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Change to public sector pension arrangements in transfers

New rules concerning Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE) came into force on 31 January 2014 - but some people may have missed a change to pension arrangements that was introduced last year.

New Fair Deal guidance

In October 2013, the Government published new 'Fair Deal' guidance about how pension arrangements should be dealt with for staff who are compulsorily transferred from the public sector to private contractors delivering public services.

Certain public sector staff will be offered continued access to a public service pension scheme rather than their new employers having to offer them a 'broadly comparable' private pension scheme.

The Government said the change should achieve better value for money by reducing costs and risks to employers, and open up public services to greater competition.

Access to a public service pension scheme will only be discontinued in 'exceptional circumstances' and will require employee consultation through a trade union or similar body, according to the guidance.


The guidance applies directly to central government departments, agencies the NHS, maintained schools and academies and 'any other parts of the public sector under the control of Government ministers where staff are eligible to be members of a public service pension scheme'. It does not apply to so-called 'best value authorities', which have alternative arrangements.

TUPE reforms

The main body of reforms concern such areas as service provision change, harmonisation of terms, employee liability information, transfer of collectively agreed terms, change in location of the workforce, pre-transfer consultation, and consultation within microbusinesses.

Acas publications and services

For free, confidential advice on TUPE matters and other employment relations issues, visit Helpline Online.

There's Acas support for public sector organisations undergoing change. Acas has detailed information on Transfer of undertakings (TUPE) and offers practical training courses on TUPE, as well as Contracts and terms and conditions.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.

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