Injury On Duty Pensioners Association

If you are a member of this organisation or are in receipt of an ‘Injury On Duty Pension’ this post may be of interest.

This could be one of the most important emails that you ever receive from IODPA.

Following our first ever emergency national meeting on Monday 7th January 2019, we would like to update you with the issues that were discussed and the outcomes that were decided on.

Firstly, that we had a fantastic turnout, over fifty people from many forces around the country of whom were very supportive and over the very serious matters that were discussed.

The first topic was regarding the removal of Haven Solicitors and Equal Justice from the approved list of Solicitors that the National Federation use.

Ron Thompson received a letter out of the blue one week before Christmas from the Police Federation stating that they had made a decision to remove his company from the list of approved solicitors. Many will know that Ron and Mark Botham are specialists in the field of ill-heath retirement and injury awards operating in this area exclusively for nine years.

You are probably also aware that he is a key player in fighting the Regulation 33 issues in Staffordshire, which is an issue that if lost, would have catastrophic consequences for every single IOD in the country as it would allow forces to either demand medical records or instantly drop pensioners for failing to do.

Although the Federation are still using Cartwright King who are based in London, which is great news, the removal of Haven Solicitors for our northern colleagues will have a massive negative impact.

We assume, although we cannot confirm at this stage, that despite the Federation stating that they are no longer going to pass new work to Haven Solicitors, they will continue to centrally fund legal issues through other solicitors. Even if this is the case, they have removed the option of you being represented by one of the most highly qualified and experienced solicitors in this field.

In order to support Haven Solicitors, it has been decided to contact the Federation expressing our concerns in a bid to have the firm reinstated.

IODPA has had contact with a representative from the National Federation called Dave Blundell and he has asked that members email or write to him with positive, supportive emails regarding Haven and politely ask if the firm can be reinstated. Despite the outrage that members feel at this decision, it is VERY important that all communication to the Federation is polite, courteous and concentrates on the benefits of continuing to use Ron.

For those wishing to email here is Mr Blundell’s email address –

Dave Blundell

or for those who would prefer to write –

Dave Blundell (NB)
Federation House
Highbury Drive
Leatherhead
KT22 7UY

As well as making contact with Mr Blundell, we ask that you email or write to your local Federation board with the same message and ask if they will take the matter up on your behalf. Again, it is important that every branch board is fully aware of this decision as it not only affects existing IODs, but also serving officers that may be injured in the future.

You can email or write to your local branch board by finding the appropriate link on the Federation website here –

http://www.polfed.org

Because this is a national issue, we would like emails to be sent from all forty-three forces. Would you please let us know at admin@iodpa.org when you have sent your email/letters of concern to Mr Blundell so we can coordinate the responses?

We make no apology for getting back in touch with you if we are still missing certain forces.

We need EVERY ONE of our members to contact Mr Blundell and in your own words, show your support for Haven Solicitors.

We would also ask that you also contact your local NARPO branch with the same message and indeed, NARPO HQ in Wakefield if you feel that is appropriate. We know that the Federation and NARPO talk on a regular basis and it is important that we have support for this initiative from different directions.

Here is a link to the NARPO site, where you will be able to find email and postal addresses to send your correspondence to.

https://www.narpo.org/discover/narpo-branches/

Just as a side note, Ron has been instrumental in many of the key judicial reviews in the IOD arena; he led the fight for the unlawful application of the H.O circular 46/2004 and won the JR for our very own Stan Fisher to name but a few.

If you need to know other cases that Ron has been part of, please let us know and we will furnish you with details.

Legal Cover Insurance

The second subject to be discussed was the possibility of our own group insurance scheme.

It has long been an aspiration of IODPA to offer legal cover insurance in respect of injuries sustained on duty. This would be available for serving officers as well as those already in receipt of an injury award.

With the current uncertainty over Federation funding, or the choice of solicitors now available, we are doing a scoping exercise to assess demand.

Please note that such a scheme, would not help those already with existing legal challenges, but may give reassurance and peace of mind for future claims. Federation legal funding is discretionary, whilst we aim to provide cover that is compulsory should the need arise.

The Trustees are aiming to find a bespoke insurance scheme which will cover us for IOD issues, such as ill-health retirement through injury, reviews, Regulation 32(2)s, PMABs, Employment Tribunals and Judicial Reviews and subsequent appeals.

Before we submit our requirements to a number of insurers, we’d like to hear what you have to say about it. We have linked to a poll within this email which we would appreciate all members all answering. This will give us a good steer of whether enough members are interested in such a policy and if so, what you are looking for.

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IODPA funding

The final thing to be discussed was the immediate problem that we find ourselves in and the lack of funds in our accounts.

As we’ve already stated, Ron is representing half of the 17 Staffordshire members that have received letters informing them that their pensions are to be reduced under regulation 33. The Federation have not yet confirmed that he will be paid to represent all those that have to gone to him for advice, and for those that have already been authorised, we do not yet know if the Federation is willing to fund this up to JR level. Paying the defence costs should we lose (without even paying Ron or David Lock) could cost £30,000.

Make no mistake, this current challenge has been building for a number of years by the forces that are currently reviewing. We HAVE to fight it all the way, because if we don’t defend our position, then the result WILL affect each and every one of us. So whilst you may not be one of the seventeen Staffordshire members that are currently under review, please DO NOT be complacent and think that this current situation does not affect you.

The result of this is that we need urgent funds, and a lot of them. We have to ensure that Ron can continue to support and represent our members.

Members at the meeting suggested that all members should immediately donate a sum of money in order to give IODPA a massive boost of funds so that we are in a better position of supporting our members well being.

The figure of £500 each was proposed which many people present agreed upon. We understand that for some, this may be no small figure, but we’d ask you to compare this amount with what you may lose should your injury pension be reduced to band one – forever! Of course this type of donation may be more achievable if payments were spread over a short period.

What was apparent, was the unanimous agreement that we all need to play a part in supporting each other.

Please support us as you see fit.

To this end, we have started a MyDonate page which is for collecting these funds. The gift aid needs to be ticked if you are a UK tax payer as we are able to receive an extra 25% on your donation. Please do not submit funds to us via other methods. MyDonate take a very small commission compared with other sites, and they also obtain our gift aid automatically for us. This is important as your £500 is actually worth £625 by the time it reaches us.

Donate

The target we are looking to hit is £50,000. We can only do this with your support.

Thank you for taking time to read this email from us. We cannot stress the importance of raising these funds, please do not leave it to others to ensure that we do everything to secure our future pensions.

The IODPA Trustees

Dear Members,

Please see below the response by NARPO Chief Executive, Steve Edwards to the above post from the Injury On Duty Pensioners Association.

As you know the NEC will receive some pension awareness training in January provided by Haven Solicitors. In view of that, I think it is worthwhile sending you this email [see above] which has been sent around by IODPA to all their members seeking donations.

We became aware that the PFEW have removed Haven Solicitors from their approved list of solicitors, which means they will no longer refer new cases to Haven. We do not know the reason why the PFEW have done this but as you know any decisions of this nature are solely a matter for the PFEW. I have spoken to Haven solicitors regarding this matter.

My understanding from Haven is that anyone currently being represented by Haven will continue to be represented them and any new cases will be considered by the PFEW and if necessary referred to a solicitor. There is as far as we can ascertain no detrimental effect on our members [other than their case will not be taken by Haven] as they will still receive legal advice and representation from the PFEW if deemed appropriate.

Obviously, we will raise the matter with the PFEW and as such, I am writing to them just to satisfy ourselves that our members will still be afforded legal advice/support and representation if appropriate.

Whilst Haven has been very successful there are other solicitors out there who can represent both our members and PFEW members just as effectively.

IODPA, as you can see, are seeking large donations from members to enable them to obtain their own legal advice etc. from Haven.

In my view, this is not necessary our Members still have the right to seek that legal support from the PFEW which will be afforded based on the merits of the case.

No doubt Branches will be receiving emails from IODPA members to the effect as below – we certainly are!
 
 
Regards
 
 
Steve Edwards