Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 122
of (Expert) Witness
by Peter Crowley of Windor Actuarial Consultants
All members of civil service pensions who continue in
service from 1 April 2022 onwards will do so as members of alpha. Classic, classic plus, premium and nuvos
will be closed in relation to service after 31 March
The best laid plans of civil servants – especially Her
Majesty’s Treasury. Try and save the Exchequer a bit
of money – and look after your senior cronies by offering them some “senior privilege” – and, what do
you know, but some upstart takes you to court for age
discrimination! Age is, I understand, a “Protected
Characteristic”( wish someone would protect mine it’s getting far too large!) and so you end up back at the
beginning – with lots of potential compensation to
pay! Did none of them consider consulting the lawyers
It has also been decided that eligible members will
receive a choice at retirement of which pension
scheme benefits they would prefer to take for the period from 2015 to 2022.
The choice will be between their pre-2015 pension
scheme or their alpha pension. Not all members are
better off in their pre-2015 scheme, so it is important
that individual members are able to choose which
benefits are better for them.
Where do you go? The usual requirement – to put
someone back to the position they would have been in
had they not suffered the injustice – or “Counterfactual”, as I believe the lawyers call it – can be difficult to
determine. Lord Peter Wimsey never had to contend
with pensions, so his expert deliberations on the real
location of his brother at the time of the alleged murder is of less help than we might like to hope.
Background - Updated February 2021
In 2015 the government introduced reforms to
public service pensions, meaning most public sector
workers were moved into new pension schemes in
2015. Most civil servants were moved into the alpha
Let’s start with the civil service’s own schemes – an
interesting collection of names and capitalization relating to past incarnations and benefit levels. The most
recent, and current default scheme is called “alpha” –
which seems appropriate (for any civil servant not acquainted with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, this
is how they see themselves….)
In December 2018, the Court of Appeal found that
the ‘transitional protection’ offered to some members
of the judges’ and firefighters’ schemes was discriminatory against younger members.
On 15 July 2019 the Chief Secretary to the Treasury
made a written ministerial statement confirming that,
as all the main public service pension schemes contained similar ‘transitional protection’ arrangements,
the difference in treatment will need to be addressed
across all those schemes for members with relevant
2015 Remedy (McCloud)
Last updated 06/10/2021
Changes to Civil Service Pensions under Remedy
In 2015 the government introduced reforms to public service pensions. Most public sector workers were
moved into a new pension scheme called ‘alpha.’
In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that some of the
rules put in place back in 2015 to protect older workers by allowing them to remain in their original
scheme, were discriminatory on the basis of age.
The discrimination that was identified in the public
service schemes arises between the different treatment
between members in these categories:
As a result, steps are being taken to remedy those 2015
reforms, making the scheme fair to all affected members. The majority of active members will start seeing
changes in their pensions from April 2022.
1. those individuals who were members of pre-2015
public service schemes as at 31 March 2012 and were
fully transitionally protected by remaining in that
scheme after 1 April 2015 (as a result of being within
10 years of their normal pension age);
2. those who were members of the pre-2015 schemes
as at 31 March 2012 and were not treated as fully
transitionally protected and moved to new post-2015
arrangements on or after 1 April 2015.
Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing more
information and guidance to help you understand if
you’re affected and what this may mean for your pension but for now, there’s no action you need to take.
Public service pension schemes consultation response - updated February 2021
The government’s consultation response sets out how
the government will remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the way that the 2015 pension
reforms were introduced for some members.
EXPERT WITNESS JOURNAL
For the Civil Service the pre-2015 schemes are; classic,
classic plus, premium and nuvos and the post-2015
scheme is alpha.
O C TO B E R 2 0 2 1