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CSP members help secure NHS pensions rights for outsourced staff

17 October 2013 - 12:07pm

The CSP has welcomed the Treasury’s revised Fair Deal guidance giving health service staff the right to remain in the NHS pension scheme if they are transferred to private providers delivering NHS services.

The guidance, published on 8 October 2013, sets out standard practices which the NHS will follow. It is needed because the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) do not apply to occupational pensions.

Caran Chamberlain, the CSP’s senior negotiating officer, said the guidance would not have been possible without industrial action taken by CSP and other health union members in November 2011, as well as the support of the TUC in negotiations.

‘We have been working hard with other health unions to secure the new Fair Deal for pensions,’ she said.

Before the latest guidance, physiotherapists and other NHS staff transferring into social enterprise companies delivering NHS services could stay in the NHS scheme only if the company applied for permission from the NHS pensions agency.

Independent providers had to offer TUPE-transferred staff a broadly comparable pension, while their NHS pensions were frozen.

'This is an important advance for CSP members anxious about the impact on their pension of being transferred out of the NHS,' said Ms Chamberlain.

Private sector participation

The guidance applies not only to the NHS, but to central government departments, agencies, some maintained schools and other parts of the public sector where staff are eligible to join a public service pension scheme.

Gary Delderfield, head of public sector pensions at law firm Eversheds, said that another major change is that private sector contractors will be able to participate in the NHS and civil service pension schemes for the first time.

‘Everyone is now waiting to find out the terms on which contractors will participate in these schemes, as these have not yet been published,’ he said.

‘These terms will cover important issues such as contributions, exit debts and the need for security such as bonds or guarantees. As ever, the devil will be in the detail.’

The CSP expects the NHS to issue its pensions guidance shortly and will alert members when this is published.

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