News type:
Mon 27 Jul 2015

Police Pension Scheme complaints concerning whether it was lawful to transfer the provisions of the Police Pension Scheme from the Police Pensions Act 1976 to the Public Service Pensions Act 2013.

I have received several similar complaints from members of the Police Pension Scheme (the Scheme). They are against the Police Federation and the Home Secretary. I have considered whether I can investigate these complaints.

My jurisdiction is set out in the Pension Schemes Act 1993, and supporting legislation. I can consider complaints of maladministration about how a pension scheme has been run. In this regard I can look at the actions of those responsible for the management and the administration of pension schemes.

The complaint against the Police Federation is that it failed to consult properly about the changes that were being made in respect of the Scheme. However, the Police Federation was not responsible for the management or administration of the Scheme. Any complaint against it is not within my jurisdiction.

What remains is the complaint against the Home Secretary. The Police Pension Regulations 2015 were made by the Secretary of State under powers set out by the Public Service Pensions Act 2013. Previous Scheme regulations were established under the Police Pensions Act 1976.  It has been said that this change was unlawful.

The Public Service Pensions Act 2013, which led to the Scheme changes, was voted on and passed by Parliament, and led to several new public sector pension schemes. Any challenge to how the changes were made should be dealt with by way of Judicial Review in the Courts rather than to me. It is not the purpose of my office to review Acts of Parliament. Any concerns that the members may have had about the impact of the changes, or what they were historically led to believe, should also form part of court proceedings.

The fact that members of the Scheme have made complaints to me shows they are concerned about the impact the changes will have for them. However, for the reasons I have explained, my office is not the appropriate forum to investigate complaints about this issue so I make no finding as to whether the complaints should be upheld.

Whilst I appreciate that this will be a disappointing decision for those who wished to refer this matter to me, I trust I have explained why it is not something on which I can adjudicate. This is my final decision on the matter and it can only be challenged by way of a Judicial Review in the Courts.

Anthony Arter
Pensions Ombudsman