IHR – National Probation Service employees
What you need to know
Ill Health Retirement refers to an employee who is awarded their pension benefits early on the grounds of ill health.
If you have frequent or continuous periods of sickness absence while working for HMPPS, you will be supported by your line manager to return to work as soon as possible. Sometimes, you may have a specific medical condition that means you are at high risk of injury or fatality, which your line mamager will support you with. Your line manager is likely to refer you to see an independent and impartial Occupational Health Practitioner from our third-party supplier Optima Health. Optima Health practitioners can be qualified nurses, counsellors or doctors/physicians and will hold a face to face or telephone consultation with you. Following the consultation, they will write a report to HMPPS managers giving a medical opinion on how your medical condition impacts on your ability to attend and perform your duties at work. This report will also advise on any adjustments that could be made to enable a successful return to work.
An Occupational Health Physician (OHP) can take an initial view about whether it may be appropriate to refer you for Ill Health Retirement (IHR), based on the medical evidence available. If you are likely to be eligible, you and your line manager need to complete an application form (see process below).
If the OHP from Optima Health advises that it may not be appropriate to refer you for IHR, you can still continue with your IHR application. The line manager MUST inform you of your right to progress to IHR consideration by the Indepedent Registered Medical Practitioner (Optima Health).
Ill Health Retirement Process
Following on from the OHP’s opinion that it may be appropriate to refer you for Ill Health Retirement, we now need to put you forward to the Civil Service Independent Registered Medical Practitioner (IRMP) which is conducted through Optima Health. HMPPS will submit all of the paperwork on your behalf, and there is support for you along the way.
The Line Manager will arrange for Civil Service HR Casework advice if your case is going to be progressed to an IHR application. A case manager will be assigned to your case.
There are different parts to an IHR application, these are;
- IHR application form. This is completed by your Line Manager and involves completing details around you such as your contact details, pension scheme and whether you are full or part-time.
- IHR Consent Form. This is completed by you and signifies that you are accepting that Optima Health will obtain any necessary medical information about you. You will send this back to your Line Manager when you’ve completed this.
- P72. Your Line Manager completes Part A of this form. This the Medical Practitioners form and will be completed by the Independent Medical Registered Practitioner assigned to assess your case.
Your Line Manager will collate these documents and forward to the Civil Service HR Casework team along with your OHP report, sickness absence history and job description.
Once the Optima Health team receive all of your IHR paperwork from the Civil Service HR Casework team, they will conduct a review of your case. The IRMP will assess your case and complete the applicable parts of the P72 form. They will also complete a rationale letter about their assessment of your case and send this to the CS HR Casework team. You will also receive a copy of the report from the IRMP.
If the IRMP supports IHR
- The CS HR Case Manager sends your case (completed P72 and IHR rationale letter to the HMPPS panel, who will have the final say on whether you will get IHR. If they agree with the IRMP, they will inform the CS HR Case Manager who will inform your Line Manager. The head of the LDU where you are employed will make a decision on the next steps and nature of dismissal and updates CS HR Casework. Your Line Manager will inform you of the panel decision in writing and fully explain your rights of appealing the decision if you wish. Your Line Manager will then send the completed P72 and an IHR notification form to SSCL, who will transact your exit.
PLEASE NOTE – IF THE IRMP AND HMPPS PANEL STATE THAT YOU HAVE IHR AT TIERS 1, 2 OR 3, THEN REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU WISH TO APPEAL, YOU MUST BE EXITED FROM THE SERVICE.
If the IRMP has not supported IHR
- Your Line Manager will discuss this with the LDU head and inform you of the IRMP decision and give you guidance on how you can appeal the decision.
NPS IHR Appeal process
What you need to know
The letter which contains the HMPPS Discretions Panel decision on Ill Health Retirement will inform the applicant on how to appeal.
You can only appeal the decision NOT to grant ill health retirement or the tier of ill health retirement benefits awarded. Where a medical assessment (tier 3 to tier 1) and the decision by the HMPPS Discretions Panel states a NPS employee should be retired on ill health grounds, the LGPS regulations state the individual must be medically retired. There is no choice.
What you need to do
If wish to appeal – you must complete a SOP-IDRP1a Internal Dispute Resolution form and submit this to SSCL advising that they wish to appeal the decision, attaching your original outcome letter.
If you do not have access to MyServices, you can contact SSCL who will send you the SOP-IDRP1a Internal Dispute Resolution form and a copy of this guidance and the associated documentation (e.g. consent form).
On receipt of the IDRP1a Internal Dispute Resolution form, the SSCL NPS Pensions Casework Team sends an acknowledgement letter to the employee informing them of the two month decision deadline date for the outcome of the appeal.
The SSCL NPS Pensions Casework Team collates and scans the following documentation in consultation with the employee;
- The SOP-IDRP1a Internal Dispute Resolution form from the applicant, outlining the grounds for dispute/appeal,
- The IHR certificate,
- The original outcome letter,
- An IHR consent form (to be valid this needs to have a wet signature and dated within 6 months)
- Any additional new medical evidence and any supporting supplementary evidence.
This should then be submitted by the SSCL NPS Pensions Casework Team who will forward it on to Optima Health.
Optima Health will acknowledge the appeal and will have it reviewed by a different Independent Registered Medical Practitioner (IRMP) to the doctor who advised on the original application.
Optima Health will then return the appeal outcome rationale to the employee and will forward the report and completed certificate to the SSCL NPS Pensions Casework Team who forward the appeal case to the IDRP (Internal Dispute Resolution Process) Panel.
The IDRP Adjudicator will then respond to the appeal and will instruct the SSCL NPS Pension Casework Team of next steps to be taken (including the SSCL NPS Pension Casework Team informing GMPF to uplift and backdate the benefits or the line manager if the employee has been appealing a decision not to award IHR in the first place).
If the applicant is not happy with the outcome of the Stage 1 appeal, they can progress to Stage 2 appeal. Please see page 19 of the LGPS NPS Ill Health Retirement Guide for information on how to make a Stage 2 appeal.
If the applicant is not happy with the outcome of the Stage 2 appeal, they can appeal to the Pension Ombudsman.
The decision whether to award IHR remains with HMPPS Discretions Panel and the HMPPS IDRP Panel at HQ. The decision cannot be made locally at Divisional or LDU level.
Where a medical assessment (tier 3 to tier 1) and the decision by the HMPPS Discretions Panel states a NPS employee (member of the LGPS pension scheme) should be retired on ill health grounds, the LGPS regulations state the individual must be medically retired. There is no choice.
If IHR is granted at tiers 2 or 3 and the applicant wishes to appeal the tier, IHR benefits will be paid at the tier awarded – pending the outcome of the appeal. If the appeal is successful, payments at the new tier will be backdated.
Useful Contact Details:
Optima Health Helpdesk:
0330 008 5144
Monday to Friday between 10am to 4pm
Optima Health Pensions Team (IRMP):
0330 008 5110
Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm
0800 019 8988
24 hours / 365 days a year
For psychological support (counselling), financial or legal information while you are employed by HMPPS and for upto 3 months after you have left the service.
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