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 on.

Who is affected?

This page is for you if:

  • You were a Civil Service Pensions member when alpha was first introduced in 2015 and
  • You were prevented from moving into alpha at the time and instead remained in the PCSPS(NI) (classic, classic plus, premium and nuvos) and
  • You are currently an active member and
  •  You have not moved to alpha since April 2015 and will not move to alpha before 1 April 2022

If you answered 'yes' to all of the above, you are a member who has Transitional Protection and you will be automatically moved into the alpha pension scheme on 1 April 2022.

Transitional Protection - Separating Fact from Fiction

Following  the McCloud Judgment and subsequent 2015 Remedy, there has been some confusion surrounding the impact on members with Transitional Protection. Please read the leaflet Fact or Fiction for reassurance that your pension is safe.

NICS Pensions Webinar - moving to alpha on 1 April 2022

What's changing?

From 1 April 2022, everyone contributing to a Civil Service pension will do so in the alpha scheme. This excludes anyone who is in the partnership scheme.

What's changing? In summary:

  • the PSCPS(NI) is closing to new contributions on 31 March 2022
  • existing Added Pension and Added Years contracts will continue
  • all your future pension contributions and pension built up from 1 April 2022 will be in the alpha scheme
  • the pension you have built up during your career to date is not affected
  • you do not need to do anything now – we will make these changes for you

What's changing? In detail:

As part of applying the McCloud 2015 Remedy, the Department of Finance needs to carry out the changes it set out to make in 2015 in a non-discriminatory way. To do that, the PSCPS(NI) (classic, classic plus, premium and nuvos) will close to all members for any further contributions on 31 March 2022. Existing Added Pension and Added Years contracts will continue.

The Partnership scheme will not close and will continue as usual, you can continue to make AVC payments to your current AVC provider.

This will all happen automatically. You do not need to do anything.

Any pension built up in your legacy scheme up to 31 March 2022 will be unaffected by the move to alpha.

When you come to draw your pension:

  • We will calculate all benefits built up in the PCSPS(NI) up to 31 March 2022
  • We will also calculate all benefits built up in alpha from 1 April 2022 up to your retirement date
  • If you are retiring before October 2023, your pension will be calculated based on the service built up before the Remedy was implemented. You will get to make a choice retrospectively after October 2023
  • If you are retiring after October 2023, you will be given a choice as to how you would like us to calculate your benefits for any contributions you made between April 2015 and April 2022 (the Remedy period). You will be able to choose between alpha or PSCPS(NI) for this period and we will give you clear information on the differences to help you make an informed decision

Actions you need to take now

You do not need to do anything now; we will make these changes for you:

  • We will close the PSCPS(NI) on 31 March 2022, retaining any benefits you have built up
  • We will move you into alpha on 1 April 2022 where your future pension benefits will build up
  • We will automatically issue you with the information you need to decide on which benefits are best for you for the Remedy period, either before or after you retire.

About the alpha pension scheme

From 1 April 2022, everyone contributing to a Civil Service pension will do so in the alpha scheme.

Key facts about alpha

  • alpha has a higher accrual rate than classic, classic plus, premium or nuvos
  • For most members, the contribution rate in alpha will be the same as the legacy schemes, so most won’t pay any more or less each month
  • If your pay increases or you are promoted after you move into alpha, your increased earnings will be reflected by your alpha benefits
  • Option to buy Effective Pension Age known as EPA  - This is a way to build up a portion of your alpha pension that can be paid up to three years earlier than your alpha Normal Pension Age (NPA), without any reduction.  You can find more information about EPA by reading the leaflet 'An introduction to Effective Pension Age (EPA)'. You can also access the EPA Calculator on the 'Members Calculators' page to give you an estimate of the cost and the link to the EPA application form is within that section. 
  • Members of classic, classic plus or premium will retain a final salary link (calculated using your final pensionable earnings when you leave the alpha pension scheme, which may be many years from now) so that any increases in your pay will be taken into account in your legacy scheme benefits.

You can find out all you need to know about alpha in the alpha scheme guide.

Frequently asked questions

FAQs on moving into the alpha pension scheme can be found by visiting McCloud Judgment and Remedy FAQs - Moving into alpha April 2022 on the CSP(NI) website.

Ask a question

CSP(NI) will not be in a position to answer specific questions regarding any individual circumstances until after the legislation required to implement the remedy has been passed but if you have a general query please send it to the email address below and we will endeavour to answer it as the situation at the time allows.


Further Information

For further information about the remedy including the judgment, the  consultations and the resulting McCloud 2015 Remedy, please visit the McCloud Judgment and 2015 Remedy on the CSP(NI) website.

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