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EPN518 – Partnership Pension Scheme – Expansion of Eligibility

Audience

  • Pension Leads
  • HR Managers
  • Payroll Managers
  • Finance Managers

Summary

  • It has been agreed that eligibility for the Partnership pension scheme will be expanded to all active members of Civil Service Pensions with effect from 1 April 2018.  Additionally we are changing the switching timetable to increase flexibility for members.

Action

  • To note the expansion of eligibility for the Partnership Pension Scheme
  • To initiate change requests to ensure that payroll teams can accept instructions for switch requests in January 2018

Timing

  • Immediate action – for the first switches under the new policy to occur from 1 April 2018.

Detail 

1. It has been agreed that eligibility for the Partnership pension scheme will be expanded to all active members of Civil Service Pensions with effect from 1 April 2018.  This means that staff who have transitional protection to remain in their pre-2015 pension scheme and joined before 2002 will be eligible to join Partnership.

2. Alongside this change, we intend to implement a further administrative change to make it easier for members to access Partnership. Members are currently only able to switch to Partnership every six months and are required to give three months notice. We will increase the number of switching dates to allow members to switch at any point in the year and to reduce the notice period required to two months.

3. The rule on the number of switches a member is allowed in any given period currently varies between schemes.  The position will be harmonised so that having completed a switch a member may not switch again for 12 calendar months.

Current Switching Process

4. Where a member wishes to switch between a Defined Benefit scheme and Partnership, or vice-versa, they are required to complete a request form and return it to their employer.  The details are available on the website via the Employer Pension Guide and are summarised on the switching form (available via the link below):

http://www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/media/95421/switchallv1.pdf

5. On receipt of the switch form the Employer (or their payroll team):

  • Processes the request on their records, checking that the member meets the criteria to allow them to switch.
  • Forwards the Partnership application form to the relevant provider if the member is switching to Partnership.
  • Notifies the Scheme Administrator of the instruction.
  • The Scheme Administrator processes the request if they are satisfied that the member meets the criteria to allow them to switch.

Changes required to the Employer process

6. The steps highlighted above will remain the same.  Changes are required to your detailed procedures and timelines however to reflect three amendments:

  • Update timetable for receipt and processing of forms (see point two and below).
  • Change the guidance on member eligibility for Partnership (see point one).
  • Changes to the guidance on the number of switches that a member may undertake between Defined Benefit and Partnership schemes (see point three).

Timetable

7. The current timetable for switching is as follows:

Employer receives switch request form by

Switch Date

(3 months later)

31 December

1 April

30 June

1 October

A member who meets the current switching criteria and submits a request by 31 December will still be able to switch on 1 April and will not need to submit new forms.

8. Under the new process this will become:

Employer receives switch request form between

Switch Date

14 January and 31 January

1 April

1 February and 28 February

1 May

1 March and 31 March

1 June

1 April and 30 April

1 July

1 May and 31 May

1 August

1 June and 30 June

1 September

1 July and 31 July

1 October

1 August and 31 August

1 November

1 September and 30 September

1 December

1 October and 31 October

1 January

1 November and 30 November

1 February

1 December and 31 December

1 March

Documentation 

9. The website will be updated by 31 December with a new switch form and guidance for members and employers.

Other information

If you require further assistance on the content of this EPN please contact DC.Transition@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

If you have a question about the distribution of EPNs contact employerpensionnotice@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

You can find electronic copies of the Employer Pension Guide, all current EPNs and forms on our

Website: www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk

This notice is for employers and should not be issued to scheme members.

If members have a question about their pension they can find information on this Website or by contacting the Scheme Administrator.