A Quick Guide and set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to the consultation, for members of the NITPS, are available on the Department of Education website.
The two possible approaches being considered are:
- An ‘immediate’ choice; or
- A ‘deferred’ choice.
Both approaches would give members a choice whether to receive benefits from the legacy (i.e. ‘final salary’) or reformed (i.e. ‘career average ‘) pension schemes in respect of their service during the period between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022.
There are so many unknowns that members can't resonantly be expected to choose between the two options. Things like future salary paths and future inflation will play a part. Individual financial advice will not be available from the pension scheme.
NEU believe that members can realistically only make this decision at retirement when they know whether career average or final salary would have been better for them.
The NEU NI response to the consultation is attached and members should feel free to quote from our submission in any individual response.
Our key response is:
- The Deferred Choice Underpin (DCU) is the preferred option as it enables members to consider in full the implications of the choice they are going to make at their time of retirement, the time it is most relevant to them.
- The NEU favours the deferred choice underpin of the two options presented. The key advantage of deferred choice is that the choice is made at the point benefits would be payable, so the decision is based on known facts rather than assumptions about the future.
- The NEU also believes that serious consideration should be given to a ‘Government choice’ option where members of the scheme automatically getting the better benefits without a choice being necessary at the point of retirement.
Members can respond to the consultation by email to Public Service Pensions, Policy and Legislation Branch
Department of Finance.