Annual General Meeting and Reunion 2014

This year the Association held its 28th Reunion at the Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh over the weekend 10th-13th October with 67 members and guests attending including President Alfred Hitchcock QPM, CCMDP, Force ROA Liaison Officer, Insp Angela Harney and John Regan, DPF General Secretary. Special thanks were recorded to the Force and DPF for their assistance kindly afforded to ROA during the year. Unfortunately our Patron Jack Aspinall QPM was unable to attend but sent his best wishes for a successful reunion. Regrettably numbers were down on previous years this being due to a number of last minute cancellations owing to illness and other family commitments.

The AGM was well attended and the usual format adopted with members receiving reports on the work of the association undertaken throughout the course of the year including details of new legal services recently negotiated with Thompsons Solicitors as well as being given a full account of ROA’s financial position as at 31st March 2014 which for the year showed an income of £2838 against expenditure of £1937 with cash at bank and in hand of £24984. As previously notified our longstanding Treasurer Les Cracknell stood down and Chairman Dave Rogers on behalf of ROA thanked Les for his commitment over many years in keeping the finances in good shape and presented both Les and his wife Wyn with a small gift and bouquet of flowers.

The Secretary gave an update on some of the matters that he had dealt with during the year and a copy of what he said is reproduced below:

Good Morning & Welcome to this year’s Reunion and Agm.

Can I begin by saying that I am Delighted that we are United here in Edinburgh, Scotland’s Capital City.

Each year I report that it has been a fairly quiet dealing in the main with routine enquiries from members on a range of issues either by phone or email – thankfully nothing to onerous or complicated. I can say these past 12months have been NO different.

I am however pleased to report that the ROA continues to attract new members and it’s good to see that some new members are with us today.

The Committee meet in between Conference to deal with the routine business – twice at Wethersfield and once in London – and we are most grateful to the Force and Thompsons Solicitors for the facilities provided.

As you know our main means of communication is by way of the Newsletter and the website which is accessed via the DPF website. We endeavour to keep the website up to date with important news and I’m grateful for the assistance we get from the DPF in this regard.

Our continued affiliation to CSPA and PSPC is extremely useful as both organisations are in the forefront of many campaigns to help improve the lives of civil service pensioners and pensioners generally. This year in particular, with a General Election only a few months away there is everything to play for. With so many competing priorities it is critical the voices of pensioners are heard loud and clear. LATER LIFE AMBITIONS is one campaign aimed at creating a better, inspirational future for older people and the details are being published in a manifesto backed up with a range of activities and actions between now and next May. Details will be published on the Web as and when.

Turning to Pensions, this April saw the civil service pension rise by 2.7%, this was based on the September 2013 CPI figure.

The CPI index for August this year stood at 1.5% – the September figure on which next year’s increase is based will be announced shortly. But on current estimates next year’s increase will be much lower than last years.

I’m sure you will all have had a letter from the Cabinet Office saying that the Civil Service Pension is now being administered by ‘MyCSP’ who are based in Liverpool and not Capita. Pension payments are not affected by this change.

The basic state pension at the moment is protected by the TRIPLE LOCK mechanism which ensures it goes up by whichever is higher – INFLATION – WAGES or 2.5%. The political parties seeking the ‘Grey Vote’ are pledging to maintain it.

There is one other matter that I would like to draw attention – The Annual Group Travel Scheme. As you know this is a DPF standalone scheme and until now has always represented exceptionally good value for money and that it why we have always recommended it.

I said until now – as there has been a change to the terms and conditions as well as a huge hike in the premiums. More than double (£178) with a reduction in cover and introduction of medical screening.

It seems that there were only 108 members in the scheme and with such low numbers and a high claims experience the insurers were no longer able to offer the advantageous terms.  Philip Williams Insurers decided to migrate cover to their own stand alone scheme and wrote individually to members with the new terms and conditions.

I decided to do some research to see if there was any scheme on the market that might be of advantage to our members but the bottom line is that no insurance company was willing to take on an age related group such as ours given the high risk associated with a possible claims experience.

There are however two organisations NARPO and CSPA who have a Annual Group Travel Insurance with excellent benefits including worldwide cover – pre-existing medical conditions covered – a single trip can last up to 65 days and you can join if less than 85 years of age.

The scheme is run by the Health Insurance Group and is underwritten by AXA and PPP.

For a couple it cost £207 a year but the catch is you have to be member of NARPO (£19pa) or the CSPA(£18pa) – one downside is the scheme is reviewed each April and if you join midway the full premium is payable.

At the end of the day it is down to individual choice and of course it may be possible to get just as good terms with other insurers if you shop around.

That concludes my report. Thank you.

Following Les Cracknell’s presentation of accounts for the last financial year Chairman Dave Rogers introduced Eric Faultley who had been co-opted to the Committee having expressed interest in the post of Treasurer.

The following addendum to Rule 10 of the MDPROA Rules was approved by Conference ‘Committee members may claim reimbursement of travel costs when attending ROA Committee meetings, except the AGM/Reunion.’ The Chairman explained that committee members had been entitled to claim reimbursement of travel costs when attending meetings if they so wished given the distance travelled and high cost of transport, however the auditors felt this should be provided for in the Rules.

The Chairman, Vice Chair, Secretary, Assistant Secretary were re-elected unopposed and Eric Faultley was duly elected as Treasurer. When it came to the election of the four Committee members the existing members had indicated a willingness to stand for re-election. Being no other nominations the four members were duly re-elected for a further term.

A revised list is shown below.

Following the AGM ROA President Alfred Hitchcock gave an insight into what was happening in the Force given the continuing pressures on MoD finances. The overall complement was levelling at about 2600 and although the footprint was fixed for now further reviews were expected in the future. It was anticipated that several hundred officers would retire over the next year or so and at the present time there were 200 vacancies so a programme of recruitment was underway. There were currently lots of pressure on the Force and officers in order to meet commitments. Mr Hitchcock also mentioned about the terms and conditions for new recruits, fitness testing, the work of the CID and the role played by MDP Firearms Officers in the recent NATO Summit.

Mr Hitchcock concluded by saying despite the continued pressures on the force budget MDP were up for the challenges that lay ahead and thanked ROA for the opportunity to attend the Agm.

DPF General Secretary John Regan gave an overview of the many issues that the federation were involved with especially in relation to terms and conditions of service and the problems that were ongoing with the Pay and Parity Agreement. Mr Regan also highlighted the research being conducted into effects of carrying heavy equipment and how the outcome may impact on other forces in the longer term. Another issue of major concern was the force pension age of 68 years. DPF were lobbying to have the pension age lowered and despite support from Defence Minister of State Anna Soubry MP the Civil Service does not presently recognise MDP as a uniformed service. The campaign will continue. Mr Regan also mentioned that a new civil service pension was being introduced from April 2015. He concluded by thanking members for their welcome.

Next year’s AGM/Reunion will be held at the Hellidon Lakes Hotel, Daventry from Friday 9th to Monday 12th October 2015. The inclusive cost is £229 per person. The Booking Form will be circulated shortly. It is worth highlighting the value of taking out insurance when booking currently at £11 per person.

Committee Information for Year 2014/15:

Chairman: Dave Rogers MBE

Secretary: David King

Vice Chair: Lionel Roslyn

Treasurer: Eric Fautley

Assistant Secretary: Bill Duncan

Committee: Les Gosling, Geoff Heal, Les Gosling and Chris McComb

Force Liaison Officer: Insp Angela Harney

It should be noted that apart from the Newsletter that is normally circulated with ‘Talk

Through’ the website is updated from time to time with additional news and information. See  www.dpf.org.uk/roa for details.

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My Document Locator

The ROA has made available to members a 'My Document Locator' which is produced in the form of a booklet that can be used as a check list of personal documents that records where key personal records, assets and papers can be located in the event of death or incapacity. It is not a Will but simply a check list. The booklet can be downloaded by clicking here.