Military AviationA forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.
Hugh, I can't help but feel that you are wrong and you have a responsibility to ensure it is properly dealt with, particularly as you have raised it here. If there is a problem with the calculator it has the potential to affect a number of people who are at a critical decision making point. Unless you use the correct channels for raising the issue to allow it to be assessed you are selling these people short. You have said that SPVA would charge you £75 for assessing the issue which is completely untrue if you use this channel. Its all very well using the FPS to assess your own circumstances however I doubt that they have a particular interest in dealing with SPVA to sort out the calculator, should it be at fault. I hope that having highlighted this issue you will find the time to explain what its resolution is to those who have followed this thread.
As promised, I have today had the party line from SPVA.
SPVA are "not responsible" for the online pension calculator and the website has "many caveats" highlighting that it is only to be used as "a guide". It is encumbant on the service person to check any figures given and even though I had a £900 difference in my EDP, as it was less than 10% of the actual EDP, it was an acceptible difference and no action would be taken to correct the online calculator.
Furthermore; even if the disparity was in excess of 10% of actual calculations/forecasts, there would be little or no impetus to address the calculator short comings as the costs would be prohibitive.
So there you have it. Don't take the online calculator as gospel and get a full and proper pension forecast from more than one source as it could be quite different to what you actually receive.
Well done for having brought this up, and for following it through. One would have thought that SPVA would realise that sorting out any error now would save them a great deal of pain down the line if it turns out that people are making redundancy decisions based upon duff information....then again, perhaps not.
In all fairness to SPVA, the policy is to allow one free pension forecast per service person each year however, if any further requests are made within the same year they charge £75+VAT. I don't agree with the charging but there is one free each year.
My concern was that when I asked further questions regarding the online calculator versus pension forecast, they asked for the money to continue discussions even though I wasn't really requesting another pension forecast.
All I wanted to know was why there was a difference.
The pension calculator has no plans to change its workings to support those on AFPS 75, who now get a full pension at 18 not 22. It is too costly! (it currently gives a totally unrepresentative sum of money, but we didn't sign on the "dotted line" so no one cares! )
The pension calculator also has no plans to fairly represent those on Professional Aviator Spine because the people we are talking about are "too minimal" to represent a major change in the calculator!
How many more things need to be highlighted before the awful calculator gets changed!!!
SPVA are "not responsible" for the online pension calculator and the website has "many caveats" highlighting that it is only to be used as "a guide
Make sure you get it correct prior to leaving, I informed them several times by emails, letters and telephone calls that their Pension Forecast was wildly out. Only to be forcibly told that the Calculator was merely a tool and that the final say was their calculations.
Needless to say several months after retiring, I was the "villain" who owed money as it was over paid. They were not very nice in their approach to recovering the overpayment either (lawyers and court threats !)
Maybe their inability to conduct their business correctly is another reason the MoD is in such a bad way!
It all left quite a sour taste after some very good memories.
Quote "The pension calculator also has no plans to fairly represent those on Professional Aviator Spine because the people we are talking about are "too minimal" to represent a major change in the calculator!"
Sorry I can't let that go, PAS are covered by the calculator, more hunting practice required.
to fairly represent those on Professional Aviator Spine
Just to jump in... Whilst PAS are "covered", the figures projected on the pension calculator are (to my knowledge) significantly distorted. Ask those on PA who have PVR'd and they'll tell you of the discrepancies. The Calculator calculations appear to work on reducing what you would have received at the 5 year option in a linear manner. A wise man will know that PVRing before the 5yr/43 point gives an actual pension pot not much greater than that owed at the original 38 point.
Ignoring Mighty Hunter's terrible split infinitive, the hint was there in the use of "fairly".
One might imagine that with redundancies in the offing, there would at least be a comprehensive online calculator to allow life decisions to be made... We live in hope. Ho hum!
From what I can find out it appears that SPVA are waiting for the introduction of a new contract next year, which will include the provision of a pension calculator. Bottom line is they have no money or particular interest in improving the existing device. If you need an accurate statement you'll have to request one from them. The fact that this is likely to put more pressure on their resources than sorting the calculator appears not to have occurred to them.
Alwys been the same in the RAF with computing no good if not invented here!. Back in the 80s we (ie Command Accounts) found some bright Officers i/c bars were writing little programmes to keep the stock book and the accounts - very enterprising but all different. Suggested to the PTB that we went to the (then) little organisation called SAGE and bought a basic book keeping programme to use Service-wide. Oh, no said the gurus in the computing bit at Binnsworth - someone might find how to alter the programme and make it operate fraudulently. So a fortune was spent and staff employed writing a bespoke programme ( that was slow ponedrous and years late) instead of buying something simple and useable off the shelf. Would have save man-years of work on non-public funds (mainly of GD people doing secondary duties).
I have forwarded you a copy of a further communication from SPVA.
I had a phone call and a letter from a Lt RN chap at SPVA rather than a civvie. Unbeknown to me my issue had been taken up by him and accordingly he now stated that the problem regarding EDP differences on the 05 scheme, have apparently been resolved.
He was also keen to point out that the same issue affected the new redundancy calculator and when I highlighted it, he was able to ensure that the problem was removed from both the pension calculator and the new redundancy calculator at the same time.
So, some success and thank you to the "system".
NB The calculator must still be regarded as "only a guide" and a discrepancy of less than 10% is acceptable in the eyes of the calculator software peeps.
User beware. Get proper advice before making any life changing decisions.