Stakeholders will be aware of the category of members of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006 (FPS 2006) known as “special members” who were introduced in 2014, following Matthews v Kent and Medway Towns Fire Authority & others, which allowed retained firefighters employed between 1 July 2000 and 5 April 2006 to join the FPS 2006 with retrospective effect to 1 July 2000.
Following the introduction of the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, a claim was made by a number of retained firefighters that they should receive equal treatment with full-time regular firefighters and thereby be able to access pension benefits under the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS 1992). The claim proceeded through the Employment Tribunal and Court of Appeal before judgment was given in the House of Lords in favour of the retained firefighters.
Although, since 6 April 2006, retained firefighters have been eligible to join the FPS 2006, the House of Lords judgment allowed those who were serving during the period 1 July 2000 to the date on which they elected to join the FPS 2006, to have special provisions which generally reflect the rules of the FPS 1992. They could not be given backdated membership of FPS 1992 because that scheme is now closed. Consequently FPS 2006 was amended to introduce pension benefits for these "special" retained firefighters.
A time-limited options exercise took place between 2014 and 2015 to allow eligible individuals to join the FPS. Those who qualified for special membership of FPS 2006 had to make an election to join no later than 30 September 2015 (as extended by SI 2015/590).
14 March 2022
More recently, work has again had to take place on the pensions aspect of this case, following the European Court of Justice’s decision in O’Brien v Ministry of Justice concerning fee paid judges in the Judicial Pension Scheme. The judgment held that remedy could extend back before the Part-time Workers Directive was required to be implemented on 7 April 2000. As a binding judgment, that finding applies across all such claims and therefore the UK Government recognised the right applies to retained firefighters’ claims or potential claims.
After an extended period of negotiations on the scope and mechanics of the settlement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was agreed by all parties on 9 March 2022. Remedy for retained firefighters affected by the O’Brien judgment will be provided by way of a second options exercise allowing in-scope individuals the opportunity to purchase pension entitlement as a special member of the FPS 2006.
Guides and other communications related to the second options exercise are listed in the table below:
|Document||Description||Date of issue|
|Matthews and the 2023 options exercise||(PDF, 19 pages, 508kb)||Coffee morning presentation covering MoU and options exercise||22 March 2022|
|Summary of "Matthews" MoU and second options exercise||(PDF, 5 pages, 128kb)||Factsheet summary the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets out the scope and mechanics of the second options exercise||March 2022|
|"Matthews" Memorandum of Understanding||(PDF, 19 pages, 996kb)||MoU signed on 9 March 2022 by all parties||March 2022|
Guides and other communications related to the first options exercise are listed in the table below:
|Document||Description||Date of issue|
|Special members FPS 2006 factsheet||(PDF, 3 pages, 207kb)||Factsheet providing a summary of the first options exercise where eligible individuals could elect to become members of the scheme and an update on the second options exercise in which individuals will be able to elect to extend membership beyond 1 July 2000 to any employment as a retained firefighter prior to that date||October 2020|
|HMRC data request factsheet||(PDF, 2 pages, 396kb)||LGA FAQs factsheet to assist Authorities in responding to HMRC's request for data on tax relief claims for FPS 2006 special members||August 2018|
|Special member information request covering letter||(PDF, 2 pages, 146kb)||Special members information request covering letter from HMRC - tax relief claims||August 2018|
|Special members information spreadsheet||(xlsm, 12kb)||Special members information spreadsheet from HMRC - tax relief claims||August 2018|
(PDF, 115 pages, 2,300kb)
Presentation slides from the event held at 18 Smith Square on 2 May 2018
|(PDF, 16 pages, 643kb)||Informal guidance on Income Tax and National Insurance implications||Version 2. Oct 2016|
|Calculator user manual||(PDF, 42 pages, 1,040kb)||The Retained Firefighters’ Pension Settlement Calculator user manual - DCLG||September 2015|
|Settlement calculator||(xlsm, 789kb)||
The Retained Firefighters’ Pension Settlement Calculator.
As only past interest rates are used in this calculation, there is no need for an updated version of the calculator to be produced. Also, it is not necessary to use the calculator that was issued on the month that the original calculation was carried out, as the most recent calculator is able to look up past interest rates based on the data provided as per the above.
|FAQs||(PDF, 34 pages, 557kb)||
Modified Retained FAQ guide - LGA
|Scheme guide||(PDF, 37 pages, 660kb)||
Guide to FPS 2006 for Special Members
|Member presentation (Dorset FRS)||(PDF, 46 pages, 1,400kb)||
Dorset FRS - member presentation
|Further information letter||(PDF, 3 pages, 159kb)||
Template covering letter to be issued with eligible member guide
|Member presentation (Essex FRS)||(PDF, 26 pages, 529kb)||
Essex FRS - member presentation
|Eligible member guide||(PDF, 18 pages, 293kb)||
Modified pension arrangements and terms of payment for eligible individuals
|Employee guide||(PDF, 20 pages, 210kb)||
Employee information leaflet on the introduction of the new modified pension arrangements
|EOI letter||(PDF, 3 pages, 172kb)||
Template expression of interest letter
|EOI form||(PDF, 2 pages, 74kb)||
Template expression of interest form
|DG application form||(PDF, 2 pages, 74kb)||
Application for a time-limited death grant
|Employer guide||(PDF, 24 pages, 323kb)||
Action to be taken by employers to identify and contact prospective members
The relevant regulations that amended the FPS 2006 in 2014 to allow retained firefighters access as special modified members are listed below:
|SI||Title||Date into force|