The Gurkha Offer to Transfer (GOTT) gave Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS) members (retired or serving) with service on or after 1 July 1997 an option to move from the GPS to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS).
To assist Gurkhas in making their decision on transferring to the AFPS, briefings were provided to tell them about the pension issues involved and, importantly, about the implications of changing engagement from the 15 year Gurkha engagement to the 22 year Open Engagement.
In addition, all Gurkhas were given copies of both the pension schemes rules and an offer to transfer booklet. GPS members who accepted this offer were credited with pension benefits in the AFPS, on the agreed terms set out in the GOTT, in place of the benefits which would otherwise have been paid from the GPS.
The terms of the GOTT provided one year of AFPS service for every year of GPS service that had been built up after 1 July 1997. For service built up prior to 1 July 1997, the GOTT provided GPS members with an AFPS service credit of equivalent value to the benefits which they had earned in the GPS.
The Government Actuary’s Department calculated the AFPS service credits which provided members with equivalent value to their GPS benefits using an approach agreed with the Ministry of Defence.
These calculations reflected the particular pension benefits paid by each scheme, and the qualification criteria for those pensions. Where the AFPS was calculated as being more valuable than the GPS, then service credits of less than one year were provided in the AFPS for each year of pre-1997 GPS service.
For the retired GOTT the rates of some pensions were incorrectly reduced at the point that they transferred from the GPS to the AFPS. These cases have now been corrected. For those whose rate of pension is now subsequently lower than their GPS equivalent, because of exchange rate changes and higher annual pension increases for the GPS, it is not a reason for using the AFPS Individual Disputes Resolution Procedure (IDRP).
The purpose of the IDRP is to ensure that the rules have been properly applied. There is no discretion in the IDRP process to apply different rules from those laid down in the pension scheme.