Metropolitan Police Federation

Pensions and Immediate Detriment

We have had a number of officers contact us regarding their Pensions and Immediate Detriment. We understand their concern so we are going to try and provide you with some facts.

We must emphasise that these are just the facts.  We cannot give our members financial advice. We cannot stress enough that officers SHOULD take independent financial advice before taking any action in respect of their pension. 

History

Following the publication of their remedy to the discrimination in the changes to the transitional arrangements of the 2015 Public service pension schemes, the Government recognised that some officers were going to have to retire or would have to choose to retire as if the remedy was not in place, even though they should have been able by law to avail themselves of the pension of their choosing as if the remedy was in place.

Public service pension schemes consultation: changes to the transitional arrangements to the 2015 schemes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

PFEW Response

The PFEW recognised that a rushed implementation would lead to mistakes and inaccuracies which is obviously not in the interest of any of the parties involved.

PFEW response to Government’s Public Pensions Consultation (polfed.org)

Government Response

However the government chose to press ahead with a remedy date of 31st March 2022 without enacting any new legislation before then.  The legislation will come into effect on 1st October 2023.

Who is affected?

These are officers who had no protection and joined the 2015 scheme on 1st April 2015 or had tapered protection and joined the 2015 scheme at a point between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2022.

The Government issued Immediate Detriment guidance and the MPS was one of the forces that adhered to this and allowed officers to retire as if the remedy was in place. Officers could make the election which pension they wanted for the remedy period. This was a real positive for Met officers, although the guidance did not cover officers who had already retired with a pension on the transitional terms.

What changed? 

Unfortunately, on 29th November 2021 the Home Office withdrew the immediate detriment guidance citing Treasury and HMRC concerns. The MPS, like many other forces, stopped allowing officers to retire as if the remedy was in place.

The Met Federation strongly lobbied the MPS and they agreed to honour cases where officers had put in their papers prior to the 29th of November.

What is happening now?

We are now left with uncertainty. PFEW are considering legal action and are identifying test cases to take to the High Court. They are also lobbying Government with the other staff associations.

What does that mean for officers?

Some have already chosen not to retire as they could not afford to retire with the transitional position rather than the remedy position.

Officers who choose to retire will be retired with the transitional position and the remedy will be applied post retirement. This is disappointing but is not MPS guidance – it is a Government decision.

So what happens now?

As it stands today any officer who is affected by immediate detriment and who wants to retire before the 1st October 2023, will be contacted post-retirement by the Pension Administrators and offered a pension choice for the remedy period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2022. The choice will be between the 2015 scheme and their legacy scheme.  They will be retired with the transitional position and contact post retirement and before 1st October 2023

2006 Pension Legacy Scheme

If the 2006 scheme was their legacy scheme and they opt for that they would be owed a contribution refund.

1987 Pension Legacy Scheme

If the 1987 scheme was their legacy scheme and they opt for that they will owe contributions.

How will that happen?

How this will be practically achieved has yet to be decided. Extra money owed to them due to the remedy paying a larger pension amount will be backdated to the date of retirement. Factors such as interest are another of the unknowns.

How to get help

We do employ a pensions advisor, Paul Turpin, who can be emailed directly p.turpin@metfed.org.uk Email him with your rank, date of joining, date of birth, date of retirement, and any part-time or previous pensionable service brought in.

Paul is very busy but he will get back to you.  What he can’t do is predict what the government will do.

Pension Webinars

If you require pension advice, you can contact Met Friendly, the non-profit making savings society who are able to provide expert financial advice. They are running a number of regular Police Pension Myth Busting Seminars. The next one is on the 22nd February 2022

Events – Pension myth-busting webinar 22/02/2022 (metfriendly.org.uk)