90 days from today is Wed, 26 May 2021

West Midlands Police Federation

West Midlands Police Federation contact details

Latest Pension Information

*** Sent on behalf of Alex Duncan, National Secretary *** 11 February 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Following our email last Thursday, we have now had the opportunity to go through the Government’s consultation response in detail and yesterday met with the Police Scheme Advisory Board to establish what this means for all of our members on the varying schemes.

In short summary the Government response details that:

• The Remedy applies to all who were members of a ‘legacy’ public service pension scheme (or eligible to be) immediately prior to 1 April 2012 and have a period of service after 31 March 2015 during which they were members of a legacy or reformed scheme.

• If you joined the police service on or after 1 April 2012 the Remedy will not apply to you.

• The Remedy period is 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022. Eligible members will have a choice on retirement whether their scheme benefits relating to the Remedy period remain in their legacy scheme, or they choose to convert it to 2015 scheme membership. This is particularly helpful as we know there will be some who are better off in the reformed schemes than the legacy schemes.

What is positive from the response is that the Government has chosen to implement the Remedy through the Deferred Choice Underpin option, which was the option we recommended in our response to the consultation back in October 2020. This means that members do not have to choose which scheme they receive benefits from during the Remedy period until they reach retirement age and enables them to make their decision based on fact rather than an estimate. They will be able to make a choice based on what option is best for them.

The important thing to note is many of the positive aspects of schemes are being retained and this is not being used as an opportunity to take away the concessions that were agreed as part of the transitional protections but were not ruled unlawfully discriminatory. For example, the link to final salary for legacy schemes has been retained.

When is the implementation?

Calculating and implementing the Remedy for each individual which will take some time. Because of this the actual implementation of the Remedy won’t be completed until October 2023 at the latest. The administrative implementation of the Remedy will not change the Remedy period (1 April 2015 – 31 March 2022) nor the date on which legacy schemes will close (31 March 2022) and all remaining members of those schemes are moved to the 2015 CARE Scheme (1 April 2022). This is a positive in the sense that it gives pensions administrators time to deliver this correctly and consistently however it is a further delay for our members who desperately need and deserve clarity around their pension, especially those who are coming up to retirement.

Issue around tax

There are a number of complex issues around the need for taxation matters to be reassessed in order to return members to the position they would have been in had the discrimination not occurred. We have concerns around some of what is being proposed as a solution to these matters and will be raising them with the Home Office and Treasury.

What’s next?

Whilst it is positive that the Government has chosen to use deferred choice to implement the Remedy, it is disappointing that those who are due to retire soon still don’t have the clarity they need and deserve to be able to make a decision about their retirement.

We will be involved in the consultation on the primary legislation and will be seeking legal advice on certain aspects of the implementation throughout the process. In particular we are scrutinising the updated Equality Impact Assessment to ensure that no unjustifiable discrimination is caused as a result of remedying the existing discrimination.

Please find attached Q and A’s to help support you in answering any questions from members locally. This document and further information regarding pensions are available on the Hub here.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. We will continue to keep you updated as and when developments are made.

Remedy Q&A

Kind regards,

Alex Duncan
National Secretary

 

 

*** Sent on behalf of Alex Duncan, National Secretary *** 4 February 2021 

Dear Colleagues,

We have been notified this morning that the Government has today (Thursday 4 February) published its response to the cross-sector public pensions consultation regarding the remedy to rectify the discrimination caused by the 2015 pensions reforms. As was the case for the consultation, the response covers all public sector schemes, not just police schemes.

We are currently working through the 72-page document and we will provide a detailed response once we have had the time to digest the full document and the implications it will have for all our members.

We know that the publishing of this document is likely to raise more questions for members than it answers, however what is clear is that this remedy will be applied to all those affected irrespective of whether they have launched a claim or not.

From a first glance we know that there will now be a complex task for the Scheme Advisory Board, who will have the enormous job of going through the detail to establish what this means for each of the pension schemes. Moreover, the Police Scheme Advisory Board will have to work through the detail of this for policing, and there is much to do. We expect to be fully engaged for some time to come.

Whilst we carefully look into the details around the remedy document, we call on Government to provide clear guidance to ensure that those approaching retirement are able to elect whether to have the remedy period counted as time in the legacy scheme immediately rather than potentially having to wait until October 2023.

The Government’s full response is available to read online here.

Our original submission to the public consultation is available on our website here for your information.

We will update you on our full response to the details included in this document over the coming weeks.

In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Alex Duncan
National Secretary

 

 

 

*** Sent on behalf of National Secretary Alex Duncan ***  12 November 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am aware that yesterday there was an unhelpful post that appeared regarding the ongoing Police pension challenge. The social media message claimed an Employment Tribunal had awarded a ‘final remedy’ to Leigh Day claimants and reinstated ‘Challengers’ back into their old pension schemes. It also stated our PFEW claim had been refused.

The inference from this post was that those members who suffered discrimination but had not lodged a claim were not going to have the discrimination remedied. That is not the case. The judgment of the Tribunal is limited to the claimants, but those who did not lodge a claim will have the situation rectified - as stated by the Government.

I’d like to take this opportunity to give you an update on our progress. For simplicity, I would summarise the current position as follows:

• Pension ‘Challenger’ claimants will be entitled to remain in their original pension scheme for a ‘remedy’ period
• This remedy period is not indefinite and is scheduled to end on 31st March 2022
• All active members of police pension schemes are currently scheduled to be transitioned into the 2015 CARE scheme from 1 April 2022
• The Employment Tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to extend the remedy to those who were not claimants in the case
• Non-claimants will benefit from the rectification being undertaken by Government. This will provide them with the option to remain in their original pension scheme for the duration of the remedy period
• Both claimants and non-claimants (who were discriminated against) will therefore be entitled to remain in their original pension scheme for the remedy period

The cross public sector consultation on how to approach the implementation of the rectification has now closed, and submissions (including one from PFEW) are currently being considered by the Treasury.

The next stage will involve the publication of the Government’s approach to this rectification, following consideration of the consultation submissions. After this, work will commence by the Scheme Advisory Board to identify the best approach to implement rectification, and this will take into account specific scheme issues.

I want to reassure you PFEW will be fully involved in the consultations and I will continue to update you on future developments.

Alex Duncan
National Secretary
Police Federation of England and Wales

 

 

***Pensions Consultation*** - 16 July 2020

The Government has today announced the consultation process on the proposed remedy to the discrimination found in the implementation of the 2015 Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) Police Pension Scheme.

Our newly established pensions working group will consider the consultation paper and submit a response on behalf of West Midlands Police Federation.

Read the full consultation paper

You can find the link and details for submitting your own individual responses on Page 13 of the document.

View Public Pensions Leaflet

 

 

Extension to Pensions Group Action Survey Deadline - Update 13 July 2020

Dear National Board & National Council Members

As you will be aware, we have received a hugely positive response to our invitation to members to apply to be part of our Pensions Group Action, with over 36,000 completed surveys received to date.

We have received some requests from Branches for an extension to the 17 July deadline to allow them more time to manage the high level of enquiries they are receiving and additional time for members to complete the application form. Therefore, we have decided to extend the deadline for completion until Friday 31 July 2020.

Could you please update members in your respective Forces of this revised deadline and encourage those wishing to apply to do so without delay.

Kind regards,

Alex Duncan
National Secretary

 

*** Pension FAQ's *** - 9 July 2020

For FAQs regarding the pension challenge please click here

 

*** National Vice-Chair Che Donald and National Secretary Alex Duncan have recorded a second pensions FAQ video *** - 18 June 2020

 

*** PFEW Pensions Compensation Claims *** - 11 June 2020

Please keep an eye on your .pnn email address for an email from the national secretary Alex Duncan. This email will explain the process as to register for the claims process along with a link to a questionnaire which you will need to complete and return.

 

***A message from Alex Duncan, National Secretary*** -18 May 2020

The Home Office and other parties have confirmed that these officers should be the first to have the pension remedy applied to them. Therefore there is no need for such officers to submit a C2 to pursue a legal claim for the application of the remedy to correct the discrimination against them. If any such officers (along with others to whom the discrimination applied) wish to pursue a claim for compensation for hurt feelings and/or financial loss as a result of the discrimination, they should consider joining the group claim currently being organised by PFEW.

PFEW is aware of the recent LinkedIn article written by Davis Lock QC entitled “The pension rights of police officers who suffer losses as a result of being transferred from the 1987 or 2006 scheme to 2015 pension scheme”. As you will be aware, following the conclusion of the judges’ and firefighter cases the Government has conceded that it will need to take action to remedy the unlawful discrimination caused by the transitional arrangements in all of the public service schemes, including the police schemes. As part of this process, PFEW along with other members of the Scheme Advisory Board have been involved in a number of Technical Working Group meetings with Home Office officials to discuss the detail of the proposed remedy, with the aim of ensuring that it is both comprehensive and correct (the final remedy is due to be consulted on later this year). During those meetings it has been acknowledged by all parties that of all the groups of members affected by the discrimination, the group who should be the first to have the remedy applied to them is those officers who have either retired since 1 April 2015 or are about to retire, and especially those who retired with an ill-health pension.

***A message from Alex Duncan, National Secretary*** -29 April 2020

Work ongoing to address pause in pension boost.

Some of you may be aware of information circulating on social media this week which states members of the CARE15 scheme are currently not receiving benefits which entitles them to a pension top-up of around 2% of their monthly salary whilst claiming the Federation is doing little to challenge this.

I feel it is important to explain the series of actions taken over the previous years as well as update members on where we are at presently and what action we are taking as the Government’s pause on this cost cap mechanism continues more than a year later.

In April 2016 a police pension schemes’ valuation indicated that the cost cap mechanism had been breached. The Scheme Advisory Board (SAB), of which the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is a member, was then tasked with formulating a proposal for the Home Secretary to address this breach.

After due consideration and calculations, the SAB wrote to the Home Secretary indicating its preferred solution was for an increase to the accrual rate in the 2015 CARE Scheme from 1 April 2019.

Whilst this process was ongoing, the judges’ and firefighters’ cases were progressing through the courts. Ultimately the transitional protections were ruled as discriminatory, and the Government decided the remedy to the illegal age discrimination would be applied to all of the public service schemes, including the police schemes (under which the Pensions Challenge Group had brought their case).

As a result of the outcome of these cases, the Government announced it would pause the application of the cost cap mechanism and removed the requirement for a cost cap calculation from the valuation as it would not be possible to accurately value the scheme’s liabilities until the remedy to the discrimination is determined.

The Government was at pains to describe this action as a pause in rolling out the benefit improvements, however, we are now in excess of a year past that point and there is still no sign of it being lifted.

We have repeatedly prompted the Government to indicate when it intends to resume the process, and as part of this the PFEW is, in fact, joined as Interested Parties to the Fire Brigade Union’s application for a Judicial Review of the pause in the application of the cost cap mechanism.

The Federation, along with the other UK staff associations, has also refused to condone the Government’s extension of the current member contribution levels in the police schemes. In our formal response to the consultation our primary reason for objecting was the continued unjust treatment of members in the 2015 CARE Scheme, who we believe are due an increased accrual rate from April 2019.

We are acutely aware that the continuation of the pause in the cost cap mechanism is perpetuating an unjust situation for the younger members of the 2015 CARE Scheme from April 2019, and we will continue to fight for them to receive retrospectively applicable just treatment.

We remain committed to representing our entire membership, including members who have recently joined as well as those who have dedicated their career to policing for many years.

Pension discrimination

Members of public service pension schemes with relevant service will be automatically entitled to the remedy to the unlawful age discrimination within the transitional arrangements identified by the Court of Appeal, it has been confirmed.

Economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen announced in a Written Ministerial Statement all relevant members will benefit from the remedy to the discrimination, regardless of whether they have made a claim.

This means the remedy will apply to every Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) member subject to the discrimination and they will not have to bring a claim to ensure that their pension receives the same treatment as those who have already brought claims.

Mr Glen said: “I would like to reassure members that their pension entitlements are safe.”

After ‘constructive engagement with trade unions, staff associations, public service employers and other stakeholders’, the Government is continuing to work through the details of the technical design elements of the proposals.

Detailed proposals will be published later this year and will be subject to public consultation.

The announcement follows the Government's decision in July 2019 to take steps to remove the discrimination retrospectively.

The Court of Appeal previously ruled the Government's transitional protections introduced for judges and firefighters were discriminatory on the grounds of age.

This statement does not cover compensation for claims involving hurt feelings or for any other financial loss.

Further information about the remedy can be obtained from the update and FAQs issued by PFEW.

An update from Alex Duncan, National Secretary - 13 March 2020

Dear Colleagues

Police Federation officials representing officers from across England and Wales – our National Board and National Council – met this week to discuss important issues affecting our members including pensions.

Throughout this process we have always made it clear that police officers should have stayed in the pension schemes they signed up to, or better. This will remain our stance in any future discussions with Government over police officer pensions.

We have also made it clear we would not be paying the private legal fees for the 'Pension Challenge'. This position remains unchanged. As we stated last month, the Government has already committed to rectifying for everyone the discrimination caused by transitional protections (not only claimants). Discussions continue to focus on how best to achieve this whilst considering other knock-on effects that any remedy will have, including the impact on contributions, taxation and on the most vulnerable, such as officers who have ill-health-retired.

The seven main staff associations: Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW,) Scottish Police Federation (SPF,) Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI,) Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA), Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS,) Superintendents’ Association of Northern Ireland (SANI) and Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association (CPOSA) are working together with key employer representatives through the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) to reach a solution.

We feel it is worth stating again that the importance of fair and just pensions for police officers – who sacrifice so much during their working careers to serve and protect the public – cannot be understated.

An update with FAQs relevant to all members on the remedy to remove discriminatory provisions from the police pension schemes was published on our website last month. To read it in full, please click here

Alex Duncan
PFEW National Secretary

 

An update on the pensions situation - 13 February 2020

Recent developments - including the PFEW’s involvement in the first Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting – concerning the pensions situation have occurred and I feel it is necessary to offer an update.

Matters arising from the McCloud judgment on the discrimination caused by the current transitional protections in the CARE 2015 scheme will be complex to unpick, and this will take some months.

The seven main staff associations: Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW,) Scottish Police Federation (SPF,) Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI,) Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA), Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS,) Superintendents’ Association of Northern Ireland (SANI) and Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association (CPOSA) are working together with key employer representatives through the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) to reach a solution.

The first meeting of the SAB Technical Working Group (TWG) was held on 11 February 2020. In the first instance our role was to ensure that government understands the scale and breadth of the problem.

The government has already committed to rectifying for everyone the discrimination caused by transitional protections (not only claimants). Discussions in the TWG focus on how best to achieve this, as well as considering other knock-on effects that any remedy will have, such as the impact on contributions, taxation, and – crucially – on the most vulnerable, such as officers who have ill-health-retired.

Consequently, for this first meeting we worked with legal advisors and pensions specialists to put together over 20 questions that we see as critical.

These include, seeking reassurances that officers will have access to sufficient information and potentially, independent financial advice to assist in understanding which scheme provides them the better outcome.

An update, including FAQs will be published this month. PFEW will continue to participate in the TWGs.

Response to Pension Update - 30 October 2019

You may be aware of recent communications in relation to proceedings in the Employment Courts, surrounding the on-going remedy involving officers from the Pension Challenge.

As this is an ongoing legal process, there has been very limited ability to comment openly on what has been taking place, I know this is extremely frustrating, I feel that frustration myself! However as police officers, we all have an understanding that due process needs to be completed before being able to comment freely. During these proceedings, PFEW (along with 6 other staff associations bodies for policing across the UK) made an application to be an interested party in these proceedings. It has also been intimated that there were reporting restrictions on these proceedings and that we may have been in contempt of court proceedings by virtue of our limited press communications on the 28th October, I can confirm that this is incorrect. As an organisation which represents the interests of 117,000 police officers, there is an important duty to update them accurately and confirm our status as interested parties.

The reason for this application was so that we can be fully sighted on the proceedings which will have an impact on our members. We are of course also engaged in discussions with government regarding the potential impact of the proceedings on all those effected.

PFEW, along with the other staff associations were successful in this application and will therefore be sighted and able to make representations on the proposed remedy. I want to make it clear that this has never been about trying to disrupt or prolong the legal process but simply to ensure that we are best placed to represent the membership.

During this hearing a declaration was made in relation to those officers being represented by Leigh Day. The interim remedy decided upon was that these officers are entitled to the same level of protections as those who benefitted from tapering or full protection.

How this will be implemented in practice is yet to be agreed or decided upon, it is however good news for those involved in the challenge.

PFEW have previously been informed by Government that those members effected by the age discrimination, but who had not lodged a claim, would have that discrimination rectified. This would be done by applying the same treatment as used to remedy the position for the claimants to those who have not lodged a claim. That position has been confirmed by Government following the conclusion of the hearing on 28th October. This is also good news as it effectively means that the same benefits will be received for all officers who were discriminated against, without the need to submit a claim to receive this benefit.

What is yet to be decided upon is whether any compensation will be awarded to the claimants in addition to the discrimination being remedied. This will be decided by the Employment Tribunal during the course of 2020 after they hear and consider evidence of any suffering caused by the discrimination.

I am aware that in some areas assumptions have incorrectly been arrived at, particularly around our engagement, communication and involvement with Government in relation to addressing the pensions concerns. These suggestions are baseless and fundamentally inaccurate. PFEW have been in dialogue with the Government ensuring all members are represented on this matter, these discussions are on-going.

I would like to reiterate that PFEW’s position remains that we will continue to represent the interests of all our members, ensuring that no one is left behind.

The whole pension situation is a complex one and there are still many unknowns. However, I give you my word that we will continue to do the best we can for all our members in what is a difficult and challenging situation.

Once I am in an informed position to announce how these changes will affect you directly, I will let you know.

John Apter
National Chair
Police Federation of England and Wales

Update 30 October 2019

The seven staff associations who represent police officers in the UK were yesterday granted interested party status to the Employment Tribunal that will determine the remedy to the discrimination caused by the transitional protections introduced in the CARE 2015 police pension scheme.

They believe this status, granted at a case management hearing in London, will help ensure the remedy does not inadvertently cause further uncertainty or difficulty in the future.

The Home Office again confirmed yesterday that the remedy for claimants will be applied for all members who were discriminated against as a result of the transitional arrangements. It is for the tribunal to decide what, if any, compensation it will award. It will hear the evidence in respect of that during 2020.

Alex Duncan, national secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “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.”

Update 16 October 2019

******* Statement issued on behalf of Alex Duncan, Police Federation of England and Wales National Secretary *******

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.

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.

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.

Update September 2019

Police Federation officials representing officers from across England and Wales – our National Board and National Council – have met over the past two days to discuss important issues affecting our members, and top of that list has been pensions.

Much has been said to the Police Federation of England and Wales, and to local Federations across the country, since the Supreme Court ruled there could be no appeal by the Government on the Judges' and Firefighters' pension discrimination ruling.

We are listening to you. We are listening to your Representatives. And following our discussions over the past two days we – the PFEW and local Police Federations - publish this joint statement on the Police Federation of England and Wales’s police officer pension position.

Our stance has always been that police officers should have stayed in the pension schemes they signed up to, or better, and that remains our stance in any future discussions with Government over police officer pensions.

It was scandalous that the Government forced the changes they made to pensions back in 2012, but legally they had the power to do so. There are no negotiation rights for police officers on pensions.

Following the Judges'/Firefighters' ruling, the Government has said they will release a statement on the issue before Parliament’s summer recess begins on 25 July. We are talking to other public sector unions in advance of that announcement and are of course listening to the views of all police officers, including those who are part of the 'Pension Challenge'.

We have previously made it clear we would not be paying the private legal fees for the 'Pension Challenge'. This position remains unchanged.

Once the Government proposes a remedy – which is likely to be a protracted process and potentially affect all public sector pensions - if it becomes necessary for us to mount a legal challenge on behalf of all police officers in England and Wales then we stand ready to do so. It may be that no one has to submit claims.

The importance of fair and just pensions for police officers – who sacrifice so much during their working careers to serve and protect the public – cannot be understated.

There has been much discussion over what has gone before but we now need to move forward collectively. Not just as a Police Federation but as proud police officers. A collective and non-fragmented voice has the ability to be very powerful and to get the best terms and conditions it can for officers across the country.

If you have further questions in relation to this latest statement please read our pensions FAQs.
We also have lots of information on our Pensions pages.