Date posted: 01/12/2005
- Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS)
- Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS)
- Civil Service Injury Benefit Scheme (CSIBS)
- Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (CSAVCS)
- Partnership Pension Account Death Benefit Scheme (PPADBS)
This Notice will be of particular interest to:
- HR Managers who deal with pension issues
To issue the enclosed Office Notice – inserting your Authorised Pension Administration Centre (APAC) contact details where indicated
- Amendments to the PCSPS, CSCS, CSIBS, CSAVCS and PPADBS were laid before Parliament on 11 November 2005. Most of the changes take effect from 12 November. We have already given detailed guidance to APACs but the main issues for you are outlined below.
- The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect on 5 December 2005. The Act allows same-sex couples to register their relationship as a ‘civil partnership’. To be able to register as civil partners, neither of the partners can be married or in an existing civil partnership, they must not be closely related to each other, and they must both be over 18 (or over 16 with consent). Civil partnership gives the couple many of the same legal and financial rights and responsibilities that married couples have. This includes certain rights relating to occupational pensions.
- Where a person is or has been a member of a public service pension scheme on or after 6 April 1988, and they die leaving a surviving civil partner, the pension scheme must pay a pension to the civil partner equal to what they would have paid to a widow or widower in respect of the member’s service from 6 April 1988. Therefore, for members of classic and classic plus who die leaving a surviving civil partner, the scheme will pay a civil partner’s pension in respect of the member’s service from 6 April 1988.
- In premium, the scheme already provides a pension for unmarried partners based on all of the member’s reckonable service. Therefore, the pension paid to a surviving civil partner will also be based on the member’s full reckonable service.
- Attached as Annex A to this EPN is a model office notice explaining the provisions of the Civil Service pension arrangements as they apply to members with a civil partner. Please issue this notice to your staff.
- The Gender Recognition Act 2004 came into effect on 4 April 2005. The Act enables transsexual people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender. Legal recognition takes the form of a full Gender Recognition Certificate issued by a Gender Recognition Panel. In practical terms, legal recognition will have the effect that, for example, a male-to-female transsexual person will be legally recognised as a woman. On the issue of a full Gender Recognition Certificate, the person will be entitled to obtain a new birth certificate reflecting their new gender (provided a UK birth register entry already exists for the person – although the legislation is not restricted to those whose birth was registered in the UK), and will be able to marry someone of the opposite gender to his/her new gender.
- The issue of a Gender Recognition Certificate can have an impact upon a member’s pension entitlement. If one of your current or former members of staff tells you that they have a Gender Recognition Certificate, you must notify your APAC on their behalf. You will need to give written confirmation to your APAC that you have seen the certificate.
- Because of the sensitivities associated with a change of gender, each APAC has appointed a Gender Recognition Officer to deal with all such cases. You must make sure you know who your APAC’s Gender Recognition Officer is, and only correspond with that person in all matters relating to a member who has or is planning to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.
- Please note that it is an offence for you or your staff to disclose information acquired in an official capacity about a person’s application for a Gender Recognition Certificate or about the gender history of a successful applicant. This information is termed ‘protected information’ under the Act. There are specific exceptions in the Act to the general prohibition on disclosure. Disclosure will not constitute an offence where the person to be identified has consented to the disclosure or where the disclosure is for the purposes of proceedings before a court or tribunal. Neither will it be an offence where the disclosure is for the purposes of a pension scheme.
- It is important that you hold the gender recognition records of scheme members securely to ensure that the scheme meets the requirements of the Gender Recognition Act.
- You can get further information from the Gender Recognition Panel’s website – www.grp.gov.uk – or by writing to them at: GRP, PO Box 6987, Leicester, LE1 6ZX.
- We have amended the 2002 rules so that any reduction in pensionable earnings that arises as a result of a salary sacrifice arrangement can be ignored for pension purposes. (Provisions allowing this already exist in the 1972 section.) Details of how salary sacrifice arrangements impact upon the pension scheme were provided in EPN111.
Compensation scheme benefits
- Service transferred in on or after 1 April 1997 – Members of classic who were in the Civil Service before 1 April 1997, can currently transfer service in from another pension scheme and have that service count towards any subsequent CSCS benefits. This was never the intention and the rules have been amended to close this loophole. Any service credit resulting from a transfer in applied for on or after 1 December 2005 will not count towards CSCS benefits. Cabinet Office wrote to all APACs about this on 4 November so that they could notify members who might be affected.
- Staff returning from the EU and other co-ordinated organisations – The rules have been extended to allow members returning from NATO and other co-ordinated organisations or international bodies to count their first period of service as reckonable for compensation benefits even if the member’s current service began after 1 April 1997.
- We have rationalised some of the terminology used in the various schemes. The salary/wages and other allowances used to calculate benefits under the schemes will now be referred to as “pensionable earnings”. Previously this was known as ‘pensionable pay’ in some rules and ‘pensionable earnings’ on others.
- Also, the earliest date on which a member may retire voluntarily and draw an unreduced pension will now be referred to as “pension age”. Previously the rules referred to this date as the ‘retiring age’, which could sometimes lead to it being confused with the ‘retirement age’, which is set by the employer not the pension scheme.
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