Latest on pensions

By Lynne Galvin on 09 February 2021 Maternity Safety Maternity Services

The Government has published their response to the NHS pension scheme consultation that closed on 11 October 2020. The consultation was to decide how to correct the discrimination that has been identified in the McCloud Judgement and came from giving members of the pension scheme protection to remain in their existing, pension schemes when a new, reformed scheme, was introduced in 2015.

In 2015, if you were not within 10 years of your normal retirement age on the  April 2012 you were automatically moved into the reformed NHS pension scheme in April of that year. The pension you had already built up was frozen and those benefits protected, but from 2015 the reformed scheme rules applied to you. Some members of the scheme who were within 14 years of retirement in April 2012 had a tapered protection which by 2022 will have ceased.

I reported in October 2020 that in our response to the consultation, The RCM wanted affected members to be able to make a final choice about their pension for those years at retirement, because we saw this as the fairest approach. Pension benefits can be affected by career changes such as career progression, hours of work and age of retirement. Many career changes cannot be known or predicted early in a career. 

The Government have decided in their response to the consultation that they will support that option. You can now make the decision to either remain in the original (legacy) scheme or move into the reformed scheme for the years between 2015 and 2022, at retirement.

Eligible pension scheme members do not have to take any action at this stage. They will be contacted by the NHS Business Services Authority as administrators of the NHS Scheme. The changes have to go through a legislative process and will take some time.

If you have already retired or are planning to retire in the next few years, the choice will be offered to you as soon as practicable once your benefits become payable. 

The 2015 scheme in itself was not found to be discriminatory, and because of that, the Government have indicated they will still move all pension scheme members into it in April 2022.  So, the choice to remain in the legacy scheme applies only to the 7 years between 2015 and 2022.

The RCM is urging you to look at your own pension so you know exactly what situation you are in and how this may affect you. You can access your Total Reward statement via your Trust ESR system, and you can get information about the different pension schemes at on the NHS Business Services Authority website here.

The Government’s response to the consultation can be found here.

For more information on the RCM’s position on this see an earlier RCM news story and a previous blog by Lynne Galvin outlining the consultation

The RCM is a member of the pension Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) which covers England and Wales and can influence the scheme as a whole on behalf of our members. The SAB aims to work in partnership to provide advice on proposed changes to the scheme and also respond to policy issues or to proposed changes to the regulations that govern the scheme.