PSNI

Possible Pension Miscalculations in PSNI

PSNI

PSNIWe were recently contacted by a retired officer from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (‘PSNI’) regarding an ill-health pension calculation from two years ago. The officer had joined the service under the Police Pension Scheme 1988 (‘PPS 1988’), and retired under the Police Pension Scheme 2015 (‘PPS 2015’).

A calculation had been given to the officer in question who immediately thought the sums given appeared on the low side. They had already contacted the force once and were informed that the figures were correct.

The officer had been given figures for a combined pension under the two aforementioned schemes of just a little under £12,000 p.a. We provided them with our calculations, which revealed that the true figure should have been £18,000 p.a. This was a staggering difference of some £6,000 p.a. since they started receiving their pension.

Of course this figure not only affected their annual pension, but would also make a significant difference to any commutation taken.

Now armed with what we believed to be the correct calculation, the former officer contacted the force again, and we are pleased to say that the force now conceded that they had miscalculated this officer’s pension. The officer is to receive back payment of the missing amount.

This begs the question, has every pension calculation since the introduction of the PPS 2015 been wrong? And it may not just be under this scheme alone, ordinary and deferred pensions may have been miscalculated as well?

If anyone else would like to do a calculation for them, can you please complete the form found here – https://iodpa.org/contact/

Here is a list of standard questions that we’d need answers to in order to work out your figures –

  1. What type of pension i.e. ordinary, deferred or ill-health
  2. Date of joining
  3. Date of leaving
  4. Date of birth
  5. Whether you brought any pensionable service from a previous occupation
  6. Which police pension you joined under (PPS 1987, NPPS 2006)
  7. Which police pension scheme you retired under (PPS 1987, NPPS 2006, PPS 2015)
  8. If now a member of the PPS 2015, what date you transferred to this scheme (the default date is 01/04/2015)
  9. If now a member of the PPS 2015 the value of your pension pot in the 2015 scheme (if not known, I’ll estimate it)
  10. If retiring under the NPPS 2006 or the PPS 2015, whether you were granted upper or lower tier ill health retirement
  11. Annual salary upon retiring
  12. Whether you took a commutation, and if so what percentage (1-25)
  13. If awarded an injury pension, what band were you given

We have already had a number of enquiries over this matter, so please allow us time to respond.

UPDATE: We have confirmed a second case of maladministration, where the pensioner has now recovered tens of thousands of pounds.

 

 

Scoffield recommendations

Scoffield recommendations

God   … [ Scoffield ] … has written His divine guidelines for your life right in the Bible  … [ Report to the Northern Ireland Police Board ] …
Elizabeth George (misquoted)

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redacted_version_of_scoffield_report

Recommendation 8:
In the course of development of this further guidance, serious consideration should be given to abandoning the currently recommended method of calculating percentage disablement, including detailed reliance on the ASHE survey and comparison with the officer’s notional uninjured police salary, in favour of a much more basic approach, whereby the relevant medical authority would simply make a judgment in the round as to the severity of the impact of the duty injury on the officer’s earning capacity, so as to select the officer’s appropriate band without the need to calculate a specific percentage disablement figure.

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Recommendation 10:
The guidance should also provide SMPs and IMRswith more detailed assistance, in as straightforward language as possible and drawing upon recent case-law, on how to avoid impermissibly revisiting matters finally determined in previous certificates and applying the concept of apportionment.

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Recommendation 11:
There should be a move away from automatic review for all cases at any fixed interval set in policy. The judgment as to when a review is appropriate should be made on a more case-sensitive basis, driven particularly by medical advice on this issue from the SMP and/or IMR  (although it ought to remain open to an officer to request a review himself at any time and the Board should also retain the right to initiate a review at any time if information comes to its attention identifying an apparent relevant change in circumstances). SMPs and IMRs should expressly be asked to provide the Board with advice on this issue in their completion of reports.

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Recommendation 14:
Those officers who were told in clear terms that they would not be subject to review, or words to that effect, should not be further reviewed in the absence of a request from them or some compelling reason why a review is considered appropriate (such a reason not to include merely their attainment of a particular age).

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Recommendation 15:
SMPs and IMRs should not be precluded in future from designating a case as one for no further review but this should occur only very rarely and guidance should be formulated for them as to when this may be appropriate.

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IMR = Independent Medical Referee PSNI equivalent to a Police Medical Appeals Board (PMAB)

The Scoffield Report

The Scoffield Report

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has the same worded Injury Benefit Regulations as England and Wales.  The statute has a different name ( POLICE SERVICE OF NORTHERN IRELAND AND POLICE SERVICE OF NORTHERN IRELAND RESERVE (INJURY BENEFIT) REGULATIONS 2006)  but the content is identical to the mainland’s PIBR 2006.  Given the fact that serving PSNI police officers face a high number of incidents of public disorder along with the unique policing challenges of Northern Ireland it is not surprising that the province has a high proportion of Injury on duty awards.  The system of injury duty applications and reviews however were in chaos.  Largely due to the Police Board’s insistence on invoking Home Officer Circular 46/2004 but also with the number of applications compounded by the frequency those retired were called back for reviews.  The whole system was broken and the consequences of recent case-law (Simpson et al)  finding that the guidance it has imposed on it’s former officers was unlawful, was the proverbial straw .  Something had to be done.  David Scoffield QC was asked to write an independent report on the  administrative process concerning IOD awards:

https://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/scoffield-review-injury-duty-award-scheme

Scoffield Review of the Injury on Duty Award Scheme _ Northen Ireland Policing Board

Following a number of concerns raised by former officers and various representative groups a decision was taken by the Board in March 2013 to suspend the review of IOD awards. A working group chaired by the Board’s Chief Executive and comprising of various stakeholders was also established.

In July 2013 the Board agreed to engage Senior Counsel to review the Board’s existing administrative process within the current statutory and policy framework. Mr David Scoffield QC was appointed to carry out the review. Terms of reference for the review were provided to Mr Scoffield QC.

The broken processes in PSNI are no different to what is happening in England and Wales other than the same issue has reached critical mass sooner given the higher number of IOD awards.  The Senior Council review has the same relevance on both sides of the Irish sea.

There was some attempt by the establishment to not publicly disclose the fully published report.  Pressure from interested parties managed to  overturn this and here it is:

redacted_version_of_scoffield_report

Over the next few weeks we will be discussing the points raised by the Scoffield report in more detail.