Government pension remedy proposals
The government has published its consultation response on how it intends to remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the 2015 pension reforms through legislation and changes to Police pension regulations. It is expected that the consultation response relating to the separate LGPS Remedy changes will be published later this month.
The Home Office have put together some guidance and Q&As which can be found here.
The main points are:
- Remedy applies to all who were members of a ’legacy’ public service pension scheme (or eligible to be) immediately prior to 1 April 2012 and have a period of service after 31 March 2015 during which they were members of a legacy or reformed scheme (including those with a qualifying break in service of less than 5 years).
- If you joined the Police service on or after 1 April 2012, these remedy arrangements do not apply to you.
- The Remedy Period is 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022. Eligible members will have a choice of having either legacy or reform benefits during this period. There is no choice of scheme benefits accrued in legacy schemes before 2015 or after April 2022.
- The government has determined that the choice will be deferred – this means you won’t have to make the choice until you retire.
But, until that choice upon retirement, all eligible members will in due course be reverted to their legacy scheme (for police officers, the 1987 scheme or the 2006 scheme) for the whole of their service in the Remedy Period. To do this means calculating and implementing remedy for each individual which will take some time, and will require pension administrators to update their systems and processes. Because this will take time to do, the actual implementation of this change won’t be effective until October 2023 at the latest. In addition, fully protected members, including those who have already retired, will be given a choice between retaining their legacy benefits or choosing to take 2015 benefits for the remedy period, although with the 2015 scheme there is no access to reform benefits before age 55, so we do not anticipate this option being widely adopted.
Eligible members will then have a choice on retirement whether their scheme benefits relating to the Remedy Period remain in their legacy scheme, or they choose to convert it to 2015 scheme membership.
All members will then be placed in the 2015 scheme from 1 April 2022 (the end of the Remedy Period). No changes to current pension arrangements will take place until April 2022.
Those who are entitled to retire before October 2023 will still be able to do so, but some may need their benefits amended after the implementation of the final policy. Particularly members with some 2015 scheme (CARE) membership who are retiring in advance of remedy implementation, will need to let their administrator know at least 3 months before the intended date of retirement, to allow time to assess what pension benefits are available to you. Other planned retirements, such as at age 55 or after 30 years’ membership of the 1987 scheme, will continue as now.
Over the coming months we will be working with the force pension administrator, Home Office and NPCC Pensions Team to review all the implications of today’s announcement and further information will be published including illustrating the impact of remedy benefits for a range of scheme members and updating the Home Office pension calculator. Pension administrators will not be in a position to provide individual remedy figures for the great majority of scheme members impacted by remedy until implementation in 2023.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes, who is leading on this issue on behalf of NPCC, has commented: ‘Today’s announcement sets out how and when officers will be able to access their pension entitlement for the remedy period. This is an important step in addressing the uncertainty for colleagues. I know that officers will be really keen to know what this means for them at a personal level. The complexity of applying today’s announcement to an individual case is significant but I know, of great significance to those it affects. The NPCC team are working hard with the Home Office, Forces and their pension administrators to ensure that the remedy is implemented, and that as soon as we can, more information is made available to officers’.
Further information will be made available as soon as it is received and placed on this website as well as on Sherlock.