Be Prepared!

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Be Prepared!

Post by Beachcomber on Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:23 pm

With some forces conducting reviews and other likely to start in the near future, IOD pensioners will need to be prepared.

We used to trust our forces completely and our force doctors were paragons of virtue but since HOC46/2004 that all changed. When mass reviews based on the guidance started, ex officers were shocked how things had altered as their forces reduced injury pensions en masse for those over state retirement age and compulsory retirement age. At that time, those officers being reviewed expected to be treated with decency and respect but found that the system had become aggressive and intimidating.

Having endured this situation for more than a decade in some cases,  everyone now knows how pensioners didn't succumb to this onslaught but fought back by challenging the policies, guidance and decisions through the appropriate channels despite all the obstacles placed in their way. Some authorities are still hellbent on using reviews  as a way to reduce their costs without regard for the pensioner or indeed the regulations which govern IOD pensions. We know from experience that the regulations are poorly understood by the authorities and they will 'try it on'.

It is up to each individual to decide how to respond to review but whatever they decide, they must prepare. A pensioner who places his/her trust in the force and SMP to do the best thing for them is likely to regret it – they are easy meat!

We do not object to Reviews. It is unfair and unlawful conduct of reviews that we oppose. The Regulations exist for the benefit of injured police officers and should be administered accordingly in order to provide the ex officer with the correct level of pension. IOD pensions are for life, the regulations do not limit pensions to the lowest level, nor do they exist for the financial benefit of the police force.

If you are required to submit to review under Reg 37, then you must comply with the obligation to attend. Some forces will require you to provide information and consent to access to data such as your medical records - they may demand this information and 'suggest' that failure to comply could result in the withdrawal of your IOD pension - our legal specialists have advised that there is no obligation to provide this information - you may wish to provide information but that is up to you and there may be good reason why you should in some cases. Advice is available to you through our association IODPA.

Please ensure that your records are up to date and assure yourself as far as you are able that any information you choose to supply is absolutely accurate. We are not the bad guys here but they will exploit any inaccuracy and. if they can cast doubt upon you in any way, they will do so.

Some forces have become notorious for their aggressive pursuit of injury pensions and there are many occasions when their actions have been exposed with findings of maladministration or where they have lost cases in the Administrative Courts. We have recently learned of the outrageously excessive fees paid to some SMP's and there are a number of SMP's whose names crop up repeatedly with pensioners reporting being treated  aggressively, rudely or the questioning the veracity of the SMP's report  which, we are told, often does not represent the true medical condition and the level of disability is artificially downgraded in order to reduce the banding level. There are numerous reports and certain SMP's are prominent! I don't know if the authorities have given up the pretence of SMP's impartiality but they are paying our some very large sums in fees to these people – 'quid pro quo'?  

Being called for review is always very stressful, particularly so for some of our more vulnerable colleagues. The adverse effects on the patients health have been recognised for some time, yet still the PPA's and their SMP's are placing vulnerable people under tremendous pressure. That these practices continue does indicate that they are an important aspect in what some authorities have referred to as 'robust' reviews. Authorities that employ such methods to intimidate and pressure pensioners could soon find themselves the subject of complaints under employment and equal rights legislation.

We have come a long way, having opposed and defeated the policies that followed HOC46/2004 and our own charitable association is taking the defence of our IOD pensions to new levels. Having now gained a ruling that Sec. 61 Equality Act 2010 applies to our IOD pensions, so it is likely that IOD's complaints will be soon brought to bear against some of the practices that have been used against us such as victimisation and intimidation.

Our association relies on membership subscriptions in order to carry out its work for pensioners. The legal team that has been so successful is now very closely associated with the group so that if a pensioner has a problem, it can be referred very quickly.

The association will give good advice on preparing for review such as preparation of relevant information, advice on responding to questionnaires and medical record request which may be accompanied by empty threats to remove the pension for non compliance. Attending reviews and advice on who can accompany you and advice or recording the interview/examination etc.

If further action is needed following the review such as appeal to the PMAB, legal advice is available to counter any ploys to discourage the appeal. The legal team will advise and prepare the appeal, if required.  The same team will advise and process your case to the Administrative Courts if that is seen as the appropriate course of action.

Some ex officers will naturally approach NARPO for advice and this may not be the most effective course of action. Your force may tell you that their IOD policy has been agreed with Narpo and/or PFEW but this does not mean that it is correct or that you have no choice - you do have rights. Our association is made up of IOD's and is run by IOD's and is very experienced and up to date with IOD issues. The association will also be up to date on legislation and is aware of Judicial Reviews and other legal matters which are 'in the pipeline' and the pensioner can benefit from all aspects of support.
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