Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2016

Background Information on the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme

Section 48 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, gives the Assembly the power to make pension arrangements for MLA’s. Due to the suspension of the Assembly the Assembly Members Pension Scheme (NI) 2000 was established by determination of the Secretary of State on 13 November 2000, by virtue of the powers granted to him by paragraph 9 of the schedule to the Northern Ireland Act 2000.

On 30 June 2008 the Assembly agreed by resolution to confer the power to amend the pension scheme to the Assembly Commission. The Commission exercised this power on 1 July 2008, accepting the recommendations of the Trustees and making a number of changes to the pension scheme in line with changes in legislation at that time. As a consequence the scheme was renamed The Assembly Members Pension Scheme (NI) 2008.

On 2 April 2009 the Commission considered a recommendation from the Trustees that the current accrual rate of 1/50th of final salary for each year of service should be increased to 1/40th with effect from 1 April 2009. In agreeing to this change the Commission took account of a number of factors including similar changes which had taken place in other UK Legislatures. However, more significantly, the Commission considered the fact that the contribution members make to the Scheme would be increased, and that as a consequence the proposed change would be “cost neutral” i.e. the contribution from the public fund would not be affected.

As a result of the enactment of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 and the subsequent appointment of an Attorney General for Northern Ireland, the Commission brought a resolution to the Assembly on 21 June 2011 to permit the Attorney General for NI to join the Scheme from the date of his appointment.

5 MLA’s are appointed by resolution of the Assembly to be Trustees of the Scheme. The Trustees are responsible for administering the pension scheme in accordance with the Scheme Rules, pensions and financial legislation, regulatory guidance and trust law. In March 2012 the Independent Financial Review Panel (IFRP) issued their first determination relating to Members' salaries, allowances, expenses and pensions. As a result of this and other legislative amendments the scheme was revised and renamed The Assembly Members' Pension Scheme (NI) 2012.

In April 2016 the Independent Financial Review Panel issued The Assembly Members (Pensions) Determination (Northern Ireland) 2016 which introduced a Career Average Revalued Earnings scheme for new and existing members. Existing members who were born on or before 1 April 1960 will retain their Final Salary scheme under transitional protection until 6 May 2021. The new scheme is named Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2016 and replaces the 2012 scheme.

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