Pension arrangements in the civil service were changed several years ago moving to a career average pension and the national retirement age. Older workers retained some or all rights, less old had some transition arrangement, oddly shown to be illegal following a challenge by the Fire Brigades Union. [www.fbu.org.uk
] (The 50/55 retirement age mentioned is just for fire fighters)
Many went in the purges under the coalition government as numbers were drastically cut. So often a case that a civil servant over 50 could not necessarily afford to retire, but when offered a severance deal....
These compensation arrangements were pared in part due to a populist Daily Mail type campaign. Gold plated pensions were all for those starting pre-87 (they were the oft quoted figures in the Mail/Express)so had largely gone by the time of the coalition.
Of course civil servants used to look jealously at the police and NHS pensions, so everything in relative. And working alongside people in heavy engineering when that went through the floor in the early 90s, boy did they get some good deals.
Sadly the world is now very different.