18/2021 North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority): interim policy statement on immediate detriment regarding pension remedy
The Commissioner, as Employer and Scheme Manager of the Fire and Rescue Authority’s firefighter pension schemes, has decided to release an interim policy statement to offer (on request) Immediate Detriment to qualifying firefighter pension scheme members, outlined at Appendix 1.
In 2015 most public service pension schemes, including the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (FPS), were reformed. These reforms included ‘transitional protection’ for people closest to retirement.
In 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that the transitional protection element of the 2015 public service pension reforms constituted unlawful age discrimination in the Firefighters’ and Judges’ Pension Schemes.
The Government respected the Court’s decision and confirmed that it would seek to remove the difference in treatment across all main public service pension schemes. To remove this discrimination, the most recent Home Office Guidance issued in June 2021 suggests that members be provided with a choice of which scheme they would like to be in for the remedy period. The remedy period is defined as between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022.
The Fire and Rescue Authority now has an interim policy that sets out the circumstances where we will offer Immediate Detriment and the systems under which such cases can be processed. This is in advance of a decision on the Government’s final approach to removing the age discrimination, likely to be post April 2022.
The Commissioner has decided to support the interim policy to offer Immediate Detriment to eligible Fire and Rescue Authority firefighter employees.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire
Statutory Officer Advice
Legal, Management and Equality Implications
The Commissioner’s Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, is satisfied that this report does not ask the Commissioner to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.
Financial and Commercial
The Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer and S151 Officer has advised that It is not possible at this stage to identify the specific costs associated with cases of Immediate detriment and that these will be identified on a case by case basis. Using the immediate detriment guidance now will not increase any direct amounts payable, it will simply bring some of those costs forward.
In not applying the guidance, further legal action could be taken by the Fire Brigades’ Union and result in further litigation costs.
It is expected that the costs associated with the administration of the remedy will be borne by the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority whilst monies owed to members will be met by Government. In some circumstances individuals may also incur additional costs as a result of a change in pension schemes e.g. annual allowance costs.
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