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