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Firefighters’ allowance is fully pensionable – The case study of Mr T

Complaint Topic: Other
Outcome: Upheld
Type: Pension complaint or dispute

Mr T worked for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (the Authority). The Authority introduced the Day Crewing Plus (DCP) system as a non-pensionable allowance, equivalent to 32% of basic salary, in April 2010, in agreement with Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Mr T complained his DCP allowance, for being on a 12 hour on call shift, should be fully pensionable.

In February 2012, the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service obtained advice on its proposed DCP allowance in respect of a separate case. Counsel's opinion stated that the DCP premium was pensionable. This was based on case law, with the Norman v Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service case representing the current legal position.

In light of this, the FBU wrote to the authority, advising that following the Norman v Cheshire judgment, Leicestershire FRS had received legal advice that DCP allowances would now have to be pensionable.

Despite this, the authority restated its position that the DCP allowance was a locally agreed non-pensionable allowance, although it did state that it was prepared to enter negotiations with FBU to make it pensionable.

The Pensions Ombudsman upheld the complaint, confirming that the 32% uplift in pay was fully pensionable.

Mr T was also awarded £500 for the significant non-financial injustice caused by the delay issuing a response under stage two of the IDRP.

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