13th August 2013
TO: BRIGADE SECRETARIES
FURTHER INFORMATION: GAD APPEAL: FBU FAIRER COMMUTATION CAMPAIGN
Recent FBU circulars in July 2013 (2013HOC0402SS and 2013HOC0407SS) highlighted the background and result of the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) appeal re 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. On 22 July 2013 the Court of Appeal dismissed this appeal.
GAD has subsequently had an application to appeal to the Supreme Court refused by the Court of Appeal. The Pensions Ombudsman is now waiting to hear whether GAD intends to directly seek permission to appeal from the Supreme Court.
The Pensions Ombudsman has indicated that they should have more details on this by the end of the month.
Once again it is worth reiterating two points:
1. That the argument to date has only been about the Ombudsmanâ€™s jurisdiction. The question whether GAD was guilty of maladministration has still to be decided.
2. That there is still no need for members to take any further action at this point. The Pensions Ombudsman has clarified that they plan to use complaints from the ones we have already received as “lead” complaints.
This latest information is available on the Pension Ombudsmanâ€™s website. Members with an interest in these complaints can check the Ombudsmanâ€™s website from time to time. We will be also be publishing circulars to inform members of progress in any event.
Please feel free to distribute this note which will be placed on the FBU website
Yours in Unity,