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Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002

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Initial determinations of questions

First instance decisions

98.—(1) Any question concerning the rights or liabilities under these regulations of any person other than a Scheme employer shall be decided in the first instance by the relevant body.

(2) Where the body by which any such question falls to be decided is ascertainable by reference to this regulation or regulation 99, for the purposes of this Chapter that body shall be the relevant body.

(3) Where the Committee is considering whether a person who has ceased to hold a local government employment is entitled to a benefit under regulation 29 or 33(6), it shall refer for decision to an independent registered medical practitioner appointed by the Committee who is qualified in occupational health medicine, the following questions –

(a)whether at the time that employment ceased, in the case of entitlement under regulation 29 or 33, or at the date in question, in the case of regulation 33, the person was, on the balance of probabilities, permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of the local government employment he had ceased to hold and, if so,

(b)whether the permanent incapacity was by reason of ill-health or infirmity of mind or body.

(4) The decision of the independent registered medical practitioner on the questions referred to him under paragraph (3) shall be expressed in the form of a certificate.

(5) The independent registered medical practitioner must be in a position to certify, and must include in his certification a statement that –

(a)he has not previously advised, or given an opinion on, or otherwise been involved in the particular case for which the certificate has been requested; and

(b)he is not acting, and has not at any time acted, as the representative of the member, the Scheme employer or any other party in relation to the same case.

(6) In paragraph (3) –

(a)“permanently incapable” means incapable until, at the earliest, the member’s 65th birthday, and

(b)“qualified in occupational health medicine” means holding a diploma in occupational medicine (D Occ Med) or an equivalent qualification issued by a competent authority in an EEA State (which has the meaning given by the European Specialist Medical Qualifications Order 1995(1) or being an Associate, a Member or a Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine or an equivalent institution of an EEA State.

Decisions as to status of employees and decisions as to benefits

99.—(1) The employing authority shall decide in relation to each of its employees who is a member –

(a)whether he is an officer or a manual worker;

(b)whether he is whole-time, a variable-time or a part-time employee, or whether his employment is of a casual nature;

(c)which of his emoluments are remuneration on which contributions are payable; and

(d)if he is a part-time employee the proportion which his contractual minimum hours of employment in each week bear to those of a comparable whole-time employment.

(2) In relation to any employment in which a person is a member, the Committee is to decide –

(a)what previous service or employment (if any) he is entitled to count as a period of membership;

(b)whether any, and if so what, periods of service as a part-time employee are included in such a period;

(c)what proportion of whole-time service his service during any such period represents;

(d)whether a payment in lieu of contributions has been made or equivalent pension benefits have been assured under Part III of the Insurance Act in respect of any period of non-participating employment;

(e)what rate of contribution the employee is liable to pay to the fund;

(f)whether he is entitled to count as a period of membership –

(i)any, and if so how many, added years, or

(ii)any, and if so what, additional period; and

(g)whether for the purposes of Schedule 4 he is a Class A member, a Class B member or a Class C member (within the meaning of that Schedule).

(3) The questions specified in paragraph (1) shall be decided as soon as is reasonably practicable after –

(a)the person becomes a member; or

(b)any change occurs in the number of the member’s regular or usual hours of employment; or

(c)any other material change occurs in or in relation to the employment.

(4) The questions specified in paragraph (2) shall be decided as soon as is reasonably practicable after the person becomes a member of the Scheme in respect of the relevant employment.

(5) Any question as to whether a person is entitled to a benefit under these Regulations is to be decided by the Committee.

(6) Where a person is or may become entitled to a benefit payable out of the fund, the Committee shall decide the amount of the benefit.

(7) The decision under paragraph (5) shall be made as soon as is reasonably practicable after the cessation of the employment or, as the case may be, the death of the employee and that under paragraph (6) as soon as is reasonably practicable after the occurrence of the event by virtue of which the entitlement arises or may arise.

(8) In this regulation “benefit” includes a return of contributions and a benefit specified in regulation F6(11) or (14) of the 1992 Regulations and Part N of the 2000 Regulations.

Notification of decisions

100.—(1) A body which has decided any question under regulation 99 shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable after doing so, send a written notification of its decision to every person whose rights or liabilities are affected.

(2) The notification shall include –

(a)in the case of a decision that the person is not entitled to a benefit, the grounds for the decision;

(b)in the case of a decision as to the amount of a benefit, a statement showing how the amount is calculated;

(c)in the case of a notification under sub-paragraph (a) or (b) a conspicuous statement directing the person’s attention –

(i)to the address from which he may obtain further information about the decision, including details of any calculation of service or benefits,

(ii)to his right under regulation 102 to make an application to an appointed person, the address at which he may be contacted and his job title, and

(iii)to his right under regulation 104 to apply to the Committee for a reconsideration of the matter within the time limit referred to in that regulation; and

(d)in the case of a decision by an employing authority made under regulation 99, a conspicuous statement directing the person’s attention –

(i)to the address from which he may obtain further information about the decision, and

(ii)to his right of appeal to the county court under regulation 107.

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