This is your pension…

In the run up to the 10th May there is lots of rhetoric about why we are marching, it’s not just about pay and pensions, etc etc etc. And that is true; the service to the public will suffer immeasurably if Winsor is enacted in full, the standard of recruit for the rank of constable will fall, and in years to come when it is privatised I, as a member of the public too, will be wishing for the good old days of key performance indicators, community impact assessments, and training videos where actual, real, police officers are taught to smile for the olympics or shake the hands of suspects they are about to search. However, I have found some more on the pensions front and I think it’s important I share it with you.

On the 6th March 2012 Ian Rennie, top johnny banana in the National Police Federation and negotiator on the staff side of the Police Negotiation Board (PNB) received correspondence from Peter Spreadbury, some big noise at the Home Office.

In it Mr Spreadbury talks about accrued pension rights for Officers in the 1987 scheme (PPS), and starts off by referencing a meeting on the 31st January. So just as I suspected this has been going on for some time. They are going to get rid of the PPS (and the NPPS for joiners after 2005) be in no doubt about that.

What they are proposing, as a little sweetener, is to slightly increase the accrual rate for the PPS so that once it is closed we will get a little bit more out of it than we were expecting. For example, if the scheme closes in 2015 (which it will unless we do something drastic), and you have 10 years service at that point, then work for another 15 years (making 25 years total) you would receive a pension from the PPS of £8,000 a year instead of £6,667. This would be in addition to any new pension. BUT, and here’s the big BUT, if the new pension is significantly lower in value (which it will be) and you do 15 years in it, given you’ve only got 8k out of 10 years in the PPS (and that’s with it being supplemented), how much do you think you’d get out of any new one? Hmmmmm. A 25 year PPS pension would provide a half final salary pension. A 30 year 2/3rds. I don’t see this getting anywhere near that, unless perhaps you work significantly longer.

If you want to see the letter itself, to check I’m not scaremongering or making this up, here is the link .

So, the National Federation have been engaged in dialogue about the future of our pensions for some considerable time and Mr Rennie has only recently sent out a letter reassuring his members that we will still have ‘one of the best available’? Well, that phrase is obviously dependant on what all the other ones look like, isn’t it?

Now is the time to get behind the Federation, with May 10th looming, but I do think they have some serious questions to answer. Like what on earth are they agreeing to do to our pensions without even asking us what we think on the matter?! Like with Winsor 1 they appear to be going down the ‘trust us, we know best, we can negotiate’ line, and we all know how Winsor 1 ended. We were lucky to retain time and a third overtime. If they can’t answer those questions, or they achieve a deal where it protects themselves whilst shafting the rest of us, a la ACPO, then the Quislings should be taken out and shot (metaphorically of course, I abhor violence of any kind, well, unless it’s ‘Proportionate Legal Accountable and Necessary’.)

Onto another letter. This can be found here. It is a letter dated 27th March 2012 and is from the Rt Hon Theresa May to John Randall, chair of the PNB. May sets out the form the new scheme should take:

  • A normal pension age of 60
  • Accrual rate of 1/57th (no mention of double accrual like the PPS in the last 10 years)
  • Cost ceiling of 28%
  • Taxpayer contribution of 14.3% (vs around 24% now)
  • Employee contribution rate of 13.7%

May says that the accrual rate is 5% more generous than the main public sector schemes, which reflects the unique nature of our role. So that’s 5% for the danger, disruption to and restrictions on personal life, distressing situations, shifts, stress, exhaustion and lowered life expectancy (if you do shifts for your whole career) that goes with being a police officer. This shows you how much they value what we do.

Also note how the employee contribution is significantly higher (13.7% instead of the original 11% – almost an extra 25%) and the taxpayer cost is reduced from about 24% (this figure, surprise surprise, is not in her letter, I had to go digging for it elsewhere) as it is now, to 14.3% (a reduction of around 40%). The most important thing to remember though is the wording of the letter. ‘Subject to regular review’. So if they want to, they’ll change it again with far less fuss than they are encountering now, and we will get even less back, or have to work for even longer.

May also says that if you are within ten years of your retirement you will be protected and will get what you were expecting from the PPS. So that’s a large proportion of the CI/Supt and ACPO ranks catered for then. Wonder how much resistance they’ll put up? Thankfully this also protects a large number of my colleagues at the coal face, but sadly not me. So this is a little bit of divide and conquer, they hope those who are protected will accept it and not make a fuss on behalf of everyone it does affect. May goes on to make reference to the content of the first letter I described above, that there will be a little bonus for the removal of the PPS, and that she wants the PNB to respond by 22 June 2012. That’s not a lot of time to come to a well thought out and reasoned response is it?

Annex A of her letter lists the details of the preferred scheme and what elements of it are up for discussion.

Main details (for all of them please see the link to the letter):

  • Career average scheme (defined contribution rather than defined benefit)
  • Accrual rate of 1/57ths (with the double accrual now PPS is equivalent to 1/45ths if you do 30 years)
  • Normal pension age of 60
  • Average contributions should be 3.2% more than current average
  • No fixed lump sums, optional commutation with a factor 12:1 (commutation factors now depend on age but are all higher)
  • Ancillary benefits (death in service etc) that match current scheme open to new members (I read this as matching NPPS, not PPS)
  • Members rejoining within 5 years can link service together (5 years – we heard this figure in Winsor 2 didn’t we? Something about being able to leave the job either voluntarily or otherwise, then return within 5 years? What a coincidence! I wonder what this means?!)

If you want a vague idea of what this is worth then you can multiply your years of service by your average salary, then divide the result by 57. This is a very basic and inaccurate way of working out what you’d get a year out of it. Remember, that figure won’t include commutation, tax etc etc etc. Very basic, but gives you an idea. As a rough estimate 30,000 x 30 years = 900,000 divide that by 57 and you get 15,000. So if you did 30 years in the proposed new pension you’d get less than half your final salary back. I must stress, this is a very rough example, so don’t complain I haven’t got it exactly right. I’m not trying to make it look worse than it actually will be, but until there are further details it is difficult to be more accurate.

Now the bits that May has kindly allowed the PNB to discuss:

  • Accrual rate
  • Revaluation (the little bonus for having the PPS taken away)
  • Employee contribution rates (but there is caveat – the Govt is committed to savings as set out in the spending review so I doubt there is much room for manoeuvre.)
  • Ancillary benefits
  • Rejoiners
  • Transferees from other schemes
  • Early and late retirement
  • Abatement in existing schemes (reduction/removal of)
  • Start date (set at April 2015)
  • Transitional protection

What’s missing from the list of things to debate? Yes, you got it, normal pension age of 60. They have decided. It’s not up for negotiation.

So, aged 59, what am I going to do? Work in the back office because I’m tired and clapped out from 40 years of policing (for me it will be about 40 years by then)? Winsor says I’ll lose a significant proportion of my salary if I do that. Chase 15 year old gangsters around council estates 40 years my junior? I think not. Catch 22 isn’t it? I guess I (and many of my colleagues) will have been got rid of by then – either by compulsory severance, illness/injury (remember if you are injured and unable to be operational but not permanently disabled you’ll get sacked not medically retired), or our own personal choice – therefore saving the Govt even more money because I won’t reach the normal pension age of 60.

I met some civilian staff the other day, they were moaning because their civil service pension contributions have gone up 40 quid this month – from 40 quid to 80 quid. I pay around 400 quid a month. Four Hundred. And May thinks that for paying at least 5 times more (or 400% if my maths is right), I should have a pension that accrues just 5% more generously. Ok, they have to work a few years longer, but I’m sorry, is she having a fucking laugh?!

With the way this is looking I have to ask myself this question – Should I pay at least what I am paying now into a new scheme which will provide significantly lower benefits and work (and therefore pay into it) for longer, or should I use that money to buy another property, rent it out, then sell it in 20/25/30 years and use it to part fund my retirement?

Two of the reasons I am still in the public sector are the job security and the pension provision. I know this is the same for many of my colleagues (although there are obviously many other more honourable and less self serving reasons why we are police officers too). If the Govt remove both of those things (which it looks like they are going to) why would I stay when I can take years of detective experience, training, and skills to the private sector and earn 65k a year being an investigation manager for a multinational company, or 80k a year doing a similar thing down under in the land of sunshine and upward inflection? Ok, it’s not as black and white as that (can I still say that?! Blacklist is on the naughty word list in the Met now after all!) but those are realistic options, I’ve researched them.

I get the feeling that the Govt don’t want policing to be a career. And they don’t want experienced police officers. They cost too much.

They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Edit: I am informed that they do not ‘negotiate’ on pensions, they ‘consult’. So let’s hope they consult their b*****ks off for us!

I have also had a little criticism for moaning that the fed haven’t told us enough on this issue, early enough. I agree and understand that certain things might be restricted for certain periods of time, etc. What I do not accept is that I found out about the general theme of the proposals by doing my own research on the the treasury website over a month ago. Why isn’t this being trumpeted by local reps everywhere? This is our future, not a bit of pocket money for working a rest day! The feedback I am getting from officers is “Thank God you are telling us this stuff, I’ve heard nothing from anywhere else”.


Posted in God help us all | 17 Comments

Pensions News

If you are looking for the guide to Winsor 2 – CLICK HERE

I have been considering this past couple of weeks what the direction of this blog should be. Should it be my opinions on current affairs and how it impacts on the police? A funny but mostly sad rant about what ‘the Job’ has become? A news feed for officers looking to find information about the changes and how they are developing? Or a place where anyone, not just old bill, can come and learn how impartial policing, the thing we can be most proud of and the basis of our justice system, is being dismantled by the ignorant, arrogant, greedy, and selfish?

I have not yet decided. Maybe it’ll be a bit of everything. If anyone has an opinion on where they would like it to go, or has any specific questions about anything, please let me know and I will try and find out for you.

This blog has now had over 50,000 views. That’s not bad, but it’s far below what it needs to have to help make a difference. If you want to make a difference check out the ‘Breaking News’ post to see some simple things you can do to help our cause.

In the last couple of weeks there have been some interesting developments:

The Police Superintendents Association have had a sly dig at ACPO and the Winsor review, but it is not enough, they need to go further.

The Scottish Justice Secretary has called the Winsor proposals ‘Frankly Insulting’ and they are not implementing them north of the border. Well done Kenny MacAskill, PS any jobs going?!

“The only good bit of the Winsor Report, is on page 606, where he acknowledges that the affairs of Scotland are outside his terms of reference.”

The determinations arising from Winsor 1 have come into force, as announced by Home Office Circular 10-2012 on 16/04/2012, and are to be applied retrospectively, it appears, from the 01/04/2012. But no one can tell me whether -5s worked since 01/04 but before 16/04 will be paid at -5 or not?

Ian Rennie of the National Fed has written some strongly worded letters to Theresa May complaining, quite rightly, that the determination wordings for Winsor 1 differ from what was agreed at the PAT. This is a great example of the contempt with which Theresa May et al hold us in; trying to sneak things through under our noses. Despicable.

And I? Well, I have been doing a bit of digging on the pensions front.

An email went round work last year from someone talking about changes to the pension, how it’s going to be closed in 2015, we’ll all be put on a new one that’ll be crap etc etc etc. The Fed batted it off by saying there’s no proposals on the table yet, we don’t know what they are going to be, blah blah blah blah blah. Basically, you don’t know what you are talking about, stop worrying everyone!

This email has surfaced again recently with the increase to our contributions this month from 11% to 12.25% (for the 1987 scheme) so I thought I’d make some inquiries to use a well-worn phrase. (Is it inquiries or enquiries? I’ve never been able to decide?!)

I obviously run the risk of being accused of scaremongering here, so I’m going to choose my words carefully:

1) The Hutton review of public sector pensions recommends that our schemes (PPS & NPPS) are closed before the end of this parliament which is mid 2015 at the latest (but whatever we have accrued up to that point will be honoured – not very comforting if you have about 10 years service, well anything under about 25 years to be honest!), that a replacement scheme is brought in, and that the normal pensionable age for Police is changed to 60 (from 30yrs service or age 55 for PPS members, and 35yrs or 60 for NPPS members).

2) The Hutton report does not mention specifics such as will we get our accrued rights under the old scheme at 30/55 (for PPS) and 35 (for NPPS) but have to wait till 60 to receive benefits from the new one? Or will it all come at 60? Will it be staggered depending on age etc? As with everything, the devil is in the detail.

3) Winsor 2 agrees with Hutton’s recommendations, and the Government agree with both Hutton and Winsor 2.

4) Other public sector pensions are being changed from final salary to career average (which are generally worth less than a final salary scheme).

5) The AVC Scheme (additional voluntary contributions) for our current pensions were closed in 2010, so we can’t top them up with a bit extra.

6) Logica (pensions administrator for the Met Police) have put a stop on new recruits transferring their existing pension rights from other schemes into the police scheme. So PCSOs and civil staff (just about the only people being recruited into the police at the moment) joining the job since October 2011 have been unable to transfer any existing civil service pension into the NPPS. This is a very important, and telling, step in my opinion. Why would they be preventing this? Hmmmm!

7) On the 30/03/2012, a Parliamentary Standard Note, SN-0700, was sent round informing MPs of the details of the existing schemes. Timing’s a bit suspect isn’t it? Right in the middle of Winsor?

8) The Policy Exchange – a think tank including people like Blair Gibbs (he who suggested the moronic idea that police officers should travel to and from work in uniform. Erm, radio? CS Spray? baton? pay? All my neighbours – slag or not – knowing I’m old bill?!) – have been agitating for reform to police pensions for some time. Click here for their report about how expensive we all are, and how we can longer be afforded. They are a Tory leaning think tank with strong links to the current Government (Blair Gibbs was a senior policy advisor to Nick Herbert, now policing minister, and helped author the Conservative’s report on Police reform before they were elected, you know, around the same time Cameron made that speech that looking back at it sounds exactly like Winsor’s ‘independent’ review!)

So I think it is fair to say that the replacement of our pensions is probably underway, but we just haven’t found out about it yet.

In fact, there is proof that it is underway.

I have had a look at the treasury website and found a page of interest:

This is the page explaining some of the proposals for a future police pension scheme. What it shows is that the government have set out how much they want it to cost.

Dated 28/03/2012 in the first paragraph it explains that the Government have set the cost ceiling and that “The Home Secretary is currently consulting the Police Negotiating Board on the Government’s preferred scheme design.” So they are currently discussing the form it’s going to take.

It then goes on to give a couple of clues about the Government’s preferred scheme design “an accrual rate of 1/57th of pensionable pay and a normal retirement age of 60 (subject to regular review)” Currently in the PPS, the last ten years count double (2/60ths), in the new scheme this doesn’t seem to be the case. So if it remains at 1/57th for your whole service, although it might be fairer to those who don’t race up the promotion ladder towards the end of their service, it also means it will be worth quite a bit less. It is important to note ‘subject to regular review’.  This means they’ll raise the age down the line again if they want to, doesn’t it?!

What the webpage doesn’t show, which I think is important to understand the few figures they have quoted, is the change in the cost to the employer, i.e. the police authority, and therefore by extension the tax payer.

The proposed cost ceilings are 14.3% to the taxpayer and 13.7% to employees.

Currently the cost to the taxpayer (met by the Police Authorities) is about 24%

So that’s a reduction in cost to the taxpayer of about 40%, give or take a few percentage points. Remember, I’m just a thick copper so I can’t work it out precisely.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like quite a large reduction to me. Surely this sort of reduction in cost must have a significant impact on the benefits such a scheme would bring compared to the existing ones?

It also says the consultation period will conclude on the 22nd June 2012.

The Police Negotiating Board have a staff side, members of the Fed sit on it. The Home Secretary is discussing the Government’s preferred scheme design with the PNB. It’s there in black and white.

I think we should all be going to our Fed reps and hassling them, harassing them, for information about this, and demanding they send our opinions up the chain, and ultimately to the staff side of the PNB. This is our long term future we are talking about here. It’s not a few quid in your back pocket for working nights, or time and half instead of double. Don’t take ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Let’s wait and see’ for an answer.

For me, it’s my whole life plan. I decided not to do things early on life and planned to do other things when I retired. In between I decided to be a public servant, but now I realise I should have been selfish and done something else which would have earned me a lot more money so I could have retired just as early if not earlier. Become an MP perhaps? Cabinet ministers have just had their pensions increased. INCREASED. I don’t want to say what I was going to, because it’s rude. Very rude. It begins with C and ends with…

What do you think?

Posted in God help us all | 12 Comments

BREAKING NEWS

If you are looking for the guide to Winsor 2 – CLICK HERE

If you want to understand the Home Secretary’s recent doublespeak – CLICK HERE

BREAKING NEWS:

Twitter is alive with the rumour that May 10th will be the Fed’s march in Central London. Get your leave sorted now.

I am also told via twitter that Home Secretary Theresa May has invoked powers directing that agreement must be reached on 17 of the Winsor Part 2 recommendations by 24th July 2012 and a further 15 of the Winsor Part 2 recommendations by 24th July 2013. I have not seen the official Home Office statement relating to this yet, so I cannot confirm it.

If this is true, it means that we have a short timescale to make a difference. And they are using the Olympics (and the build up to it) as a diversion by the looks of the timing. Disgusting behaviour. Some of the biggest changes to Policing ever suggested, and they’re going to rush them through in an attempt to prevent any challenge.

I have not verified this, but I understand this to mean that the PNB and PAT processes will be completed by those dates and whatever they decide will be brought in (I am happy to be corrected if anyone has confirmation of this, please post a comment below). I will be considering what this means over the next few days and will post an update next week. The time for further action is here.

The first 17 – 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 54, 64, 74, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, 94, 103, 112 & 114

46, 47 & 48 are compulsory redundancy

, this is one of the ones which will help end the impartial office of constable, the ‘bedrock’ of British policing to quote our Home Secretary.

50 & 51 relate to chief officer’s contracts not being renewed and the compensation if this is the case.

54 is shortening the pay scales and REDUCING the starting salary of a PC. As well as losing out financially this will encourage more corruption and malpractice, and will not help attract the ‘brightest and best’ as Mr Winsor thinks his review will.

64 is that an elected PCC can raise or lower a chief contable’s pay to some degree.

74 allows chief constables the discretion to pay regional allowances. As I explained previously, regional allowances are designed to keep our pay low, but in a way that is disguised.

83 is the removal of CRTP.

86, 87, 88 & 89 relate to pay progression and bonuses for superintending ranks and above.

94 is the measly 600 quid (before tax, and non-pensionable) for having a gun, being a detective, a neighbourhood officer, or public order trained Having read Mr Rennie’s speech it appears that neighbourhood officers only qualify having been on a team for 3 years. How many of you think you will be kept on a neighbourhood team longer than 2 years 11 months? And this was rejected in Part 1, when it was 1200 quid, so Winsor halved the cost and resubmitted it.

103 will make it possible for the Met to buy out protection officer’s overtime

112 & 114 are both to do with the crummy £15 after 12 free days on call allowance

The other 15 which we have about a years grace on are – 
38, 39, 55, 56, 59, 60, 62, 71, 84, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101

More on them at a later date.

As a start, everyone as a matter of urgency should be:

1) Approaching their fed reps and getting an understanding of regs, voicing their dissatisfaction, and urging them to go to the National Federation and tell them to SHOW SOME LEADERSHIP AND SOME BALLS.

2) Taking a copy of this blog and the comments to your MP in person, talking to them, and showing them what it really means. Most of them won’t know, because they’ll be listening to Ms May’s nonsense and taking it at face value. At the very least you should be posting them a copy with a personal letter. It won’t take much time to do that, completing a crime report takes longer.

3) Sharing this blog, and any other sites you come across on the internet (http://www.protectourpolice.co.uk/ for example) with anyone and everyone. Including Members of the shadow cabinet, public figures and social commentators in the media who might have an interest or could make a difference. This blog has had over 24,000 views in less than a week. It needs ten times that to gain some traction. Get the message out there.

4) Talking to the apathetic among us, the ones who think we’ve already lost, or it’s too much effort, or someone else will do it for them, and changing their minds.

5) Signing this petition and getting everyone you know to do the same http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31250

To finish, a quote from ‘MUSO’ who left a comment on my first post:

“I am not a police officer but I do have a close family member who is. I’ve watched that person transform, from a bright beacon of light, enthusiastically facing the challenges of upholding law to barely a glimmer and before long, I fear the tiny flame that lingers, will be extinguished by despair and low morale – forever. Now I don’t need to understand the “technical” detail of changes that have already been implemented and Winsor’s proposals. I can see the consequences with my own eyes and it is blatantly obvious, the government and it’s puppets in high authority in this country’s police forces, are guilty of incompetence and mismanagement of its most valuable asset – it’s police officers. To me it’s tantamount to sabotage. I am “Joe Public” with a tiny bit of insight. If I didn’t have that I would be almost completely unaware of what’s going on and the damage that’s being done to my rights as a citizen to live in a society protected by you the professional servant’s of law and order. A privatised police force? The mere thought chills me to the core. What can you do about it? Well griping on forums like this might make you feel better but that’s all, it won’t change anything. Attend your Federation meetings, turn up in numbers and make your feelings known. When your senior officers turn up at one of these meetings to be greeted by only a handful of “die-hards”, it sends a message to them that you are apathetic towards what is being done to you and they can get away with it and more. That just weakens your Federation and they have no credibility or bargaining power. Pack your meetings, show strength and send a different message to your management. Despite what you might think, the vast majority of law-abiding citizens respect and value the job you do, the sacrifices you make and the risks you take on their behalf. In the end it is “Joe Public’s” opinion that will make the difference. Currently there is no message coming through telling “Joe Public” in clear simple terms, how disastrous all these changes are and exactly what it will mean for them. I can’t hear you – you are but a whisper. Kick your Federation up the backside, write to them, send them this post, go to meetings, support them and galvanise them into action. I want to hear your voice (the Federation) loud and clear. Tell us, the public, how to help you and make it easy for us to do it because in the end we the public, are going to suffer too and are the only ones that can prevent the demolition of the police service. Good luck – I think you’re going to need it.”

Posted in God help us all | 15 Comments

What May Means

In order to appreciate what Theresa May is prattling on about, you need to be aware of the implications of Winsor 2, if you haven’t done so then please start by reading this post:

https://whatwinsormeans.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/what-winsor-means/

No matter your opinion on how far we have drifted from Sir Robert Peel’s original principles, I think it’s fair to say the modern police doesn’t really reflect some of them. “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.” Now a lot of it’s about ‘public perception’ (making people think everything’s ok even if it’s not) and ‘visibility’.

Peel’s principles were full of foresight and have been the basis of policing since their inception. I think Winsor 2 will help consign them to history.

On Tuesday 27th March 2012 Home Secretary Theresa May referred almost all of Winsor 2 to the Police Negotiating Board (PNB), paving the way for its adoption. Below is my interpretation of her statement, but before that, a little something I thought of while reading the transcript of Winsor’s most recent appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee:

Home Office Statistical Bulletin 03/12 provides details of recent police strength across the country. When Winsor began his review on the 1st October 2010 there were about 142,000 police officers in England and Wales (not including non Home Office forces such as the BTP). Winsor, during his research for part 1 of his review, says he personally spoke to 176 officers. At least three of those he either got mixed up about or made up (although he blames the police for the confusion). So, by my ‘barely literate’ calculations, that was about 0.13% of the total number of police officers in England and Wales around about the time he started (there are about 6,000 fewer officers now). This shows that he wasn’t interested in getting his review right. Pantene probably ask more people about how shiny they think their hair is, and he’s fundamentally changing policing! He didn’t bother interviewing anywhere near enough officers to get an accurate reflection of us all. If I investigated a crime which had 1,000 available witnesses stood in a line waiting to tell me what they saw and I took statements from just 2 of them I’d be laughed out of the crown prosecutor’s office, let alone get anywhere near a courtroom, and that’s rounding Winsor’s figure up to the nearest whole person.

I think May gave him his brief and he duly started making things up to fit precisely what she asked for, regardless of what he might discover during his ‘research’. Compare his recommendations with the three terms of reference below:

1) Use remuneration and conditions of service to maximise officer and staff deployment to frontline roles where their powers and skills are required.

2) Provide remuneration and conditions of service that are fair to and reasonable for both the public taxpayer and police officers and staff

3) Enable modern management practices in line with practices elsewhere in the public sector and wider economy.

Those aren’t terms of reference, they’re diktats.

We still don’t, to my knowledge, have an exact definition of what the ‘front line’ is do we? And what I think those 3 actually mean are:

“Work out a way to get everyone onto the ‘front line’ quick so we can flog everything else to the private sector!”

And

“It’s not a public service the police provide, it’s an unprofitable business. And the staff cost way too much. We need to make them cheaper, and make it easier to influence what they do and how they do it. Please think of some ideas to make this happen, but disguise them as improvement.”

May goes on to state that the government remains committed to further reform and lists a number of principles set out in Winsor 1. I haven’t read part 1 in full for some time, so cannot recall exactly what all of these relate to, but here is why I think they were quoted in the statement:

“Fairness is an essential part of any new system of pay and conditions.”

“This is a vacuous political sound bite that makes us sound nice but doesn’t actually mean anything at all.”

“The office of constable is the bedrock of British policing.”

“It’s going in all but name, but you still can’t have the same rights as employees, and saying this makes us sound like we value it.”

“The demands of policing should be given full and proper weight.”

“You think we are saying that we recognise the unique nature of policing and its impact on the lives of officers, and that this will be taken into account. Actually we could be talking about anything, or nothing at all, because this point doesn’t make reference to anything or have a context. But it sounds good. Weight. That word gives the impression of strength and security. Subconsciously this might influence people. We should use it again if we can.”

“People should be paid for what they do, the skills they have and are applying in their work, and the weights of the jobs they do.”

“If you don’t do what we think is more important, we will penalise you financially, regardless of the fact that not everyone can do whatever they want (or what we think they should). However, this phrase will be popular with the public and make the police sound resistant to reform because it sounds like common sense. Plus we said weight again.”

“People should be paid for how well they work”

“we are going to reduce people’s pay, but make it look like we are trying to improve standards.”

“A single police service – distinctions in pay and other conditions of service between police officers and staff should be objectively justified”

“We are going to try and make you the same as each other by making it harder to differentiate between the two. We won’t say harmonise though, in case someone picks up on it.”

“Arrangements should be simple to implement and administer”

“We are going to change things so we can do whatever we want to the police with little, if any, opposition, but people will like this phrase because it sounds like we are reducing bureaucracy and sorting out a mess”

“Phased introduction of reform”

“We are going to do it slowly but surely so most people won’t realise the consequences or notice until it’s too late, but we’re giving the impression that we’re doing it slowly to do everyone a favour by allowing them get used to the idea”

 Then comes pensions:

“This recommendation will be reflected in a proposal for long term reform of police pensions on which I will now consult the PNB. In common with the reforms which are being developed across public service pension schemes, the Government is committed to ensuring that police pensions are affordable and sustainable for the future. Those who work in the police and across public services will continue to have to pension schemes that are among the very best available.”

What this means is they are going to change my pension. And yours. And everyone else’s. But probably not their own, of course. They will probably change the two existing police pension schemes (PPS and NPPS) so they are more similar in remuneration and conditions to the civil service scheme. They claim we haven’t been reformed for decades. The pension scheme was changed for new recruits just a few years ago. 2005 was it? Or 2006? What I am afraid of though is might they even try and make the police pension and civil service pension schemes one and the same?  They lump the two together with the phrase “those who work in the police AND across public services”  This document is only about the police, why are they mentioning other public services? But maybe I’m reading too much into that?

May repeats Hutton’s view that the pensionable age should be 60. I covered this in my first post.

At this point I’d just like to remind you that I currently pay 11% of my salary into my pension, and over the next few years that will rise to over 14%. Judges are getting uppity and threatening legal action for being made to pay 1.2%, that’s 1 point 2, not 12, in case you didn’t see the little dot (previously they didn’t have to contribute at all). MPs pay between 5.9% and 11.9%, depending on the contribution rate they choose. MPs and Judges pensions are more valuable than the average police officer’s. Here is a quote from the House of Commons Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund Standard Note 01844, dated October 2011:

“An MP serving the average term of office of 15 years, paying contributions at 11.9% of pensionable pay…would accrue a pension of around £22,500 pa”

We’re all in this together are we?

And last but by no means least the final few points:

May is referring the questions of direct entry superintendents and appointment of overseas police chiefs to ‘partners’ for consultation (this means they are going to do it down the line, but make it look like they are considering it carefully). Particularly as she says “I do not believe it is in the best interests of the service to restrict its ability to appoint officers to senior positions to a limited number of individuals. While police leaders have undoubted strengths, I want to ensure the police service is able to draw upon the best pool of talent available.”

May also says that the Government will ‘consult’ on proposals to change the police officer pay machinery. Again, this means “We are going to do it, but we are going to make it look like we are just thinking about it for now, and when all this furore has died down we’ll get rid of PNB and PAT, move to three and five year reviews of things so there’s no yearly pay rise, sideline the Federation by changing the rules and you’ll be at our mercy forever more.” Aside from the financial implications, and as stated previously; the pay and conditions recommendations in my mind are some of the most dangerous and likely to  erode the office constable, and the help the loss of impartiality.

Finally, May does a bit of ‘blahing up’ as we call it in the job, and says the recommendations are of SERIOUS NATIONAL IMPORTANCE for the service, which could play a VITAL role in reform. And she’ll be taking them forward as a matter of URGENCY.

What do you think?

Posted in God help us all | 20 Comments

What Winsor Means

I’m one of those people Tom Winsor told you about. You remember, he and his barrister friends pontificating around the dinner table about all those coppers with no formal qualifications? But unlike what Mr Winsor said, I am not illiterate, nor am I stupid. And I won’t be fooled by his nonsense that 40% of us will be better off, low morale isn’t his fault, and his recommendations are a good thing.

I didn’t finish my a-levels or go to University because, having been well educated at a Grammar School, I decided to join the police instead. Safe in the knowledge that although I would do a job that shortens your life expectancy, makes relationships difficult, changes your outlook on life, comes with many restrictions, is stressful, and sometimes very dangerous; I would be looked after, I would do my 30 years, I would have some fun along the way, and I would be rewarded for putting other lives before my own with a reasonable pension. It’s not ‘gold plated’ and, by God, you have to earn it (as well as pay more than any other public sector worker for it) but I made life choices based on the pay and conditions at the time. Had I known how policing, let alone the pay and conditions, would change in the ten years from then to now I would not have done it, and instead of a detective, I’d be an architect or a journalist, or maybe even a barrister, eh Tom?!

Anyway, this is my interpretation of Winsor 2. Digest it with the last ten years of policing in the back of your mind, the constant erosion of discretion and de-skilling of the office of constable. There is now an S.O.P. for almost every conceivable eventuality. We follow ticky box lists of things we have to do – whether they are relevant to the job at hand or not – like mindless call centre drones. Why is this? Well, coupled with the recommendations in Winsor 2, it is clear that the office of Constable is not going to be around much longer. We are going to be replaced, unless we do our best to fight it. Not only because we all stand to lose out financially, but because Winsor 2, the Conservatives, and ACPO, are going to ruin one of the only good things left in this Country of ours. One of the last things I am proud of. They have sold us down the river for thirty pieces of silver.

I start with chapter 10 of 10, because the preceding chapters make reference to something critical contained right at the end of his recommendations:

Recommendation 115 – No more PNB, no more PAT, an independent police officer pay review body to be set up by 2014

Recommendation 116 – Terms of reference for the new pay body specified by Winsor in chapter 10 of Winsor 2.

What this means is that an outside body will have control over our pay and conditions. It doesn’t take a genius to work out whose side they’ll be on – especially as Mr Winsor himself has written their terms of reference. We will, no doubt, have little or no recourse to challenge or influence what they decide, the Federation will be even more sidelined than they already are, and they will do whatever they want with us. This is like putting me in sole charge of deciding how many benefits and council houses DSS claimants receive, or a railway regulator in charge of police refor…oh.

Sounds awful just on its own doesn’t it. If we go back to the beginning of his report it gets worse.

Recommendation 1 – the terms and conditions of officers and staff should remain separate for the foreseeable future.

Recommendation 2 – The new police pay review body (chapter 10 above) should undertake periodic reviews of the police workforce…including the feasibility of attaining a greater degree of harmonisation of the terms and conditions of police officers and police staff. Where it is feasible, it should be done.

What these two mean is they want to make officers and staff the same. Hmmm, will the majority of staff be brought up to officers’ levels of remuneration or will we be dragged down? I wonder?! What this also means is that their plan in the long term has to be to make officers and staff so similar that the roles, terms and conditions of employment, and ultimately the people employed, are interchangeable. Why else would they want to ‘harmonise’ them? Coupled with the relatively recent changes to legislation such as the ability to make civilian staff as well as private sector employees ‘designated’ or ‘authorised’ to administer certain powers or functions (DDOs, PCSOs, Local Authority Wardens etc) it is clear where this is headed. Also the fact that it is periodic means that this will never go away, they will be doing it again and again and again, chipping away, little by little, until it’s all gone.

Now onto direct entry, and another piece of the jigsaw:

Recommendation 8 – from August 2013 there should be a direct entry Inspector Scheme. Around half the scheme should be candidates from outside the Police.

In tandem with recommendation 2 I think that what this will lead to is an underclass of minimum wage slaves; existing low ranking officers, police staff, and private sector employees, doing the leg work, and an ‘officer class’ sat above them, managing. A bit like the way the Army is divided with regular soldiers and the officers, but much much worse, the ‘officers’ not getting stuck in, and it certainly won’t work like it appears to in the Army. It is another way of differentiating the role at the coal face currently carried out by constables and sergeants and the management carried out by inspectors and above, so, eventually, there is a two tier system with, ultimately, G4S or whoever carrying out the constable role.

This is very dangerous. Police ‘officers’ will end up being the tier above, supervising police staff or G4S (or ‘harmonised’ constables) who will be carrying out the role of constable as we know it now, only they won’t be constables, they’ll be private employees on fixed term contracts earning minimum wage or thereabouts.

Onto the next few pieces:

Recommendation 16 – Police officers should be able to be seconded to organisations outside policing for up to 5 years.

Why would they want to do this? Send us to G4S to train up the wage slaves who are going to take our jobs? Send us to the new NCA (National Crime Agency) because they are going to take functions away from the police, give them to NCA, but will still need us to do them (E-Crime, Terrorism etc?) Why is it up to 5 years? Could that be the length of our contracts in the future? Don’t forget, the director of SOCA already has the ability to confer different powers on different members of staff as he sees fit (today you have the powers of a customs officer, tomorrow an immigration officer, etc)

When you read some of the following recommendations the intent becomes clearer:

Recommendation 17 – Regs should be amended to provide for the return to the police service of officers at the rank they last held. There should be no right of return and there must be a suitable vacancy. Return after 5 years should not be allowed other than in exceptional circumstances.

So if you are shipped out to train G4S, or seconded to the new NCA or wherever, you might not have a job to return to?

Or is it so that if they can make us redundant, one year they can sack us because money’s tight, but two years later they can re-employ us when there’s a larger budget?

On its own this recommendation doesn’t make a lot of sense. But when you consider Winsor wants to be able to make us redundant, it gives them a quick and easy way to re-employ us. And let’s face it; many of us would have to return for financial reasons even if we didn’t want to.

Now a few really idiotic ideas, not obviously to do with the master plan, but they will certainly help it by diluting the culture of working your way up from the bottom in the police:

Recommendation 19 – Direct entry at superintendent level, from Sept 2013. (The scheme should be 15 months long, with 18 weeks of training at a ‘police college’!)

Recommendation 20 – There should be a target that 20% of superintendents are direct entrants within ten years.

I don’t think I even need to make a comment about the stupidity, and inevitable result, of those two do I?!

Recommendation 23 & 24 – People who have been police chiefs outside the UK can become chief constables in the UK

We know Cameron et al love Bill Bratton, but I cannot think of any foreign country from which you’d want to have a police chief that has a legal system, society, culture, and manner of policing anything like ours – New Zealand maybe, at a push? This is a disaster waiting to happen. Our idea of ‘Zero Tolerance’ is a bit different from America’s!

Recommendation 30 – ‘Rank skipping’ should be used so that officers don’t have to serve at each rank prior to promotion.

So you’ve never been a custody officer, but you can be the PACE inspector? When will these people realise you can’t learn it all from a book. Yet another way to dilute the culture within the police and remove the emphasis on relevant knowledge and experience.

This recommendation typifies the philosophy of Winsor’s reports as a whole – that police officers should be exercising their powers, if they don’t they shouldn’t be police officers or the role they do should be civilianised. So the point I will make here is this; experience you gain using your powers stands you in good stead for roles that require the experience of a constable, but not the powers. This is what Winsor doesn’t understand (or deliberately ignores). He sees it in black and white – either you use the powers of a constable or you don’t. If you do it’s the front line, if you don’t then the role should be civilianised. He obviously thinks the same way about management, if an inspector never nicks anyone, why do they need to have the power of arrest, or any experience of having ever done it? Sadly, this is a very naïve, and also completely incorrect, way of looking at it. I suggest that to carry out many roles that don’t require the use of a constable’s powers (including supervision of people using those powers for God’s sake!), you need to have had the experience of using them to do them effectively, or in some cases at all (source handlers, people involved in delivering covert methods, intelligence, training, policy & strategy, etc.)

Onto the next chapter – Fitness tests:

Recommendation 33 – Fitness test should be introduced in 2013, from 2014 if you fail it three times you get stuck on.

Recommendation 34 – The fitness test should be equivalent to the one they have in Northern Ireland.

I don’t have a big problem with these to be honest, they’ll be easy anyway won’t they?! The bleep test is level 5.4 at the moment isn’t it?! The problem with them comes when coupled with other recommendations about unsatisfactory staff, and illness/injury. Instead of having these to increase fitness amongst police, I believe these are recommended so they can be used as workforce management tool (as will become apparent if you continue reading)

Recommendation 38 & 39 – Changes to ‘restricted duties’. In short Winsor wants us to lose pay if we can’t do a role which requires us to exercise the powers of a constable after a year. If after 2 years you still can’t you get medically retired (only if you are permanently disabled), or and this will be most cases; you will be forced to resign and become police staff (only if a suitable job is available at the time).

So the fitness test becomes a bit clearer now doesn’t it, can’t do the fitness test because you got run over, or beaten up, or shot in the face? First have a pay cut, then get thrown out on your arse. Easy. No difficult mitigating circumstances to contend with, no judging cases on their own merit. Fail. Out. But if there’s a job available you could be very lucky and end up on 12 grand a year as the garage hand or property store guy. Obviously, this will lead to Officers being less likely to take risks incase they are injured. I’m not going to go jumping over fences after baddies or dive into a pub fight if I think I’m going to lose my job if I get seriously injured, am I? Remember, this is very different from being medically retired, which he only recommends if you are ‘permanently disabled’.

Recommendation 43 – The big one about pensions. Mr Winsor agrees with Lord Hutton that the normal pension age should be set at 60. This means, for me personally, I’ll have to work a little over another decade. That’s more than a third of my original service. What he doesn’t cover is what that pension will be. But you can almost guarantee it won’t be the one I signed up for (nor the one officers who joined after 2005 signed up for either).

This creates another dilemma. I think we can all agree that it’s totally unrealistic to expect a 60yo to chase 15yo gangsters with knives and handguns around a council estate. So what will we all be doing when we’re in our late 50s? Working in the back office, command and control, training; doing jobs which don’t require us to exercise our powers? But hold on, Mr Winsor says all of us should be doing jobs where we exercise our powers, all other jobs should be civilianised, and if police do them we should get paid less by not progressing up the pay scale (recommendations regarding this further on). So what are we going to do with a generation of elderly officers? Cut their pay because they can’t do what Mr Winsor says is the ‘front line’? Force them to become civilian staff? Ignore the problem and send them out to deal with people 40 years younger?! Or maybe it won’t matter because by then we’ll be on fixed term contracts, compulsory redundancy will be available (the next two recommendations) and they’ll be able to get rid of us before our pensionable service is up anyway?

Recommendation 46 & 47 deal with ‘severance’ or redundancy as normal people call it. Basically we should be able to be made redundant before reaching full pensionable service, and our redundancy package should be the same as the 2010 Civil Service Compensation Scheme. Which, I believe, is a months pay for every year you’ve been in the job – up to 12 years. So, a maximum of 1 years pay. This is certainly part of the master plan to remove the office of constable, ties in with the earlier recommendations about reemployment within five years, and, when considered with recommendations 79 & 82, will be used as a blunt workforce management tool.

Recommendation 50 – a little sweetener for chief constables and DCCs. Compensation payments for CCs and DCCs whose fixed term appointments are not renewed should be ‘fair and more generous’ than the compensation available to officers who leave the police through compulsory redundancy. Why? They earn a lot more than us in the first place don’t they? If you’re on a hundred grand a year what do you need a ‘more generous’ package for?

Recommendations 53 – 58 cover pay scales and the like. Basically they are going to be shortened, and the initial salary will be less. Why would they do that? I think it’s so once we are all much closer together in terms of pay it will be easier for them to remove the scales completely and move over totally to performance or role related pay.

Recommendation 71 – This is Tom Winsor telling us what our ‘X’ factor is worth. You know, how we’re special because of the office we hold and the job we do. He says it equates to 8% of a constable’s basic pay. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather my ‘X’ factor was worth being looked after if I was injured, rewarded properly for the danger, stress, and restrictions I face, a decent pension, the upholding of bargains made to us previously, and a little bit of respect from the sections of society that are insulated, in part because of us, from the real world.

Recommendation 72 – The 8% figure described above should be reviewed every 5 years by the new police pay review body. No prizes for guessing what that means.

Recommendation 73 – Regional pay. The new police pay review body should review the level and scope of regional allowances for police officers. I do agree that an officer living and working in London should be paid more than one who lives and works somewhere where the cost of living is considerably less. However, Winsor goes onto to say that the national rate of basic pay should only be raised if justified by recruitment and retention problems, and local (regional) allowances should be used more often instead. So, if lots of people want to join the police, the pay will be kept low. It’s not about regional pay at all, it’s about paying us less, but dressing it up as something different.

Recommendations 79 & 82 – These are really bad. Winsor thinks that 10% of the Police should be classified as unsatisfactory, regardless of what the real figure is – 0.3%, 5%, 7%, 15%, 30% – it doesn’t matter, it has to be 10%. The least effective 10% should be dealt with by considering (and therefore using) unsatisfactory performance procedures. Ultimately, this could lead to dismissal. This includes whether you pass the fitness test or not. So, if you are injured or on restricted duties for another reason, mental health for example, you are going to be included in the least effective 10%. And if we have compulsory redundancy, where do you think the axe will fall? It doesn’t matter if you are, in fact, competent and completely satisfactory, if you are in the bottom 10% you aren’t. How can someone proscribe a number to the amount of people that have to be unsatisfactory? Unbelievable. It’d be like having targets for the amount of people stop and searched, regardless of lawful authori…oh.

Recommendation 84 – Pay progression should be linked to a satisfactory annual appraisal. If you don’t get a good PDR, you don’t go up a pay scale. This sounds quite sensible to me in theory, but think of it in practice. Firstly, when has the PDR been anything but a paper exercise? And secondly, it is massively open to abuse, not only subjectively if your supervisor doesn’t like you, but what if budgets are tight? Do you think the order might come down from on high that only a certain % can be increased? People will dismiss this as conspiracy theorism and cynicism, but anyone that’s been through the trainee detective process or promotion knows – if a certain BOCU has x amount of vacancies, and the management want to keep all their staff who have applied because of pressures on resources locally, only x amount of applicants might pass the local process before being recommended to the central panel, the others will fail and have to remain as PCs. Winsor’s recommendations will make this type of abuse easier.

Recommendation 94 – A yearly allowance for having a special skill, such as being a detective or carrying a gun, but only when you are in a role that qualifies for it. So if you are a detective but have chosen to impart your knowledge and experience to others by becoming a trainer, because you are not investigating anything, you won’t get it. This was in Winsor 1 wasn’t it? Yes and it was £1200 quid then. Now it’s £600. And only until 2016 at the latest, when it will be replaced by recommendations 95 – 99 below.

Recommendation 95 96 97 98 & 99 – this is what will replace 94 above. These are very important. Firstly, there’s a ‘Foundation skills threshold’ so instead of finishing your probation and that’s it – you’re a copper – at point 4 of the constable’s pay scale we’d all have to take a test. If you fail you don’t go up the pay scale. You will have to retake this test every 5 years. Anyone in a specialist post will know that if you only do specialist work it is impossible to retain anything but a basic working knowledge of the rest of it. If you fail the test you should be put through the unsatisfactory performance procedure. So are they going to increase our training days or give us time to study for these tests? Fat chance! At the final pay point a ‘Specialist skills threshold’ should be introduced, if you pass this then you progress to the final pay point. This should be re-taken every three years, if you fail, you go back down a pay point. The ‘Specialist skills threshold’ should only apply to those roles that require the warranted powers or expertise of a police officer. So if you do a role that doesn’t qualify, you can never reach the highest pay point. The most obvious problem with this is that police have to fufill any number of different roles, often not at their own choosing. What if I am compulsory transferred to a role that doesn’t attract the allowance, for example if conditions are so bad in the command and control room civilians leave, don’t want to work there, go sick or on strike, or whatever, and police have to be drafted in to cover them for a protracted period of time? Exactly what I am told is happening at the Met’s command and control centres now in fact. I would be out of pocket through no fault of my own. This is a cycnical attempt to cut pay and increase civilianisation. I agree that standards need to, and should be, improved. This is not the way to do it.

Recommendations 101 & 102 – A public order allowance of £600 should be paid yearly to officers who do more than six public order events a year. This should be reviewed by the police pay review body every five years. So they’ll get rid of that too, when they decide it’s too costly. £600 equates to £50 a month; that’s before tax, and you can bet it’ll be non-pensionable too. So in the face of all the other changes it’s bugger all. It will also give forces with a large number of public order officers or a small number of public order events the ability to carry out workforce planning to avoid, wherever possible, paying the allowance.

Recommendations 103 & 104 – Protection officers should have their overtime bought out. Self explanatory.

Recommendation 105 – the independent police pay review body should consider buying out sergeants overtime in 2017.

So those of us who are sergeants in the Met or other urban areas with a high crime rate, or those in specialist posts (Specialist crime and terrorism mainly) where the work is often at short notice, protracted, and very disruptive to our personal lives will lose out, but those who sit somewhere quiet or easy with regular hours will benefit with a nice little bonus. And Mr Winsor claims our current pay and conditions are divisive! They did it to inspectors, they’re going to do it to sergeants, and eventually they’ll do it to constables too.

Recommendation 110 – this states that unsocial hours (2000hrs – 0600hrs) should be ‘harmonised’ between officers and staff. Another little thing that on its own sounds not too dangerous, but as part of the big picture is another little attempt to make us the same.

Recommendations 112 & 113 – These state that an ‘on call’ allowance should be introduced (it’s the same as the recommendation that was in Winsor 1). In theory this is a good idea, but sadly Winsor’s suggestion is not very good. As per Winsor 1 it’s a measly £15 a day AFTER 12 days on call. £15 won’t even buy a round of coffees for my team in Starbucks, and the first 12 times are done for free. Now, how many people do you think will be qualifying for that? Not very many is my guess. Any on call function will be shared out between officers by management to minimise the cost implications. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? 113 states that this allowance should be reviewed by the independent police pay review body at their first 3 year review, so if it’s costing too much they’ll get rid of it, won’t they?

So there we have it. Tom Winsor wants all the benefits of having us as private employees without the drawbacks (industrial rights). The removal of our ability to influence our pay and conditions, and them regularly reviewed and ‘harmonised’ with police staff. He wants to be able to force you to resign if you get injured and can’t do what he considers to be a ‘front line’ role (ie exercising the powers of our office), or lose pay if you do a job he thinks isn’t worthy of an officer. He thinks it’s a good idea to have people with no knowledge or experience of policing telling you what to do, after a very small amount of training (2 years to complete probation, 2 years to complete the detective training scheme, yet just 15 months with 18 weeks in the classroom to be a direct entry Superintendent?!). And he wants to be able to hire and fire us as he pleases, depending on the financial climate at any given moment.

However, he makes it clear we are still a ‘special case’ and as crown servants shouldn’t have any ability to challenge these moronic and dangerous ideas, like, for example, with the right to strike. He says that my ‘X factor’ for holding the office of constable and all the things that come with it is 8% of my pay. So that’s less than 4 grand a year; for putting other lives before my own, for never being off duty, for being forced to work whenever and wherever someone tells me to, for doing dangerous things, for helping people, and for making sacrifices every day of my life.

When you look at the recommendations together, rather than separately, it is clear, in my mind anyway, that what this really is, is the beginning of the end. This will over time erode the office of constable to such a degree that within five, ten, or maybe twenty years G4S will be doing the majority of what we do now, and policing will be in such a state the public will welcome them with open arms.

I think he’s written up the death of the office of constable. Coupled with the erosion that has already taken place and the creeping expansion of the private sector into policing, particularly in the wake of 20% cuts, I don’t think there’ll be warranted constables, crown servants, in the years to come, and for that I am very, very sad.

I also think he’s going to ruin my financial future and the life plan I had is in tatters. And for that I am very angry.

What do you think?

this article is intended to summarise the report and provide a balanced interpretation of it. It is not intended to cause disaffection (in my opinion the report does that on it’s own)

Posted in God help us all | 161 Comments