Changes to Civil Service Pensions under Remedy

In 2015 the government introduced reforms to public service pensions. Most public sector workers were moved into a new pension scheme called ‘alpha.’

In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that some of the rules put in place back in 2015 to protect older workers by allowing them to remain in their original scheme, were discriminatory on the basis of age.

As a result, steps are being taken to remedy those 2015 reforms, making the scheme fair to all affected members. The majority of active members will start seeing changes in their pensions from April 2022.

Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing more information and guidance to help you understand if you’re affected and what this may mean for your pension but for now, there’s no action you need to take.

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Consultation published covering the planned closures of PCSPS (the legacy schemes) - updated November 2021

A consultation has been published today covering the planned closure of PCSPS ('the legacy schemes') and moving of all remaining members to alpha from 1 April 2022. This is part of the Remedy work needed to end the discrimination. The consultation can be found at the link below, and will run from 22 November 2021 to 17 January 2022. Details of the questions involved and how to respond can be found on the consultation page.

Earlier updates - February 2021

The government’s consultation response sets out how the government will remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the way that the 2015 pension reforms were introduced for some members.

All members of civil service pensions who continue in service from 1 April 2022 onwards will do so as members of alpha. Classic, classic plus, premium and nuvos will be closed in relation to service after 31 March 2022.

It has also been decided that eligible members will receive a choice at retirement of which pension scheme benefits they would prefer to take for the period from 2015 to 2022.

The choice will be between their pre-2015 pension scheme or their alpha pension. Not all members are better off in their pre-2015 scheme, so it is important that individual members are able to choose which benefits are better for them.

For more information, visit the dedicated consultation response page.

In 2015 the government introduced reforms to public service pensions, meaning most public sector workers were moved into new pension schemes in 2015. Most civil servants were moved into the alpha pension scheme.

In December 2018, the Court of Appeal found that the ‘transitional protection’ offered to some members of the judges’ and firefighters’ schemes was discriminatory against younger members.

On 15 July 2019 the Chief Secretary to the Treasury made a written ministerial statement confirming that, as all the main public service pension schemes contained similar ‘transitional protection’ arrangements, the difference in treatment will need to be addressed across all those schemes for members with relevant service.

The discrimination that was identified in the public service schemes arises between the different treatment between members in these categories:

1. those individuals who were members of pre-2015 public service schemes as at 31 March 2012 and were fully transitionally protected by remaining in that scheme after 1 April 2015 (as a result of being within 10 years of their normal pension age);


2. those who were members of the pre-2015 schemes as at 31 March 2012 and were not treated as fully transitionally protected and moved to new post-2015 arrangements on or after 1 April 2015.

For the Civil Service the pre-2015 schemes are; classic, classic plus, premium and nuvos and the post-2015 scheme is alpha.

On 4 February 2021 an updated Written Ministerial Statement was made and this set out the government's response to the consultation. 

The government will introduce new legislation when parliamentary time allows. Pension schemes will also run individual consultations on their specific scheme regulations. Once these steps are complete, implementation will begin, and the changes will then be introduced.

Removing the discrimination will take time, but the government is committed to ensuring all eligible members are treated equally and are able to choose to receive pension scheme benefits for the period 2015-22 from either scheme at the point of when they retire.

30 November 2021
Last updated:
27 June 2022