In previous postings 20 April 2016 and 10 February 2016 I detailed the Westminster Government’s proposals to radically amend the compensation/redundancy entitlements across the public sector.

The Cabinet Office took forward negotiations on changes to the UK Civil Service Scheme, in doing so they excluded a number of unions from the negotiations as those unions would not agree to pre-conditions requiring acceptance in principle of the changes. The amended UK Civil Service Compensation Scheme was introduced in November 2016 by Westminster.

The action was challenged in the High Court, England, by PCS via Judicial Review. The Judgement was announced yesterday with the Court deciding that there was no basis for the then Cabinet Office Minister, Ben Gummer, to exclude PCS from the negotiations. The Court therefore ruled that the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme introduced in November 2016 are unlawful.

The response of the Government was to say that it was carefully considering the Judgement and intending to appeal the decision.

In respect of other public service schemes such as Health and Local Government, no changes had been made by the target date of 1 April 2017. It remains to be seen what, if any, impact this Judgement will have in those sectors.

The position in Northern Ireland, as redundancy compensation in all sectors of the public services is a devolved matter, is that Department of Finance Officials were taking no action pending the final outcome of the UK Civil Service legal proceedings. A commitment has been given to fully engage with the trade unions should there by any consideration to amend redundancy/compensation schemes in any part of Northern Ireland’s public services.

Bumper Graham

Deputy General Secretary