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We have carried out a large amount of work on pensions since the 2015 CARE Scheme was announced. This includes engaging with the Home Office and other key stakeholders and sitting on the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) and UK Police Pensions Consultative Forum.
Police pensions remain a priority for the Federation and we are committed to ensuring the best provision for our members. Information on what we can do and what we have done is below.
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 that affect our members.
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.
I’ve heard that there is a legal challenge to the new 2015 scheme, is this true?
Yes, a group of officers decided to put in a legal challenge to the transitional provisions when the 2015 scheme was introduced. The Federation sought legal advice which strongly advised that a challenge was unlikely to be successful - we are getting further legal advice in light of the December 2018 Court of Appeal rulling. We have produced a webpage with key information on the scheme and links to FAQs on its implementation.
Who should I speak to if I need help understanding my pension scheme?
The Police Pension Schemes are administered locally by each police force. If there are any points about which you would like further help, please contact the pensions administrator for your force.
Your local Branch secretary can also assist you with pension queries.
The PFEW cannot provide members with financial advice, including advice on pension provision. The Money Advice Service is a free, independent service and its website has useful information, such as how to go about obtaining independent financial advice.
How do I contact my pensions’ administrator?
If you are not sure where to find the pensions administrator for your force, your human resources or personnel section should be able to provide the right contact. Alternatively, there is a full list of the pensions administrators for all forces in England and Wales on the gov.uk website. Please note that Mouchel are now called Kier.
Please note that your Federation rep is not able to provide pensions’ advice or calculations.
I’ve heard that forces are supposed to provide me with a pensions’ benefit information statement, is that true?
Yes, the Scheme Manager is under a statutory obligation to issue benefit information statements and will delegate their production to scheme administrators. These should have been provided to members by 1 September 2016 and then annually after that. We are aware that some of our members did not receive their statements on time, and we have raised this matter at the SAB. The NPCC Pensions Advisor is now looking into the issue and will provide a report for the SAB to consider.
If you haven’t received yours yet contact your pension administrator. You can also contact your local Federation secretary as they will be able to raise any issues with the local pension board. Your secretary should also inform the Research and Policy Support team at the national Federation who will feed the information into the SAB.
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 against detrimental changes.
What are you doing about errors in CARE?
We can’t negotiate on the CARE scheme, 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.
How do I get more information to help me understand my pension?
There are FAQs on the introduction of the CARE 2015 scheme, while 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.
The 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.