Capita Group Blunders Delay MoD Firefighters’ Pensions

Retired firefighters who once served on military bases are facing significant delays in accessing their pensions due to a series of errors by outsourcing giant Capita Group.

Capita Group Blunders Delay MoD Firefighters' Pensions

Capita, awarded a £525 million contract to manage the Ministry of Defence’s fire and rescue service in 2019, has been under fire for numerous blunders affecting pension calculations and payouts for retired workers and spouses of deceased pensioners.

Complaints have arisen over miscalculated benefits and lengthy waiting periods of up to eight months for owed payments. These issues have raised concerns about Capita’s forthcoming contract to administer the entire civil service pension scheme starting from 2025.

The errors primarily impact retired members of the Defence Fire and Rescue Project (DFRP), which operates in hazardous conditions on military bases in the UK and abroad. Capita’s provision of incorrect employment data to the scheme’s administrator, MyCSP, has been identified as the root cause of the delays and miscalculations.

The Cabinet Office has acknowledged Capita’s role in the discrepancies and expects resolution by July 2024. However, affected pensioners continue to endure financial hardships and administrative frustrations.

Frank Gallacher, a retired worker with over 40 years of service, described the ordeal as the most stressful episode of his life. Sally Stringer, widow of a late firefighter, expressed her distress over missing out on entitled benefits.

Unite, the trade union representing scheme members, highlighted the severity of the situation and criticized the Cabinet Office’s decision to award Capita the civil service pension scheme contract.

The union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, condemned the prioritization of outsourcing and cost-cutting over pensioners’ well-being.

Capita, while acknowledging its role in providing payroll data to MyCSP, maintains that it does not directly administer the pensions. The company has collaborated with Unite to rectify data discrepancies and facilitate accurate payments.

The Guardian’s investigation sheds light on the challenges faced by retired firefighters and underscores the need for robust oversight in outsourcing agreements.

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