Request by Forces for Injury Pension Details 2
This is a follow on from Roy’s previous post on this matter which can be read here.
Please see below a copy of the letter I hand delivered to the Essex Chief Constable this afternoon.
Regarding the questionnaires some of you have received: you do not have to complete them. There is no legal requirement or anything within the pension regulations which says you have to do as Essex Police are asking even though Essex Police are making veiled threats.
If you do not complete the forms, then all Essex Police can do is send you to a Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) for your disablement to be reviewed.
However, if you wish to complete the forms, do so with basic information. Do not give Essex Police permission to access any work related, benefits or financial information. If you have received this request from Essex Police and your condition has worsened then by all means complete the form with basic details which may prevent you from attending a review.
What I would do, is return the form uncompleted with an accompanying letter to say that their is no change in circumstances since your last review and that you would be happy to attend a further review with the SMP.
This way you are showing willing and are co-operating with Essex Police.
If any of you get appointments to see the SMP then I will make myself available to represent you at these reviews.
Chelmsford Branch NARPO
Dear Mr Kavanagh,
I have recently received numerous complaints from former Essex Police Officers who are currently in receipt of an ‘Injury on Duty Award (IODA)’, who have received a letter from Kevin Kirby, the Head of Pension Services for Essex Police.
The letter is written in accordance with Reg. 37 (1) of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 which places a duty upon the Police Pension Authority (the Chief Constable) to review whether the degree of the pensioners’ disablement has altered.
The regulations state:
Reassessment of injury pension
This section has no associated Explanatory Memorandum
37.— (1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, where an injury pension is payable under these Regulations, the police authority shall, at such intervals as may be suitable, consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered; and if after such consideration the police authority find that the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has substantially altered, the pension shall be revised accordingly.
The complaints are not regarding the review, but the requirement to provide excessive amounts of personal data from the former officers as part of the IODA review process.
Such demands for personal information are disproportionate and unnecessary for the purpose of collecting data for the review process.
Essex Police have no right in law or within pension regulations to demand with covertly threats, details from HM Revenue or the Department of Work and Pensions (Benefits Agency).
A ‘Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP)’ should only be assessing whether there has been any substantial alteration in former officers’ condition since their last review.
Therefore, a blanket request for full access to historical records appears to be disproportionate and excessive given the purpose of the SMPs review.
Your requirement for historical data held about former officers as part of IODA reviews appears to be not only excessive but in breach of the ‘Data Protection Act (DPA)’.
There is an assertion circulating that Kevin Kirby is being required to follow the instructions of Essex Police and is acting unethically with the review being held only in the interests of money saving for Essex Police. This would be unlawful.
This is with foundation as he has been recorded as saying that, ‘he has a financial target to reduce all pensions and that a Band 4 award is a thing of the past’.
There is a similar case to this that the Northumbria Police Federation have taken to the ‘Information Commissioners Office (ICO)’. The complaint is also regarding the request for disproportionate and excessive information for an IODA review. The ICO have upheld this complaint stating that it is a breach of the DPA. They have now informed Northumbria Police of their assessment and advised them of how to improve their information rights and their need to review this procedure to ensure that it is compliant with the DPA.
Are you, as Chief Constable entirely confident that the procedures comply with the regulations and are lawful. The reason I ask is that it also appears Kevin Kirby has targeted those retired officers only in receipt of a Band 4 award. If this is the case it is unlawful.
Kevin Kirby’s letter states that ‘Our occupational health department has your medical file’. If that is the case this is also unlawful.
I will be copying this letter to the Essex Police Federation requesting that they collate all complaints with a view to obtaining legal advice and informing the ICO.
Essex Police have a duty of care to support IOD pensioners but on this occasion your support is not to the most professional of standards. Your letter to retired Essex Police Officers may be the first contact from Essex Police since their forced retirement. It is rude, impersonal and threatening.
I would respectively request that Essex Police write to all recipients of Kevin Kirby’s letter, informing them to ignore the request until they receive a new letter which is lawful and compliant with the DPA.