The Pensions Ombudsman, has recently decided in favour of a former firefighter, in respect of his pension, and the failure of the Governments Actuaries Department (GAD) to correctly review the Pension Scheme factors. The Ombudsman found that no reviews had taken place between 1998 and 2005 directly impacting on the claimant’s final pension.
The complaints followed a 2009 High Court decision that in the Police Pension Scheme GAD was under a statutory duty to produce tables that resulted in “actuarial equivalence”. The firefighters’ scheme has identical rules in this regard. Previously GAD had believed that it was only required to review factors at the request of relevant Government departments. The outcome of that case was that new tables were introduced with effect from 2006. It did not deal with periods before then.
What does this mean for members of the Police Pension Schemes?
Strictly the decision only applies to the claimant, Mr Milne as it is binding between him and GAD however, the Pensions Ombudsman said in his decision that he hoped that all the relevant bodies would swiftly take steps to deal with the position of other affected retired firefighters and police so that it would not be necessary for their complaints to be pursued.
Does this affect me?
- Those retiring before 1st December 2001 will not be receiving any payments as the Ombudsman has decided that the factors introduced in 1998 were sufficient.
- Those retiring after 1st december 2006 will not be receiving any payments as the factors were revised as from 1st december 2006 (as a result of a successful legal case by the Police Federation).
- Those retiring between 1st december 2001 and 30th November 2004 will be recieving payments (if applicable) based on the revised factors provided as of 1st December 2001.
- Those retiring between 1st December 2004 and 30th November 2006 will be receiving payments (if applicable) based on the revised figures provided as of 1st December 2004.
To make a similar complaint. What should I do?
You should wait to find out what the response to the Pensions Ombudsman’s decision is.
It is possible that there will be an appeal to the court against the decision in Mr Milne’s case. If there is, then it should be known about quite soon as there is a normal time limit for appeals of a month.
If there is no appeal, then the various bodies will have to decide how to deal with all of the other cases. When it is known what the response to the decision is, NCOA will publish further information on this website.
How many former police officers are affected?
The exact numbers are unknown but the factors were not reviewed between 1998 and 2006 so, anyone who retired in between those dates may be affected if they are reviewed.
To read the decision in full go to www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk/2015/05/police-and-firefighters-pension-schemes-an-update/