South Wales Police Federation

Police Pension Commutation Factors

As you may well know, a legal case has been running to examine whether the Government Actuarial Department falls within the jurisdiction of the Pension Ombudsman. The Court of Appeal has ruled that it does and the Ombudsman will now examine the specifics of the complaint regarding the lack of any review of the commutation factors between 1998 and 2006. The Ombudsman has asked that no further complaints be made to him prior to his consideration of the pending issues so we will not be seeking further advice until then. The Ombudsman ruling will, of course, apply to all officers affected by this issue so, at least at this stage, no legal advice is being sought. If, following the ruling, it is felt appropriate to seek legal advice then that matter will be referred to the Federation Headquarters in Leatherhead for consideration of funding.

The Ombudsman’s update states:

“On 22 July 2013 the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in respect of the appeal made by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD), against the decision of the High Court last year that GAD is within our jurisdiction in relation to the complaint made by a firefighter about commutation factors. The Court of Appeal dismissed GAD's appeal and also refused GAD leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against that decision. We have now been informed that GAD does not intend seeking permission to appeal directly from the Supreme Court. This brings the court proceedings to an end and means that the decision of the Court of Appeal now stands.

In our previous updates we explained that the judicial review instigated by GAD was heard in June 2012 and that the court had decided that GAD was within our jurisdiction in relation to this complaint. The Court of Appeal's recent decision has confirmed this and we can now commence our investigation into the merits of the complaint. This may take some time but when it is completed we expect to publish, on our website, our decision on the outcome of the complaint, including the reasons for that decision. We expect also to issue determinations on a small number of 'lead' cases.

We have received a number of complaints from both retired firefighters and police officers. There is no need at this time for any other individual complaining about this same issue to refer their complaint to us. We would not do anything with new complaints received until the lead complaints have been decided. So, for the purposes of our time limits it would be regarded as reasonable for other police or firefighters NOT to make new complaints at the moment. If it becomes necessary to do so later (for instance once the position on the lead complaints is clarified), then the "reasonable" delay will not be counted for the purpose of our time limits. We will issue further updates on this News page as and when we can to keep those interested in these cases aware of developments.”

When we hear more, we will post it to our web site.