Thames Valley Police (‘TVP’) lead the way in how Injury on Duty reviews should be carried out and if they do indeed, follow the process as described by their National Association of Retired Police Officers Secretary (‘NARPO’), they should be applauded and praised.
We are extremely pleased to read this publication from TVP’s NARPO Secretary. NARPO and the Federation have been involved from the outset and it appears that Reg 37(1) reviews will be conducted in exactly the way we have been campaigning for.
TVP IOD pensioners have been well represented by both organisations and we thank them wholeheartedly.
IODPA have never had a problem with reviews being held as long as they are conducted fairly, compassionately and in accordance with the Regulations and all relevant caselaw.
We are delighted that it seems that TVP are going to do just that.
Thames Valley NARPO have released a circulation explaining how the process will be carried out, how the procedure was agreed following consultation with NARPO, the Police Federation and the Force administration.
Here is the relevant section of the NARPO newsletter –TVP NARPO
We commend the approach by Chief Constable Habgood (pictured above) and his team for showing the way the review process should be carried out. We are forever hopeful that other reviewing forces will take note.
If anyone is concerned at any impending reviews, please contact us at using our contact form above where we will be able to support and assist.
31 thoughts on “Thames Valley Police Lead The Way With Ethical Injury Reviews”
We can live in hope in staffs, maybe Morgan will retire and let someone who is genuinely interested in providing a good police service for its people instead of providing good furnishings for his new house in the lake District take the helm, I wouldn’t wipe my bits on his tunic for fear of catching a nasty dose
Different tactics employed maybe as it is apparent to anyone with an ounce of common sense that Morgans blundering and bullying ways of dealing with reviews won’t work.
I had a dog once. A very pretty long haired german shepherd cross collie. She was an evil bitch with people she didn’t know. She would wag her tail and wiggle round like a puppy on speed when she got a victim in sight drawing them in close as her antics were so adorable. Once she was within biting range the behaviour stopped. Her lip would go back and the sheer look of evil on her face was a terrifying sight. No matter how many times I told people to stay away from her there would be the odd ones who ignored the warnings and blundered in bewitched by her apparent lovely nature. They got bitten!!!
I hope TVP aren’t going to be like my old dog.
I knew her, I trusted her, but you never ever dropped your guard with her and TVP need to be treated likewise.
I wonder whether the artist known has NAMF or a certain lawyer from Northumbria have tried to influence this process. When I was was IHR from a Midlands force my FMA mentioned Nicolas Wirz. I pointed out the number of JRs that Northumbria had lost and asked him to speak to our own legal, guess what, the Wirz training was deemed defective.
Why are one group and one lawyer trying to tell other .CCs how to get on When they have lost the cases of Howarth, Crudace, Simpson, Fisher x 2, Curry ET.
Mr Wirz I’m at law school I’ll be happy to loose a load of cases for you in exchange for loads of money.
If something seems to be good to be true, it usually is.
I think that alarm bells will sound with many whenever the Home Office are mentioned; it normally means that dastardly deeds are afoot. It is difficult to believe that the H.O. would be involved in such a compassionate and legal approach. They have had an axe to grind for too many years to readily agree and accept such a conciliatory approach unless this is a new tactic. “Will you walk in to my parlour said the spider to the fly” springs to mind.
The full on attacks of dishonesty, manipulation and intimidation of IODs elsewhere have not seemed to have had the desired effect, and have been overwhelmingly unsuccessful. This will are not have been more evident than in Staffs where H.O.s chief and willing executioner Gareth Morgan his henchmen are presently ensconced, and will no doubt confirm, in private at least.
I do hope that I am wrong, if so all of those in TVP who have been involved in what appears to be a more humane approach are to be congratulated for their endeavours which will bring peace of mind to IODs in TVP to whom I send my best wishes.
I like others will wait and see.
It is great to start 2019 with a bit of good news for a change. On the face of it this seems a genuine attempt at carrying out ‘reviews’ according to the spirit and letter of the regs. As others have said, the apparent involvement of the Home Office is baffling and a little worrying but if they have given every force a similar nudge, maybe we will see others adopting a similar response. Time will tell but in the meantime we can only applaud this as a good step in the right direction. If it is seen to work in TVP then there is no legitimate reason why any other Force should act any differently (unless of course they are being advised by by the likes of Wirtz)
Great news, a police service that wants to follow both statute and case law!
Probably advisable to get a GP letter to evidence no change as it is a legal process.
Let’s hope that NARPO have reported what TVP are actually planning.
Hmmmm…is it too good to be true??
I certainly hope TVP are true to their words, but, as others have commented …’at the behest of the Home Office’, is worrying…
Could Andrew Coley be moving south???
Given the history, I do not associate the word “ethical” with TVP and I do wonder what we should take from the expressions “at the behest of the Home Office” and “compliant with it’s obligations”. I will watch how this all pans out with trepidation.
There is much to commend in the approach of TVP regarding this issue and it is refreshing to see an approach which is more in line with that required by the ‘Regulations.’ However history has provided many lessons and therefore IOD’s within TVP need to adopt a cautious approach to this process. For instance the statement that the reviews are at the ‘Behest of the Home Office’ indicates a ‘Mass Review Process’ rather than an individual consideration but generally the adopted process in TVP on the face of it appears to approach the subject in line with what was intended by the ‘Regulations.
The Home Office cannot instruct a Chief Constable to commence reviews. This instruction if correct is contrary to the statements often made by the Home Office when questioned about matters on ‘Reviews.’ The Home Office standard response is to state it is a matter for the individual Chief Constable and the individual ‘Force’ so if the ‘Instruction’ has been received and I do not doubt the NARPO representative for a moment then the Home Office needs to clarify their position. Perhaps someone can provide a copy of the document from the Home Office to TVP providing this direction?
If I sound suspicious and cynical then it is with good reason because I have seen the process taking place in Staffordshire where Mr Morgan has decided to be Judge, Jury and ‘Executioner’ whilst presiding over that unlawful review process. Or perhaps it is a process also directed by the Home Office. The contrast between the proposed process in TVP and that being conducted in Staffordshire is so far apart you would think there are two sets of Regulations on how ‘Reviews’ are conducted.
In the mind of Mr Morgan there is;
You see he wants a set of ‘Regulations’ reflecting what he wants to achieve. The idea that the process has to comply with the existing Regulations is so yesterday. Far more savings to be made if you can manipulate the Regulations to fit your own process rather than having to conform to what is required. Now before someone comes on here and starts bleating about the use of ‘Public Money’ to pay the pensions let me remind you the pensions were issued to the individuals based on a regulated and defined process involving Doctors and the decisions made by the then Chief Constable and ratified by the members of the Police Authority. In other words after due scrutiny and legal process. Every Injury award granted is subject of that process.
So the question raised is if TVP can conduct a ‘Review Process’ applied to all IOD’s regardless of Age or Banding by means of a simple question relating to the issue of ‘No Substantial Change’ then what on earth is Chief Constable Morgan playing at when he has refused to accept that statement, sending out ‘Automatic’ appointments, to those who will not complete his unlawful ‘Fishing Trip Questionnaire’ or refusing to provide access to their Medical Records. For those who think of the ‘Public Purse’ this involves Mr Morgan or perhaps the PCC Mr Ellis awarding expensive publicly funded contracts to private companies who then sub contract Doctors to act as the selected medical practitioner to the tune of £750 per interview and they have been known to conduct 7 or 8 a day.
Why do I relate the above when the issue is about TVP? well I think you need to be aware that any mention of the Home Office and Injury Award Reviews tends to make me quite suspicious so to all those in TVP just be aware that the process may well be perfectly legitimate and welcome but it may also be a very carefully constructed process related to the same motivation as in Staffordshire. To save money.
I sincerely hope I am wrong and TVP are acting in good faith and with due regard to the ‘Regulations’ Case Law and the individual IOD.
I will reserve judgement on this until the first TVP (and Hampshire as they share a lot of services with TVP) IODs report back.
Well well well, if this is true, and accurate, then the world has become a better place.
I’m not convinced by this. Yes, absolutely we need to take these words by NARPO at face value. However, TVP have always treated their pensioners with contempt, historically.
This appears too good to be true.
Well done to the organisations involved.
I will watch this space in twelve months time and see if we are all saying the same thing…. I fear we won’t be.
They have been ordered to do reviews by the H.O? The same H.O who states that they have nothing to do with reviews and it is down to the discretion of the PPAs of each individual force?
Something smells fishy. I implore all pensioners from TVP to tread careful, to contact IODPA, NARPO branch or the main Fed branch.
” ….at the behest of the Home Office” is what concerns me the most about this Narpo letter. The HO 46/2004 ‘advice of the Home Office’ was a biggie and unlawful. The Regulations are clear enough and do not contain the word ‘review’ anywhere.
I would have felt better if this letter had been written by the TVP CC.
I hope I am proven wrong.
A review process which:
+ Shows sensitivity and respect towards those who have served.
+ Doesn’t attempt to reduce the award by taking post-retirement health into account.
+ Doesn’t impinge unnecessarily on privacy.
+ Reassures and does not impose stress on the vulnerable.
+ Does not assume that IODs are in receipt of more than they deserve.
+ Is transparently not a cost cutting exercise or a fishing trip.
+ Has been carefully carried out with proper consultation
+ Accords with the law.
In other words ALL the ways in which other forces, notably Staffordshire are NOT carrying out their reviews. Perhaps Morgan and his gang should look carefully at what has happened here.
I also think there may be an equality issue if one force is treating its IODs so markedly different to another.
I wonder if Kevin Kirby will read this…….
Have I just dreamt this ? Pinch me……
Well done TVP, NARPO and all parties involved including IODPA.
No IOD has ever been against reviews conducted fairly, what we were objecting was the way some Forces (namely Staffordshire & Northumbria) are going against the Regulations and recent case law.
Let’s hope that those Forces who continue to use dubious techniques, to reduce bandings, to save them their legal obligations to their Injured on Duty Pensioners see sense.
Let’s all hope that the Forces named above will stop unlawfully collating unrelated medical information, start complying to the Police Regulations and comply to ICO guidance and see the correct way in which injury on duty reviews should be conducted.
A good day for all IOD’s unless of course you are an IOD in Staffs or Northumbria…………
It appears that at least one police service in the UK has a sense of fair play and integrity.
This looks like very welcome news, not just to disabled former officers from Thames Valley Police who are on an injury pension, but to all IOD pensioners across the country.
However, the devil is in the detail, and the announcement raises several questions.
TVP has around 400 former officers in receipt of injury pensions. Letters will be sent out at a rate of 10 a month – that’s 120 a year. It will therefore take three years and four months to contact all pensioners. Three years in which those who will qualify for an increase in their injury pension will not be paid what would otherwise be due to them on conclusion of a positive review confirming their degree of disablement has altered substantially.
Similarly, in those three years some pensioners will continue to be paid more pension than is justified, should they have experienced a substantial improvement in their disability.
Based on such data as is available, TVP can anticipate that around 7% of pensioners will qualify for an increased in injury pension, and some 10% will appear to be due to have their pensions reduced. The latter figure will in reality be lower as there will be successful appeals should the SMP or the police pension authority have made any errors in fact or law in the reassessment of degree of disablement.
What is the logic behind sending out only 10 letters a month? If NARPO have correctly reported the process, the police pension authority is content to know it has fully discharged its duty under regulation 37 to ‘consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered’ when it gets a reply stating the individual believes there has been no ‘considerable ‘ change in their disablement arising from the duty injury. Surely, TVP should be sending out letters to all of its IOD pensioners, in one go? It could then schedule SMP appointments for those who reply that they have indeed experienced a ‘considerable’ improvement or worsening of their disablement.
How are the recipients of the letters to be selected? Randomly, by alphabetical order, by degree of disablement, geography, age? NARPO does not appear to know, but the IOD pensioners surely should be told how they are to be selected to receive a letter. TVP needs to be very wary of contravening age and disability discrimination law,
I don’t mean to be sniffy about NARPO and the Federation’s efforts in bringing about what appears to be a much more humane and responsible, indeed, lawful, application of regulation 37, but there is some cause for concern when we see casual paraphrasing of the Regulations. It casts doubt on the level of understanding the pensioner’s representatives have of the Regulations. For example, we read that, ‘You will receive a letter from Sam inviting you to participate in a reconsideration of your degree of disablement.’ Regulation 37 speaks of a ‘reassessment’ not a ‘reconsideration’. The two words might seem to be interchangeable, but in regulation 32 ‘reconsideration’ has a very specific meaning. Under regulation 37 a police pension authority is required to make a consideration not a reconsideration. It considers whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered. It does not reconsider the degree of disablement. If the police pension authority is told by a pensioner that their degree of disablement might have improved or worsened substantially, then the police pension authority tasks a doctor to assess whether there in fact has been a substantial alteration, and then, and only then, can the doctor go on to determine the extent of the alteration and thus arrive at a new degree of disablement.
The next big unanswered question is, what happens when a letter does not elicit a reply from the pensioner? NARPO is silent on this matter, yet it will be a real possibility that some pensioners will, for whatever reason, not make a reply.
Then there is the matter of welfare. What has TVP, NARPO and the Federation put in place to manage the inevitable stress and worry which these letters will engender? It is a given that pensioners will not have any understanding of the injury benefit regulations. When they see that their ‘award’ might be reduced, some will leap to the false conclusion that this means the gratuity they were given might have to be repaid in part or whole. Some, especially but not exclusively, who have mental injury – which is very frequently one or more of the anxiety based conditions, such as PTSD or depression – are extremely vulnerable to the kind of stress even a pleasantly worded letter can cause. To some, even the sight of an official letter from TVP will be enough to destabilise them.
It should also be borne in mind that pensioners will, for sure, have no idea what is meant by ‘a considerable change’. Goodness knows, many, many SMPs and HR managers have difficulty with the concept of degree of disablement, as applied within the Regulations. For pensioners it is an unfathomable unknown. TVP needs to think about this, with a view to helping pensioners understand the rather narrow and specific factors which come into play when considering alteration in degree of disablement. NARPO is right though, when it says that it believes most pensioners will be taking the right course of action by declaring they believe their disability has not changed. The statistics support this view, as of all reviews conducted in the five years 2011 to 2015 some 83% resulted in a decision there had been no alteration – a figure which increases when successful appeals against reductions in degree of disablement are taken into account.
I’ve left for last what may be the biggest question – NARPO say that TVP is commencing reviews, ‘at the behest of the Home Office’. We know that, back in 2010, the Home Office, frightened by the mess it had made with the unlawful guidance issued in its infamous Annex C to circular 46/2004, and wary of an upcoming judicial review case, advised all forces to suspend all planned reviews. The Home Office then suffered a series of setbacks in various hearings. So much so that it decided not to offer any further guidance. Since then, there are strong suspicions the Home Office has been quietly influencing certain individuals in authority as means of testing the water with reviews.
So, is it just TVP which has received encouragement from the Home Office to commence reviews? Or have all forces received similar encouragement? And, if so, why now, and what what lays behind the decision of the Home Office to suggest forces should run mass review programmes? It could be entirely innocuous – a simple reminder to all police pension authorities they have a conditional discretion under regulation 37 to check whether degree of disablement has substantially altered, and to revise the amount of pension paid should conditions warrant it. Or it could be something much more sinister.
There will be more questions needing answers once TVP commences its review programme. Meanwhile, NARPO and the Federation should be congratulated for working with the force to construct what promises to be a hugely welcome departure from the aggressive, ill-tempered, obstinate, unlawful and just plain nasty nonsense we have seen from the likes of Staffordshire and Northumbria.
This is refreshing to see that if they do as they say regulations are being used as they were intended
Let’s hope if the officer states no significant change and maybe supplements this with a doctors letter then hopefully they will be left alone and allowed to enjoy their retirement without fear and intimidation as we are feel now
Well done TVP let’s see how it plans out in operation
Now that is a step in the correct direction. Well done TVP for leading the way. Are you listening Northumbria and Staffs??? Bit concerned about the reviews being at the behest of the Home Office, thought they didn’t make recommendations as it interferes with the discretion PPA have on whether to review or not? Still, that said, well done TVP for bringing reviews out of the dark ages!!!
Reviews carried out at the behest of the Home Office, that is a bit disturbing. The reason being is that if you contact the Home Office with regards to reviews their stock answer is “ we do not get involved in reviews it is down to the individual force”
I truly hope that this is the beginning of a new era where upon IOD’s are treated fairly and reviews are carried out correctly we can only hope.
Let’s watch this space.
About f&*$ing time. !!!
Am I right in thinking that this means they are not forcing a review of the original award unless you participate in the review? Therefor the only point in participating is if you believe the original award was too low or your injury has worsened? If you decline the offer, produce no evidence etc can they then review in your absence with what little information they have and reduce the award arbitrary or will no review take place? It would appear that can’t now happen. This is a great step forward but I think maybe some explanation/interpretation of just what this means would be useful. I was in the Met and was granted an Injury Award in the 1980’s, I appealed the degree and it was increased on review before a medical panel of three Doctors. I was told at that time that as I had won the appeal the award could not be reviewed again by the force. I am happy with the result of the appeal and any reduction now would severely affect financial decisions I have made for the rest of my life based on that ongoing pension.
Common sense at last is being shown. Other forces please note that this is the way forward. No bullying, no threats, no intimidation or rewriting of the Regulations. A ray of sunshine in a dark murky period. Let us hope it works.
Thames Valley Police, NARPO and the Police Federation are to be congratulated for their undoubted hard work in resolving this issue and and determining exactly how the process of consideration of substantial change should be conducted.
Simply ask the former officer if his injury has considerably changed and if it has not, ask them to make a declaration to that effect.
As Police Officers they were rightly held to high standards of honesty and integrity, so how come some forces are treating these same people as if they are criminals now they are in receipt of an Injury on Duty Award?.
From the very start certain Chief Constables have acted in a dictatorial and aggressive fashion where they have attempted to bully their way forward in making unreasonable and frankly unlawful demands accompanied with threats of pension suspension or reduction for information to which they are not entitled.
The reason is that those certain Chief Constables are determined to find ways of reducing their pension budget and are deluding themselves into thinking they have the authority to make up rules as it suits them in pursuit of making those savings They are clearly banking on the false assumption that as individuals IOD pensioners would not be able to able to challenge them.
The behaviour and attitude of certain Chief Constables in dealing with IOD pensioners is simply reprehensible and lets not forget their Police Crime Commissioners who are no doubt also involved, all at the behest of the Home Office.
If this report is true then we have the Chief Constable of Thames Valley who is the exact opposite, and in his capacity as the Police Pension Authority is intending to deal with the IOD reviews with integrity, professionalism and in an fair, and lawful manner.
We trust that other Forces can follow suit.
It appears to be a force with a leader who has a morale Compass lets hope the words are followed by actions – they would become a leading light and one other forces would be well advised to think of following.
Let us hope that the proposed reviews by Thames Valley Police of its Injury On Duty Pensioners is as open, transparent, considerate and trusting as the NARPO letter appears to believe it will be. If it becomes a true example of the way it should be done, then congratulations to TVP and let’s hope that Staffordshire and Northumbria learn what can happen if one approaches things in in an appropriate manner.
How refreshing! A police force who actually want to do Injury on Duty pension award reviews according to the regulations and stated case law. I’m sure all the IOD’s concerned will welcome the honest and open approach, so the Chief Constable is to be commended.
Every other Govt benefit trusts the recipient to be honest and report change, no matter what that person did, or didn’t do as a career. Somehow, retired police officers are viewed by certain police chiefs, as persons of dubious honesty and they cannot be trusted, especially if they state ‘no substantial change’. Remember, these former officers have upheld the law, been honest, but are considered less trustworthy than general members of the public.
It’s also a shame, that other Chief Constables are not as honest, as Thames Valley. Look particulary at Staffordshire and Northumbria, who show the other side of the coin; who by devious and unlawful practices, desperately try to reduce costs of these pensions by spurious means, often help by SMP’s whose ethics must also be considered questionable.
Perhaps, they will learn from the Thames Valley approach, I hope so, as the cynic in me says, they will try to get TV to change to their vicious approach.
Whatever happens, I can see some awkward questions for those Chiefs when finally they are asked to explain their approach versus this more honest one of Thames Valley.
No doubt they will argue, just like they do to any ICO decision, that it only affects the force the complaint arises in and not them, even when the ruling obviously relates to common practice across the UK 43 forces.
If the Thames Valley approach is successful, then maybe the College of Policing will ask for it to be rolled out as the process for all of the UK, rather than encouraging the underhand Staffs/Northumbria version.
OMG. I Can’t believe what I have just read. How refreshing to see a Force which actually cares about it’s IOD’s and is doing reviews for the right reason.
This needs to be crirculated to the likes of Gareth Morgan and his Northumbrian counterpart to see what their views on this are.
I look forward to see what happens next.
If only the rest would have the same compassion and sense to follow TVP!
I live in hope.
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