Current NARPO circulars/advice
At the NARPO Conference last month the vexing situation of the new rules was eventually resolved with a number of slight amendments being incorporated to the draft which we had published here for your information.
The new rules are available here
Injury on duty - current advice - November, 2017
Message to holders of Injury Awards in Northumbria Branch
Northumbria Police Human Resources have again started sending letters out to IOD holders with the usual insistence on providing some very sensitive information to them - despite there being very recent cases already decided through the country on the provision of personal files, GPs records and tax returns which such requests, various bodies have decided are unlawful.
Attached is the agreed position between Northumbria Police Federation and the National Federation through Aidrian SMILES, the North East Federation NEC member.
Your local NARPO branch has already had several inquiries within the last week. There is no agreement in place to send this letter, targeted to Injury Award holders, hence the 'broad-brush' approach we have to use.
The guidance is basically telling all IOD holders to get advice from the Federation or NARPO before giving up such documents as described.
Further more if you are such a pension holder,
- Contact the Federation office who are maintaining a register of holders, to enable targeted information in the future.
- If you have already been contacted by HR requesting such documents contact the Federation as a matter of urgency on 01661 863493
Guidance on review of Injury on duty awards
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) are aware that a number of forces including Northumbria Police, are conducting reviews of all former officers currently in receipt of an injury on duty award (IOD).
This guidance has been produced by Northumbria Police Federation in conjunction with the PFEW and Northumbria NARPO in order to assist you navigate the IOD review process.It will explain the steps of the review, the responses you need to make and the support and guidance available.
The review of an Injury on duty award is a provision available to all forces within Police Regulations.It should be used to periodically review the banding of an IOD to ensure that any significant changes in circumstances are recorded and that the current banding is correct.Your IOD banding would have been awarded following an assessment by a medical practitioner selected by the appropriate authority (SMP) and was based upon age, length of service and degree of disablement.
It is important to note that the IOD award was made to compensate you for the potential loss of earnings as your ability to undertake work has been reduced or even removed.This means that it is not an indefinite award and is subject to review.However, it is important to note that once an IOD pension has been awarded it cannot be removed, but the banding of the IOD may be reviewed upwards or downwards depending on circumstances. Fairly unique to Northumbria Police is that they also state that these reassessments will continue until the death of the pensioner.
2.The review will commence with a letter and questionnaire being sent out to the IOD recipient; which includes a demand that you consent to full access to your medical records being examined as well disclosing your financial position and any legal advice obtained. Our advice is that you should not complete the questionnaire or the consent forms as this demand is potentially unlawful. The PFEW is continuing to take legal advice around this issue and the cases to date involving Merseyside and also now Somerset & Avon support our view.
3.The appropriate authority can ask for any medical records from the date of your last review or since the date of the award (whichever is the later). You should reply to Northumbria Police that you will fully comply with the legal requirements of the review, including an examination by the SMP and access to your medical records from the date of your last review, with a caveat that only the SMP can review and not HR. The SMP will decide whether there has been a substantial alteration in your degree of disablement since the last review. This is a paper-based exercise and at this stage the SMP may decide that there has been no substantial alteration and the review will be complete. You will be informed and no further action taken until the next review. However should you feel that there has been a substantial change in circumstances you may wish to pursue the matter further – but take advice first.
4.The appropriate authority can ask for any medical records from the date of your last review or since the date of the award (whichever is the later).You should reply to Northumbria Police that you will fully comply with the legal requirements of the review, including an examination by the SMP, any requests for records either financial or otherwise should come from the SMP, and if you agree and the request is in line with the Regulations then these should be sent to the SMP direct not to Northumbria Police.
5. The SMP will decide whether there has been a significant alteration in your degree of disablement since the last review.This is a paper-based exercise and at this stage the SMP may decide that there has been no substantial alteration and the review will be complete. You will be informed and no further action taken until the next review. Unless you consider there has been such an alteration in the Index Injuries, then you are entitled to ask for a reconsideration.
6.The SMP may also decide that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change could include where your injury has become worse, or where you have completed an educational course, which allows you to undertake different work or where you have been subject to an illness or injury not directly linked to your IOD award. Please note that there is no requirement in Regulations for a physical examination by the SMP. However, in most circumstances, the SMP will invite the former officer in for a face-to-face review, indeed it has been commented upon in court cases where there this should be considered NORMAL practice. At this stage you may wish to write to the SMP asking them what substantial changes there has been. The SMP could also refer you for further assessments from another Doctor to assist them. There is an obligation on the former officer to attend a review or examination and a failure to do so could lead the Chief Constable to make a decision about a review based upon incomplete medical evidence.
7. Should you be called forward for an SMP assessment we would urge you to be in possession of any medical evidence from your GP or consultant which will corroborate your evidence or strengthen your case. This information should be provided to the SMP prior to the face-to-face assessment. Any costs associated with obtaining GP or consultant reports or letters will be the responsibility of the former officer.
8.The SMP assessment usually lasts for between 1-2 hours, but can be as long as 4 hours. There is advice available to be given on the recording of such interviews. If you are a member of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), then contact should be made with them ASAP and they can provide one of their members, experienced in these interviews, to accompany you to the assessment and act as your chaperone during this process as well as offering further advice and guidance.(Northumbria Federation believe membership of NARPO on retirement is vital to keep you abreast of welfare and pensions, more notably Injury Awards You may wish to join NARPO if not already a member).Northumbria Police Federation can also provide limited support. We would strongly advise you always have someone present with you during the process who is not a family member. Once the assessment is complete, the SMP will prepare a report giving their recommendations.
9.At this stage there may be a decision to take no further action and the process will be complete. There may also be a decision to increase or decrease your banding. You may wish to speak with NARPO or the Police Federation on this matter. You may also wish to take independent legal advice about the banding and the prospects for appealing against the decision at a Police Medical Appeals Board (PMAB). Please note that should a claim be brought to the PMAB that is later judged to be vexatious or frivolous then they can award costs against you, currently in the region of £6,000.there are also a number of member run websites that offer support and guidance.
10.It is important to note that the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) will no longer fund any legal advice surrounding medical decisions at SMP review or PMAB. Should you wish to take independent legal advice we have the details of a number of experienced solicitors firms offering advice and guidance on these matters. The PFEW may fund legal issues of national importance, but each case will be decided on its merits. We continually review the process and will challenge decisions at local, regional and national level.
In summary we would urge to utilise the services of NARPO for advice in the first instance and have someone with you during the SMP process as well as requesting that this SMP review is audio recorded. We will continue to offer advice, support and guidance throughout the process and have locally trained federation representatives to assist you.
Police Federation of England and Wales