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.

31 March 2023

On 31 March 2023, the Home Office launched their formal consultation on Retained Firefighters' Pensions: Proposed Changes to the Firefighters' Pension Scheme (England) 2006

This consultation focuses on the government’s commitment to provide further remedy to those individuals who were employed as retained firefighters between 7 April 2000 and 5 April 2006 inclusive by providing access to the modified section of Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006 (referred to as ‘the modified scheme’). It contains the proposed amendments to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England) Order 2006 and the Firemen’s Pension Scheme Order 1992 to achieve this outcome. This consultation document seeks views on proposals for achieving this outcome, and whether the proposed amendments achieve this policy intention for all eligible individuals.

The consultation will close on 9 June 2023.

8 September 2023

On 8 September 2023, the Home Office published their consultation response to the Retained Firefighters' Pensions: Proposed Changes to the Firefighters' Pension Scheme (England) 2006.

The Firefighters’ Pension Schemes (England) (Amendment) Order 2023 were been laid in Parliament.

The regulations will come into Force on 1 October 2023. 

Guides and other communications related to the second options exercise are listed in the table below:

Document   Description Date of issue
Member FAQs (PDF, 14 pages, 277kb) Frequently Asked Questions for members involved in the Second Options Exercise 30 November 2023
Data Sharing Agreement (Word, 10 pages, 70kb) Data Sharing Agreement to be used for cases where the current FRA is required to obtain pay and service information from a previous FRA to allow them to provide an individuals options. 31 October 2023
Time limited death grant application (Word, 2 pages, 39kb) Death grant application form for dependants 29 September 2023

Template letter to dependent

(Word, 2 pages, 32kb)

Letter to dependent following receipt of death grant application form - This accompanies the time limited death grant application 

29 September 2023

RDS employee informal guidance

(PDF, 21 pages, 293kb) Employee informal guidance to explain the options in the second options exercise to individuals, including option form - This accompanies the template letter to individual and options calculations. 29 September 2023
Template letter to individual (Word, 2 pages, 33kb) Letter to individual joining or paying for more service in the modified scheme.  29 September 2023

Acknowledgement letter

(Word, 1 page, 31kb)

Acknowledgement letter when FRA has received expression of interest form back.

29 September 2023

RDS employee information guide (PDF, 19 pages, 360kb) Employee information guide for individuals to help explain the second options exercise - This accompanies the expression of interest letter and form. 29 September 2023
Expression of interest form (Word, 2 pages, 39kb) Form to accompany the expression of interest letter. 29 September 2023
Expression of interest letter (Word, 4 pages, 43kb) Initial letter to individual asking if they wish to express an interest in the second options exercise.  29 September 2023
Employer Guide (PDF, 37 pages, 503kb) Guide to help employers through the second options exercise 31 October 2023
Matthews consultation overview (PDF, 42 pages, 927kb) Coffee morning presentation on the Home Office consultation on the 2023 options exercise 11 April 2023
Matthews pre-work for FRAs factsheet (Word, 5 pages, 168kb) A factsheet to help FRAs identify any pre-work which can be done for the Matthews second options exercise February 2023

Warm-up letter for in scope individuals

Generic communication letter for out-of-scope individuals

(Word, 2 pages, 30kb)

 

(Word, 2 pages, 32kb)

Generic letters for FRAs to use when communicating with in scope and out of scope individuals October 2022

LGA Matthews PID

(PDF, 21 pages, 586kb)

LGA project implementation for Matthews. Includes a draft communications plans and terms of reference for the Scheme Advisory Board working group September 2022

Summary of "Matthews" MoU and second options exercise v2 (tracked)

Summary of "Matthews" MoU and second options exercise v2 (clean)

(PDF, 6 pages, 130kb)

 

(PDF, 5 pages, 130kb)

Updated factsheet summary the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets out the scope and mechanics of the second options exercise August 2022
Matthews - lessons learned (PDF, 20 pages, 239kb) Coffee afternoon presentation covering the Home Office lessons learned paper 28 June 2022
Lessons learned (overview) (PDF, 6 pages, 170kb) Draft lessons learned paper produced for stakeholders by the Home Office on the first options exercise April 2022
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 Conversion Factors (PDF, 8 pages, 82kb) GAD guidance and conversion factors for converting Standard Membership Transferred-in Service Credits, Added years and Additional Pension Benefit to Special Membership Transferred-in Service Credits, Added Years and Additional Pension Benefit (APB) February 2015
HMRC retained firefighter bulletin (PDF, 1 page, 105kb) Bulletin provided by HMRC to provide further clarity around the information they have requested from FRA’s, regarding national insurance refunds relating to the first options exercise April 2023
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

Special members of FPS 2006 

(PDF, 115 pages, 2,300kb)

Presentation slides from the event held at 18 Smith Square on 2 May 2018

May 2018

Tax and NI guide 

(PDF, 16 pages, 643kb) Informal guidance on Income Tax and National Insurance implications  Version 2. Oct 2016
FAQs  (PDF, 34 pages, 557kb)

Modified Retained FAQ guide - LGA

May 2015
Scheme guide  (PDF, 37 pages, 660kb)

Guide to FPS 2006 for Special Members

May 2015
Member presentation (Dorset FRS) (PDF, 46 pages, 1,400kb) 

Dorset FRS - member presentation

March 2015
Further information letter (PDF, 3 pages, 159kb) 

Template covering letter to be issued with eligible member guide

February 2015
Member presentation (Essex FRS)  (PDF, 26 pages, 529kb) 

Essex FRS - member presentation

January 2015
Eligible member guide  (PDF, 18 pages, 293kb)

Modified pension arrangements and terms of payment for eligible individuals 

November 2014
Employee guide  (PDF, 20 pages, 210kb) 

Employee information leaflet on the introduction of the new modified pension arrangements

April 2014
EOI letter  (PDF, 3 pages, 172kb)

Template expression of interest letter

April 2014
EOI form (PDF, 2 pages, 74kb)

Template expression of interest form

April 2014
DG application form  (PDF, 2 pages, 74kb)

Application for a time-limited death grant

April 2014
Employer guide  (PDF, 24 pages, 323kb)

Action to be taken by employers to identify and contact prospective members

March 2014

The relevant regulations that amended the FPS 2006 in 2023 to allow retained firefighters access as special modified members as part of the 2023 second options exercise are listed below:

SI Title Date into Force
986/2023 Firefighters' Pension Schemes (England) (Amendment) Order 2023 1 October 2023

 

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
2014/445

The Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England) (Amendment) Order 2014

01/04/2014
2014/446

The Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (Amendment) (England) Order 2014

01/04/2014
2014/447

The Firefighters’ Compensation Scheme (England) (Amendment) Order 2014

01/04/2014
2015/590

The Firefighters’ Compensation Scheme and Pension Scheme (England) (Amendment) Order 2015

01/04/2015