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.
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 will automatically move to the alpha scheme on 1 April 2022. To find out if you are affected, please read : -
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.
NICS Pension Schemes - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated December 2021)
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.’
What happens next?
We expect that employment tribunal hearings and stakeholder discussions to progress and we expect this will result in agreement as to a way forward to address the unlawful treatment. Once this has been agreed, actions will be undertaken to rectify the situation.
We are and will be engaging with the relevant stakeholders including (but not limited to) Trade Unions, Employers, HM Treasury and affected members to ensure all views are considered.
We aim to update this webpage within 24 hours of any important updates.