We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:
Q1. Any emails, letters or other communications between the Home Office and the Police Medical Appeal Board or Health Management Limited (HML).
Q2. Copies of any communications with other third parties concerning the legality of the present Guidance relating to reviews of injury pensions of former police officers who have reached the age of 65.
We released the following information on 27 May 2011.
Q1. Relevant text of emails:
HML to Home Office, 21/10/09
Counsel has bought this case to our attention in conjunction with the ability to review for the pensions banding which flies in the face of the regs.
I believe this will affect all cases not only pensioners but with the case relating to review. (As it quotes Turner and the PMAB throughout)
Has your Counsel seen this case and this transcription before, have they shared a view with you or the potential ramifications of the regulations?
[The transcript referred to by HML is the Pensions Ombudsman’s determination in the case of Ayre, of which I believe you are aware.]
Home Office to HML, 22/10/09
Yes, we know about this. The decision is not binding on other cases but I do think this means that we have to modify our approach - although not abandon it altogether.
Q2. Relevant text of email:
Home Office to a Selected Medical Practitioner, 10/02/11
I must however challenge the suggestion (i) that previous HO guidance was unlawful, and (ii) that the home Office is responsible for “expensive mistakes” in the past. You refer, of course, to HO circular 46/2004. To be clear, that guidance is not unlawful - you will see a very robust defence on that point in the same JR you mention. Many people do not like it, or the way that certain authorities have chosen to apply it, and some exercise their right to challenge those decisions through the courts. The duty and discretion remains with police authorities to apply the regulations and take decisions on reviews. Those authorities then have to take responsibility, including financial, for exercising that discretion.
[The JR referred to was that of Bryan Simpson, of which I believe you are aware.]
Relevant text of letters sent to correspondents who ask about Home Office Circular 46/2004:
Police authorities have had a statutory duty to review a police injury award at appropriate intervals, since the relevant regulations were made in 1987 and before that under previous regulations. The regulations require such reviews to assess whether a pensioner’s loss of earning capacity has altered. Home Office Circular 46/2004 provides guidance for police authorities on the points at which they may want to consider a review of a police injury pension, such as compulsory retirement age and state pension age. The guidance does not override the requirements of the regulations.