Up to 30 September 2002, the only pension offered to Civil Servants was the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). On 1 October 2002, a new section of the PCSPS was introduced, and existing members were given the choice to stay in their current section – renamed classic – or join the new section, premium, or choose a hybrid of classic and premium, called classic plus.

From 1 October 2002, most new entrants could not join classic.

On 1 April 2015, a new scheme called alpha was introduced. This means that after 31 March 2015 no person is in or is eligible to be in classic unless they are a protected member.

A protected member means either a full protection member or a tapered protection member.

Part time work and temporary absences from work

Any type of part-time service counts on the basis of the actual hours you work and the equivalent full-time pensionable earnings. However, prior to 1 January 1995 there were restrictions on who could join the scheme depending on the number of hours worked. If you have had part-time service before 1 January 1995, the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) can tell you how these restrictions may apply to you.

Your pension may be affected if you have a temporary absence from work, depending on the type of absence. Your employer or Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will be able to advise you.

Making a transfer

If you have pension benefits in the scheme of a previous employer, you may be able to transfer them into classic. To do so, you must apply, in writing, to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) who will guide you through making the transfer. The transfer must be completed before you leave pensionable service in classic.

The transfer value will buy a credit of reckonable service in classic. You should note that the scheme may refuse the transfer if it does not cover the cost of your guaranteed minimum pension. Similarly, the scheme may refuse a transfer where the sending scheme does not meet certain requirements.

Please note that most classic members are no longer able to transfer in pension benefits under the Public Sector Transfer Club arrangements or from a non-occupational pension scheme because you must apply within 12 months of becoming eligible to join classic.

If, however, you are entitled to do so, please be aware that an expression of interest into the possibility of transferring in your pension is not considered to be an application. An application is a signed declaration that you are happy for the transfer to proceed.

Opting out

You can opt out of classic or switch to partnership at any time. However, we advise you to think very carefully about what you are giving up. Before you make a decision, please look at our opting out page.

You may also wish to consult an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA).

If you do decide to opt out you must complete the Opt Out form.

If you cannot access the form online, you can request one from the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). The form must be returned to your employer.

There is more information in the ’Leaving early’ section about what happens to the pension benefits you may have built up if you choose to opt out now.

Please note: The Pensions Act 2011 requires all employers to automatically enrol most workers who are not in a qualifying pension scheme periodically (usually every three years), from the employer’s staging date. However, the Civil Service applies this to all workers.

Switching schemes

You can switch to partnership, a defined contribution pension at any time. If you want to do this you will need to complete a Pension Switch form and return it to your employer at least two months before the date you want to switch. Find out more about partnership.

14 December 2021
Last updated:
29 June 2022