Advice to remembers regarding pension, pay and tax errors

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Napo is writing to alert you to widespread systematic processing errors that we have uncovered, affecting many members in the NPS and in some CRCs. Because pension contributions have an impact on your pay and tax codes such errors may create subsequent tax and pay problems. It is thought the errors are linked to the Shared Services Connect Limited (SSCL) contract and its introduction of a Single Operating Platform (SOP) in February, designed to modernise the way the service handles payroll and Human Resources transactions.

This is especially disappointing as we had raised these issues among many others in April with senior NPS management and Ministers. The response was that performance, audit and contractual reviews were already in place at both an Agency, Ministry and cross-government level which showed that the SSCL contract was delivering against its objectives.

The full number of staff affected is unknown but the NPS have confirmed that anyone who has had changes to their salary since February is likely to be affected. This includes staff on maternity leave, sick leave, working overtime and those who had just joined the service and were auto-enrolled into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

Thankfully the vast majority of our members will not have been impacted by this and we are not seeking to cause unnecessary alarm. We are also working tirelessly to secure guarantees from the employer that any shortfalls in employer and employee pension contributions will be met by them. We are demanding implementation of the Secretary of State’s Pension Guarantee, which was established when the NPS and CRCs were created to underwrite problems such as contribution breakdowns. We are also pressing for overpaid contributions where these have occurred to be returned as soon as is possible. We will endeavour to keep members up to date with progress on these issues, and you are also directed to our website where we will be posting any available news over the coming weeks –

However, the following advice should help to establish if you may have been impacted and what you need to do if you think your pension contributions are or have been wrong. We also include guidance about what to do to make sure the concern is registered.

If your employer approaches you and asks you to make an extra payment because of a contribution failure do not do so until you have gained advice from Napo, initially via your local Napo representatives who should liaise with their Link Officer. In these cases, Napo’s first step will be to seek to have any shortfalls met from the Secretary of State’s Fund, after advice and negotiation with the government, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and Pension Ombudsman.

Please also share this communication with colleagues who may not be in Napo. Whilst we can only directly represent those who are members they may want to consider the general advice and also consider joining us now. Joining involves a quick and easy process via our



Step one: Most people who have been impacted will fall into one or more of the following groups. If you do not fall into these groups you should still check your pay slips as set out below in steps two to four -  but you should certainly do so as soon as is possible if in 2017 you have:

  • Been paid for any sessional work and/or overtime
  • Had your normal pay changed, e.g. for maternity leave or parental leave
  • Newly received or stopped receiving a regular allowance (e.g. for working in a prison)
  • Been promoted, either temporarily or permanently
  • Had any periods with sick pay
  • Had any other irregular or unusual payments (either one off or more regularly)
  • Usually had different payments from month to month

Step two: Look at as many recent pay slips as possible and compare them, particularly looking for pension contributions. If these vary and/or do not appear on any of the pay slips you should be immediately concerned.

Step three: Whether you think you have an issue or not, do this quick check. On the payslips, identify the sum for your full salary before any deductions, stoppages, tax etc. Multiply this by twelve for your current expected annual salary (A). Now check this figure against table one below to see what percentage pension contributions you should be making each month. For example, if you earn £24,000 you would pay 6.5% each month

Table one:


                                                      Annual Salary                                                 % contribution


Up to £13,700



£13,701 to £21,400



£21,401 to £34,700



£34,701 to £43,900



£43,901 to £61,300



£61,301 to £86,800



£86,801 to £102,200



£102,201 to £153,300



£153,301 or more


Now check your annual salary figure against the relevant % contribution rate. Do this by:

Dividing your annual figure (A) by 12 to get back to a monthly amount    (e.g 24000 / 12 = £2000)

Divide this by 100                                                                                                             (e.g. 2000 / 100 = 20)

Multiply this by the % contribution rate                                                                 (e.g. 20 x 6.5 = £130)

In this example £130 should be your monthly contribution. Any variation from this should be an immediate concern.

If you do not have a pension contribution figure on your pay slip this should also be an immediate concern.

If these figures vary between different payslips then check for variations to your monthly pay.

Step Four: If you have identified a problem then see step five of this guidance. Even if at this point you have not recognised a concern and you are a member of the LGPS, please check your annual pension statement which according to the NPS, should be coming to you shortly from the (GMPF). If you have not received this by the first of September see step 5 of this guidance. This statement will have an amount called a CARE pay figure. This should be identical to your annual pay, in almost all cases. Any variation between the two should be a matter of immediate concern. In the old pension scheme some payments were not classed as pensionable but in the CARE scheme all payments are assumed to be pensionable.

Step Five: If you have a concern you need to do 3 things quickly:

  1. Email your line manager saying that you wish to register a concern about your pension contributions and ask them to forward the concern to your HR department and ask for a named contact point to acknowledge your concern within two working days. It is the employer’s responsibility to resolve the problem.
  2. Contact the GMPF and copy them your concern saying that you have contacted your employer and expect the two to clarify your position. Ask them to notify you of the name of the persons dealing with your issue and for a timescale to resolve it. GMPF can’t solve the problem directly as they can’t change your pay but they can press your employer to meet their responsibilities. Registering your concern with the GMPF helps support later claims to the Pension Ombudsman. GMPF can be contacted by email via or directly via 0161 301 7000.
  3. Notify your local Napo representative that you have taken the above actions using the email heading PENSION CONTRIBUTION ERROR. If you do not know who your local Rep is email and we will put you in touch. Please note that your local Reps and Napo HQ will not be able to resolve individual cases, but they can record your concerns and ensure that they keep Napo HQ up to date with trends and developments. They will also contact you directly with any national updates and/or advice that we issue centrally.

As stated above, any employers’ failure to collect and make the correct pension contributions is a very serious matter, and can in some circumstances even be illegal and lead to them being prosecuted and/or fined. However, you should not panic or be dismayed as Napo has identified the problem and is challenging the employers collectively for you. The NPS are aware of the problems and have this week announced that they are investigating the issues that we have alerted them to. You do need to help us to help you by checking if you are impacted and letting Napo and your employer know if you have any concerns.

We trust this is helpful. Do keep looking at the Napo website for further information and updates.

Yours sincerely,


Dean Rogers                                   Ian Lawrence

Assistant General Secretary       General Secretary


22nd August 2017