Why was so much of the retrospective remedy done in the Department of Finance Directions?
The Public Service Pensions (Exercise of Powers, Compensation and Information) Directions (Northern Ireland) 2023 were made on 9th February 2023 and came into operation on that date.
They set out how schemes should exercise the various powers to make regulations in the PSPJOA 2022.
They ensure that, where the Department of Finance, which has oversight for policy on public service pensions in Northern Ireland, considers that a consistent approach is necessary or desirable, it may give directions to schemes, as it is other departments which are responsible for preparing and laying individual scheme regulations.
This allows schemes to make regulations that work best for them, while ensuring that where a particular outcome is desirable, it is achieved.
This is in line with the normal use of Department of Finance directions in this way, for example directions in relation to scheme valuations, or for increasing public service pensioners’ Guaranteed Minimum Pensions when they would not otherwise be increased.
How were interest rates decided?
The interest rates were determined by three objectives, to firstly reflect the position members may have otherwise been in without the discrimination having occurred, secondly to recognise the circumstances of the award and thirdly to not unduly burden the taxpayer.
Further details on our rationale can be found in the letter exchanges between the Department of Finance and the Government Actuary.