In 2015 the Northern Ireland Public Sector Pension Schemes, including NITPS, were reformed and new career average schemes were introduced. These reforms also saw the introduction of transitional protections that meant those members within 10 years of their normal pension age could remain in the legacy schemes for a tapered period. In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that this was discriminatory on the basis of age.
The policy to remove the effect of the transitional protections, seen between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022, has become known as the 2015 Remedy. The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 legislates for how the Government will remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the way that the 2015 reforms were introduced for some members. The 2015 remedy to remove discrimination is
made up of two parts:
- Phase one, the prospective remedy, was completed last year with all active members of the NITPS becoming members of the 2015 reformed scheme (career average) from 1 April 2022, irrespective of age.
- Phase two, the retrospective remedy, will allow eligible members the choice between their legacy scheme (final salary) or 2015 reformed scheme (career average) for the remedy period (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022). For eligible members who already have a pension in payment a choice will be offered as soon as is reasonably practicable after 1 October 2023.
The Department of Education is consulting on how phase two will be implemented for NITPS to remove the effect of the transitional protections seen between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022, the remedy period, and introduce provisions for a deferred choice for eligible members.
The consultation document sets out how the NITPS regulations will work in practiceand the remedy choices that members will have.
It is important to note that members do not need to make any remedy choices at this stage. Updates will be available on the Department of Education website, and we will be contacting affected members.
The consultation is an opportunity for affected scheme members, or any other interested individuals and organisations, to comment on the draft proposals before they are made final.
The consultation, including information on how to respond, is available on the Department of Education website here.