Justice for Firefighters pensions - update

Circular: 2008HOC0328MW

Dear Brother/Sister

Yesterday at the High Court we received the judgement in the Judicial Review which we launched on behalf of three retired members. You will recall that the three members concerned initially had their pensions stopped following a decision of a pension Appeal Board. The three pensions were restored following an earlier legal success but the Judicial Review continued because of the importance of the issues surrounding the case.

Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in the Judicial Review. I am sure that all members will share the frustration and disappointment at this decision.  We are now discussing with our legal team the issue of an appeal and will report on this to the Executive Council next week.  A full report will also be given to Annual Conference in Southport.

Despite this setback, I am able to report positive developments in relation to our discussions with Government about this matter. You will be aware that Government, through CLG, established a Working Group to examine the concerns about this issue. This group has met on four occasions and a consensus has emerged that the issues raised by the FBU need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Outside of this group the FBU has subsequently been engaged in a series of further detailed discussions with CLG officials about the key issues which have created the problems for members facing decisions on ill-health retirement. The main areas of concern have been around CLG guidance issued in relation to ill-health retirement under the Firefighters' Pension Scheme and further guidance issued on the same matter to Independent Qualified Medical Practitioners (IQMPs). You will be aware that it was the revision of this guidance in Scotland which has resolved the matter there.

Following these further meetings with CLG, agreement has been reached that the two pieces of guidance will now be revised to take account of the concerns raised. Detailed discussion has taken place about the precise nature of the revisions. We hope to be able to issue the revised drafts very soon. A full report of all discussions will then be given to the Executive Council and to Annual Conference.

Best wishes.

Yours fraternally

Matt Wrack

General Secretary


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