Changes to eligibility for Partnership Pension Scheme

Changes to eligibility for Partnership Pension Scheme

From 1 April 2018 all active members of Civil Service Pensions will be eligible to join the Partnership Pension Scheme.

Stack of pension coins declining in size

Partnership was established on 1 October 2002 and initially only people who joined the civil service after that date were eligible to join. Subsequently any member of the Alpha scheme became eligible to join Partnership, even if they joined the civil service before 1 October 2002. Finally all remaining civil servants, those who have transitional protection to remain in their pre-2015 pension scheme (eg Classic) and who joined the civil service before 1 October 2002, will become eligible to join Partnership from 1 April 2018.

The process for switching to Partnership is also being made easier. Previously members were only able to switch to Partnership every six months and at least three months’ notice had to be given. Now it is possible to at any point in the year after only two months’ notice.          

Partnership is a defined contribution pension scheme. Contributions to the scheme are invested by the scheme provider. The accumulated fund can be used to secure income throughout retirement. With this scheme the main risks associated with retirement planning fall on the member.

From September 2018, Legal and General will be the scheme provider for the Partnership scheme.

The latest scheme accounts state that 1% of active members of Civil Service Pensions are in Partnership.

The employer contribution rates to the Partnership Scheme are based on actuarial advice and are intended to be similar to the cost of providing benefits from the Alpha scheme. There is no member contribution rate required in Partnership but any member contribution up to 3% will be matched by the employer. In addition an age-related employer contribution is also payable:

Age                      Contribution

Under 31                      8%

31 to 35                       9%

36 to 40                      11%

41 to 45                   13.5%

46 or over               14.75%

The employer contribution varies by age because it is more expensive to provide the same amount of pension to an older worker than it is to a younger worker (because there is less time to build up investment returns in the former case).

While the contribution rates to Partnership are calculated to be similar to the cost of providing benefits from Alpha, in practice the size of the Partnership pension pot will depend on actual investment returns and other factors. By contrast the Alpha scheme offers a government-backed, inflation-proof and known level of benefit that does not depend on investment returns.

Further information about the Partnership scheme is available from:

A form for switching pension schemes is available from: