Pension Ombudsman

Pension Ombudsman Update Summer 2017

Pension Ombudsman Update Summer 2017

Welcome to our new Pensions Ombudsman Update. These updates are designed to help you get to grips with the Ombudsman’s thinking, to keep track of decisions on matters concerning police and fire service injury awards and non police related injury benefit schemes and to identify underlying trends.

Published in our “news” section, we will try to summarise the interesting decisions of the past three months or so.

John Lewis Partnership Pension Scheme (PO-11695)

Mr N has complained that the Trustee did not take the decision to cease his ill health retirement pension in a proper manner. In particular, he considers it placed too great a reliance on the advice from its own occupational health physician and did not give reasons for preferring her advice.

In PO-11695 Mr N (17 May 2017) the JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP scheme trustees decided (having used the Trustee’s occupational health physician, Dr Eraneva, to consider medical evidence) that the member’s ill-health pension should be suspended as his condition was not permanent, despite the trustee having decided in 2009 and 2012 that it was. The Ombudsman’s Adjudicator was unable to find evidence of any change in the member’s condition or proposed treatments since those assessments.

The decision made it clear that there is an underlying principle that a pension, once in payment, was payable for life. A natural reading of the John Lewis scheme rule provided discretion to vary, suspend or reinstate pension was one that looked for a rational basis for change. The trustee did not apply its mind to the specific question of whether it should remove the existing entitlement, but took an approach akin to requiring the member to make a fresh application for an incapacity pension. This was maladministration and the trustee was directed to re-consider the decision to suspend the pension.

The Deputy Ombudsman accepted that the John Lewis scheme did not have to continue to pay an incapacity pension if this was no longer justified, but the trustee had to be able to point to a change in the member’s circumstances. The discretion to suspend was not an opportunity for the trustee to change its mind or interfere in its predecessors’ decisions.

Mr N stated that the Trustees placed too great a reliance on the advice from its own occupational health physician (Dr Eraneva) and did not give reasons for preferring her advice.

Whilst saying that it is not the role of the Ombudsman to review the medical evidence, the Deputy Ombudsman said;

but I also have reservations about the standard of proof applied by Dr Eraneva

Our Comment

The John Lewis scheme is a discretionary scheme whereas the police injury benefit Regulations are a statutory scheme. This is not the first time that the Pension Ombudsman has been guided by a purposive view of scheme rules dealing with ill-health. In PO-9309 Mrs R (10 June 2016) the Ombudsman opined that the starting position, where an employer had a discretion to pay a discretionary ill-health enhancement, should be to pay it.

All too often, because of the influence of NWEF , the selected medical practitioners used by police forces consider themselves as quasi-judicial and supposed “judges of fact”.

In fully upholding Mr N’s complaint, the Pension Ombudsman is showing a pattern that the views of the scheme’s own occupational health doctor do not trump the person’s own clinicians.  This is inline with previous decisions, such as the ill-health early retirement of Mr Y (PO-13059) when it was found that the employer’s flawed decision over-relied on its own medical advisers’ opinions.




The Paradox of BT’s Occupational Health Service

The Paradox of BT’s Occupational Health Service

“But how will I eat cake if my head is over there, and my hands are over here?”
Marie Antoinette

An interesting decision has just been published on the Pension Ombudsman website.  It concerns Mr E versus British Telecommunications PLC and involves ill-health and medical retirement.

The paradox here is that BT wanted it’s cake and to eat it.  It wanted to dismiss someone due to ill-health but it didn’t want to pay that person the injury benefit that person was entitled to.

Mr E complained that BT, his former employer, refused to award him BT’s medical retirement benefits.  The Pensions Ombudsman found in favour of Mr E and told BT to do it properly.

Displaying the arrogance mostly seen by police pension authorities, BT didn’t like the fact the PO was making a decision in the case.  With unabashed chutzpah, BT submitted that the employee benefit is not within jurisdiction of the PO because it is neither an “occupational pension scheme” nor a “personal pension scheme”.

Dismissing BT’s argument with savagery, the PO clearly stated that such matters are within it’s remit:

The right to bring a complaint to the Ombudsman, is a statutory right to complain to a body established by the Pension Schemes Act 1993, which seems to me to fall squarely within that exclusion.

Play for the ball BT! … never go for the man – or indeed the referee!  Meaning: assess the point of law but don’t go making a proclamation that the referee shouldn’t be on the pitch.  This desperation shows their argument is lost already and shows them up as idiots.

Anyway, back to Mr E.

BT refused his ill-health retirement on the basis that their Occupation Health Service (OHS) “deemed Mr E was not suffering from ill health and that he was not permanently incapacitated as other treatments were not exhausted”.

This is exactly the issue facing those injured on duty and on long term sick from police duties. Not having exhausted all treatment options is an often repeated mantra to deny permanency.

The trouble with BT’s claim (that Mr E had not already exhausted all treatment options) was that he had already been dismissed on grounds of capability due to ill health.  Before the PO got involved, he had taken BT to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and unlawful deductions of wages. The matter was settled with an agreement and BT paid him £106,750.

But BT obviously had the hump and decided to prolong the misery for longer.

So what did the PO say about BT’s duplicity?  The skulduggery of, on the one hand dismissing someone for ill-health, and on the other saying his ill-health wasn’t sufficient to pay a medical benefit?

The PO adjudicator said although BT through their OHS had stated that alternative treatments were available, the OHS did not state what outcome, on the balance of probabilities, these treatments would produce for Mr E.

BT did not ask their OHS this simple question.  In other words just saying there’s treatments available isn’t enough.

The OHS used a doctor named  Dr Lichfield.  This occupational health doctor made a general statement that he thought improved medical management would not suggest that Mr E remains incapacitated.  Dr Lichfield said:

Mr [E] appeared not to have undergone the full range of treatments for his condition and, in particular, that he had not seen a mental health specialist

Again, back to injury awards, this is a common statement found in SMP reports that refuse applications for ill-health retirements.

The PO considered the medical opinion of Dr Lichfield as not sufficient as it wasn’t good enough.  OHS and BT needed to establish what Mr E’s prognosis would be if he completed the entire course of available treatments.  And they hadn’t done that so the complaint was upheld.

This decision has overlap into the world of injury awards.  It shows the PO isn’t frightened off when an organisation challenges his jurisdiction.  It also shows that a medical opinion is not good enough when that decision is based on the wrong question, or the reasoning behind the decision was either absent or poorly explained.

Well done Pension Ombudsman.

Repository of Pension Ombudsman decisions

Repository of Pension Ombudsman decisions

Summary of the Ombudsman’s determination and reasons
The complaint should be upheld against the NIPB because they have failed to take steps to establish whether or not Mr X is in receipt of the correct level of benefit.
– Pension Ombudsman determination PO-7548

The Pensions Ombudsman has power to investigate and determine complaints of maladministration in connection with occupational and personal pension schemes. The power can be exercised in relation to complaints against the trustees or managers of a scheme but also in relation to complaints against a person concerned with the administration of the scheme.

When there is a complaint or dispute, the complainant must (in the majority of cases) first try to sort it out with those responsible for the management of the pension scheme.  In the case of injury awards the responsible person is the police pension authority.  Often it is the delegated senior manager, such as the director of human resources, who deals with the internal dispute resolution procedure.

There has been a large amount of decisions made by the Pensions Ombudsman regarding maladministration of police injury awards and we at IODPA have collated the determinations into a single repository.

Pension Ombudsman Decisions

You can find the page on the category section on the right of the each page.

PO decisions

As new decisions are published we will keep the list updated.  We will also keep using the search functionality on the Pension Ombudsman website to discover those decisions that have at first been missed.

The Pension Ombudsman often summarises case-law in an accessible and plain-speaking manner.  It is also revealing to note the same police forces that keep appearing in the determinations.

Soon we hope to add a small description to each decision to identify the matter at the heart of the complaint to make it easier for the reader to determine relevancy.  This will be done  as and when we have available time.






Mr X

Mr X

“All cruelty springs from weakness.” -Seneca”
Clarissa Wild, Mr. X


If ever you think your former police service has your best intentions at heart when they are minded to ‘review’ your injury pension, then please consider the case of Mr X.

Mr X is a IOD pensioner who was retired from The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Policing is tough over there, but the Regulations concerning Injury on Duty awards across the Irish sea are essentially identical to those in and England & Wales.

Heed the wise words of the Pension Ombudsman:

Those cases have been concerned with the Police Injury Benefit Regulations for England and Wales, but the Northern Ireland Regulations mirror these and, therefore, the same principles can be expected to apply.”

Take note that the horrendous saga of maladministration we recount is not an outlier – similar injustice is happening now to dozens of former officers across the country and has the potential to envelope completely the lives of any person put under ‘review’.

Think on this if you are a Federation Rep or a SMP who is reading these words, perhaps tutting to yourself and thinking that we here at IODPA have the wrong end of the stick; that we are against the ‘system’ and ruining everything for every ‘legitimate IOD’.

Yes, that’s how too many Fed think:

‘play along to get along’;

‘don’t rock the boat’;

‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’;

‘You’ve had a good innings’;

‘Just give the doctor whatever he wants’ .

We don’t know which is worse, these pathetic cringing words of advice, or the more usual absence of any useful advice at all.

Well, Fed Reps,SMPs and all IOD pensioners, let us tell you about the 6 years and counting of legal hell suffered by Mr X just because he has an IOD award? Something similar is what all IOD pensioners risk facing if ever their HR Department comes calling with the intent of reviewing their injury pension.

PO-7548 1 Ombudsman’s Determination

Applicant Mr X Scheme Police Injury Benefit Scheme (Northern Ireland) Respondent(s) Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB)

Read the determination yourself here.

Mr X was retired in 1999.  His degree of disablement has been reviewed in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2012.  Mr X has needed to complain about gross maladministration to the Pension Ombudsman 3 times and has had determinations made in his favour three times – in April 2013, April 2014 and September 2015.

It is horrific that any police pension authority could get things atrociously wrong again and again.

There is no such thing as a benign review – it rips people apart.

Consider for a moment, if you will, how this man has had what should have been a peaceful retirement shattered.  Over the past 16 years he has been summoned again and again to dance to the tune of the HR department only to be rolled over again and again by the unfeeling, deeply flawed machine of bureaucracy.

Shamefully, he has had to find the strength all by himself, alone, unaided, to undo the wrong visited upon him.  This struggle dominated his days and eroded what remained of his health.

We at IODPA reflect with sorrow that Mr X is a rarity. Very few IOD pensioners have the strength, determination and knowledge to make and follow through any sort of complaint. Alarmingly, we believe that the vast majority of IOD pensioners do not even realise there has been maladministration. Mr X is not a rarity in that respect. He is just one example of the victimisation and maltreatment – we would call it abuse – of former officers who were injured in the line of duty.

The reviews Mr X faced in 2009 and 2012 were found by the Pensions Ombudsman to have been unsound and Mr X was restored to the banding he was on in 2007.

In 2014 Mr X met the SMP, a Dr ‘D’, who apologised to Mr X for the errors the doctor had made and subsequently wrote to the police pension authority to state that in 2011 he had determined that Mr X was 100% disabled in relation to earning capacity.  Dr D said no apportionment should have been applied for either musculoskeletal problems or constitutional psychological factors.

In May 2014 Mr X then wrote to the police pension authority to demand a Regulatory reconsideration process to undo the errors.  His award has been bounced down and up but it has not been backdated for the periods he was unlawfully reduced. The money unlawfully taken from him had not been repaid. This person has been blighted by years of unlawful guff, things written about him, occupation health records appended to with ‘this and that’ of things that should be excluded and so  Mr X wanted to wipe the slate clean.  All those years wasted when he should have been on the correct banding from 2010 – 3 years after the 2007 review as scheduled by the police pension authority.

Now we get into the bizarre world of legal services and dark recess of the minds of those employed in HR departments.  The application of Mr X for a reconsideration was refused on the grounds that the Northern Ireland Police Board (NIPB) viewed that as the Pension Ombudsman had set aside or quashed the 2009 and 2012 decision there was nothing to reconsider and that Mr X should just have another review !

Do you detect a position of attrition here?  A strategy of belligerent attempts to win by wearing down the IOD to the point of collapse.  Delay, obfuscate and confuse rather than just do the right thing.  Even after the stages of the internal dispute resolution procedures, the NIPB repeatedly sought to avoid the opportunity to redeem itself.

Mr X can no more think another review will be performed without error than look out his window and see pink elephants taking to the skies.  The best thing for the NIPB would had been to allow Dr D to perform a reconsideration and to give Mr X the back dated payments he deserves.  But no – it took a third finding by the Pension Ombudsman to force the NIPB to begrudgingly start to do the right thing.

This is what a review can do to a person.  For every Fed Rep or NARPO Rep who thinks their force is kind and benevolent to their IODs, they need to read the case of Mr X.  Any IOD, anywhere, can find themselves caught up in the same unending nightmare.

Let’s not forget the large question mark which hovers over the matter of why Mr X has been reviewed so frequently since 1999.  Is he a criminal who has to attend meetings with his probation officer?  Does someone think he does not deserve his pension? Is he secretly earning a vast salary working for an International conglomerate? No. None of these things. He spends his days bravely trying to deal with his disability. So why is he treated like a criminal or an unworthy pauper petitioner to be hauled in to account for his sinful way of life to the local Watch Committee?

Mr X understandably has no confidence now in any review procedure. Thanks only to his determination and to the Pension Ombudsman he will now have his reconsideration.

After this he should be left alone to live his life in peace.

We sincerely hope that will be the case.


Apportionment & Revisiting Causation

Apportionment & Revisiting Causation

Human Resources and SMPs simply are not getting the message. They are ignoring the Regulations, determinations by the Pensions Ombudsman and binding decisions in the High Court. They think they can revisit and amend earlier final decisions on the causes of injury. IODPA is ready and able to fight all such abuses. We speculate on the adverse impact of injury pension maladministration on the morale and efficiency of serving officers

“Can we say, in this case, that the cause of a cause is the relevant cause?” ― Johnny RichThe Human Script

Let’s talk some more about reviews of injury pensions, and the deliberate mischief that SMPs and HR get up to. We believe that injured on duty pensioners are often subjected to an unlawful fresh assessment of their degree of disablement.  It is clear the inexperience of HR departments and SMPs leads some of them into thinking that on review, they can calculate degree of disablement from scratch.  They can’t.  And this is why.

At review, the only task of the SMP is to determine whether there has been any alteration in degree of disablement since the question was last decided. It’s like looking at a clock – it tells you the time now is so many hours, minutes or seconds different from the last time you looked. You don’t tell the current time by calculating from the big bang when the universe was created. The SMP is required to take the previous decision on degree of disablement as a given – as the starting point. He can’t second-guess the why or the how of the duty injury. He can’t try to find fault in the decisions made by the earlier decision-maker. Those decisions are, in law, final and not subject to question.

Some SMP think they can revisit these decisions and believe they are entitled to look again at the cause of the disablement – the ‘causation’ as it is known. Some SMPs forget they are not there to conduct a diagnosis, and are thus forbidden from speculating whether the disabling injury occurred as a result of the execution of the officer’s duty or from some other cause. The High Court has made it clear that causation can not be revisited, but some SMPs think they can ignore the law.

The consequence of such a root and branch departure from the strictures of the Regulations is so dramatic the consequences cannot be emphasised enough.  Once a SMP makes a mistake it condemns the former officer to a long drawn out legal battle to undo something that should never have occurred.  True to form, once a bad decision is made a Police Pension Authority will always blindly defend it to the end – even if they know they are wrong they seem incapable of a climbdown. It can take years to sort out.

So what prevents a SMP who has a casual disdain for the Regulations and case law from going back to medical records from birth and stating an injury was caused, in part, by you falling off your bicycle when you were 7 years old?

I’m not exaggerating.

In a recent case a SMP tried to make out that a former officer who had a mild episode of anxiety when he was just 7 had a ‘pre-existing condition’ and thus his PTSD some thirty years later was not solely cased by on duty incidents. This sneaky little ploy is called ‘apportionment’. It can be used to cut a band four pension down to a band one.

SMPs need to be told in no uncertain terms that they must comply with the law, which includes binding decisions made in the High Court.

In the Court of Appeal in the case of the Metropolitan Police Authority v Laws and the PMAB [2010] EWCA Civ 1099,  it was held that the SMP was not entitled when conducting a review under regulation 37 to re-open clinical judgements as to causation or apportionment made in earlier decisions under the 2006 Regulations.

To put this simply, the question of causation or apportionment can only be considered at the time of the original decisions, when the injury award was granted, or on appeal against the original decisions to a PMAB, or if a reconsideration is made under regulation 32. A SMP cannot, years later, trawl through medical and other records in an attempt to re-think and amend those final decisions.

Once decided, the cause of the injury or any application of apportionment is final and at review the SMP is not able to even remotely go anywhere near those matters.  Even when the SMP would like to have full medical records because they want the ‘full picture’  – whatever that means – they can’t.  It is the equivalent of open prejudice in the sight of the jury or bench. It may be due to the training doctors get – treat the whole person, look for all the causes, check out all the possibilities – but SMPs must put that training to one side when conducting a review. Once a SMP has seen medical records he shouldn’t have seen he can’t conveniently forget them – doctors are not trained to forget medical history however much they claim it won’t influence them.  By accessing records they are not lawfully entitled to it instantly corrupts and prejudices the decision he/she is supposed to exclusively focus on, which is whether there has been any alteration in degree of disablement.

In  the case of R (on the application of Pollard) v The Police Medical Appeal Board and West Yorkshire Police Authority [2009] EWHC 403, Silber J found that Regulation 37 does not enable the police authority to reach a different conclusion on the issues specified in Regulation 30(2)(a), (b) or (c).

But what happens when an SMP does what they aren’t allowed to do?  Inevitably complaints are made to the Pension Ombudsman. Happily, in the vast majority of instances the pensioner wins the case.

Here is a short, but typical, sample of three PO determinations:


PO-828 [SMP] Dr Zubier found that Mr Diamond was “based on his level of functioning as a result of his fibromyalgia, … unfit for all work”. However, because he took the view that Mr Diamond’s Fibromyalgia was not caused by an injury on duty, Dr Zubier apportioned the injury award. This was not the correct approach to take under the Regulations


87657/1 Despite having noted that they should not revisit causation, the PMAB’s ‘Detailed Case Discussion’ included a lengthy discussion on the likely causes for Mr Marsden’s symptoms. The PMAB stated that they found it bizarre that they were not allowed to revisit causation, but said that they accepted that this was required by law. Having discussed likely causation at some length (and made it obvious that they disagreed with the previous decision), the PMAB then failed to ask the question they were required to; namely, whether there had been any substantial alteration in Mr Marsden’s condition since 2006. The PMAB instead moved on to consider whether and what type of roles Mr Marsden might be able to undertake. They had asked NPA to supply details of alternative roles Mr Marsden might be expected to undertake. However, the record of their discussion does not suggest that they asked whether those roles had become accessible to Mr Marsden since the 2006 review, either by changes in his medical condition or changes in the roles themselves. I find, therefore, that the PMAB’s consideration of Mr Marsden’s case was flawed and that this should have been apparent to NPA.


84102/2 It is clear that the SMP based her report on medical evidence which predated the date of the last review, that both the SMP and the PMAB were questioning the validity of the original decision taken by MPA to award Ms Beale an injury benefit. In addition, although the PMAB noted “Ms Beale could work 50% of the time (less than 20 hours per week) in an appropriate environment with necessary adaptations for wheelchair access”, it then failed to ask the question it was required to; namely, whether and what type of roles Ms Beale might be able to undertake and whether those roles had become accessible to Ms Beale since the 2001 review, either by changes in her medical condition or changes in the roles themselves. I find, therefore, that the PMAB’s consideration of Ms Beale’ case was flawed and that this should have been apparent to MPA. I find that it was maladministration for the MPA to reduce Ms Beale’s benefit on the basis of a flawed review.

I hope the reader sees why IODPA needs to exists?  Because of the bungling machinations of HR drones and SMPs, disabled former officers face the lifetime prospect of entanglement with Police Medical Appeal Boards, complaints to the Pension Ombudsman, and even judicial reviews in the High Court. It can be a full time career to have the misfortune of being awarded an IOD.

Perhaps all who join the police should be told, ‘Welcome, and if you are ever injured on duty you’ll get what’s due to you. It won’t be sympathy, assistance, care or concern. You’ll be put on light duties, half pay, messed about, kept in the dark about your rights and then booted out. You will have to fight tooth and nail to get an injury award and then you will be hounded forever with endless unlawful reviews. Expect to spend the rest of your life dealing with the fallout created by incompetent, poorly trained, often downright nasty HR types, and SMPs’.

Do you think that, knowing this is a very real prospect, a fresh recruit would think twice about following a suspect in a foot chase down a dark alley, or confront the violent drunk who is brandishing a fence post, or try to stop a careering stolen vehicle?

Perhaps if they knew the truth they might think its better to stay safe than risk being injured and cast out with an IOD.

Pension Ombudsman

Pension Ombudsman

When your injury pension has been abused by maladministration you need to know two things.

How to recognise maladministration and who can put things right.

Let’s look at what maladministration is and how we can recognise it. This Google search clarifies how many times the Pensions Ombudsman has had to make determinations against police pension authorities specifically concerning injury awards:

Given the relatively small number in receipt of an injury award, the number of results is mind boggling and it demonstrates the simple fact that police pension authorities are not competent custodians of our injury awards. Remember these are only those that have complained – many, many more are too ill, elderly or restricted by the injuries to pursue a complaint. There are also a number of decisions not returned by the search link, in other words, this result is just the tip of the iceberg.

Maladministration covers the following:

  • Delay
  • Incorrect action or failure to take any action
  • Failure to follow procedures or the law
  • Failure to provide information
  • Inadequate record-keeping
  • Failure to investigate
  • Failure to reply
  • Misleading or inaccurate statements
  • Inadequate liaison
  • Inadequate consultation
  • Broken promises

One thing to be mindful of is that so far as police injury pensions are concerned, it seems to be the case that little will result from any form of challenge or complaint unless the maladministration has resulted in what is termed an unremedied injustice. In other words, unless you have lost out financially, then forget about the Pensions Ombudsman.

Instead make a formal complaint against the individual or individuals concerned. Again, probably not much will result, as Chief Constables have a highly-tuned sense of self preservation and will never willingly admit that they, or anyone else has ever done anything wrong. The point is, to make the complaint and get it on record.

If you have good reason to believe your injury pension is being paid at less a rate than the circumstances would seem to dictate, or that the SMP or HR have done you over by mangling the Regulations, then please do something about it. You don’t necessarily need a solicitor, or extensive knowledge of the case law concerning injury pensions, but you do need to make yourself familiar with something which your police pension authority may well not be open about.

Hands up all those who have heard of an Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure?


Before accepting assurances from HR that if you are dissatisfied with any decision made about your injury pension you can appeal to a Police Medical Appeal Board – a daunting prospect – ask them to tell you all about the force’s IDRP.

Every pension scheme has to have an IDRP system built in to enable members of that scheme to complain about matters concerning the administration of their pension (section 50 of the Pensions Act 1995). Injury awards are no exception.

An IDRP can be a one or two part process. One part may settle the matter, but if not on it goes to part two. Be very aware though that the ‘I’ in IDRP does not stand for Independent. In part one a senior person is asked to consider your submission. If there is no resolution, then someone else is appointed to take a look. That person may be another force employee, or, more often will be someone with no close connection to the force who is deemed to have some relevant expertise. We have no data on how many IDRPs produce an acceptable solution at either stage. The process can take several months.

But if you don’t initiate an IDRP you will find that the Pensions Ombudsman – who is the person who can really do something about maladministration – will not be able to accept your complaint. He likes to see himself as a mediator, a settler of differences, and an arbiter of the law. He wants to see the parties to a dispute make efforts to resolve it before he is asked to get involved.

From anecdotal evidence we believe that more often than not a police pension authority does nothing positive to resolve a dispute or deal with a complaint on the stage one and stage two parts of the dispute. We know that quite often they have no idea what an IDRP is and thus the complainant may be faced with glib meaningless waffle or, after an interminable wait, will have to conclude the file is lost in the bowels of bureaucracy.

Bear with it. There is a time limit. OK, it is only a guideline, but if you have faced unreasonable delay with no conclusion, the PO will look kindly on you and accept your complaint.

It is worth mentioning here that an IDRP, as a route to the PO, is often the only avenue of redress open. There are stricter time limits on when an appeal to a PMAB should be made, and also with taking matters to the Administrative Court for judicial review. One avenue does remain open, without limit of time, and that is a ‘reconsideration’ of a decision, under regulation 32-(2) of the Police (Injury Benefits) Regulations 2006. Of which route, more in another article.

If you are not satisfied with the result of an IDRP, then it can be useful to speak to The Pension Advisory Service. Once you have hit a brick wall with attempts to get matters resolved TPAS should be able give you advice on how to raise the matter to the Pension Ombudsman for a decision.

The Pension Ombudsman has made some very useful, helpful, decisions on injury pension issues in recent years. If you can get your complaint on his desk for investigation, and you have a good case, set out well, then in all probability you will have the pleasure of seeing him tell your PPA to put things right.

This group of police force HR managers, occupational health personnel and the odd force solicitor is supposedly concerned in its quarterly meetings with keeping the police workforce fit and well. The clue is in the name - it is supposed to concentrate on people who work. However, it spends time also considering matters relating to disabled former officers. Quite what legitimates this group's interest in disabled private citizens who are in receipt of a police injury pension is a mystery.

The mystery deepens when it is revealed that the Home Office and representatives of the commercial company which has the contract to run Police Medical Appeal Boards, HML, also regularly appear on the list of delegates. The mystery morphs into something smelling of conspiracy when the delegate list is entirely absent of any representative of any of the people whose lives the NAMF seeks to affect. There is nobody from the Police Federation, nor from NARPO, nor anyone from any disablement charity, mental health association, etc. etc. In other words, the NAMF is a one-sided talking shop. Even at that level it is not properly representative of all police forces, for we note that there are rarely, if ever, delegates present from every area.

Those of us with long memories, recollect that the Home Office claimed that it had conducted what it called a 'survey' of all forces, way back in 2004, prior to finalising its unlawful guidance issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004. The HO claimed that their survey showed that it was common practice for forces to review the degree of disablement of injury-on-duty pensioners once they reached what would have been normal force retirement age. This is what the guidance said:

'This Guidance is being issued to help ensure a fairer, more cohesive approach to the payment of injury benefits to ill-health retired officers who have reached the compulsory retirement age with their Force. A recent survey found that practice in this area was diverse. Some forces automatically reduced degree of disablement benefits to the lowest banding when this age had been reached - others continued to pay benefits at the same rate until the death of the Officer concerned.'

The plain truth, revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests, was that there never was any survey. The HO later tried to claim that the bold, unmistakable claim made in its guidance resulted from 'round the table discussions' at meetings of the NAMF. Yet nothing even hinting at such discussions appeared in the minutes and the HO could not produce a single scrap of data nor any record or any other evidence to show quite how it had come to the conclusion that some forces automatically reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age.

Shockingly, further research revealed that absolutely no forces, not a single one out of the 43 in England and Wales, had ever reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age, automatically or otherwise. The Home Office was caught out in a blatant lie. It was a lie intended for one purpose only - its actually intent was to give an air of normalcy to the huge change in practice which the HO wished to bring about.

This astounding act by a Government department tells us what the NAMF was then, and remains now. It's objective in so far as police injury on duty pensions is concerned, is to subvert the law of the land. The law cannot be changed retrospectively, so the inner circle work to find ways to unlawfully manipulate it through influencing gullible HR managers, and by training carefully selected corruptible SMPs how to refuse grant of an injury award and how to conduct reviews which reduce the degree of disablement of retired officers.

And so the machinations of the NAMF continue...