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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Our response to the coronavirus outbreak is continuing – and our focus is on keeping critical services running, particularly those supporting vulnerable people.

We are currently working through the detail of the latest government announcements which affect Leicester city and parts of the county. 

Find out more about the support and guidance available, and any changes to our services.

Increased restrictions for Leicester and parts of Leicestershire  

Leicestershire County Council Pension Fund

Leicestershire County Council Pension Fund is part of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

The LGPS is a nationwide scheme. It’s administered by Local Authorities for the local government employers within the county along with other non-profit organisations, and companies who are carrying out a service which was, or could be, carried out by the Local Authority. This excludes, Teachers, Fire Fighters and Police Officers who have their own pensions schemes.

Register for the online pensions service

By registering with the online service you can:

  • View details of your own personal benefits
  • View annual statements
  • Use the benefits projector to help plan for your retirement

Online pension service

News

Important notice to members of the Local Government Pension Scheme who may be affected by the McCloud/Sargeant judgements

14 April 2020

If you’re affected by the McCloud/Sargeant judgement, please be assured you don’t need to make an employment tribunal claim. You will automatically receive any uplift to your pension benefits to remove the inequality that’s been identified.

Some claims companies are actively encouraging Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) members to lodge an employment tribunal claim. These claims could be costly and are unnecessary because, if you’ve been affected by the McCloud/Sargeant judgements, you automatically benefit from any protection that’s provided; you don’t need to make an employment tribunal claim to secure your entitlement.

I’ve never heard of the McCloud/Sargeant judgement what does it mean?

In 2014 the Local Government Pension Scheme had been reformed to provide pension benefits on a career average basis, referred to as a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) Scheme. This effectively replaced the old Final Salary scheme.

When the CARE Scheme was introduced into the LGPS in 2014, those members who were closest to their normal pension age, which is the date when they could choose to retire voluntarily and receive an unreduced pension, were given ‘full’ transitional protection. This meant if they were within 10 years of their normal pension age, as at April 2012, they would be protected by what is called the statutory underpin, meaning they would receive the better of their CARE pension or one calculated under the old final salary scheme rules.

However, in 2018 two claims were brought, one against the judges’ pension scheme (the McCloud case), the other against the firefighters’ pension scheme (the Sargeant case) claiming that transitional arrangements were discriminatory on the basis of age. The claims were heard together.

The Court of Appeal determined, that transitional protection gave rise to unlawful age discrimination in the judges’ and firefighters’ pension schemes. On 15 July 2019 the Government made a ministerial statement confirming that, as ‘transitional protection’ was offered to members of all the main public service pension schemes, the government believes that the difference in treatment will need to be applied to all those schemes, including the LGPS.

I should point out that this ruling only impacts on members who have retired since 1 April 2014 and, even then, the vast majority of those people are not likely to be affected because they would already have been better off in the CARE scheme. However, those members who potentially have been discriminated against will need to be offered appropriate remedies to ensure they are placed in an equivalent position to the protected members.

It is important to assure you that if you do qualify for protection, it will be applied automatically. You will not need to make an employment tribunal claim.  We are aware that companies are actively encouraging LGPS members to lodge costly claims but please be assured this is not necessary.

Please be aware that the majority of non-protected members are likely to be better off in the CARE scheme and therefore no further action will be required. Once we have confirmation from Government on the final position for LGPS members, we will contact those who are affected individually.

LGPS and Coronavirus (CV-19)

9 April 2020

In response to the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19), the Local Government Association has produced a set of FAQs (as outlined below) for members of the LGPS.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for LGPS Members  Opens new window

Local Government Pension and global stock markets

1 April 2020

In light of the current situation with COVID-19, please be reassured that your Local Government Pension will not be affected by falls in global stock markets. Pensions are long term investments and markets will always go up and down.

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) explained

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is a defined benefit pension arrangement. Although we invest your contributions, investment performance does not affect your pension. We work out your pension using a set calculation which reflects how long you have been a contributing member of the scheme and your salary history, and the payment of your pension is guaranteed by law.

Whilst it is expected that the vast majority of members will not be affected, please note that we are currently awaiting national guidance regarding any pension related issues that may arise should your employer decides to put you on furlough. Once this is available, a further update will be published here.

Changes to survivor benefits for same sex spouses and civil partners

A change to the scheme rules has been made to provide that survivor benefits payable to a same sex spouse or a civil partner are equal those paid to the widow of a male member.  

Why has the change been made?

The change has been made as a result of a Supreme Court judgment (Walker v Innopsec) which found that Mr Walker’s male spouse was entitled to the same benefits that would have been paid if Mr Walker had left a widow in an opposite sex marriage. 

Why does this apply to the LGPS? 

The government believes that the implication of this judgment for all public service pensions schemes, including the LGPS, is that surviving civil partners or surviving same sex spouses should be provided with benefits equal to those that would be left to the widow of a male member.  

When does the change take effect from?

The change is backdated to the date the civil partnerships and same sex marriages were introduced – this is 5 December 2005 for civil partnerships and 13 March 2014 for same sex marriages. 

This means that where a member of the LGPS has died leaving a surviving civil partner or a same sex spouse, the survivor’s pension in payment will need to be reviewed and any additional amounts paid, where applicable. We are in the process of reviewing the impact of this change and will be contacting affected civil partners and same sex spouses in due course.  

IF YOU THINK THIS APPLIES TO YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION FROLLOWING THE DEATH OF YOUR CIVIL PARTNER AND YOU HAVE NOT HEARD FROM US, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATLEY.
 
The change will automatically be taken into account in survivor benefits paid to civil partners and same sex spouses in the future. 

High Court judgement in the case of Elmes v Essex – co-habiting partners

This case was heard in the High Court on 18th January 2018. The outcome of the case effectively removes the requirement for a nomination form to be in place in order for cohabitees (who meet the other regulatory requirements) to be eligible for a partner’s pension in the LGPS. Previously the requirement to nominate a partner only existed for deaths between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2014 for the LGPS in England and Wales as the necessity to nominate a co-habiting partner was removed for all deaths following the implementation of the new regulations on 1 April 2014.

If your co-habiting partner was a member of the Leicestershire County Council LGPS prior to their death, and their death took place between April 2008 and March 2014 it therefore might not have been possible to pay an ongoing pension entitlement under the legislation at the time, even if the qualifying conditions had been met because no nomination form had been completed.

If you think you could be affected and would like to discuss whether this ruling alters your own situation, please contact the Pension Section to discuss the matter further.

Topping up your state pension

With the ending of contracted out status in 2016, a leaflet has been produced for LGPs members about topping up their national insurance contributions to increase their state pension. Topping up the state pension may be particularly appealing to former public sector workers who have either retired, and have not yet reached State Pension Age (SPA), or have reached their SPA since 6 April 2016.

Topping up your state pension   

Pensions transfers - freedom and choice

Government legislation became effective from 1 April 2015 about pension freedoms, flexibility and choice. These ‘Freedom and Choice’ rules DO NOT change the rules of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The changes affect what are known as 'defined contribution schemes', such as a private personal pension plan. The LGPS is not one of these schemes. It is what is called 'a defined benefit scheme'. That is to say the rules and benefits of our scheme are set out in law already.

The Government changes brought greater flexibilities to personal pensions. However the LGPS already includes some of these measures in its own rules. Small pensions can sometimes be paid up front as a lump sum within certain limits. Also, scheme members can, should they wish to, draw reduced pension benefits should they elect to, if they retire after age 55.

The LGPS has produced a factsheet to help members understand how these freedoms either do or do not affect LGPS pensions.

Freedom and Choice Q&A for scheme members   Opens new window

Freedom and Choice – In house Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

Members and Deferred Members who have reached age 55 with an AVC Fund need to be aware of the options that are available to them when it comes to their AVC, both in respect of Freedom and Choice transfer rights, and also their options within the rules of the LGPS. A leaflet has been produced detailing those options to help members decide on the right course of action for their AVC, either now or in the future.

Retirement and transfer options - members with AVCs   Opens new window

Pension scams

Pension Scams are on the increase in the UK. Scammers will try to entice you with a 'free pension review', 'one off investment opportunity' or 'legal loophole'. Find out the facts:

The Pensions Regulator

Financial Conduct Authority - How to avoid pension scams

Survivors' Benefits - Information for current scheme members

A factsheet has recently been produced for current scheme members, providing information about who is entitled to receive a pension in the event of their death.   

Current scheme members - Guide to survivors' pensions    Opens new window

Thinking of joining?  What will the LGPS cost me?

A contributions calculator is available for you to use, which allows you to check the effect on your monthly pay should you join the LGPS. The net monthly effect may not be as much as you think. If you want to join the LGPS, simply write to your employer and instruct them to commence LGPS pension contributions from the next available pay date.

The contents of this website do not override the provisions of the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations. The information provided is to assist and inform employees and should not be treated as a definitive statement of law. The scheme regulations in force at the time will be used to reach a decision on any dispute or disagreement.

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