Judgment, 2015 Remedy Process and Progress so far - Information for members of The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Pension Schemes

Changes to Civil Service Pensions under Remedy

In April 2015, the Coalition Government and devolved administrations introduced reformed (defined benefit) public service pension schemes. 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.

As a result, steps are being taken to remedy those 2015 reforms, making the scheme fair to all affected members. Some active scheme members will start seeing changes in their pensions from April 2022.

Not all members will be affected. Please follow the flowchart below and establish if the 2015 Remedy will impact you?

Flowchart - Am I Affected?  

What is the 2015 Remedy (McCloud)?

Further information on the 2015 remedy

Moving to the alpha scheme on 1 April 2022

All members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) [PCSPS(NI)], that is classic, classic plus, premium and nuvos were automatically moved to the alpha scheme on 1 April 2022. To find out if you are affected, please read : -

Moving to the alpha pension scheme in April 2022 

This will dispel some of the myths surrounding the change and clarify how CSP(NI) will ensure you have all the information you require, to make decisions which are best for you, going forward.  

Ill-Health Retirement - Members affected by Remedy

If you are affected by the 2015 Remedy and you or your employer has applied for your ill-health retirement since 1st April 2015, your application will soon be re-assessed. Further information can be found below:

Ill-Health Retirement - Members affected by Remedy

 

NICS Pension Schemes - Frequently Asked Questions  (Updated July 2022)

We have now compiled a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, specific to members of the NICS Pension Schemes, to address any queries that have been highlighted up to now.

McCloud Judgment and Remedy – Frequently Asked Questions for members of the NICS Pension Schemes

We will continually review and update this webpage as questions arise.  

Response to the Consultation covering planned closure of the PCSPS(NI) (the legacy scheme) – updated March 2022

The Department of Finance consultation on the draft Statutory Rule for the Prospective Remedy in relation to work to remove the discrimination identified in the judgment known as “McCloud” has now concluded. The consultation response document can be accessed via the link below and provides an analysis of the responses received and the Department of Finance’s approach to this important first step to end the discrimination identified in by the Court of Appeal in 2018. Having considered all responses, the Department of Finance has made the necessary legislative changes to close the PCSPS(NI) to future service accrual after 31 March 2022 and transition all remaining active PCSPS(NI) members to the alpha pension scheme from 1 April 2022. 

Read about the consultation

The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 

The  Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill has become  the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 after receiving Royal Assent on 10 March 2022. A summary of the main elements of the Act can be found within the article page Summary of the Act.

The Act is also published and available at on the leglislation.gov.uk website Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022

Background

In 2015, the Government introduced reforms to public sector pension schemes. This resulted in the establishment of a number of new reformed schemes across the public sector.

In 2018, the Court of Appeal held that the transitional protection, offered to members who were closer to retirement age gave rise to unlawful discrimination.

More information on the background and what has happened so far can be found below:

Background Information of the McCloud Judgment 

Public service pension schemes consultation - updated February 2021

The public service pensions consultation to remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the 2015 pension reforms, which ran from 19 August 2020 to 18 November 2020, has now closed and Department of Finance have published a response on 25 February 2021.

Response to the consultation on the proposed changes to the transitional arrangements to the 2015 schemes.

Further information is also available within the consultation FAQs.

So what does this mean for you?

Remedy hearings are ongoing in employment tribunals as are discussions with relevant stakeholders as to how to address the unlawful treatment identified by the Court of Appeal, and so we’re unable to confirm exactly what it means for members.

It’s not as straightforward as returning all pension members to their pre-2015 schemes as this would cause detriment for a lot of our pension scheme members. There are many individuals who are expected to be better off within alpha

At this time, the most important message is that ‘The pension you have earned to date is safe.’

We aim to update this webpage within 24 hours of any important updates.

 

 

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