England & Wales Police Pension Tribunal recent case management summary released.
PFNI are aware of the most recent case management summary and declaration issued by the England and Wales police pension employment tribunal. Various comments have been relayed by persons on social media which require explanation and clarity. At this stage, this declaration relates solely to the England and Wales case and any outworkings are not binding in the related NI case as, primarily, the Equality Act 2010 does not apply to NI (subject to minor exceptions). As you are aware the PFNI has lodged claims in NI for over 2000 officers so we are currently representing both the interests of claimants and non-claimants.
This application to the England and Wales Employment tribunal by the collective police staff associations was for the final declaration to apply to everyone. It was anticipated that this would not succeed as an Employment Tribunal is itself a creature of statute and it does not have the power to disapply for a wider cohort (ie it can only deal with people in front of it who have presented a specific case for it to deliberate upon). But we asked the question for the greater good and now have our answer.
However, this does not mean that non-claimants are going to be without any remedy. Claims can be submitted as discrimination is still ongoing or anyone can still await the ‘global resolution’ outlined in the recent consultation document (which clearly stipulated that non-claimants would receive the same remedy without the need for litigation).
There has also been an unhelpful suggestion that the final declaration issued will be until retirement for existing claimants. Unfortunately that is not what the order stipulates – it merely entitles claimants to full transitional protection status from April 2015. As you may have seen from the ongoing pension consultation the Government has proposed closing both the 1988 and 2006 pension schemes and moving all members into the 2015 CARE Scheme on 1st April 2022. Employment Tribunals cannot dictate future Government pension policy but merely get involved if there is an unlawful act. It remains to be seen whether this proposal if enacted will be legally challengeable or not. To be clear, the introduction of the 2015 CARE Scheme was not deemed unlawful but how it was done using discriminatory age criteria. The Government has indicated during the consultation process that it will not only remedy this aspect but also retain the 2015 CARE Scheme.
Basically, there is still a long way to go with this. The NI cases are not being progressed at all until the England and Wales case is concluded. At that point things will become a lot clearer. In the interim I would ask you to be patient until this related matter actually concludes and more information and clarity is provided.
PFNI will continue to provide updates and more information as it materialises.