The McCloud Judgement
Changes in brief
On 1 April 2014 the LGPS changed from a final salary scheme to a CARE scheme. This changed the way that pension benefits are worked out. When this change happened, everyone who was already paying into the LGPS was moved over to the CARE scheme. However, those closer to retirement age were given an additional protection known as the Underpin. This allowed us to calculate someone’s pension benefits after 1 April 2014 using the old final salary rules if it meant they received a higher pension. A Court of Appeal ruling in 2018, found this to be unlawful, as it favoured older members.
On 1 October 2023, amendment regulations came into force which removed the age requirement from the qualifying criteria. This means that many more people will qualify for underpin protection.
For a short overview, watch Pensions Made Simple: The McCloud remedy video
Who is affected
Under the revised regulations, you will qualify for underpin protection if you:
- were paying into the LGPS or another public service pension scheme before 1 April 2012
- were also paying into the LGPS between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2022 and were under age 65 at any point during the time you were paying in
- have been a member of a public service pension scheme without a continuous break of more than 5 years
If you have more than one period of LGPS membership, you do not have to join up or ‘aggregate’ these to qualify for underpin protection.
If you have membership of another public service pension scheme before 1 April 2012, you will not have to transfer that membership to the LGPS to qualify for underpin protection. We are awaiting guidance from the government on how we collect information about membership you may have in other public service pension schemes.
You will also be protected if you joined the LGPS after 1 April 2022 and transferred in qualifying membership from another public service pension scheme.
To find out if you will qualify, use the ‘Am I affected tool’ on the national LGPS member website.
What happens if you qualify
Anyone who qualifies is entitled to have their pension built up between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2022 calculated using final salary rules if it is higher than the CARE pension.
We need to put everyone in the position they would have been had these regulations previously applied This will mean checking membership details for everyone who would have qualified, including those that have left the scheme, retired, transferred out or died.
If this results in a higher pension, and your pension is already in payment, we will pay you the difference. If it doesn’t result in a higher pension, you will not be contacted and your pension will continue being paid as normal. Your pension will not decrease. If you haven’t taken your pension yet, we will perform this calculation when you retire.
We will also apply the protection where someone who would have qualified has transferred out of the scheme, has died or is receiving a survivor’s pension from someone who would have qualified.
It’s important to note that in most cases, it will not be beneficial to have your pension worked out using final salary rules. If you are one of the few who would be better off, the increase is unlikely to be substantial.
For more information, see the ‘What happens if’ section of the national LGPS member website.
The government has prepared a leaflet called ‘The McCloud judgement and your LGPS pension’ which summarises the key changes. You can also find the answers to many frequently asked questions on the national LGPS member website.
We are awaiting further guidance from the government on some aspects of implementing the regulations. This includes which cases we will need to prioritise and the method for collecting data about other pensionable service which would qualify people for protection in the LGPS.
You do not need to take any action. This is a very big project and it will take us some time to check everyone’s pension. We will contact you if your pension needs to change.
We will update this page and provide further information to you in due course.
The government has asked that we temporarily suspended transfers for those who are in scope for the protection. This is because we need to calculate the transfer value differently to take into account the underpin protection, and guidance on how to do this has not yet been published. Once guidance is published, we will begin working on cases in chronological order.
We will write to you directly if you are affected. We may request information about any other public sector or LGPS pension membership you hold if we are not sure whether or not you qualify. We will continue processing transfers for anyone who is not impacted by these changes.