23rd July 2013
TO: BRIGADE SECRETARIES
RESULT OF GAD APPEAL: FBU FAIRER COMMUTATION CAMPAIGN
A previous FBU circular (2013HOC0402SS 22 July 2013) outlined that the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) had been given permission to appeal the decision of the High Court last year in relation to the jurisdiction of the Pensions Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman decided in December 2010 that he had the jurisdiction to investigate the question whether GAD was guilty of maladministration, for failing to update the commutation tables used for the FPS more regularly than it actually did. GAD disagreed, arguing that it was not an administrator of the FPS. It appealed to the High Court, but lost in June 2012. It appealed again to the Court of Appeal. At the time of issuing the circular the result of the latest appeal was not known.
The Court of Appeal’s judgment was handed down yesterday and once again GAD was unsuccessful.
This now means that unless GAD makes a further attempt to appeal to the Supreme Court (which we understand is unlikely), the Ombudsman’s investigation will now, finally, proceed. Members should note that the argument to date has only been about the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. The question whether GAD was guilty of maladministration has still to be decided.
The Ombudsman’s office publishes updates on the commutation complaints periodically on its website (www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk). In the light of yesterday’s judgment the most recent update is slightly out of date, but members with an interest in these complaints can check the Ombudsman’s website from time to time. We will be publishing circulars to inform members of progress in any event.
FBU members should note that there is still no need for them to take any further action at this point and the Pension Ombudsman clarified that they plan to use complaints from the ones we have already received as “lead” complaints.
Please feel free to distribute this note which will be placed on the FBU website www.fbu.org.uk
Yours in Unity,