Thanks for visiting the CSPA Northern Ireland Branch Website!

We hope you can find everything you need. The Civil Service Pensioner's Alliance is a campaigning and lobbying group for pensioners from the civil service and related pension schemes. 

Our objective is to maintain and improve the purchasing power of all pensions from Civil Service and related schemes.

Branch AGM
The Branch AGM will be held on Wednesday 22nd April 2020 at 2:30pm in the Grosvenor Business Centre, Glengall Street, Belfast.  

Hon Treasurer/Membership Secretary
The Hon Treasurer/ Membership Secretary Alastair Hunter has indicated that whilst he is happy to continue in the post for the foreseeable future it would only be prudent to have another person trained in the work of the Treasurer/Membership Secretary to be able to take over should Alastair wish to relinquish the post.
The Northern Ireland Branch Executive Committee of CSPA are therefore now advertising for someone to shadow the work of the Treasurer/Membership Secretary and be able to take over the post in the fullness of time.
There is a small honorarium payable and anyone interested should in the first instance contact the Hon Sec Tony Damoglou on apdamoglou@cspa.co.uk or 07775743008.
According to our Branch Constitution the holder of the post does not necessarily have to be a member of CSPA so if you know of someone who is not a member but would be interested please have them contact the Hon Sec.

A woman’s lot
Following on from the article by John Jarvis in the last issue of "The Pensioner" we were made aware that there was a difference in the  Widow's Pension provisions that that applied to Northern Ireland Civil Service pensioners, than that applied to Civil Service pensioners in England, Wales and Scotland.
From information so far supplied we understand that different rules applied but we are trying to establish what rules were in place; what was the timeline for when rules were applicable; and how they differed from NI to mainland Civil Servants. We will be liaising with Northern Ireland Dept of Finance, Pensions Branch, to establish the true facts.
If you have any information which would help us please let me know.  Similarly, if you feel you were not treated correctly to the rules that applied at the time, please let me know(apdamoglou@cspa.co.uk).
Pension Payslips
Following a request from a member who was unclear as to some of the wording on their payslip where there were two entries for their pension. The Hon Sec contacted Pensions’ Branch for an explanation and received the following reply:- 
 From March 2018 Civil Service Pension (NI) Pay Advice Slip appearance has been upgraded, this change was added:
 a.    To allow members slips to match that seen by staff within Civil Service Pensions
 b.    To allow members who have more than one component to their pension to view pension breakdown correctly.
c.    To be a true reflection of the benefits members are receiving
d.    In preparation for Civil Service Pensions online functionality
 The reason your members Pay Advice Slip shows two components in its makeup is due to the fact part of the members pension is GMP, below is the statement on GMP taken from the pensioners newsletter:
 Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)
 Prior to 6 April 2016 the NICS pension schemes were contracted out of the State Second Pension (S2P), which was previously known as State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). If you have reckonable service before 6 April 1997 you will have built up rights to a GMP which must be paid as part of your NICS pension scheme pension. We will pay you a pension which is guaranteed to be at least as much as the GMP pension you have built up.
 It is the GMP portion of the pension which is showing as “Normal Pension” within the Slip. I would like to assure you and your member that the breakdown of pension on the members Pay Advice Slip will have no consequence on any annual percentage increase due nor will it affect any spouse pension entitlement due.

Pension Overpayments
It has been brought to the attention of the Branch Committee that  a Pension Revision exercise was being carried out by Pensions Branch.
We asked pension branch for an explanation and received the following response:-
We in Civil Service Pensions revise awards as matter of course – at present we are working through the revisions arising from the voluntary exits schemes and we have over 80% of those completed. Age retirements etc are also revised mainly as a result of a back-dated pay award or another change notified by the employer.
The issue with My CSP is that they were not doing the revisions of awards as part of their schedule of work and this was identified by their auditor. The processes they are looking at are in relation to building the revisions into their work practices.
The majority of revisions do result in the payment of arrears however, a revision can also result in an overpayment due to the way pay is calculated. Eg prior to a pay award the best pay to calculate an award is not the most current salary (some go back 13 years) and Pensions Increase is applied to the award. However, after the application of the pay award the best pay is the most current salary and no Pensions Increase is due to the award – this can result in an overpayment.
As per managing public money we are obliged to seek recovery of overpayments

If any Member receives such a notification asking for a repayment do not agree to anything and contact the Hon. Sec. Tony Damoglou immediately on 028-92610610 or apdamoglou@cspa.co.uk

   Campaign to outlaw Age Discrimination in the provision of Goods, Facilities and Services

Age Discrimination in the provision of Goods, Facilities and Services is against the law in both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland but not in Northern Ireland. For a number of years Age Sector Platform has been campaigning to have the law brought into line with Great Britain on a parity basis. This proposal was agreed by local Ministers during a previous Mandate but unfortunately time ran out and the necessary legislation did not reach the Assembly. Following the return of the N.I.Assembly CSPA will be renewing and refreshing its campaign. Whilst the parity principle should be an adequate argument to have this wrong corrected it would be useful to have, as back up, some examples of actual discrimination because of age. Your help in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
Goods are regarded as tangible things, ie items that are produced eg furniture, cars, white goods etc.
Facilities are regarded as places such as offices, hospitals, sports grounds, concert halls etc.
 Services as the word implies are activities carried out by others for your benefit, eg health treatment, financial services, library service, etc.
If you, or anyone of your acquaintance, believes that they have been discriminated against in any of these areas on the grounds of age perhaps they would send me the details of the alleged discrimination by email to apdamoglou@cspa.co.uk     All information provided will be held in confidence and will only be used to support our campaign anonymously.
Many thanks for your help.

Age Sector Platform (ASP) Funding Crisis and Demise
Age Sector Platform (ASP) came in to being in 2008 largely as a result of actions taken by former members of the Northern Ireland  CSPA Branch Committee and a few other similar pensioner’s groups.
ASP was widely recognised as being the foremost organisation (with approximately 200,000 members of its constituent groups) working on behalf of older people in Northern Ireland. This work has focussed on; organising the Northern Ireland Pensioners’ Parliament; lobbying and campaigning both at Stormont and Westminster on a wide range of issues impacting on older people; and being at the forefront of protecting and defending the rights of older people.
This lobbying of the Assembly Executive was largely instrumental in the creation of the post of Commissioner for Older People and the travel pass for seniors. Other ongoing lobbying includes the Warm Homes Discount, Active Ageing Strategy and the GFS (goods, facilities and services) Age Discrimination Legislation.
The Northern Ireland Branch of CSPA has in the past supported Age Sector Platform not only by our participation in ASP campaigning committees and payment of our membership fee but also for the past few years by donations equivalent to the 60p per member per year that CSPA HQ puts aside for Campaign Funds so that our campaigning could be carried out by a much larger organisation and therefore be so much more effective.

At the Board meeting on 3 September 2019 it was disclosed that “The financial position of ASP has now reached a critical stage and unless an offer of substantial additional funding is received between now the end of the year then Age Sector Platform will probably have to close”.

I can confirm that ASP has now closed.  However, some members of CSPA together with members of NFOP are looking at ways of continuing the lobbying activities carried out by ASP.   Currently (24/2/2020) discussions are ongoing with AGE NI regard to the NI Pensioners' Parliament

 Membership Renewal
For those of you who pay their membership annually your membership sub of £15 will be due on 1st January 2020 (apart from those that have only joined in the last few months of 2019 where your membership extends to the end of 2020).

Unfortunately we are unable to set up direct debits but we can accept payment by "Standing Order". In that case please contact our Membership Secretary Alastair Hunter directly on 028-90424970 or 

Active Ageing Strategy 2014-2020
The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have just launched  "A Consultation Document" for public consultation.

Health Matters
The Health and Social Care Service (NHS) in Northern Ireland is currently undergoing radical changes as a result of the Compton Report under the guise of "Transforming Your Care" Followed by the reports from Donaldson and Prof Bengoa . CSPA in conjunction with Age Sector Platform have been examining these proposed (and in many cases actual) changes to the Health and Care System as they affect older people.  We will be trying to hold the Dept of Health and Social Care  and the Health and Social Care Board  to account and to have some (or all) of these changes rescinded or suitably modified. In order to do that we will require as many cases as possible where older people have been or will be adversely affected by these changes to let us know. Please  Click Here to register your problem with us. 

Equal Pay

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