In line with normal practice Ministers have had no discussions with the former civil servants who transferred from the Health and Safety Executive to the private sector about their pensions scheme.
HSE's IT services were first contracted out in 1995 as part of the market testing policy of the previous administration. Although occupational pensions issues do not fall within the scope of the TUPE Regulations, the Government Actuary certified the Bull-lntegris (hereafter "Bull") pension scheme as broadly comparable to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. Staff were also provided with access to expert independent advice so that they could make informed choices about their pension arrangements.
The contract for HSE's IT services was re-let in 2001 and won by a consortium made of Logica/CMG and Computacenter. As a result, Bull transferred former HSE employees to either Logica/CMG or Computacenter (depending on their function). Although these issues are matters between the contractors, HSE encouraged Logica/CMG, Computacenter and Bull to come to a bulk transfer arrangement on the matter of pensions.
Logica/CMG have been unable to agree a bulk transfer of pension benefits from Bull in respect of employees past service with HSE and Bull. This is because such a transfer would result in staff being credited with a significantly reduced number of years in the CMG scheme.
However, because of concerns about this issue I have asked officials to look at the case and confirm to me that procedures and accountabilities have been properly followed. This is under way and I will write again when investigations have been concluded.