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Disclosures, Comply or Not.....

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Disclosures, Comply or Not.....

Post by Beachcomber on Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:01 am

Just like a few thoughts and comments ahead of the IODPA conference this coming weekend,  It is certainly going to be a lively event and there will be a lot of hot topics to debate.

What I am certain of is that there is no 'magic bullet' that will bring this to an end and this will be running for a long time to come.  Even if IOD pensions were to be centrally funded once again, I don't think it would resolve matters

Some forces still seem to think that they can do as they please with IOD pensioners. HOC 46 was a monumental failure, yet the most recent forces to commence reviews are  taking what appears to be a hard line, still trying to influence pensioners into compliance with their hackneyed methods despite all the rulings that have gone against them. They have learned little, still exhibiting ignorance and arrogance in equal measure.

Data protection issues have been very much to the fore recently and, in the coming months and years, will be defined through a plethora of challenges. We have good legal advice and we have already seen the ICO rule against the excessive and unnecessary amounts of personal data held by our forces. Perhaps there will eventually be standardised rules which will decide the matter but you never really know if our forces will properly comply.

Forces currently reviewing are requiring completion of personal information questionnaires and consent to access medical records. As we all know, the Regulations are silent on the provision of personal data and consent for release of medical records, requiring only that the IOD pensioner attends the interview/examination. In recent reviews, some of our colleagues have agreed to attend but refused to provide the data requested and, as I have said elsewhere on this forum, it has been a good way to protest against official abuse of the system. We know that Merseyside had to withdraw and backtrack after reducing the IOD pension of a member who had agreed to attend but supplied only limited data and consents.

Some of information demanded is quite outrageous and we are right to protest and oppose these demands. Although the ICO has ruled regarding the unnecessary and excessive retention of personal information, there is no doubt that some forces are very confrontational and will continue to act as they please. Apparently one of the forces currently reviewing, Staffordshire, are now saying that, according to their legal advice, consents and personal information provision is 'implied'.  If they are going to adopt this stance, are they going to act upon it and invoke Reg33 where the pensioner fails to comply with all their demands?  Given the way that this force are conducting their mass review programme, I think that this is very likely to be tested in the Courts before too long!

My personal opinion is that, having made an effective protest by refusing to supply information etc. we should try to detach ourselves and look at this objectively. We are subject to the Regulations, under which we can be reviewed.  The problem is not us – it is the PPA's who have created the problem by trying to manipulate the Regs to suit their financial objectives. This abuse of the system was never envisaged by the legislators and therefore it will be up to the Courts to decide on areas on which the Regulations are silent.

I know there will be many who disagree with me but I feel strongly we should engage with the process and, not only just comply with the strict interpretation of the Regs by attending, but make available such information and consents as are necessary to establish 'substantial change' or not, whichever is the case. That is the purpose of the review. It is important that we ensure that the limited information we provide is accurate, concise and sufficient to fulfil the requirements of a properly conducted review. It is the forces, PPA's and their minions who are not to be trusted. We must always protect our integrity by ensuring that essential and relevant facts are not withheld, even though such information may be ignored or disregarded by the people employed to act as SMP's.

In that Merseyside instance, would the force have withdrawn if the pensioner had refused to supply any information or consents?  The force must have received legal opinion that they were wrong and I think that our best approach is not to complete their forms but provide such personal information and consents that you, after careful consideration, feel necessary. It is all going to be tested in the Courts and, when it is my turn, I will be confident to go to JR having not complied with the demands of the force but complied with the review process (even though it is tainted and untrustworthy) by providing such information that a properly conducted review would deem reasonable.

I am looking forward to the discussion on this and all the other subects to be debated this weekend.

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