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Norfolk Police Federation

Pensions Update

17 October 2019

Following a meeting of the Police Pensions Forum last week, the seven staff associations who represent police officers throughout the United Kingdom have applied to be an interested party to the Employment Tribunal tasked with determining the remedy to the discrimination caused by the transitional protections introduced in the CARE 2015 pensions scheme.

Throughout the course of this pension challenge we have maintained that we will keep the situation under review and act accordingly.
Alex Duncan, Police Federation of England and Wales National Secretary said: "Our move is not about seeking to delay or prevent a remedy but to ensure that any such solution is not unnecessarily detrimental to any other group of our membership.

"Collectively we, the staff associations for police officers throughout the UK, have a responsibility to represent the different pensions groups within our membership and we are seeking to represent the interests of all members by making certain they are treated fairly and in accordance with the law. We feel it is important that their respective positions are also considered when arriving at the best remedy."

The tribunal has the ability to award additional compensation for hurt feelings over and above the remedy. We do not expect this to be high. Nonetheless we will seek for it to be applied to all affected officers, not just current claimants. It is for the tribunal to decide what, if any compensation it will apply for hurt feelings. Should it become necessary, officers have until three months minus one day after the tribunal to make claims, and these can be taken without use of a legal firm. 

The three months less a day is from when the remedy to the discrimination is implemented (the discrimination ceases). At present the discrimination continues because no remedial solution has been agreed or implemented. This may well remain the situation until 2021 by the time a remedy is agreed and date for implementation reached. PFEW will certainly be publishing updates including what any remedy is and dates etc as the information becomes available.

PFEW will provide the necessary advice and guidance if it was to prove necessary for claims to be lodged. Government have stated the remedy will apply to all but have not yet commented on the position regarding any compensation for pain and suffering. That may well be because they have not accepted that any compensation should be paid or because the ET has yet to rule on it.

PFEW will certainly be looking for any such compensation to be paid to all the effected group and making the point that failure to do so is likely to result in claims being lodged. 

As a result of the above, we have appointed Counsel to act on our collective behalf at the case management hearing on the 28 October 2019. The various parties involved in the claim will have the right to object to us becoming an interested party in which case the Judge will have to rule on whether or not to accept the application.
It should also be made clear that the hearing on 28 October will set out the timetable and structure of future hearings and that any remedy is expected to be some considerable way down the line.

The Government has itself said any potential solution will apply to all claimants and we still fully expect it to fulfil its legal obligation of consulting with us on any proposed changes to the Pension scheme.

Our greatest priority is ensuring that any remedy is comprehensive and correct in dealing with all concerned members. We believe that if this is not the case there is a very real danger this could inadvertently lead to further discrimination. We believe that by being an interested party we will be best placed to assist the Tribunal in arriving at a remedy which does not inadvertently cause further uncertainty or difficulty going forward.