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Ex-fireman claims Gov failure knocked 20% off pension

Ex-fireman claims Gov failure knocked 20% off pension

Friday 11 September 2020

Ex-fireman claims Gov failure knocked 20% off pension

Friday 11 September 2020

An ex-fireman has claimed poor communication from Government staff led more than 20% disappearing from his pension pot.

Stuart Newman appeared on Skype from South Africa to lay down his grievance before the States Complaints Board yesterday.

He said that he first contacted the Fire Service to resign with a pension in March 2018.

However, Mr Newman claimed he was turned down from getting a valuation figure in March due to the freezing of requests until May, and not given any further explanation.  

When he finally got his pension statement in June, he found it to be significantly lower than that of colleagues, who had requested valuations slightly earlier.

He said he was later refused a retrospective valuation to get the pension at an earlier, better rate, despite this allowance being given to others. 

Head of Shared Services Graham Chidlow appeared on behalf of the States Employment Board (SEB) at the hearing to respond to the complaint.

He argued that this price difference was due to the Market Value Adjustment changing on a quarterly basis. 

Mr Chidlow also claimed that there were no phone calls on record regarding Mr Newman’s situation before one on May 29 from his line manager.

However, Mr Newman disputed this, with the Board noting he had a “very senior officer” of the Fire Service confirming that there had been earlier attempts at communication. 

Mr Newman said if he had been better informed, he would have taken out the pension before, saying: “If you receive a letter in the post where you see that there is a higher valuation today than a higher valuation in a month’s time, you take that valuation – I’d be mad not to!”

Complaints Board Member, Stuart Catchpole QC, remarked that he had sympathy with the complainant, telling him that if he found out that “in excess of 20% of my pension was wiped out, I would feel aggrieved too.”

The Complaints Board will share its findings in a report due later in the Autumn.

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