What we have done
Pensions - how we work for you.
How do you protect police pensions?
Although the Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW) has no legal right to negotiate with the Government on pensions, it can and does influence police pensions’ arrangements by engaging with the Home Office and other key stakeholders at statutory and non-statutory meetings, through consultations and via correspondence.
Who do you work with?
We engage with key stakeholders such as the Home Office and National Police Chiefs’ Council at regular UK-wide meetings on police pensions, raising important issues such as the commutation limit (the amount of pension that can be exchanged for a cash lump sum) for 1987 scheme members with between 25 and 30 years’ service. Due to our representations, chief officers will soon have discretion to remove this limit, meaning that these members could commute up to 1/4 of their pension for cash – giving them more choice over how to take their pension, and more spending power straight after retiring.
Our work on the Scheme Advisory Board
We also sit on the police pensions’ Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) highlighting issues about the governance of the schemes and promoting good practice. A current serious concern is members’ benefit statements. Through the SAB we will ensure statements meet the statutory requirements and also press for them to be as clear and informative as possible. It’s essential that members have this information to help them plan their long-term future.
Can you challenge the Home Office?
The Police Advisory Board for England & Wales, of which PFEW is a member, has to be consulted on changes to police pensions’ regulations. Recently the Home Office consulted on the deduction of the Employment and Support Allowance from injury pensions by amending the Welfare Reform Act 2007. We’re questioning the validity of this approach as it bypasses the 'no worsening' provision in the Police Pensions Act 1976 – which safeguards officers – and could be detrimental to members. We will challenge this as necessary.
What are you doing about errors in CARE?
We can’t negotiate on CARE, but we can help to ensure that it is as accurate and fit for purpose for members as possible. For that reason, we have engaged with the Home Office. For example, a mistake in the CARE 2015 scheme regulations meant that the death benefit gratuity wasn’t payable to contributing members of the pension scheme (only to deferred and pensioner members). This could have impacted on widows and widowers at the worst possible time. This mistake is now being corrected and administrators have been informed. We’re currently writing to the Home Office about further errors we’ve spotted in the regulations to ensure they’re fit for purpose.
How do I get more information to help me understand my pension?
There are FAQs on the introduction of the new CARE 2015 scheme here
. The Quick Reference Guide
to police regulations also gives information on a range of members’ terms and conditions, including many that touch on pensions such as pay and allowances, family leave and promotion.
PFEW nationally supports local Federations by providing assistance on complex pensions’ queries and issues raised by members.
How are you influencing the Government’s wider pensions’ policy?
We seek to influence the Government’s wider pensions’ and economic policies which, although not police-specific, have an impact on police pensions and other payments. We supported the inheritance tax exemption for emergency service personnel who die when responding to an emergency and we argued for it to also cover officers targeted because of their status. Our arguments were accepted, and this is now the law. The families of officers who die in these sad circumstances are better protected as a result. Also, in line with our position, the suggestion to completely remove tax relief on pension contributions wasn’t progressed. Pension contributions continue to receive tax relief, making them more tax efficient for members, and saving members’ money.