IOD Review Complaints - Branch Response: June 2017

Summary of Legal Advice on 2008 IOD Agreement

Letter received from Chief Constable July 2017

Staffordshire NARPO has received a letter from the Chief Constable, Gareth Morgan, dated 7/7/2017, a copy is attached and viewable from the link below. This letter is a response to several communications made on behalf of our members to Staffordshire Police since news of the decision in Avon and Somerset to abandon its reviews and our Branch meeting on 17 June 2017.

The Chief Constable is very clearly aware of the feelings of IOD members, as he has been fully briefed and viewed the various submissions that have been made to the Force from Local NARPO, National NARPO and IOD NARPO members that have written to the Force.

The Branch Chairman and Branch Secretary have arranged to meet with him on 25/8/2017 and will be reinforcing all the arguments.

Our IOD members should also write to the Force expressing their concerns and dismay.

Staffordshire NARPO has received requests, via social media posts, proposing a meeting with the Injury on Duty Pensioners Association (IODPA). The Branch does not see the necessity of having a meeting with IODPA as all the facts are already known.

The Branch suggests, if IOD NARPO members are not satisfied with what the local NARPO Branch are doing and have been doing, then they should make contact themselves with the IODPA Website/ email address.

In the social media Facebook Group for Narpo_members have been published comments that Staffordshire NARPO have not been honest and transparent with members. This is not correct, we have sent emails out and made posts on the Staffordshire NARPO Website telling people what we have been doing.

Staffordshire NARPO Branch Committee

Letter from Chief Constable Gareth Morgan

The Branch Officers met Chief Constable Gareth Morgan on 25 August 2017

Report of meeting with Chief Constable Gareth Morgan

One of the things NARPO NEC advise members who are going through the IOD review process to do is request a full, up to date copy of their medical records.
This ensures they can check and contest any inaccurate or incorrect information contained in their file. This entails contacting Staffordshire Police and making a Subject Access Request (SAR).
Subject Access is the process by which you can find out what information Staffordshire Police may hold about you.
Subject Access is a provision under the Data Protection Act 1998, which gives individuals the right of access to personal information held about themselves.

Subject access application forms are also available by contacting the Central Disclosure Unit (Subject Access) on 01785 232195 between 8am-4pm.

Fee
The is currently no fee for a subject access request.

Proof of Identity
Staffordshire Police need to be satisfied that the person applying for subject access is who they say they are.
The applicant must provide at least two forms of identification which are sufficient to prove their name, date of birth, current address and signature.
If an applicant lives overseas and wishes their reply to be forwarded directly to a family member in the UK, they must put this in writing giving clear authority.

Submitting Subject Access Application Forms
Applications must be accompanied by the appropriate identification documents; photocopies of the identification documents are acceptable.

Completed Subject Access applications should be sent to:
Central Disclosure Unit (Subject Access)
Staffordshire Police
Staffordshire Police Headquarters
Weston Road
Staffordshire
ST18 0YY

Reply Period The Force has a legal obligation to reply to the applicant within 40 days of the receipt of their subject access application.
The Central Disclosure Unit will forward the request to the Occupational Health department where medical records are held.

Staffordshire Police Pensions Board was updated at its meeting on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 on progress of the injury on duty award reviews which commenced in April 2017.

Click to See Progress Summary


Branch Committee Discussions on IOD October 2017.
Injury on duty award reviews were discussed at the Branch Committee meeting on Saturday 21 October 2017. The chairman and Secretary gave updates on correspondence received and actions taken. Some correspondence was read out expressing gratitude for the guidance provided from NARPO. The secretary gave summary of the numbers of reviews to date.

Glyn Dyer spoke about recent meetings he'd had and correspondence from IOD recipients and referred to posts made on Facebook in relation to the distress being felt by some members.

Among the concerns raised were the request to some people for full medical disclosure, and invitation to attend assessments in Cheltenham. The Secretary explained that the wording of requests for full disclosure of medical records from birth had been challenged. There is no compulsion on people to do this. The Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) is assisted in the review by medical history of the injury/ies subject to the award when it is disclosed. Only the Chief Constable, as the Police Pension Authority, may reduce a person’s injury on duty award for none compliance with the review process.

The SMP engaged by Staffordshire Police is based in Cheltenham. Letters have been sent to some people inviting them to attend a review assessment at his clinic there, but there is an option for people to attend an appointment in Stafford. Staffordshire Police has been asked to make this option clearer in its letters. In cases where the IOD award recipient resides nearer Cheltenham than to Stafford, it is more convenient for them to travel to Cheltenham. Travel expenses to assessments are not reimbursed by Staffordshire Police.

One person had described to Glyn correspondence as being bullying in its content. Another person had stated that the SMP had stated he was unqualified to assess the case.

Glyn had met with one concerned IOD recipient who has described the review process as illegal. However, this is not supported with any appeal. It had been reported that the SMP for Staffordshire (Dr. Vivian) was refusing to conduct reviews where no medical disclosure had been granted. The Chairman and secretary agreed to find out more about the issues raised.

Glyn had been given more information about the IODPA and its origins and purpose which he described to the Committee. After some discussion about the issues raised, Glyn proposed that an IOD Award recipient be co-opted to the Branch Committee to raise concerns directly to the Committee. The proposal was lost in a vote.

Glyn then proposed that the subject of IOD reviews should become a standing agenda item for the Branch Committee for the duration of the reviews. The proposal was won in a vote.
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Subsequent to the meeting, the Chairman has been in contact with Staffordshire Police to express concern about some of the matters raised. The individual claiming the SMP was unqualified was referring to a previous review, had seen another SMP for a second opinion and the current SMP for a third opinion. The individual has not appealed to the Police Medical Appeal Board. All SMP's involved are highly qualified in Occupational and Medical matters.

It has been confirmed that the SMP will still continue with the reviews, even without the questionnaire or medical record reports, but this is not the most ideal situation.

Staffordshire Police Pension Board Meeting 10:00 hrs Wednesday 6/12/2017, Weston Road, Stafford.
Staffordshire NARPO wish to make the following submission to this Pension Board, and the Police Pension Authority [Chief Constable Gareth Morgan] to look again at how the review of IOD [Injury on Duty Award recipients] pensioners are being conducted.

NARPO bases this on the following points.

1. In a letter dated 7/7/2017 that the Chief Constable Gareth Morgan sent to both Staffordshire NARPO and the Staffordshire Police Federation, he stated that “the process would be fair, balanced and proportionate and done in a timely way”

NARPO does not believe these principles are being adhered to.

2. A recent legal opinion by David Lock Q.C. and subsequently reinforced by the ICO [Information Commissioners Office re a Northumbria Police case], confirms that IOD’s do not have to submit full medical records or provide other personal information if they do not wish to do so.

3. It follows from this fact that certain IOD’s are presenting themselves at a review with the SMP [Selected Medical Practitioner] without providing this information. The SMP is either not conducting the review or conducting the review without undertaking any physical medical examination of the persons and then making decisions on their bandings, in nearly all cases reducing them. Although the Regulations are silent on physical medical examinations it seems beyond belief that the SMP can make medical decisions without an in-depth examination of the IOD person.

4. Evidence has come forward, via a NARPO representative who accompanied an IOD person to a SMP review, that despite compliance with answering questions and providing medical information. The SMP is not carrying out a medical examination, but simply reducing the banding of the IOD person using the term ”age accelerator” without giving a coherent explanation of what this actually means and how the term dovetails into IOD reviews. If reviews are to be carried out in this blanket fashion using the term “age accelerator” this in itself may amount to age discrimination.

5. The waters have been further muddied as the result of a letter the former Chief Constable of Staffordshire John Giffard forwarded to Chief Constable Sara Thornton the chair of the NPCC [National Police Chiefs’ Council on 6/11/2017] when in her reply to the IODPA [Injury on Duty Pensioners Association] she states "Forces are no longer conducting reviews of IOD Awards pending the issue of new guidance from the Home Office”. It is accepted by NARPO that this may be incorrect information, but it does not help the situation.

6. The questionnaire that Staffordshire Police has formulated, particularly the last paragraph, which refers to potential action being taken in respect of none compliance under the guise of the Fraud Act 2006 is seen as unnecessary and heavy handed. [Is this paragraph bespoke to Staffordshire, or is it used by other Forces undertaking IOD reviews?]

7. NARPO has been working closely with the Staffordshire Police Federation over the issue of IOD reviews. NARPO will let Glyn Pattinson the Secretary update the Pension Board. Save to say that a number of legal advices are being progressed on behalf of NARPO members.

Mark Judson. [Chairman Staffordshire NARPO]

Last updated 9Dec2017

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