Update on the remedy to remove discriminatory provisions from the police pension schemes
PFEW to launch Compensation Claim against Government
15th May 2020
Group Action the only step available to ensure members are treated fairly
The Police Federation of England & Wales is launching a compensation claim against the Government on behalf of members who were victims of discrimination and suffered any injury to feeling as a result of changes to members pensions caused by the introduction of a new scheme in 2015.
In 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government's changes to pensions with regard to judges and firefighters were discriminatory on the grounds of age. PFEW's Group Action claim follows unsuccessful discussions with Government about compensating police officers for pension losses suffered through the discriminatory 2015 pension changes.
The claim is to ensure members who have not already submitted a claim in respect of pension discrimination are also considered for any compensation the court considers appropriate for the distress caused by the discriminatory changes.
In a joint statement, PFEW National Secretary Alex Duncan and National Chair John Apter said: We have consistently said on the issue of pensions that we would closely monitor any decisions made by Government and litigate if and when this was necessary.
The Government has made it absolutely clear all members who suffered age discrimination because of the enforced 2015 pension changes would be remedied. This still leaves the question of compensation for those affected, and unfortunately the Government has been unwilling to consider this issue.
Having reviewed this, PFEW decided to ensure members are treated fairly and we are now taking the only step available which is to pursue a Group Action. This legal action against the Government and Forces is being launched to compensate members for the distress caused by the discriminatory 2015 pension changes.
The Group Action is being handled on PFEW's behalf by the leading UK and international law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper.
Read more information at the PFEW Website
Briefing by Research and Policy Support, PFEW
Date: 21 February 2020
This update and the attached FAQs are relevant to all members. This is the case whether you originally qualified for any of the transitional protections or not and whether you joined the pension scheme before 1 April 2015 or on or after that date, as ultimately all members are likely to be affected in some way by the remedy.
The intention of this communication is to update members about what has happened so far and what might happen in the future regarding the design and implementation of the remedy to the unlawful discrimination caused by the transitional protections within the police pension schemes. We appreciate that members will have many questions and that some will remain unanswered. Obviously, more details about the remedy and its application will emerge as the process described below progresses, and we will provide further updates as and when we are able.
In the meantime, the information given below and in the attached FAQs represents our best understanding of the position at this point in time, but it should not be relied upon in the making of any financial decisions.
We hope you find this update and the attached FAQs helpful.
16 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.
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.
Collective Pension Statement
10 July 2019
Police Federation officials representing officers from across England and Wales â€“ 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 Walesâ€™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.