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The Health and Social Care Pension Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

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PART 4Assignment, offset and forfeiture, etc.

Prohibition on assignment or charging of benefits

10.  Any assignment of, or charge on, or any agreement to assign or charge, any right to a benefit under this scheme is void.

Offset of benefits

11.—(1) If, as a result of a member’s criminal, negligent or fraudulent act or omission, a loss to public funds occurs that arises out of or is connected with the member’s employment relationship with the member’s employer, the Department—

(a)may reduce any pension or other benefit payable to, or in respect of, the member under these Regulations by an amount less than or equal to the loss, or

(b)in a case where the loss equals or exceeds the value of the pension or other benefit, reduce them to nil or by any amount less than that value.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not apply so far as the pension or other benefit—

(a)is a guaranteed minimum pension, or

(b)arise out of a transfer payment.

(3) If the Department proposes to exercise the power under sub-paragraph (1), the Department must give the member a certificate specifying the amount of the loss to public funds and of the reduction in benefits.

(4) If the amount of the loss is disputed, no reduction may be made under sub-paragraph (1) until the member’s obligation to make good the loss has become enforceable—

(a)under the order of a competent court, or

(b)in consequence of an award of an arbitrator.

(5) If the loss is suffered by an employing authority, the amount of any reduction under sub-paragraph (1) must be paid to that authority.

Forfeiture of rights to benefits

12.—(1) The Department may direct that all or part of any rights to benefits or other amounts payable to or in respect of a member under these Regulations be forfeited if—

(a)the member is convicted of any of the offences specified in sub-paragraph (2); and

(b)the offence was committed before the benefit or other amount becomes payable.

(2) The offences are—

(a)an offence in connection with employment that qualifies the member to belong to this scheme, in respect of which the Secretary of State has issued a forfeiture certificate,

(b)one or more offences under the Official Secrets Acts 1911 to 1989 for which the member has been sentenced on the same occasion to—

(i)a term of imprisonment of at least 10 years, or

(ii)two or more consecutive terms amounting in the aggregate to at least 10 years.

(3) In sub-paragraph (2)(a), “forfeiture certificate” means a certificate stating that the Secretary of State is satisfied that the offence—

(a)has been gravely injurious to the State, or

(b)is liable to lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service.

(4) The Department may direct that all or part of any rights to benefits or other amounts payable in respect of a member under these Regulations be forfeited where the benefits or amounts are payable to a person to whom sub-paragraph (5) applies who has been convicted of the murder or manslaughter of that member or of any other offence of which unlawful killing of that member is an element.

(5) This paragraph applies to a person who is—

(a)the member’s widow, widower, nominated partner or surviving civil partner,

(b)a dependant of the member.

(c)a person not falling within sub-paragraph (a) or (b) who is specified in a notice given under paragraph 9(3) of Schedule 12, or

(d)a person to whom such benefits or amounts are payable under the member’s will or on the member’s intestacy.

(6) A guaranteed minimum pension may be forfeited only if sub-paragraph (1) applies in the case of an offence within sub-paragraph (2)(b).

This is subject to paragraph (7).

(7) This sub-paragraph is without prejudice to section 2 of the Forfeiture Act 1870(1) (under which forfeiture is required in cases of treason, subject to whole or partial restoration under section 70(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1948(2)).

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