Dear [       ],

RE:  THE POLICE (INJURY BENEFIT) REGULATIONS 2006 - ASSESSMENT OF DEGREE OF DISABLEMENT

As Scheme Manager for the Essex Police Pension Authority I am writing to explain that, in compliance with Regulation 37(1) of the above Regulations, Essex Police Pension Authority will commence a programme for re–assessment of pensioners Degree of Disablement.  To assist I set out below the full text of Regulation 37(1);

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.

In accordance with the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 an independent assessment of your degree of disablement will be undertaken by Dr William Cheng, LLM MD FRCP FFOM MBA, the Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) appointed by the Chief Constable.

The Chief Constable as Scheme Manager has agreed the objectives and planning assumptions as follows:

  1. The process to be adopted must discharge the PPA’s legal obligations, including meeting his legal commitments to honour injury benefit payments at a level to which each pensioner is entitled.
  2. It is not about savings or cost cutting – there will be no savings target
  3. The process shall be fair and transparent, having proper regard to the welfare of those affected

The exceptions for review will be:

The following Injury Benefit (IB) pensioners will not be subject to a review:

  • All IB pensioners aged 65, 66 or 67 or over depending on their relevant pensioner normal state retirement age;
  • IB pensioners who have been diagnosed as terminally ill;
  • IB pensioners who have received their Injury Award within the last 3 years unless the Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) had recommended that their case be reviewed within a shorter period;
  • IB pensioners who have been reviewed within the last three years.
  • Injuries that are permanent and so severe that there is never a point at which there is any purpose in asking the SMP to consider whether their degree of disablement has altered (R (P Goodwin and Others) v Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police 2020 EWHC 2477 Admin, Mr Justice Linden’s judgement para 81).

The enclosed and attached proposals have been the subject of consultation and engagement with both the Essex Police Pension Board and NARPO. In the light of the judgement, the Scheme Manager is clear that he must apply the regulations regarding pensioner reassessment of degree of disablement in full. The consultation and engagement has centred on how to implement the regulations, not whether to.

The reviews will commence in April 2021 and the programme of reviews will continue as a rolling programme so that Essex Police Pension Authority meets its statutory obligations. We envisage it will take approximately three years to be able to deal appropriately with the backlog and move to a position where reviews are current and not retrospective.

I have enclosed a briefing note prepared for pensioners that explains the process. We will be writing to individual pensioners that fall within scope for review covering the next nine months based on the selection criteria being applied (see briefing note).

I do fully appreciate this may be of concern for you. I would recommend you familiarise yourself with the enclosed briefing note as that may be of assistance.

Yours sincerely

B J Harrington
Scheme Manager Essex Police Pension Scheme

M. Gilmartin
Delegated Scheme Manager Essex Police Pension Scheme.

Enclosed. Briefing Note