Correspondence

Circular 005/2014: Police pensions

Police pensions: end of 30+PLUS arrangement; implementation of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013; new contract awarded for police medical appeal boards.

Documents

Annex A: BTP agreement

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Annex B: letter to PNB chair

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Details

  • broad subject: Police Service
  • sub category: Police pensions
  • issue date: 26 March 2014
  • implementation date: 21 March 2014
  • from: Crime and Policing Group (CPG) – Policing Directorate
  • for more information contact: The Police Pensions Team at Police.Pensions@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
  • addressed to: Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners

Police Pensions: end of 30+PLUS arrangement; implementation of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013; new contract awarded for police medical appeal boards.

1. Implementation of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

1.1 The Police Pensions (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (2014/381) came into effect on 13 March 2014 and give effect to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (‘the Act’) for the police pension scheme.

1.2 The act provides for the law of England and Wales to apply to marriages of same sex couples as it applies to marriages of opposite sex couples. Schedule 3 includes “glossing” provisions which require references in legislation to marriage, married couples and people who are married to be read as including references to marriages of same sex couples, and there is similar provision in relation to people who are living together as a married couple.The Act allows the Secretary of State to make provision disapplying these glossing provisions or making contrary provision.

1.3 In the case of legislation concerning survivor benefits in public service pension schemes where people in a marriage are treated differently to people in a civil partnership, to implement the government’s policy it was necessary to disapply the glossing provisions by making contrary provision. This ensures that survivors of marriages of same sex couples are treated in the same way as surviving civil partners, rather than survivors of marriages of opposite sex couples.

1.4 In the case of the Police Pensions Regulations 2006, no such provision was necessary because the regulations treat civil partnership and marriage in the same way, and do not distinguish between widows and widowers. In the case of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006, however, there were provisions that apply differently to civil partnership and marriage and we have amended the regulations in accordance with the policy intention.

1.5 You should note that with effect from 13 March 2014 when the regulations came into force there is a three month window for eligible members who are affected by these provisions to “buy back” service for the period 6 April 1988 to 17 May 1990. We would advise forces who can identify such members to make them aware of this opportunity to make the necessary election.

2. British Transport Police (BTP) – Home Office bilateral agreement

2.1 Please note that there is a new agreement in place with immediate effect which governs transfers between BTP and territorial forces in England and Wales. This contains the factors you should now use. The agreement is attached at Annex A.

3. Individual Protection 2014

3.1 HMRC has recently published some information regarding Individual Protection 2014

3.2 You should note chapter 6 of this document and the options set out there. Very few officers are likely to be affected but if there are any you should take advice and make arrangements as appropriate.

4. 30+PLUS arrangement

4.1 The 30+PLUS arrangement ended on 31 March 2013. The government has decided not to commission a further arrangement at this time. As such the framework for the arrangement is withdrawn. All officers already engaged on the arrangement will remain unaffected but the arrangement is not available to new applicants. Attached at Annex B is a copy of the formal notification sent to the Police Negotiating Board announcing this decision.

5. Police Medical Appeal Boards

5.1 Following completion of a comprehensive procurement process Health Management Limited (HML) has been selected to administer and provide Police Medical Appeal Boards effective from 21 March 2014. HML will also continue to provide and administer boards in Scotland.

5.2 The following are the key points about the arrangements:

  • the appointment of HML does not affect the legislation, guidance and procedures for police medical appeals, which remain unchanged.
  • the duration of the contract is three years, with provision for a one-year extension to bring the term of the contract to four years in total.
  • for all cases received on or after 21 March the standard charge for a three-member board provided by HML will increase to £6,480 (exclusive of VAT).
  • the locations for boards will, at least for the initial period of the contract, be the same as at present.

5.3 In essence the procedures remain the same as at present. A number of minor changes, aimed at improving the process will be introduced and a further announcement on these will be made in due course. This includes one training day per year for stakeholders involved in the process, to be provided by HML.

5.4 HML will provide management information to the Home Office and will also provide information showing the extent to which it has met agreed key performance indicators. The Home Office will hold regular meetings with HML to review performance and would welcome feedback at any time on how boards are operating.

Published 28 March 2014