Voice Community’s response to the consultation ‘Teachers’ Pension Scheme: proposed changes to scheme regulations’
Background: The Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) provides pension and other benefits to teachers in England and Wales. The Department for Education (DfE) is consulting on draft regulations which would amend some rules of the England and Wales TPS.
The proposed changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) rules address the age discrimination identified in the McCloud case. The proposed changes to the regulations would mean the closure of the final salary sections of the TPS to all remaining members. All members would then be in the same section from 1 April 2022.
A further consultation will be held in 2022 which will relate to the second part of the McCloud remedy. This will provide members with a choice of benefits for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022.
Summary: The TPS is currently made up of multiple schemes – legacy and new and there are further variances within. These draft amendments go some way to streamline the TPS which, ultimately, should achieve the stated policy aims.
Schedule 3 to the 2014 regulations provides the transitional arrangements for members of the new scheme who have pension rights accrued in the legacy scheme. It also contains the transitional protections that allowed older members near to normal pension age to remain within the legacy scheme.
Since the Government has now confirmed that the legacy schemes will close on 31 March 2022, it will be essential that all affected members are given the choice of which pension benefits they wish to receive when those benefits are paid.
If these draft amendments are implemented to offer affected members a choice over the set of benefits they wish to receive when pension benefits become payable, to correct any overpayment or underpayment of pension benefits or member contributions already paid in relation to a member because of their choice, and to enable the payment of appropriate compensation to address any financial loss arising from the discrimination or operation of the remedy, then Voice Community believes that the stated policy aims should be met.
Voice Community is pleased that there has been some exploratory work done towards investigating the equalities impact although we are disappointed by the absence of data on disability characteristics.
Mental health and wellbeing continues to be an issue that presents challenges. As more information emerges and strategies are developed to afford support there may be more demand on the pension scheme to future-proof their provision.
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