Make the right choice for you

Most people who opt out of the Civil Service pension scheme are aged between 21 – 40, and they opt out for one of the following reasons:

  1. they can’t afford the monthly contributions; or
  2. they aren’t ready to contribute to their retirement.

If this sounds like you, please read the information on this page to ensure you are making the right decision.

Can’t afford the monthly contributions?

We appreciate that everyone’s financial situation is different, and some people prefer having more money in their pocket each month to pay household bills over saving for their retirement.

However, when you consider how much it costs you each day to fund your retirement, versus what you are potentially giving up you might want to reconsider your decision to opt out.

  • Based on an average salary of £30k per year, it could cost you less than £5 a day to fund your retirement – that’s approximately the price of two take away coffees.
  • This example shows how far your contributions could go.


  • Your work in the Civil Service for two years in the alpha scheme.
  • Year 1: you earn £30,000
  • Year 2: you earn £32,000
  • Total contributions: £2,852
  • This earns you an annual pension in retirement of £1,438.42
  • In just two years, you could retire at state pension age with £1,438.42 of pension income payable for the rest of your life


Tax relief

Saving for your future now means more money in your pocket tomorrow

The money you pay into a pension qualifies for tax relief and this helps it to grow faster than other kinds of investment.

You may think you can't afford the monthly contribution, but it's deducted from your gross pay, before tax meaning you will pay less tax overall.

When you retire, you'll have the option to take a tax-free, cash lump sum too.

Partnership scheme

A flexible option designed for people who don't want to join the main Civil Service pension scheme

As a member of Partnership, your employer will contribute into your pension pot even if you don't. 

Partnership is a Defined Contribution scheme. The contributions made go into a pension pot and are invested by Legal & General.

The value of the pension pot when you retire will depend on the contributions paid into the scheme and the return on your investment.

I’m not ready to contribute to my retirement

If you’re around 30, you probably feel like your retirement is a lifetime away, so you may not feel like thinking about your pension right now.

Generally, the longer you contribute to your pension, the better off you'll be when you retire. And given that your employer will be contributing at least 27% of your pay each year until you retire towards your pension in the alpha scheme, it makes perfect sense to start this as early as possible.

One of the things that can help draw your attention to your pension is to think about the type of lifestyle you want in retirement, and how much money you might need to fund it.

Here’s the thing about your pension: the more attention you give it when you’re young, the more you could potentially benefit in future.

Will the future you want, be the future you get?

According to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, a single person will need about £13k a year to achieve the minimum living standard, £23k a year for a moderate standard, and £37k a year for a comfortable standard. For couples, it’s £20k, £34k and £55k.

Speak to an expert about your options

If you’re confused about your options, we can help.

We offer new joiners a free, 1 hour webinar. The session covers:

  • alpha or Partnership – which is right for you?
  • The options available to you
  • What actions you need to consider now
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Benefits you are missing out on

Watch this short video on the benefits of being a scheme member.

How to opt into the alpha pension scheme

All you need is your name and National Insurance number.

Simply complete the online Opt in Form and email it to your HR team or Shared Service provider.

Membership confirmation form

19 June 2023
Last updated:
7 August 2023