HPA Appeal Against the RAA
HPA's Appeal Against the Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (RAA)
On 7th July, Edward Evans, co-chair of the HPA, submitted an application to the Upper Tribunal on behalf of the HPA to appeal the decision by tPR to issue a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (RAA) in respect of the HPS. The appeal was submitted by Martin Jenkins, a solicitor from Irwin Mitchell LLP.
The Upper Tribunal is a court that hears appeals against decisions of various government agencies. Appeals normally have to be submitted within 28 days, but both tPR and the UT can waive that requirement. The UT has the power to award plaintiffs the costs of legal and other support, and to suspend the ultimatum until a judicial review has been undertaken.
The HPA has set out the grounds for its appeal, supported by an exhibit that sets out arguments rebutting the four key planks in the reasoning of tPR in issuing an RAA, viz:
1. that insolvency of Halcrow is imminent
2. that CH2M Hill derives and has derived no net benefit from its ownership of Halcrow
3. that CH2M Hill are not seeking to engineer the position now prevailing
4. that the experts on whom the Trustees (and therefore tPR) are relying have the full picture
We have indicated that we recognize that it may not be possible for our accrued rights to a pension under the HPS to be paid in full, and are open to a negotiated settlement that takes inflation into account. In our view, the funding so far offered by CH2M is well below what may be considered a reasonable offer.
We very much hope that the Pensions Regulator, Trustees and CH2M/Halcrow will recognize the need for full and frank discussions on options for a sustainable and transparent solution if the HPS is indeed, as they allege, unsustainable. This should be based on full disclosure of the current assets of HPS and a comprehensive report in the style of the 2008 Valuation report, showing up-to-date and accurate estimates of the HPS pension obligations prepared using assumptions that are considered fair and reasonable by tPR.
Current payments into HPS average around £1 million per month, corresponding to £5 million from August until end 2016. This is far less than the £80 million that has been budgeted to be paid in September, and further £2 million in contributions, should the proposed HPS (No.2) go ahead, so there is no reason to believe Halcrow would be made insolvent, and jobs put at risk, if a judicial review were ordered.
In 2013, the year in which the 2011 Valuation Report should have been published, CH2M HILL proudly announced that it “was one of the first engineering and construction companies to publish a sustainability report in 2005. Every year since, we have continued this tradition to be transparent in reporting on internal operations related to sustainability.” We ask that their actions support their words.