You may have heard about McCloud/Sargeant or the 2015 Remedy in the news but never really understood what it meant or what impact it might have. In our last article of Pensions Awareness Week 2021, our Head of Regulatory Affairs, Iain Coltman shares an update on what McCloud is, what work we have been doing here at the SPPA as well as how you can find out more information on our website.
What is the 2015 Remedy?
When the UK Government introduced reforms to public service pension schemes from 2014/15, older members of the NHS, Teachers, Firefighters and Police schemes were allowed to remain as members of the unreformed schemes. Following a legal challenge by members of the judiciary (known as “McCloud”) and Firefighters (known as “Sargeant”), the Court of Appeal found that these transitional protection discriminated against younger members on grounds of age. The UK Government is therefore introducing legislation to “remedy” the discrimination. The legislation is currently in the House of Lords and once passed individual schemes will make changes to implement the remedy.
How do you know if you’re affected by this?
If you were a member of a scheme on 31 March 2012 or eligible to be, and also on 31 March 2015, you are likely to be affected by remedy. Legislative changes are introducing a Choice for affected members so that at retirement you will be able to choose whether you wish to be treated as a member of the old scheme or the 2015 scheme for the period after 1 April 2015 up to 31 March 2022. From 1 April 2022, everyone will be moved to the 2015 scheme.
There will be two series of legislative changes to schemes – ensuring all members are in the 2015 scheme on 1 April 2022, then, later in 2022 and 2023 retrospective changes will take place. It is at that point that the Choice will begin to be offered to members, including those who have retired since 2015 and may have been better off in the alternative scheme. In the meantime, SPPA will administer in line with the arrangements currently in place.
SPPA has contributed to the development of Remedy policy, participating in cross-Whitehall groups, and with officials from the other devolved administrations. The aim has been to make sure all schemes are as aligned as possible on the overarching remedy, whilst noting that some schemes need distinct approaches. We have a dedicated project team at the agency responsible for implementing Remedy at the right time and as smoothly as possible.
Pensions can be complicated enough at the best of times and this adds yet another layer of complexity to your arrangements, but rest assured that all the benefits you have earned up to now are fully protected. SPPA plans to write to affected members of the schemes we administer soon to formally confirm what the plans are and how you will be affected. In the meantime, you do not need to take any action – we’ll be in touch – and our website will be kept up to date with the latest developments.
Iain Coltman Head of Regulatory Affairs
Did you know?
We have a dedicated 2015 Remedy section of our website with the latest information, Frequently Asked Questions and a 2015 Remedy Jargon Buster to help you better understand the work we’re doing and potential impacts.