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West Midlands Police Federation

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Federation issues new statement on pensions

24 September 2019

The Federation has issued a statement on pensions after being approached by members confused by communications from outside organisations.

These relate to the recent pension discrimination cases and whether a future outcome will result in a remedy for all or only for those who have begun a legal challenge.

With the legal challenge on the discriminatory aspects of the scheme - through an employment tribunal and beyond - there are two possible outcomes of a legal victory, the Police Federation explains in a statement issued on 20 August.

These are, firstly, a remedy and secondly, compensation.

“A remedy is likely to address the root cause of the discrimination and is aimed at getting members to a position where there is no discrimination. Compensation, by contrast, is a separate payment, likely to be paid to claimants for hurt feelings or distress,” the Federation says.

In a Treasury statement on 15 July, the Government indicated that such a remedy would be applied to all in the public sector schemes listed. The schemes themselves will be changed and therefore all those who have been subject to discrimination will be subject to the remedy. The Government sees this as being likely to be valued at around £4 billion. The remedy will apply to all, regardless of whether they have taken a personal or group legal case.

Officers who signed up to the Pension Challenge may also get compensation. The amount of compensation is based on the degree of ‘injury’ that can be evidenced in accordance with the Vento Scale (See below).

The compensation has not yet been valued and there is no certainty over how much it will amount to. It may, or may not, be adequate to pay for the costs those challenging will incur. The Pension Challenge (Cops Against - @copsagainst) have indicated they believe any compensation will be in the lower Vento band.

The Vento Scale sets out the compensation judges can award for discrimination. The values used would be those that apply when the case is laid, not when it is settled: that is, for police pensions the bands will be lower than currently published for 2019.

Vento Scale
• Lower band (for the least serious cases, e.g. a one-off or isolated incident of discrimination) – currently £900 - £8,600, but at the time the cases were taken, likely to be up to a maximum of around £7,000 - £7,500
• Middle band (which is used for serious cases that do not merit an award in the highest band) – currently £8,600 - £25,700
• Top band (for the most serious cases, such as a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment) – currently up to £42,900.

The Police Federation of England and Wales’ position remains the same: it is, as yet, unclear how the remedy will be applied, but the Federation believes it will apply to all. Anyone considering a claim must carefully consider the risk that the compensation may not cover their legal fees.

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September 2020
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