Date posted: 01/10/2008

Audience: This Notice will be of particular interest to:

  • Policy Managers, HR Managers and staff responsible for dealing with the pension aspects of recruitment
  • Managers responsible for recruitment teams in HR Shared Service Centres

Action: Policy and HR Managers are asked to:

Ensure that your staff who deal with the pensions aspects of recruitment are familiar with, and are using the guidance and mandatory ‘Pensions Questionnaire and Calculator’ provided by CSPD.

Timing: Immediate

Issue

  1. Civil Service Pensions Division (CSPD) has recently become aware of a number of cases where employers have issued incorrectly worded contracts and put staff into the wrong pension scheme. This has led to additional work and cost for the employers (and their legal advisors) in trying to revise contracts and resolve grievances.
  2. Employers are advised to check their processes for dealing with the pensions aspects of recruitment, to ensure that their recruitment teams are familiar with, and are using the guidance and tools provided by CSPD. This is a repeat of the message published in the Bulletin for HR Directors dated 9 September 2008 and we apologise to any readers who are already aware of it and have taken action. 

Background

  1. From 30 July 2007, CSPD introduced nuvos, a new pension scheme for all new entrants based on career earnings, rather than final salary, and with a pension age of 65. The premium pension scheme was closed to all new entrants from this date (classic and classic plus have been closed to new entrants since October 2002).
  2. CSPD has become aware of cases where:
  • new entrants have been placed in premium or classic with a pension age of 60 rather than correctly into nuvos with a pension age of 65
  • members have been incorrectly placed in nuvos rather than premium

All such cases must be corrected by the employer.

  1. CSPD has provided guidance and tools to all employers including model texts to use in letters of appointment and a calculator to tell employers which scheme a new entrant or rejoiner is eligible for. The ’Pensions Questionnaire and Rejoiner Calculator’ is an essential tool for employers and CSPD has mandated its use by all employers who participate in the Civil Service Pension arrangements.
  2. This recruitment guidance was first issued in Employer Pension Notice 172 (REV) and EPN184 (REV) and has now been consolidated into Section 4 of the Employers’ Pension Guide.

Action

  1. You will now want to ensure that your HR recruitment teams:
  • are appropriately trained, have access to, and are using the mandatory ‘Pensions Questionnaire and Rejoiner Calculator’ in all cases;
  • have correctly applied the results of the Calculator, have ordered the correct starter pack and put staff in the correct pension scheme
  • have permanent controls operating to ensure that the risk of error in their recruitment processes is minimal.

2008-09 Accounting Officer Certificate

  1. Each year Accounting Officers must provide assurances that the Civil Service pension arrangements have been correctly administered in their organisation. Given the importance of ensuring that members are put into the correct pension scheme, the format of the 2008-09 Accounting Officer Certificate (AOC) and checklist will be amended. We will be asking for greater assurance from Accounting Officers that the above action has been taken in their main department and also in any Agencies and sponsored bodies (usually referred to as Schedule 1 bodies) they are responsible for under the CSP arrangements. If Accounting Officers are unable to provide full assurance they will have to qualify the AOC which they sign, providing details of the issue and the remedial action plan.
  2. CSPD is not mandating extensive checking of all cases, although we recommend that in preparation for the completion of the AOC which is due by 30 April 2009, you satisfy yourself that the processes for handing the pensions aspects of recruitment are working effectively and that you can provide the appropriate assurance to your Accounting Officer.
  3. If it appears that your processes have not been working properly your pensions administrator (APAC) may be able to help you identify cases which have been mishandled.
  4. If you feel that you need more guidance on this issue or feel that your HR staff would benefit from further training, you should contact either your APAC; or alternatively CSPD via the employerhelpdesk@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk.
  5. Any cases identified must be reported to the employer helpdesk together with a plan of action. If you require any further information Ken Pike (01256 846570) or Laura Stevens (01256 846396) will be pleased to help.

Reference

This EPN refers to EPN172 (Rev) EPN184 (Rev) and Section 4 of the Employers’ Pension Guide

Contacts:

Enquiries about content, distribution or to receive in a different format

employerhelpdesk@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk
01256 846414
Employer Helpdesk
Civil Service Pensions
Grosvenor House
Basing View
Basingstoke
RG21 4HG

Published:
1 October 2008
Last updated:
25 January 2022