High Court: Government consultation on public services pensions schemes carried out this year was unlawful - reaction from GMP Federation Chairman Lee Broadbent
17 December 2021
The Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) is branding the actions of Government on police pensions reform as “deceitful and showing complete contempt for officers” after a High Court Judge declared them to be unlawful.
On Wednesday 15 December, the findings of a Judicial Review launched by the Superintendents’ Association were published, ruling that the consultation on public services pensions schemes carried out this year was unlawful and that the government had breached its Public Sector Equality Duty.
Responding to the News, Lee Broadbent, Chair of Greater Manchester Police Federation said: “Firstly, I want to thank the Police Superintendents association for listening to the concerns of its members and the concerns of police officers as a whole in advancing important issues via the Judicial Review process.
“Whilst no Relief was granted by the sitting Judge the JR did succeed in establishing that the Government failed to give sufficient (if any) weight to the responses it requested via its own public consultation.
“In doing so, not only did the Government act unlawfully, but they have further eroded the trust of serving police officers when it comes to demonstrating they support the difficult job we do by advancing a fair pension settlement which considers the unique status of policing and police pensions.
“It was also held that in failing to properly consider the various consultation responses, Government also breached its Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) by not taking into account the various Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) prior to making its decision on the shape of pension reform (its preferred choice).
“Taken together, these two things are the most basic of undertakings required of Government during any consultation and in not fulfilling these functions Government have shown a contemptuous disregard to the views of police officers.”
Lee added: “Given that we’re now in further, albeit scheme specific, consultation process the Government has some ground to recapture in demonstrating that they understand the nuances being consulted upon, but also that they are actually listening to and are prepared to act on our concerns.
“If not we’re likely to see further legal action being taken in the coming months.”
As part of the government’s proposed pensions changes, thousands of police officers at all ranks will be forcibly moved from the pensions they were promised when they signed up to become police officers, into the 2015 ‘CARE Scheme’ on 1st April 2022.
Many officers are also being told they cannot be given their retirement settlement figures until October 2023, because the details of the complex transitions are not yet known, and the Government are yet to change the necessary regulations.