawson report
For new readers, we need to explain that a ‘review’ is a term which has come into general use to identify processes taken by a Police Pension Authority (‘PPA’) to ensure the correct level of injury pension continues to be paid.
The report states there is a ‘legal obligation’ for ‘The Force’ to consider at suitable intervals whether there has been an alteration of the pensioner’s degree of disablement, by means of a medical assessment.
However, this statement is unfortunately misleading, despite its apparently factual delivery. It is mistaken.
The above Regulations actually allow not ‘The Force’ but a Police Pension Authority – which is an office vested in the sole personage of the Chief Constable – to use unfettered discretion over whether or when to take action under regulation 37 (1). There is no blanket ‘statutory obligation’ as claimed.
By failing to differentiate between ‘The Force’ and the Police Pension Authority, Ms. Lawson provides a revealing insight. The Chief Constable of Northumbria has allowed his concerns over his budget to influence detrimentally his duties as the Police Pension Authority.
Let’s do what the report fails to do, and show you the actual wording of regulation 37(1):
Reassessment of injury pension
37.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, where an injury pension is payable under these Regulations, the police [pension] authority shall, at such intervals as may be suitable, consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered; and if after such consideration the police authority find that the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has substantially altered, the pension shall be revised accordingly.
Note well – there is no mention of a ‘medical reassessment’ nor of setting up a programme to review each and every injury on duty pension. A PPA is to do no more initially than ‘consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered.’
The regulation does not assist the PPA by defining what form the consideration might take. That is no oversight, as it is apparent the regulation intends that the PPA will use its discretion whilst promoting the scope and purposes of the Regulations as a whole. That does not extend to conducting medical reassessments of all recipients of an injury pension, in the hope of finding substantial alteration.
The very wording of regulation 37(1) indicates unmistakably that any consideration must be an individual undertaking. It is a singular thing, a reaction to a change in circumstances affecting an identified pensioner’s degree of disablement.
What Northumbria forgets, or perhaps chooses to ignore, is that the Regulations (specifically, regulation 30 which is rather too lengthy to reproduce here but which can be viewed via this link only permit the PPA to appoint a duly qualified medical practitioner to determine the extent of any alteration when the PPA is considering revising an individual’s injury pension.
An injury pension cannot be revised unless there has been a substantial alteration. Therefore, Northumbria is utterly out of order in thinking it can task a doctor with conducting ‘medical reassessments’ before it has gone through the required individual consideration of the likelihood of alteration in degree of disablement.
IODPA advises any injury on duty pensioner of Northumbria, or of any other force, to bear this in mind should they be asked to attend a medical interview and/or examination. We can offer sound practical advice on what to do, and what not to do. Advice which comes from the most expert and authoritative legal sources.
Now let’s look at a glaringly obvious logical flaw in the report. Northumbria ceased reviewing in the early part of 2010. The report places the blame on the Home Office for advising all forces to cease planned reviews, ‘until case law provided clarity on the law.’
So, from 2010 to date, Northumbria was content to set aside what it now claims is a ‘legal duty’.
Even the most warped legal mind would know that Home Office advice is not law. It does not have to be obeyed. Northumbria could have continued to conduct reviews, and could have done so without falling foul of ‘case law’ if only it followed the Regulations. Moreover, Home Office advice ought not to be such that it tells a PPA to ignore a ‘legal obligation’.
Ms. Lawson’s report to the Executive Board effectively says that Northumbria, having blindly followed what turned out to be unlawful Home Office advice in 2008, and having once more blindly followed Home Office guidance by ceasing reviews in 2010 is now intent on intruding into the lives of its disabled former officers and their families by conducting a mass review of injury pensions.
It seems that Northumbria thinks it can have its cake and eat it. It thinks it can not review, or it can review as it wishes. It is mistaken.
There is a vast and dangerously dark difference between making a decision to review or not to review based on the wrong reasons, and making that decision properly based on only relevant and lawful reasons.
From 2010 to date, there may well have been pensioners who were entitled to have their degree of disablement reviewed, and to have their pension payment revised upwards due to a worsening of their condition. Northumbria was content to ignore them.
We can see from the report why Northumbria ceased reviews. We can see the misleading claim that it now needs to dust off what it thinks is a ‘legal obligation’ and recommence reviews. However, the report reveals the real reason why all injury on duty pensioners, whether elderly, vulnerable, in delicate balance of mental health, whether informed of their legal rights or kept in deep incognizance will now be put through a most distressing and intrusive process.
The reason is money…
On reading Ms. Lawson’s report, it very obviously concentrates on the financial aspects of the planned mass review programme.
It also very obviously absent of any serious consideration of the human impact of reviews. The silence speaks loudly of the single-minded purpose of the review programme and dismisses any adverse human impact in a single sentence. Ms. Lawson models her thinking along the lines of the First World War generals who saw soldiers as mere units to be sacrificed for the gain of a few yards of ground.
The report attempts to illustrate various financial outcomes. Needless to say, they all confidently predict savings for the force. In that it is also mistaken.
IODPA believes that Chief Constables, and those who advise them, should take more care to understand the differing, and sometimes conflicting, requirements and duties of the office of Chief Constable and that of Police Pension Authority. The latter is supposed to focus on ensuring injured disabled officers receive the appropriate level of compensation as provided for by the Regulations. That focus should be divorced from any consideration of the financial outcome to the force.
Chief Constables quite properly need to manage their budgets prudently, but they should see injury pension payments as a debt of honour, as ring-fenced, kept entirely separate from their attempts to save money. Instead of turning on people who are generally among the least able to defend themselves, they should be lobbying the Government for direct assistance in meeting their obligations under the police injury benefit regulations.
Where, we ask, are the rehabilitation programmes designed to help injured disabled officers adapt to life outside the force? Where do we see HR providing support and care to the families of injured disabled officers? Where is there any assistance in helping injured disabled pensioners finding work?
It seems to be the case that in Northumbria the Chief Constable – Winton Keenen (pictured) has forgotten entirely about his duty of care towards former officers. We suggest that if he wishes to save money by reducing what is clearly seen by him as the burden of injury pension payments, he would do better to achieve that aim by helping disabled former officers rather than by hounding them.
23 thoughts on “Show Me The Money”
This report says all that needs saying about injury pension reviews as seen by the bean counters in police management circles. It might have been penned by the same person who inspired the infamous Sue Mountstevens letter to Damien Green which kicked off the Avon & Somerset debacle. The same arguments used re annual costs to the force budget and how they might be reduced. It has nothing whatever to do with the spirit or the letter of the Police Injury Pensions Regs which it misquotes in the now familiar phrase ‘statutory duty to review’. It also makes bland assertions about case law, claiming that the law has been clarified and they are now ‘able to recommence reviews’. – What case law I hear you ask? As far as I am aware the only case law decisions since 2004 have made it clear as to what Forces CANNOT do. – Nothing that gives them the authority to carry out mass reviews.
A chief Finance Officer can look at any area of annual expenditure and highlight the cost and maybe suggest ways of reducing those costs, but pensions, injury or otherwise, are a financial commitment in the same way as salaries and it is about time that these people realised that much as they may wish, they cannot arbitrarily reduce that commitment.
This is how it works.
The Police and Crime Commissioner wants reduced crime, for less money. The PCC appoints, and can remove, the Chief Constable. The PCC has no duties and no responsibility for injury on duty pensions.
The Chief Constable wants to keep the PCC happy, along with keeping his nose clean with the Home Office and various other Government bodies. He wants to retire in due course with his pension intact and take up other lucrative work until the State pension comes along. The Chief Constable sees his officers as tools to be used to that effect. All pensioners, whether disabled or not, are of no use to the Chief Constable. Injury pensioners are a drain on scare resources as their pensions are paid out of the force budget.
The CC has no role within the Police Injury Benefit Regulations. However he carries delegated responsibility for the administration of the scheme.
The office of Police Pension Authority ( a new office created in 2011) is responsible for all decisions made under the Regulations. The office of PPA is vested in none other than the Chief Constable. The PPA delegates all administration to the CC, himself.
The PCC and the CC are supposed to be careful with public money. The PPA has to administer the injury pension scheme for the benefit of injured, disabled, former officers. The PPA is required to be blind to the financial outcomes of his decisions, but of course must ensure that the monies in the scheme are paid according to the rules and not handed out like sweeties.
The actual medical decisions are handed to a doctor, supposedly selected by the PPA, but as the PPA is the CC, the CC is going to select someone he can either manipulate, or rely on to make decisions which will be of financial benefit to the force budget.
It does not take much imagination to see that there is a conflict of interest built into these arrangements.
There is no independent oversight of this recipe for corruption and dirty dealing. The Pensions Ombudsman reacts to cases brought to his attention, but does not have any power to order widespread investigations, including criminal investigations into corruption. The Policing Minister will always say that any problems are for the PCC and the CC to sort out. The Independent Office for Police Standards hands any complaints against Chief Constables back to the Chief Constable to resolve. The Home Office, most MPs, serving officers of whatever rank, and the man on the Clapham Omnibus couldn’t care less – they just want to keep their heads down, as do most members and officials of NARPO.
So, if only there were an organisation which would have the means and the will to take these rotten scoundrels to court, then all would be well.
Just a minute – there is an organisation which does exactly that. It is IODPA.
You forgot that the ICO may find that the CC acting as the PCA often finds that the CC has breached GDPR so offers advice (it would appear) guidance which the CC’s as the PCA blatantly ignore.
The CC acting as the PPA contracts out to an SMP (and do pay them) to make decisions for the CC for the PPA.
Make a complaint about to the GMC and they refer you back to the ICO or to the CC as the SMP is contracted to them.
So historically they pick of vulnerable, isolated pensioners and reduced their pensions, often unlawfully.
So the pensioners go to ET’s and JR’s and win………… so it’s safe to say that already many pensioners have been unlawfully reduced, what a tangled incestous web they weave.
As an ex northumbria Officer I am ashamed of the total disregard the force has for its injured officers
I was medically retired however I cannot relax as Northumbria will always have a grip of my injury pension thanks to the hierarchy within personnel and legal dept
However the person behind all of this is the PCC Vera Baird who sits in her office pulling the purse strings without any grief at all whilst injured officers wait at home panicking each day the postman arrives at the door
We all know in order to get the CC job he had to agree to be Baird puppet which he definitely is
It is disgraceful how dishonest and the use of underhand tactics by Northumbria your blog just highlights it perfectly
Let’s not let them get away with it and together challenge everything
Thanks IODPA for your help in this fight
IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY!
They can protest all they like, but that’s what’s behind it all. The problem at the moment is that the morons are spending more money on trying to save it than they will eventually save. That is of no matter to them as they will plead that it comes from some different budget or other and that it will save £50k over the next twenty years. It’s still our tax being misspent by them, while their plush offices and top-of-the-range lease cars somehow don’t figure as a drain on the operational budget.
I remember being told by my CC when I retired that my service was valued, that I would still have access to the force’s welfare services and that I would be well looked after in retirement. What absolute bollocks. They can’t wait for us to die, we’re just a liability on the balance sheet, ticked off on our final breath.
I think this say’s it all, they can’t even be honest about their intentions to reduce as many IOD pensions as they possibly can.
Their intent is clear for all to see, to reduce IOD pensions. They create some reasoning to show why and how they can accomplish these reductions.
No doubt figured out on a spread sheet in all it’s stupidity. The factors that are glaringly omitted from their calculations such as SMP fees, costs for lawyers for numerous appeals and the added administration staffing costs in implementing this plan show how just how amateurish and ill conceived the report really is.
The Police have a duty of care towards their injured former officers which they choose to completely ignore. Even worse they now treat them as nothing but a financial lability and now strive to invent reasoning and methods by which they can employ to raid their pensions.
What strikes me the most regarding the ‘Agenda Item 6 Executive Board document shown above is the fact that HR has an actual ‘Director’ who has time and qualifications (?) to make such suggestions to an Executive Board. Remember the days when that office was known as ‘personnel’? There may have been a Manager installed if there were a lot of staff in that office. The title probably comes with a higher pay than a Manager would have got.
Maybe Police Forces should review their office setups if they want/need to save money. There are so many outside private agencies hired for different purposes from advice to management. What seems to have caused the highest rise in cost since 2010 was the installation of a Commissioner, and however many staff (usually friends) they thought they needed. That was to replace the guy from the Police Authority who was held responsible for most of the internal clerical offices required to operate the Police Force.
The current tactics being used to reduce IOD pensions most often creates a huge expense to a force, mostly in huge legal fees, for appeals against the decisions to reduce an IOD pension unlawfully and without merit.
IODPA is now ensuring that more and more IOD pensioners are becoming aware of their rights and what the IOD Pensions Regulations are. Hopefully one day EVERY IOD pensioner will have learned about any errors made and get them put right.
Qualifications 😳 this Director wouldn’t last two months in the private business sector…….fact 😂😂😂
Don’t forget that its the members of the public, you and I that are paying all these extra costs through our taxes. It’s a pity they don’t have to justify that expenditure, or actually reveal the true costs.
Has anyone actually read all the pages of the Report authored by the Director!!?
To instigate a programme/project it needs to be evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that it meets the aims, purpose and is effective. As this report was written in 2015 surely there has been regular monitoring and new reports generated that give the true costs.
Are Northumbria reviewing for other Forces? On the last page they need to review 884 persons to attempt to make £1M savings and admit that 25% will appeal increasing their costs or factored in the costs of ET’s and JR’s. That’s very clever, considering there are not that many Iod’s and no projections of new IOD’s that will be coming into their system.
Let’s not forget the 23 people where there are anomalies. Oh how to make the rank and file feel valued and supported.
Where are the updates? They didn’t nickname HQ ‘Fantasy Island’ for nothing.
What a shower………..
This Chief Constable is being very poorly advised. The speculative calculations in the report fail to take into account that most reviews will result in not savings for the force, but will merely provide an income for the doctor who makes the medical decisions. Some pensions will need to be increased – another cost. Some will be reduced, but unless the SMP and the police pension authority have managed to scrupulously keep entirely within the requirements of the police injury benefit regulations there will be a high proportion of appeals – another cost. Add to that the cost of HR staff dealing with the inevitable flood of letters, queries and complaints, and it will eventually dawn on the Chief Constable that a programe of reviews is a very bad idea.
The management of NP are not that switched on! Consider if the Director of HR was historically a YTS…. many wonder what talents got them where they are!
One minute you are a hero. A few years down the line you are a zero. Why? Because you are costing the PPA money from his budget. He can spend what is rightly yours on some other more deserving scheme. When they say it isn’t about saving money they LIE. Just look at the documents above. What can’t speak don’t lie. There it is in black and white. What we have known all along. All we can do is fight this injustice and there corrupt attempts to rewrite the Regulations. Stay strong and together and then we will beat them by complying with the law. Unlike them. Don’t become a zero like them.
The report is an unevidenced pile of crock!.
The mass review programme has cost far more than they will ever admit and that’s without taking into account cost of staffing, OHU, SMP, HR or Legal expenses. Frightening that the author of the report is a Director on £90k+ P/A.
What’s more worrying is if they are this incompetent with IOD’s, who trusts them to get the pensions right for the officers who did their 30 without being injured on duty 🥴
The impact of this on all IOD’s and there families is disgusting and stressful. It is not a charitable gesture or hand out, the injury pension has been paid for by pension contributions made by the officer throughout their service. To take this away in the name of saving money by the continual under hand tactics is wrong, unfair and quite concerning. The impact on current IOD’s is bad enough but I see a real danger amongst serving officers who are becoming increasingly concerned about their demise should the worst happen…the knock on effects of this longer term could be catastrophic for the police service as we know it…!
Whatever has happened to our society? How have we gone from caring for our sick and wounded, to this current state, epitomised by Northumbria Police’s approach to their pensioners?
There is no care, no help, no support, or any consideration at all for former officers injured protecting their communities. They are just not interested, as they are seen as a hindrance in this modern age where money is the God of everything and every dirty trick is played on them in an attempt to reduce the ‘burden’ these brave Officers present to the force budget.
Surely its not true that every time a Northumbria Police pensioner dies, the Force management, toast to the savings now to be made by not paying their pensions, or is it?
I hope and pray that one day Karma will address the balance!
IODPA and our unity have started to ‘turn the tide’. Stay strong together.
Well at least there is one thing in favour of Northumbria, and this despicable report, in that they were honest for the reason behind wanting to commence the reviews which was to try and save money.
Unlike Staffordshire who have categorically stated on more than one occasions that the reviews have nothing to do with saving money, but to ensure that recipients were in the correct band. The PPA, Gareth Morgan, in his infamous Christmas message in 2017 (which can be seen in full on this site) stated:-
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.
So if he wasn’t interested in the money why mention the cost in the very next sentence?
We all know why and this is because Northumbria and indeed Staffordshire are hoping to reduce their spending by carrying out these unlawful mass reviews.
Those affected, and those on the sidelines in areas where reviews are not taking place need to stand firm together, because believe me, if the Home Office get their way all forces will soon be following suit with similar abhorrent and unlawful treatment of those unfortunate enough to have had their career and livelihood snatched away from them through no fault of their own, doing the job they loved, and protecting the public they served.
Not sure that Northumbria were that honest. Unsure if this report was available or exhibited at the Northumbria vs D Curry ET.
LAK repeatedly stated in the public court that Northumbria were conducting statutory reviews and that ‘she’ had a statutory duty to review.
More importantly, she denied that Northumbria were reviewing for financial reasons……… of course her bosses report completely negates what she said……. wonder if it was disclosed.
Yet again it is obvious that this force is not conducting the reviews because there is substantial evidence in the change of condition of affected officers, rather than its blanket review of all IOD officers and a fishing exercise to see if we can save money.
If these forces carried out the reviews properly and in accordance with the regulations then the IOD officers would have to comply, but when they do not comply with the regulations and also use under hand tactics to try and reduce awards what do they expect the officers to do. It is obvious that these forces have forgotten about their IOD officers who served the force and the local community loyally exposing themselves to all sorts of risks and putting themselves in harms way. Years ago these officers were supported and treated properly nowadays the cheque book rules and its all about saving money regardless of the outcome. How about clawing some money back from these PCCs who have been allowed to build mini empires costing far more than the old police authorities ever did. And also reducing the over inflated wages of senior officers and t bonuses they recieve.
One rule for them and a different rule for everyone else.
This amounts to no more than a fishing expedition in the hope that these reviews may uncover a reason to reduce IOD pensions, thereby making savings to NP budgets. It also shows Mrs Lawson has a lot of time on her hands, and we know what is said about the devil finds work for idle hands.
It seems the Chief Constable and Mrs Lawson are on the same sheet.
Perhaps it would be better all round if Mr Keenan set Mrs Lawson away on tasks that would fill her idle hands, answering questions such as, where, we ask, are the rehabilitation programmes designed to help injured disabled officers adapt to life outside the force? Where do we see HR providing support and care to the families of injured disabled officers? Where is there any assistance in helping injured disabled pensioners finding work?
It seems to be the case that in Northumbria the Chief Constable – Winton Keenen (pictured) has forgotten entirely about his duty of care towards former officers. That is if he were ever aware of having such a duty, or even cared.
Mrs Lawson appears to be on a path of making a name for herself, and appears happy to trample over former injured officers with physical and mental injuries to achieve this aim. After all, she has been promoted to Director of people and Development on a salary just short of £95,000 in 2017 from her previous role of HR Director which she held in 2015. (The date of this report) She seems to have a thing about making savings as her profile says “Significant achievements included the creation of bespoke specialist performance management frameworks which resulted in financial efficiencies of up to 30 %.” Northumbria seem to be a force with too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
With a hierarchy so focused on savings by any means, and using some of those savings to award the hierarchy with promotions and wage increases, I worry about the future of currently serving officers, who might now think twice about getting involved in an incident where they could get injured. This hierarchy will not hesitate to duck out of awarding injury on duty awards, nor will they shy away from reducing IOD’s using Doctors whom they employ, train, and direct in how to carry out their duties.
They will look after each other as they are bedfellows in this matter.
Northumbria ‘forgot’ to invite the widow and family to the 25th Anniversary memorial service in memory of Bill Forth (RIP)! I think, that action alone sums up how much support Northumbria Police have given, and do give, to both their fallen and injured on duty officers…………. nice photo opportunity for Northumbria Police, no one noticed that they didn’t forget to invite the media.
What Century can we move on from this?
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