POA Circulars

45 | 03.05.2012

Problems relating to pensions

Throughout 2011 and 2012 a number of issues have been brought to the attention of the NEC in respect of pensions in general.

All of the issues raised have been dealt with or are still subject to negotiation and or legal challenge.

  • Uniform and Pensionable Pay is still being progressed through the relevant Whitley Committee and the Executive are awaiting legal advice from Counsel.  POA Circular 43/2012 sets out how the NEC intends to seek a resolution to this matter.
  • Pensionable Pay and Contributions in respect of Specialist Allowance.  This issue is still outstanding and no resolution has yet been reached.  POA Circular 16/2012 set out the Unions stance on this matter and that currently remains.  Whilst the Executive accept that some members may be frustrated at the state of affairs there is no quick fix and further information will be promulgated in due course.
  • Issues regarding the PCSPS Scheme Design are currently subject to legal advice and we await the Equality Impact Assessment.  POA Circulars 8, 21, 23, 33, 40, 41 and 42 set out the issues, which we are currently considering and what is required of members if they have any specific queries.
  • Draw Down of Gratuity by Pre-Fresh Start Staff (Reserved Rights).  This matter was raised and has been resolved with Cabinet Office.
  • Changes from RPI/CPI has been challenged through the Courts by a number of Unions/Organisations including the POA.  The final outcome of this was reported to the membership by way of POA Circular 26/2012.  Furthermore, the Unions involved have considered the Court of Appeal’s Judgement and in light of legal advice received, have decided not to seek the Supreme Court’s permission to appeal further. This brings to an end the Union’s hard fought legal challenge over the change in the basis of indexation of public sector pensions from RPI to CPI. Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal accepted the Union’s arguments that the motivation for change was to save money.  Nonetheless, the High Court (by a majority) and the Court of Appeal (unanimously) ruled that this was still lawful. The Union’s Campaigns to protect their member’s pension entitlement in the various sectors continue.
  • Medical Inefficiency was reduced in 2010 by Government by imposition. In order for Government to continue to use the sunset clause and cap compensation to 12 months this had to be renewed by the 16th December 2011; this was not done and so compensation for medical inefficiency is again capped at 2 years.  POA Circular 28/2012 sets out the change in full.

I would be grateful if you could draw the contents of this Circular to all your members and ask them to view all of the Circulars identified in respect of pensions on the POA Website at www.poauk.org.uk so that they are fully aware of the current issues.

If you or your members have any general concerns or comments, please contact your NEC Representative in the first instance who will pass on your queries to the appropriate person if necessary.


Yours sincerely


General Secretary