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    In 2015 when the government reformed public sector schemes, including the fire scheme, a policy of “transitional protection” was included. This meant that members closer to retirement would be fully or partially protected from reform and were able to either stay in their final salary “legacy” scheme or move into the CARE “reformed” scheme at a later date.

    At the Court of Appeal, in the case of Sargeant for the Fire scheme and McCloud for the Judges scheme these “transitional protection” elements were identified as unlawful and discriminative on the grounds of age.

    In response to this ruling, the government confirmed it would take action to address and “remedy” this discrimination across all public sector schemes.

    Transitional, tapered, and protected member definitions

    Members with Transitional or Tapered Protection:

    These are members with some protections due to age who were moved across from the legacy scheme into CARE after 1 April 2015.

    Unprotected members who were moved to the reformed CARE scheme on 1 April 2015:

    These are members without any protections due to age, who were moved from the legacy scheme to the reformed CARE pension scheme on 1 April 2015.

    Consultation

    A public consultation was held in July 2020 and the result was published on 4 February 2021 where the government confirmed that two key decisions had been made:

    1. From 1/4/2022, all members regardless of their protection status would be moved into the CARE scheme and final salary schemes would be closed.
    2. A Deferred Choice Underpin (DCU) would apply and at the point of retirement, if you are an affected member, you will be able to choose to receive legacy pension scheme benefits or benefits of your reformed scheme for the period 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2022. You will not be able to choose a mixture of the two.

    This period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022 is referred to as the “Remedy Period”.

    Link to consultation

    Link to consultation response

    Legislation is required for amendment to the pension scheme regulations to allow both changes and this will be passed in two stages:

    1. Primary legislation is required for “Prospective” remedy, and this is expected around March/April 2022 and will allow for the closure of the final salary schemes and movement of members to the CARE scheme from 1 April 2022.
    2. Secondary legislation is needed to apply “Retrospective” remedy, to allow for members to be provided with the Deferred Choice Underpin options upon their retirement. It is anticipated that developments to administration member software systems and amendments to legislation and regulations will be in place for October 2023.
    Member benefit illustrations

    The Local Government Association have provided the illustrations document below. This is supported by a spreadsheet containing a detailed breakdown of the background calculations which may be useful for members who want to understand more about how benefits are worked out in the Firefighters' Pension Schemes. This is linked within the document and can also be found on the following webpage https://fpsmember.org/2015-remedy/2015-remedy-member-benefit-illustrations.

    Am I affected by McCloud remedy?

    If you meet the following criteria, you are in scope of the changes, and you will receive the deferred choice underpin:

    • You were a member, or eligible to be a member of a public service ‘legacy’ scheme on 31 March 2012;
    • You were a member of a public service pension scheme between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022; and
    • The two periods above were continuous (or treated as continuous under the scheme regulations, including any qualifying break in service of less than 5 years).

    This is irrespective of whether you have submitted a legal claim or not, or whether you are currently an active, deferred or pensioner member.

    Members who first joined after 31 March 2012 are not affected.

    If you had transitional or tapered protection or were moved to the reformed CARE scheme in 2015 and meet the above criteria you will be offered the deferred choice underpin.

    Please use the flowchart to assess how you will be affected

    What happens between now and October 2023?

    If you are currently a protected member of your final salary scheme you will now be moving across into the CARE scheme from 1 April 2022 and your payroll provider will update your pension contribution levels appropriately.

    If you have already moved into the CARE scheme you will see no changes.

    All members retiring between now and October 2023 will retire under current scheme regulations and will be provided with their choice of remedy period benefits retrospectively after October 2023.
    For active members who retire after October 2023 you will be provided with your choice of remedy period benefits upon retirement.

    We continue to offer pension projections to you via our dedicated team and the Member Self Service function; however, we can only forecast benefits on the current scheme regulations and cannot provide you with your choice of remedy period benefits until after October 2023.

    What will happen after October 2023?

    Following the implementation of secondary legislation, expected from October 2023, all affected members will effectively be treated as though they were in their legacy scheme for their whole service within the remedy period, 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2022.

    This will involve adjustments to member pension contributions after October 2023 where members will be required to repay any owed contributions for reinstatement of their legacy scheme benefits or will be owed contributions. Then at the point of retirement when a member has to decide between legacy final salary and reformed CARE benefits for the period 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2022, should they decide to elect to take reformed scheme benefits a further pension contribution adjustment would be required.

    We await further details from the Government as to how this will work in practice and this cannot happen until the pension scheme regulations have been amended, and our pension administration system has been updated, expected after October 2023.

    For active members who retire after October 2023 you will be provided with your choice of remedy period benefits upon retirement.

    What pension scheme will I be a member of from 1 April 2022?

    From 1 April 2022, if you continue in service, you will do so as a member of your relevant reformed 2015 pension scheme, regardless of your age. If you were previously covered by ‘transitional or tapered protection’ this will include you.

    The legacy schemes will be closed to future accrual from 1 April 2022.

    You will keep any service earned within your legacy scheme up to 31 March 2022. Any pension benefits earned by you after 1 April 2022 will be within the reformed CARE pension scheme.

    What are the main differences between legacy and reformed scheme benefits?

    Broadly, the main changes between legacy and reformed schemes included a change to career-average pension schemes from final salary and an increase in the normal pension age.

    Other notable changes are that the reformed scheme does not provide for double accrual. However, your legacy benefits will continue to increase each year, as a weighted accrual calculation will be applied to compensate for this loss. Additionally, the accrual rate in the reformed scheme is more generous.

    The change to career-average means pensions is calculated on your average salary throughout the rest of your career as opposed to final salary.

    The reformed scheme was designed to make public sector schemes more affordable and sustainable for the future. The move from mostly final salary to career average pension means you accrue your pension at a typically higher rate based on your average salary. Although, some members are better off in legacy schemes, the reformed schemes are more beneficial for others, particularly lower paid members.

    Can I still retire with 25 or 30 years’ service?

    If you are an affected member, after remedy you will hold separate benefits in both the legacy scheme and the reformed scheme. There is no change to the date from which your legacy scheme benefits can be paid. Therefore, if you were a FPS 1992 scheme member and have accrued 25 years’ service at age 50 or 30 years scheme membership at any age (even though some of this may have been in the reformed scheme) you can still draw your legacy benefits from that date. Your reformed (CARE) scheme benefits can be paid from age 55 at the earliest but will be subject to an actuarial reduction if you retire before age 60. If you retire before age 55 then your reformed scheme benefits will be calculated but payment will be deferred until your state pension age. If you hold NFPS 2006 legacy benefits you can retire with an immediate pension from both schemes from age 55 but an actuarial reduction will be applied to your reformed scheme benefits due to early payment.

    *NB – it is important to note that should members elect to retire from age 50 but under age 55 with 25 years or more service but less than 30 years restrictions remain on lump sum payments and lump sums will be calculated and capped at a maximum of 2.25 x pension.

    Will these pension changes result in any tax changes for me?

    Most members will see no change to their tax position over the remedy period. For a minority of members, the pension changes will cause their tax position to change, which could result in tax charges for the member, or the member becoming entitled to a reimbursement of tax previously paid.

    In some cases, the pension changes may mean that individuals will have to pay new or higher annual allowance charges, but typically only where their projected pension at retirement has increased. Adjustments in lifetime allowance charges may also be required, where retired members’ accrual changes. Some members may also face changes in their contributions in respect of the remedy period, which may also affect their income tax position.

    Where a member has already retired, a member’s total pension income may also change, and tax will be payable on any increase in pension.

    Will I have to pay any interest on my pension contributions for the DCU?

    Currently the Home Office is in discussion with the Treasury regarding tax relief, interest and compensation payments. As soon as we receive further details, we will provide further information.

    Do I have to submit a claim?

    No. A deferred choice underpin will apply to all eligible/affected scheme members regardless of whether you have made a legal claim. You do not have to do anything at this stage and do not need to submit a legal claim to benefit from these changes.

    Will changes to contributions be sorted before I retire?

    Yes. When you are moved back into your legacy scheme your employer will determine if you owe (or are owed) additional contributions. Your employer will calculate the amount of contributions that need to be paid and provide you with options regarding repayment. Currently the Home Office is in discussion with the Treasury regarding tax relief / interest payments. As we receive further details, we will provide further information.

    If I retire before October 2023, do I lose out?

    No. If you are an affected member and fall within the scope of the proposals ie you were in service as a member of a public service pension scheme on 31 March 2012 and remained in service on 1 April 2015 and you have retired or you are planning to retire before October 2023 the deferred choice underpin will be offered to you as soon as possible once legislation is in place.

    Can I opt out of the new scheme in 2022?

    Yes. You can opt out of the 2015 reformed CARE scheme at any time by completing an 'opt out' form, available on this website, and returning it to your payroll department. If you do wish to opt out, please ensure you read the document in full as this explains the rules about possible re-entry and details the benefits you will be giving up. Please note that your election to opt out cannot be backdated and your scheme membership will cease from the next available pay date following receipt of your election by your payroll department. If you do elect to opt out, any benefits that you have built up in either the legacy scheme or the reformed scheme will be calculated and deferred with the payment dates of your benefits being linked to each scheme. If you subsequently elect to re-join, entry will be subject to a medical examination to establish whether you will be eligible for ill health benefits. You will be responsible for paying any costs for this medical examination. You may also lose the right to re-link your legacy scheme benefits to your final salary. Further details on opting out of the 2015 Scheme can be found in the relevant member scheme guides.

    Can I have a retirement estimate?

    Until secondary legislation is in place, expected to be after October 2023, the pensions team and Member Self Service function can provide pension estimates, however these will be based on the current legislation. As such estimates can only quote on service you have accrued in the legacy schemes until you were actually moved across into the CARE scheme, prior to the 2022 changes. Estimates for retirement providing full remedy period benefits in either the legacy or CARE schemes will be available once legislation and software is in place in late 2023.

    How will retired members be treated?

    All members who have already retired between 1 April 2015 and 30 September 2023 will be offered their choice of benefits for the remedy period following the implementation of legislation after October 2023.

    What is Immediate Detriment?

    In August 2020 the Home Office released guidance on processing Immediate Detriment cases for members retiring prior to the introduction of remedy legislation. This would potentially allow scheme members who met qualifying criteria to retire and receive all legacy scheme benefits for the remedy period prior to the government finalising legislation.

    This guidance has since been withdrawn and can no longer be relied upon.

    Immediate Detriment Framework & MoU

    On 8 October 2021, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Local Government Association (LGA) jointly published a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Framework which it hoped would be taken up by FRA’s to potentially remedy cases under Immediate Detriment now ahead of legislation.

    https://www.fbu.org.uk/sites/default/files/circulars/attachments/MoU%20signed%20by%20FBU%20and%20LGA%208.10.21.pdf

    https://www.fbu.org.uk/sites/default/files/circulars/attachments/2021%20oct%2008%20-%20jt%20stat%20-%20mou%20-%20final%20.pdf

    The MoU will be governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and is not legally binding and is without legal rights and obligations.

    The Framework allows FRA’s to offer Immediate Detriment and as such legacy scheme service benefits for the full remedy period to affected members identified as being Category 1 or 2 cases ahead of secondary legislation.

    Category 1 members:

    These are members who are actively employed and become eligible to retire for any reason.

    Category 2 members:

    These are members who have already retired for any reason and who wish to be treated as having retired as a member of their legacy scheme for the remedy period.

    Should FRA’s adopt the Framework for Category 1, active retiring members the following would apply.

    • Retirement benefits will be paid for the full remedy period.
    • Member pension contributions owed to reinstate legacy membership in the 1992 scheme will need to be paid back either by employer payroll deduction or via a pension lump sum deduction. (If the latter option exercised no tax relief would be provided and members will need to reclaim tax once legislation is implemented). Contributions due to members of the 2006 scheme will be paid back to members. Any interest owed or due will be arranged once legislation is in place at the rate specified under that legislation.
    • Where members have had transfers into the 2015 scheme or they have purchased additional pension, the credit or added pension component will remain in the 2015 scheme and will be addressed later under remedy legislation.
    • For Annual Allowance purposes each year of remedy will need to be revisited and recalculated.

    Should FRA’s adopt the Framework for Category 2, retired members the following would apply.

    • Additional pension and lump sum payments will be paid as a lump sum payment with interest of 3% per year applied. These payments will be subject to tax and where any tax charges apply that would not have applied had the member never been treated as a member of the 2015 Scheme, the FRA will compensate the member for that tax liability.
    • Member pension contributions owed to reinstate 1992 scheme membership must be paid back via the additional lump sum due. However, if no lump sum is payable, members must pay via their own resources. Contributions owed is the gross amount with compensation for tax relief being applied upon legislation implementation.
    • Employers must pay member pension contributions due to 2006 scheme members and this will be the difference of contributions post tax. Interest will be paid once legislation is in place at a rate specified within that legislation.
    • For Annual Allowance, each year of remedy will need to be revisited and recalculated.

    Framework claims, timescales, and processes

    Affected members (and in some limited cases dependents of deceased members) must give written notice to the employing FRA either via letter or email to request payment under the framework.

    Within 14 days of this request the FRA must acknowledge receipt in writing confirming whether the member is entitled or not to remedy under the framework.

    Where entitled, FRA’s must provide retirement options within 62 days for Category 1 members and process payments as business as usual.

    For Category 2 cases FRA’s must provide pension options of the benefits that member would have received if they had retired and taken their full remedy period benefits from their legacy scheme within 62 days. Payment should be made within 28 days of receipt of a member’s signed election.

    It is the intention of the MoU that members would not have a further remedy option under the implementation of remedy legislation after 1 October 2023.

    LGA and FBU will meet periodically to review the Framework, process, and timescales in line with the progress and details of remedy legislation. Amendments will be via written agreement.

    Ongoing cases not resolved under the Framework will be processed under remedy legislation. The MoU will automatically expire on 1 October 2023, however, cases that have started under the MoU and framework before this date where agreed will be processed.

    Although the Framework goes into some details there remains quite a few areas still requiring clarification such as tax and unauthorised payments, this is especially the case in relation to pensioner members.

    How do I make a claim under the Framework?

    At this moment adoption of the Framework is paused as FRA’s consider the implications of the Framework in-line with the removal of the Home Office Immediate Detriment Guidance and outstanding tax issues. FRA’s continue to work closely with the LGA and FBU and this page will be updated with any developments.

    Member application requests should be directed to their FRA’s in the first instance.