Broad comparability certification
06 Apr 2017 - Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Our client, an NHS Foundation Trust, had been awarded commercial outsourcing contracts to provide services to a number of local authorities.
Government policies meant the Trust was required to offer pension benefits which were “the same as, broadly comparable to, or better than” the benefits the transferring staff would otherwise have continued to earn with the local authority (i.e. the LGPS).
On transfer, the staff joined the NHS Pension Scheme, which differs from the LGPS in a number of ways. Hence, there was a requirement for the benefits to be certified as “broadly comparable” to the LGPS. In addition, the Trust needed to give reassurance to the staff and local authorities about these benefits.
“Broadly comparable” is not formally defined, but there is H M Treasury guidance. This includes a requirement that the benefits should be scrutinized by a professionally qualified actuary (who need not be an employee of the Government Actuary’s Department) which compares the alternative scheme with the public service scheme in detail. There was no contractual obligation to use the Government Actuary’s Department and hence we were appointed to provide the required advice.