North Wales Police Federation aim to effectively support our Officers and promote the efficiency of the North Wales Police.
We will endeavour to represent and negotiate for our members in a robust, open and honest manner to ensure that officers are treated fairly and considerately at all times by the Force.
We aim to provide a professional and caring service to our members with a view to fostering a relationship which is founded on trust, confidentiality and respect on both sides. We will endeavour to build on that relationship to determine the most appropriate support, advice and action relevant to the individual needs and issues.
PFEW pensions update
A number of members have approached us recently because they are confused by communications from organisations outside the PFEW relating to pensions.
These communications relate to the recent pension discrimination cases and if a future outcome will result in a remedy for all or only for those who have begun a legal challenge. We feel it is necessary to clarify, in the interests of members.
We have seen statements from law firm Leigh Day during August 2019 that include:
’At this time, it remains unclear what the remedy will be and whether it will be applied retrospectively to all officers, or whether only those officers that have brought claims will be compensated for past discrimination’.
We have also been monitoring twitter posts that include the comments:
‘the bulk of any compensation package will be to your pension (uplift/reversion) and as such deferred until you retire’. (@copsagainst, 12 August 2019).
It is important to be clear about the terminology here, and not to confuse two different things.
With regard to the legal challenge relating to the discriminatory aspects of the scheme – taken through an employment tribunal and then beyond – there are two possible outcomes of a legal victory.
The first is a remedy. The second is compensation.
A remedy is likely to address the root cause of the discrimination and is aimed at getting members to a position where there is no discrimination. Compensation, by contrast, is a separate payment, likely to be paid to claimants for hurt feelings, or distress.
The government covers the issue of a remedy in the Treasury statement below. It indicates that such a remedy will be applied to all in the public sector schemes listed. That is, the schemes themselves will be changed and therefore all those who have been subject to discrimination will be subject to the remedy. The government sees this as being likely to be valued at around £4 billion. The remedy will apply to all, regardless of whether they have taken a personal or group legal case, or not.
Officers who signed up to the pension challenge may additionally get compensation. The amount of compensation is based on the degree of ‘injury’ that can be evidenced in accordance with the Vento scale (covered below.)
The compensation has not yet been valued and there is no certainty over how much it will amount to. It may, or may not, be adequate to pay for the costs those challenging will incur. Pension Challenge (Cops Against – @copsagainst) have indicated that they believe any compensation will be in the lower Vento band.
The Vento scale sets out the compensation that judges can award for discrimination. The values used would be those that apply when the case is laid, not when settled: that is, for police pensions the bands will be lower than currently published for 2019.
Lower band (for the least serious cases, e.g. a one-off or isolated incident of discrimination) – currently £900 – £8,600, but at the time the cases were taken, likely to be up to a maximum of around £7,000-£7,500
Middle band (which is used for serious cases that do not merit an award in the highest band) – currently £8,600 – £25,700
Top band (for the most serious cases, such as a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment) – currently up to £42,900
The PFEW position remains the same: it is, as yet, unclear as to how the remedy will be applied, but we believe it will apply to all. Anyone considering a claim must carefully consider the risk that the compensation may not cover their legal fees.
You can read the Treasury Statement in full here