Please find attached a consultation document covering two issues as follows:

Consultation of Rectification of the Cost Cap Floor Breach

As part of the review of the NICS Pension Scheme as required as part of the 3 yearly valuation of the Scheme it has been identified that the 'floor' has been breached and this needs to be rectified to ensure it brings the scheme cost back to the target of 18.3%.  NIPSA has had engagement via the NICS Pensions Forum and following that engagement and advice from the Scheme Advisory Board it is proposed to address this via two proposals as follows:

(a) Increase the Death in Service Lump sum from twice final pensionable earnings to three times pensionable earnings; and

(b) Increase the accrual rate from 2.32% to 2.75%.

The remedy to increase the accrual rate for the cost cap will only apply to members of the alpha scheme, however it is proposed to extend the enhanced death in service provision to all members.

NIPSA's Civil Service Executive Committee have considered this proposal and are recommending to members that these proposals are accepted.

Employee Contributions

As members will be aware NIPSA had objected strongly to the situation which arose at the time of the payment of the 2017 pay award whereby members in AA, AO, DP and Grade 7 were adversely impacted as a result of the late payment award whereby they had to pay increased pension contributions as a result of moving into the higher bracket of pension contributions for the month of July.  While NIPSA sought to have an ex-gratia payment made to those members - unfortunately we were not successful in those arguments.  However NIPSA continued to pursue this on the basis that it should not happen again.

As a result of NIPSA's representations Civil Service Pensions have carried out a review in consultation with NIPSA and are proposing to address this anomaly as follows:

(a) Introduce a process to exclude any arrears of pensionable pay from annualised calculation for setting contribution rates; and

(b) Align the employee pension contribution thresholds with NICS pay and grading structures.  The effect of this is set out on page 13 of the consultation document along with some detailed examples in the consultation document.

This is a very positive outcome for members and is a direct result of this being an issue which NIPSA pursued with determination.  The Civil Service Executive Committee are recommending that NIPSA responds positively to this consultation.

The consultation closes on 18 January 2019.  Any branches with comments or queries should send them to me no later than 8 January 2019 so that they can be considered in advance of NIPSA submitting a response to the above consultations.

Alison Millar

General Secretary