GDPR

Surrey And Sussex Police Have A Candidate For File 13

Surrey And Sussex Police Have A Candidate For File 13

File 13” is a euphemism for the trash can or waste paper basket.

 

Our attention has been drawn to a document entitled “Managing Police Officer and Police Staff Ill Health Retirement Policy (Surrey and Sussex) (542/2019)“, which can be found on the Sussex Police website. It is a joint force policy between Surrey and Sussex Police on the management of ill-health retirement, injury awards and subsequent reviews. This policy document is annotated on the bottom as belonging to the “People Services Department (Occupational Health)” of Surrey and Sussex Police.

You can find a copy at the following link:

https://www.sussex.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/foi-media/sussex/policies/managing-police-officer-and-police-staff-ill-health-retirement-policy-surrey-and-sussex-5422019.pdf

Or you can read a copy, duplicated below.

managing-police-officer-and-police-staff-ill-health-retirement-policy-surrey-and-sussex-5422019

 

There are so many things wrong with this document that it’s difficult to know where to start.

It is probably fair to say that the overall feel of this official multi-force policy is one of dislike or even contempt of injured officers, as is evident from its frequent references to any non-defined ‘failure to co-operate’ being met with punitive measures.

We’ve selected, replicated and highlighted some of the worst sections of this policy document with our comments under each section. However, we will begin with the one section which is uncontentious.

 

3.1 This is a sensitive issue with personal and financial implications for the individual and the force. It must be
administered with sensitivity, understanding and confidentiality

The policy starts off well and we agree with their sentiments whole heartedly. Sensitivity, understanding and confidentiality are all words we use when describing how forces should be treating their injured officers, but it all goes downhill after here.

 

3.10 An individual will remain on their current pay status (full/half or nil pay) once they have made their application for IHR, unless they fail to co-operate with the process. Once authority is given for the individual to be ill health retired, they will revert to full pay.

Note: Chief constables have the lawful discretion to reduce the pay of officers who are ill or injured and thus not able to perform the full ordinary duties of a constable.

There are two things wrong with this statement, the first is that the policy states that if officers have already had their pay reduced, they will remain on their current level of pay until they have completed the ill-health retirement process and it is confirmed that they are likely to be retired; secondly, there is clear intent within this statement that if the officer fails to co-operate with the process, they will be further reduced.

The circumstances under which an officer’s pay may be reduced derives from section 28 of the Police Regulations 2003, which allows the chief constable discretionary powers to retain or reduce an officers pay during periods of sickness.

Police Negotiating Board (‘PNB’) Circular 05/01 provides specific guidance to chief constables to grant discretionary sick pay to officers who have been on sick leave for more than six months.

Section 7 of this guidance reads –

7. Whilst each case must be considered individually, the PNB considers it would generally be appropriate for chief officers to exercise the discretion favourably where:

  • The chief officer is satisfied that the officer’s incapacity is directly attributable to an injury or illness that was sustained or contracted in the execution of his/her duty or
  • The officer is suffering from an illness which may prove to be terminal; or
  • The case is being considered in accordance with the PNB Joint Guidance on Improving the Management of Ill Health and the police authority has referred the issue of whether the officer is permanently disabled to a selected medical practitioner
  • The Force Medical Adviser advises that the absence is related to a disability as defined by the DDA* (*”A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”) and the chief officer considers that it would be a “reasonable adjustment” to extend sick pay, generally speaking to allow (further) reasonable adjustments to be made to enable the officer to return to work.

Whilst there is no explicit statutory obligation on the part of chief officers to have regard to this guidance, in the case of Weed, R (On the Application Of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2020], it was accepted that it would have been unlawful to ignore the guidance.

It is clear, under point three (above), that once an officer has been referred for consideration of ill-health retirement, the chief constable should seriously consider reinstating the officer to full pay.

What has to be realised here is that officers can become ill through no fault of their own with physical or mental injuries, or sometimes a combination of both. It is not uncommon with mental health injuries for the officer to suffer from severe PTSD. This can seriously impair their cognitive function and ability to comply with requests or process information. Despite this, it is clear in the policy that there is no compassion or support regardless of the officer’s injury, but instead there is a clear statement that that non-compliance will trigger a further reduction.

Our point is that non-compliance may not be deliberate, negligent or willful, but may well be caused by the effects of the injury or illness. The policy makes no recognition of this possibility

The PNB guidance goes on to say there should be monthly reviews of the officer’s situation. This policy document ignores the guidance as there is no mention of monthly reviews.

 

5.2

Where such claims are substantiated at a later date and the application has been made within a year of the date, of the last day of service, for the officer, payment of the injury award will be backdated to the day after, the last day of Service.

This section unmistakably implies that if an application for an injury pension is not made within a year of the retirement date of the pensioner, the force will not backdate payment to the applicant. We’d be interested to hear from Surrey or Sussex where in the regulations or current case law this approach is permitted?

Regulation 43 of The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 (‘PIBR’), states that the pension of a member of a police force under these Regulations shall be payable in respect of each year as from the date of his retirement.

It is widely accepted (by most forces) that an injury pension is payable from the date of retirement, unless the date of injury cannot be established, in which case, it would be the date of claim.

If Surrey and Sussex police need further persuading, we suggest that they look at the cases of Tully and North Wales police and Kelly and Chief Constable Of South Yorkshire Police.

In Tully, The court decided, ‘First, we are satisfied that Parliament intended that, generally speaking, pension entitlements under these regulations should be payable from the date of an officer’s retirement unless or until that was limited or excluded by operation of an express provision to that effect elsewhere in the same regulations.’

In Kelly the court held that Sgt Kelly’s case ought to have been referred by the South Yorkshire Police Authority to the SMP in 2005 and that the chief constable was attempting to gain a windfall from his predecessor’s breach of its legal duty by failing to pay the back-dated pension. The Judge held that the scheme of the regulations provided that, once a police pension was awarded, it was payable for the life of the officer from the date of retirement. Hence, he directed the chief constable to pay the backdated pay in full and with interest from the date of the award

 

5.3

This is to be illustrated as the percentage by which the individual’s police salary would fall, in order to reach the level of salary likely to be commanded in another occupation despite the injury. The SMP in such cases may be the FMA.

The suggestion that the Force Medical Adviser (‘FMA’) may act in such cases is not good practice, and we don’t know why it has ever been suggested. The whole purpose of the Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’) is that they are supposed to be non-partisan and independent.

Published on the 4 May 2007, a Home Office (‘HO’) paper entitled “GUIDANCE ON MEDICAL APPEALS” states the following,

5. Where the police authority decides to refer the case to the SMP it should normally be via the force medical adviser (FMA). The purpose of the FMA’s advice is to inform not determine the assessment by the SMP on whether the officer is permanently disabled.

Yet again, it seems as though the author of this paper is blissfully unaware of any of the HO or PNB guidance.

Note: Police Pension Authorities would be negligent if they failed to consider guidance, but guidance is not law and need not be followed. Surrey and Sussex’s policy makes no reference to any guidance, so we are left in the dark as to whether it was considered or not. We add that certain Home Office guidance has in the recent past been determined to be flawed, to the point of being unlawful. PPA’s need to be cautious of blindly following guidance to the same degree that they need to be sure to consider it. The various Regulations are the law which PPA’s must abide by, and this policy document is deficient in that respect.

Surrey and Sussex’s policy casually departs from statutory limitations. Bells and whistles are added with no apparent rationale, and devoid of legal underpinning.

 

6.1 When an officer disagrees with the decision of the PPA not to accept a claim for ill health retirement or injury award and to refer questions to an SMP, the officer may appeal the decision to the Crown Court (PPR and PIBR refers). In such cases the police officer will be asked to complete an appropriate medical records consent form and such records will be sought from the officers GP.

Whilst it is correct that if the Police Pension Authority (‘PPA’) refuse to admit a claim for an injury award, the officer may refer the matter to the Crown Court for arbitration, there is no provision under the PIBR for forces to be able to demand medical records as a consequence. We have to question why the force would only be requesting the necessary medical records at this stage? Surely they would have needed them in order to have made a balanced decision to refuse the application to start with?

 

6.2 Where the officer is considered permanently disabled, the SMP will complete a report, relevant to the questions raised by the PPA in accordance with the relevant PPR that affect that officer and the officer will be formally notified of the decision in writing, by the PPA.

Medical reports completed by the SMP should be released to the officer first, who should be able correct any factual errors before it is released to the PPA.

 

7.3 Where an injury award is payable, the PPA shall consider whether the degree of disablement has substantially altered in accordance with the advice of the SMP who determined the injury award and if it has, the award will be revised accordingly in accordance with PIBR.

In determining the degree of disablement in this process, the PPA shall refer the matter to an SMP (the FMA may act in this role), who will be required to deal with it in accord with PIBR and will issue a report accordingly.

Let’s compare what has been written in the policy with the actual PIBR. The policy states “the PPA shall consider whether the degree of disablement has substantially altered“, whereas regulation 37(1) actually says “the police authority shall, at such intervals as may be suitable, consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered“.

A small, but important omission, as the PPA is not entitled to conduct a reassessment of an injury pension unless there has been a suitable interval. A suitable interval is not defined, but in “The Queen on the Application of Turner v The Police Medical Appeal Board” it was said “suitable intervals suggests that this is not a matter which should be revisited every year, nor is it.

This means that it is not open for the force to simply review at will without due consideration as to whether a suitable interval has passed. The policy thus puts the cart before the horse. It intimates that a SMP will exercise a remarkable ability to predict the future by recommending to the PPA when a disabled officer’s degree of disablement might alter substantially. The plain fact is that nobody, not even a doctor, can tell what the future holds.

The policy places a fetter on the discretion required of PPAs as to whether or when to consider the matter of substantial alteration in degree of disablement. It commits the PPA to a future action, based on nothing more than the opinion of a SMP.

This latter section, again suggests that it is appropriate for the FMA to act in the role of the SMP, when it is not. See the answer we gave to 5.3

 

7.5 The final part of the review process will involve an assessment by the SMP who will initially address the apparent disablement of the individual being reviewed, if necessary during private consultation and examination.

Reading this one line caused us outrage. The use of the word ‘apparent’ is highly offensive and clearly speaks volumes of how these two forces value and think of their injured and disabled pensioners. One dictionary definition of ‘apparent’ is ‘seeming true but not necessarily so’. So their obvious suggestion here is that pensioners are ‘pulling a fast one’ and there are no real injuries or illnesses.

Let us also point out that this approach is also unlawful. Once an SMP makes a determination in relation to a pensioners level of disability, that position is a given, and any subsequent reviews are a comparison exercise between that stated position and today. No ifs, or buts, you cannot question or revisit previous decisions or conduct a fresh assessment.

 

7.7 An individual subject to a review and living abroad, may be directed to see an SMP within reasonable travelling distance of their homes, after consultation by the OHWD with British Authorities overseas (e.g. Embassies, Consuls, Armed Forces). Alternatively, the individual may be advised to attend a meeting with the SMP within the UK. Failure on the part of the individual to co-operate may be addressed in accordance with the PIBR.

Firstly, this section suggests that the force has the right to ‘direct’ the pensioner to do things, which is not the case. They are no longer serving officers taking orders. More importantly, it suggests that pensioners who may be living abroad can be made to return to the UK for a medical consultation. We’d be interested to see where in the PIBR it allows forces to order pensioners to return for the purposes of a medical examination? Yet again, there is the threat of consequences if they fail to co-operate, so what are those consequences?

 

8.1

If the individual wilfully or negligently fails to submit to a medical examination, or to attend such interviews as the SMP may consider necessary in order to reach a decision, the PPA may make their determination on such evidence and medical advice, as in their discretion, they think necessary.

We have already mentioned in section 7.3 how the omission of a word from the regulations can change their original meaning. With that in mind, lets look at what has been written in the policy “the individual wilfully or negligently fails to submit to a medical examination“. That’s not what the PIBR say. What it actually says in regulation 33 is the the following “the person concerned wilfully or negligently fails to submit himself to such medical examination“.

Have you spotted the difference? The word “himself” is missing. So what is the significance of this? The word “himself” implies “the person” i.e. the pensioner should attend in person where they may be questioned or examined about their current level of disability. The statement “failing to submit to a medical examination” is far broader than just the person. It implies and could be argued that the medical examination also includes the authority to demand and examine medical records or other medical information about the pensioner which is not a requirement of the regulations.

SMPs can request, but not demand, access to medical records. They can ask a pensioner any relevant questions they think necessary to their task. However, we see nothing in the Regulations that allows anyone, SMP or other, to require or demand access. Nor do we see any legal authority in any other legislation which allows access without express informed permission from the data subject.

 

8.2 To assist with this determination, individuals who fail to co-operate, or only co-operate conditionally, will be provided with an appointment to see the SMP at their clinic, or other location specified by the PPA.

This section is absolutely nonsensical. It’s suggesting that pensioners whose injury pensions are being reviewed that are not co-operating will be referred to an an SMP in order to assist the PPA make a determination under regulation 33.

However regulation 30(2)(d) is clear, that if the PPA is considering revising an injury pension, the PPA has an obligation to refer the matter to the SMP,

30(2) Subject to paragraph (3), where the police authority are considering whether a person is permanently disabled, they shall refer for decision to a duly qualified medical practitioner selected by them the following questions—



(d) the degree of the person’s disablement; and, if they are considering whether to revise an injury pension, shall so refer question (d) above.

This means that the PPA should have already referred the pensioner to the SMP for the purposes of regulation 37(1), that being the case, why would they then refer the pensioner in order to determine regulation 33? If our understanding of this section is right, and they wish to refer the pensioner to the SMP purely for the purposes of regulation 33, then we’re happy to inform them that there is no such authority.

 

8.3 If they attend but have not completed a medical review questionnaire as supplied by OHWD, they will be provided with one by the SMP and asked to complete it forthwith. Once completed the SMP will conduct the consultation and examination but will delay any decision until the information on the questionnaire is examined by the OHWD and the appropriate report completed.

What!??? They will be “asked to complete it forthwith“. Once and only once they complete it will the SMP conduct the examination. Let’s make it unequivocally clear to the chief constables of Surrey and Sussex, there in no requirement under the PIBR to complete any medical questionnaire. Furthermore, the disclosure any of such medial questionnaire to the Occupational Health and Welfare Dept (‘OHWD’) as suggested is a series breach of ‘special category’ personal data under the General Data Protection Regulations (‘GDPR’) and will make the force liable as the data controller for this serious breach.

Let’s make it perfectly clear to Surrey and Sussex Police,  a 37(1) reassessment of an injury pension is a medical decision, and as such can only be made by a medical practitioner. It is our view, that medical data should ONLY be requested and viewed by the SMP. There is no authority or provision in the regulations for OHWD staff to paw over the personal, sensitive and private medical notes provided by a pensioner. Is this clear enough?

 

8.4 Should the individual fail to attend any meeting with the SMP, or fail to co-operate at all, the injury award percentage will be reduced to 0%, unless there are clear and unequivocal reasons for not doing so. Any subsequent appeal will be defended, or the case may be reassessed if the individual is then able to co-operate

Wow! Let’s say that again, WOW! What regulation allows the PPA to reduce the injury award to 0% if the pensioner fails to attend an SMP meeting or if they fail to co-operate at all? This is fantasy land stuff and is UNLAWFUL. Again, we believe that this is clear indication as to the contempt in which they hold those in receipt of any injury award. They should bow their heads in shame!

 

9.1 An individual will remain on their current pay status (full/half or nil pay), once the PPA have granted permission for the IHR application to proceed, unless the individual fails to co-operate with the process. Once authority is given for the individual to be medically retired, they will revert to full pay from the date the PPA authorised the ill health retirement.

In closing, we would draw your attention to the comments we made in relation to 3.10 (ante).

Clearly someone has taken a lot of time and effort in producing this dreadful document, and we can only assume that the Chief Constables of Surrey and Sussex have viewed and authorised this policy.

Chief Constable of Surrey – Gavin Stephens Chief Constable of Sussex – Giles York

We started this blog by saying that “File 13” is a euphemism for the trash can, and we’ve found a prime candidate for the use of such a receptacle.

We’d love to hear the hear the conversation between one of the chief constables and the author of this policy document when they’re summonsed to his office.

Chief Constable: “So how long did it take you prepare this policy?”

Author: “About a week.”

Chief Constable: “Well, that’s how long you’re not going to be paid for!”

Author: “Oh, okay. What do you want me to do with the policy?”

Chief Constable: “Put it in file 13, on the way out!”

Who can view your medical records?

Who can view your medical records?

Sometimes a complicated question has a simple answer

— Dr Suess

Question: “Who can view your medical records”

Simple answer: “A doctor, a doctor, or a doctor”.

Do we really need to reiterate that again? There is no requirement or legal authority for anyone to view your personal, private and sensitive medical records other than a doctor.

 

General Data Protection Regulations

Let’s start by looking at what protections there are for you and your medical records. The main one is the General Data Protection Regulations 2016/679 (‘GDPR’), tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018.

Article 4.1 GDPR defines ‘Personal data’ as follows,

‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person

 

Medical records are one step further from ‘Personal data’ and is classed as a ‘special category’ of personal data, also known as ‘sensitive personal data’,

Article 9.1 GDPR defines the processing of special categories of personal data,

Processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

 

The GDPR recognises the importance of this special category of data citing that they are subject to a higher level of protection. There are two ways in which someone may lawfully process (view) or obtain your medical records, the first is consent and the second is a statutory authority. Regardless of the authority relied upon, it doesn’t allow the uncontrolled dissemination or arbitrary viewing of your medical records.

In the world of ill-health retirement and injury awards, here are four of the most common scenarios when access may be required to your medical records,

  1. Ill-health retirement
  2. ‘Assessment for an injury award’
  3. ‘Reassessment of an injury pension’
  4. ‘Appeal to board of medical referees’, usually in response to one of the above events

For practical purposes, scenarios one and two are often considered concurrently by the Police Pension Authority (‘PPA’) as an application for an injury award will often run in parallel with ill-health retirement. Even though this frequently occurs, the necessity for access to your medical records is different in each case.

 

1. Ill-Health Retirement

When an officer applies for ill-health retirement, the PPA are ordinarily obliged to refer a number of medical questions to a Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’) under one of the police pension schemes.

It is suggested that the Force Medical Examiner (‘FMA’), who would usually have had some involvement in your case up until this point are required to provide an opinion to the SMP, as defined in Home Office (‘HO’) guidance and confirmed by Police Negotiating Board (‘PNB’) Circular 03/19,

18. In normal cases the police authority should ask the FMA most familiar with the case to provide advice on the case to the SMP…. The purpose of the FMA’s advice is to inform the assessment by the SMP…


19. To assist the SMP, the FMA’s advice will consist of two sections: a medical background and opinion:


· The medical background will include all relevant medical details and history of the case. This section should take account of the assessments of the officer’s GP and hospital specialist as appropriate and wherever possible should be supplemented with relevant records, reports, X-rays or scans. (The FMA should seek the written consent of the officer for this section to be referred to the SMP.)


· The opinion will be the FMA’s advice to the SMP on the issue of permanent disablement in answer to the questions under regulation H1(2)(a) and (b).The authority should ensure that the FMA is aware of the officer’s compulsory retirement age. Where the FMA is of the view that the officer is permanently disabled he or she should also give his or her opinion on the officer’s capability. (This section will not include any confidential medical information and therefore no consent of the officer is required.)

 

It is perfectly acceptable for the FMA and SMP to be able to view your medical records as ill-health retirement is a medical decision and they are both qualified doctors.

What is not acceptable, or necessary is for any other non medical person or third party to have access to, or be able to view your medical records. This includes, but is not limited to other staff in –

  • Occupational Health Units
  • Human Resources
  • Force Solicitors
  • Senior Management
  • PPA (Chief Constable)
  • Any other person

None of these people are responsible for making a medical determination, and therefore there is no legal requirement or need for them to be able to access your medical records.

In our opinion, all requests for consent to obtain, or process your medical records should come directly from the FMA, or the SMP. Records should only be released directly to the person requesting it. More of this later.

 

2. Assessment for an injury award  – reg 30

An application for an injury award (injury gratuity and injury pension) is no longer managed under any of the police pension schemes, but under The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006. As there is no reference to the FMA in the regulations, it is questionable whether they have any need or legal authority to view your medical records.

Regulation 30 of the PIBR 2006 confirms that it is the SMP, who is required to answer a number of medical questions,

30 (2) Subject to paragraph (3), where the police authority are considering whether a person is permanently disabled, they shall refer for decision to a duly qualified medical practitioner selected by them the following questions—

(a) whether the person concerned is disabled;

(b) whether the disablement is likely to be permanent…

(c) whether the disablement is the result of an injury received in the execution of duty, and

(d) the degree of the person’s disablement;

What is not acceptable, or necessary is for any non medical person or third party to have access to, or be able to read your medical records. This includes, but is not limited to other staff in –

  • Occupational Health Units
  • Human Resources
  • Force Solicitors
  • Senior Management
  • PPA (Chief Constable)
  • Any other person

In our opinion, all requests for consent to obtain, or process your medical records should come directly from the SMP. Records should only be released directly to the person requesting it. More of this later.

 

3. Reassessment of an injury pension – reg 37(1)*

Before an injury pension can be revised under regulation 37(1) of the PIBR 2006, the PPA has to find that the ‘degree of the pensioner’s disablement has substantially altered‘. This is a medical question and Regulation 32(2)(d) dictates that the PPA shall refer the question to an SMP,

30(2) Subject to paragraph (3), where the police authority are considering whether a person is permanently disabled, they shall refer for decision to a duly qualified medical practitioner selected by them the following questions—

(d) the degree of the person’s disablement; and, if they are considering whether to revise an injury pension, shall so refer question (d) above.

 

As stated before, the regulations do not mention the FMA at all. Therefore there is no necessity or lawful authority for them to request or view your medical records.

We believe that any request for consent to view existing medical records or obtain medical records should come directly from the SMP, with a justification as to what medical information they seek and why. Only the SMP can decide what medical information they may require in any particular case, and each case would have to be considered individually.

We can now add the FMA to our previous list of people who should not access your medical records under an injury review –

  • FMA
  • Occupational Health Units
  • Human Resources
  • Force Solicitors
  • Senior Management
  • PPA (Chief Constable)
  • Any other person

It is not acceptable for any other third party to make this request for or on behalf of the SMP, which includes HR managers, even if they have had powers delegated to them by the PPA under the PIBR 2006. The PPA does not have the authority to view your medical records and therefore neither can their delegate.

In our opinion, all requests for consent to obtain, or process your medical records should come directly from the SMP. Records should only be released directly to the person requesting it. More of this later.

 

4. Appeal to board of medical referees – reg 31

An appeal to a Police Medical Appeal Board (‘PMAB’) may require you to provide consent to release your medical records. The PMAB is an independent body and all requests should come directly from the board as defined in HO guidance and confirmed by PNB Circular 03/19,

59. It will be for the board chair appointed by Aon to arrange as necessary for the appellant’s consent to release other medical records, as applicable, from:
· the appellant’s General Practitioner
· any hospital or specialist which has treated the appellant, together with details of any tests and final reports. Aon will send the appellant the necessary consent form. Any reasonable costs necessarily incurred by the board in obtaining these records will be added to the board’s expenses at the end of the case

What is not acceptable, or necessary is for any non medical person or third party to have access to, or be able to read your medical records. This includes, but is not limited to other staff in –

  • FMA
  • Occupational Health Units
  • Human Resources
  • Force Solicitors
  • Senior Management
  • PPA (Chief Constable)
  • Any other person

It is not acceptable for any other third party to make this request for or on behalf of the PMAB, which includes force solicitors, even if they have had powers delegated to them by the PPA under the PIBR 2006. The PPA does not have the authority to view your medical records and therefore neither can their delegate.

All requests for consent to obtain, or process your medical records should come directly from the PMAB. Records should only be released directly to the PMAB. More of this later.

 

In summary

At present there appears to be a wholesale abuse of medical records. We believe that the following good practice should be adopted,

  1. Requests should only come directly from the FMA, SMP or PMAB where appropriate.
  2. The request should be on headed paper and signed by the individual concerned.
  3. There should be written justification of what medical records are required and why.
  4. Medical records should only be provided directly to the appropriate doctor requesting them.
  5. All records will be held securely and confidentially.
  6. There should be a record of access for each set of records with a log of who accessed the records, when, where and why.
  7. No records will be divulged to any third party without additional and express permission.
  8. At the conclusion of the process, all records, other than those which may be lawfully retained should be returned, or confidentially destroyed.
  9. A declaration should be signed by the person requesting the records that the above conditions will be complied with at the point of request.

This article has been written taking into account the views of the Information Commissioners Office (‘ICO’) who enforce the lawful application of the GDPR. A separate document containing their opinions on these issues can be found here – https://iodpa.org/the-general-data-protection-regulations-gdpr-and-you/

*Whilst this article does refer to providing consent to access or provide medical records under certain conditions, the current legal advice is that there is NO requirement to provide any consent with regards to a reg 37(1) review.

Catch Up

Catch Up

For a wrongdoer to be undetected is difficult; and for him to have confidence that his concealment will continue is impossible

Epicurus

 

There has been so much going on. It’s hard to know where to start. IODPA has grown in a very short space of time from its beginnings of a handful of IOD pensioners to its proud status as a registered national charity.

Membership of IODPA is growing apace. Every force in England and Wales is now represented, and we also are honoured to have members from Northern Ireland and Scotland. Our members bring with them a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills which all add to the collective strength and capabilities of IODPA.

We thought it was timely to mention, and to celebrate, some of our successes over recent months. Uniquely, IODPA gets it strength from the efforts of determined individuals who stand up to maladministration of injury pensions in whatever forms it takes. We are not a top-down organisation. The strength and success of IODPA comes from its members, and from its supporters.

So let’s see what’s been happening.

Let’s start with our members. Every time a new member joins we get to hear their account of wrongdoing by injury pension scheme managers. It
saddens us to hear so many pitiful stories of the harm done to disabled former officers by uncaring HR managers, by SMPs, by police pension
authorities who view the police injury pension Regulations as a tool to save money and by some police and crime commissioners who do not want to
know the bad news about wrong doing by senior officers and others.

Happily, IODPA is shining a light of ever increasing brilliance into the murky corners of those HR departments who deliberately abuse the
Regulations. We are watching, we are listening and we will ensure compliance with the Regulations and current caselaw. IODPA spreads
knowledge, and knowledge is power. We empower our members to stand up for their rights. By exposing wrongdoing we empower right minded HR
managers to conduct themselves within the law.

Our members are living proof of the old adage that in unity there is strength.

What then of our supporters? We have recently announced we have our first Patron. None other than Pete Conway has kindly agreed to be a
Patron of IODPA. Pete Conway is the stage name of Peter Williams, who describes himself as, ‘Veteran Entertainer, Sports nut and father of a
famous son.’ and is none other than the father of the World-famous singer Robbie Williams.

As one of the roles of a Patron is to raise public awareness of the charity they support, we are confident that Pete will bring IODPA to the
attention of a wider audience beyond former and serving police officers and their families.

Elsewhere, we know that NARPO has consistently done what it could to support disabled former officers, so we are delighted to reveal that Brian Burdus, President of NARPO, together with Vice President Richard Critchley, CEO Steve Edwards and Deputy CEO Alan Lees met with trustees of IODPA in Wakefield recently. Brian has written in the NARPO magazine that there was, “…agreement that the work they [IODPA] did was a useful source for members to use.” Branch secretaries have been advised of the NARPO recognition of the valuable work we do for former officers who were injured and disabled in the line of duty.

It was a pleasure for our trustees to meet with the Brian, Richard, Steve and Alan, and we thank them for their generous welcome. IODPA will continue to work together with NARPO at local and national level, which can only be good news for all IOD pensioners.

We ought to elaborate here on the valuable work IODPA does. We provide general and personalised advice and support for all our members.
We help former and serving officers to understand the Regulations which govern injury awards, and thus help them protect their rights against
the widespread and persistent maladministration which has poisoned what is intended to be a benevolent provision of lifelong compensation for
disabled former officers.

Beyond advice, we are empowered by having a very close working relationship with two excellent firms of solicitors. We know that all
too often forces can be remarkably stubborn. They often have a pathological antipathy to admitting mistakes, and sometimes the only way
to ensure they apply the Regulations lawfully is to challenge them in court. Haven Solicitors and Cartwright King together have the most
expert and profound understanding of the Regulations, and all associated law, and know exactly how to deal with SMP’s and police pension
authorities’ misdeeds.

We also are happy to have a more recent but equally successful association with Equal Justice, which specialises in Employment Tribunal cases.

Our solicitors instruct David Lock, QC of Landmark Chambers. David has developed a special interest and expertise in all aspects of police
injury pensions and is responsible for bringing about successful resolutions in a string of cases, all of which have greatly enhanced
understanding of how the Regulations should be applied. His successes have exposed the chronic failures of some police pension authorities and
we thank him for that and for the most helpful informative opinion pieces he has published on line. We only hope that good-hearted and
well-intentioned HR people take note and join with us in condemning those of their colleagues who would seek to abuse the Regulations.

Indeed, raising awareness is a constant theme of IODPA’s work. We have a ready audience of IOD pensioners who are growing daily more alert
to the sad fact that many HR departments have poorly trained staff, who are under pressure to produce results, often by methods which are at
best dubious and at worst downright unlawful. We aim to be a counter voice to those who whisper in the ears of HR employees and others. We
speak the truth. We expose those whose motivation is contrary to the intentions of the Regulations. We explain the rules. In so doing we aim
to encourage decent folk to resist all pressure to act in ways which demean their integrity.

That leads us seamlessly on to mention the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is readily apparent that some forces have played fast and loose with the personal information they hold which refers to former officers. We have heard of multiple instances where information has been accessed, ‘processed’ in the language of the data protection legislation, without the consent or knowledge of the data subject. We have also been most concerned to see repeated instances of forces using very dubious practices, including threats, in attempts to compel disabled former officers into giving access to sensitive personal information, such as details of income, employment, and health.

We are pleased to see the GDPR, which came into effect on the 25th May, very much tightens up the way organisations safeguard and process personal information. We anticipate IOD pensioners will use the GDPR to check how their personal data is held, to prevent any unlawful use of it, and to put a firm stop to all unlawful attempts to obtain information which forces or police pension authorities have no entitlement to seek.

IODPA has arranged a special two day seminar during which we will learn from experts how the GDPR can be used to help further the
effectiveness of our charitable work.

As part of IODPA’s ongoing work to inform, educate and share we have held several well attended conferences and workshops in various
locations across the country. We recently held our first meeting in Northumbria and are planning another one shortly, where IODPA will be
assisting all injury on duty pensioners who want to learn how to protect their rights.

In conjunction with NARPO, we achieved a major about-turn from one police pension authority which had sent out notices to pensioners that
their degree of disablement was to be reviewed. The author of the letter had tried to claim that failure to complete an enclosed questionnaire
was covered by the Regulations, and that any such failure would allow the police pension authority to reduce the pension down to band one.

When confronted over this flagrant abuse of the Regulations, the Chief Constable had no option other than to offer an apology and arrange
withdrawal of the review notices and questionnaires.

We are awaiting the next move from this particular force.

And on that note, we end this brief catch up with a word of thanks and praise to those who are perhaps the silent invisible
supporters of all that IODPA stands for – the decent right minded HR managers and others who are prepared to work to ensure the police
pension regulations are applied honestly and fairly.