NHS Pension Scheme Regulations' changes and New Fair Deal guidance relating to the NHS Pension Scheme
Published 12 March 2014
Two documents have recently been published by the Department of Health in relation to the NHS Pension Scheme ("NHSPS"). These are:
- The Department's response to the recent consultation on draft NHSPS Regulations which will widen access to the NHSPS for independent providers (and introduce new financial controls for all employers accessing the NHSPS). The response sets out some additional changes to the NHSPS Regulations, which are due to come into Force on 1 April 2014; and
- Further guidance on the application of new Fair Deal pension protection to staff outsourced from the NHS.
1. Response on consultation regarding amendments to the NHSPS Regulations
The Department of Health has published its response to a consultation held on draft Regulations which will allow wider access to the NHS Pension Scheme for independent providers of NHS clinical services, and introduce new controls which will affect existing NHS and independent provider employers who access the NHSPS. The Regulations also include some other amendments, including increases to member contribution rates from 1 April 2014.
2. New Fair Deal guidance relating to the NHSPS
Following on from the implementation of new Fair Deal in October 2013 (which allows for all staff whose employment is compulsorily transferred from the public sector to an independent sector provider, to retain membership or eligibility for the public pension scheme they were in or were eligible to join immediately prior to the transfer), the Department of Health has published guidance in relation to the application of new Fair Deal to the NHSPS. This guidance has been prepared in collaboration with NHS England, NHS Business Services Authority and the Government Actuary's Department ("GAD"). It is intended to provide further clarity to contracting authorities, bidders and providers.
This guidance is set out in two stages given the complexities which can arise in different contracting scenarios:
Guidance on new Fair Deal application to first generation transfers (i.e. where staff are compulsorily transferred for the first time from an NHS employer to an independent sector contractor); and
Guidance on new Fair Deal application to retenders (i.e. retenders of contracts involving compulsory transfers of staff who were previously transferred from an NHS employer under the old Fair Deal).