Agenda item


The purpose of this report is to inform the Pensions Committee of the performance for Fund Administration for the period up to 30th September 2020 and actions undertaken following the Coronavirus outbreak and UK lockdown on 23rd March 2020.


The Pensions Manager introduced this report to the Committee and highlighted the following areas within the report to them.


APF Performance


The Fund has focussed on critical member processes including the processing of retirement and death benefits. KPI’s are monitored and reported to the Pensions Manager for review on a bi-weekly basis. The KPI’s for Fund Performance against the SLA were mainly on target.


At the end of September with an overall 3,266 cases outstanding of which 1,945 (59%) are workable. This represents an overall increase in outstanding workable cases over the previous period and this in part can be attributed to an increase in additional workload created by the year end reconciliation process.


Pension Savings Statements


Detailed work undertaken by Quality Assurance team to complete the process to assess member savings has been completed. The Fund issued 68 Pensions Savings Statements for LGPS members.


The Fund is required to issue a statement if pensions savings in the APF exceed the standard annual allowance.


Members are legally required to receive notification by 6th October however due to the impact of COVID-19 there was a short delay this year with statements being issued during w/c 19th October. The Pension Regulator has been informed of the delay and has advised the Fund that no further action will be taken.


Risk Register


The Risk Register follows the Council’s format for each service. It identifies the

significant risks that could have a material impact on the Fund in terms of value,

reputation, compliance or provision of service and sets out the action taken to manage the risk.


The Fund reviews all risks annually and the top 10 risks and changes quarterly with the latest review in November 2020. The management of the risk register has been updated with the introduction of a more robust process for identifying and managing risks.


Following a recent risk management audit a further review will be carried out of the process and the risk register to make the correlation between the risks identified in the Investment, Funding and Administration Strategies and the risk register clearer.


All risks have been reviewed and updated to reflect the high impact of the Covid-19 outbreak across many aspects of the Fund. A new risk was added in May 2020 focusing on the sustainability of remote working so that the Fund is able to continue to deliver the service to members and employers.


Following the quarterly review all risks remained unchanged in terms of risk score apart from:


·  Introduction of £95k cap - legislation implementing the £95k cap on exit payments came into force on 4 November. This is ahead of the changes required to the LGPS regulations which are currently in the process of being consulted upon and are expected in early 2021. This leaves the Fund in an uncertain position legally and legal advice has been sought on how to proceed with cases in the interim period. There is also further reform expected with the LGPS regulation amendments.


Other updates for this quarter which did not affect the overall risk score were:


·  The McCloud consultation has now closed and a response is expected to be issued by MHCLG in early 2021 outlining the final remedy. Changes to primary legislation not expected until April 2022. Work is underway to develop a comprehensive project programme with multiple workstreams contained within it.


Initial analysis has been carried out to identify the number of members that are impacted by the consultation proposals, the action required to implement the remedy and which employer they fall under. The current priority is to collect missing data from employers in respect of working hours and details of service breaks, since 1 April 2014, for all members in scope of protection.


The sustainability of remote working continues to be monitored. A review of staff identified as needing to return to the office was done but due to latest Government guidance all staff will continue to work from home for time being. Roll out of new IT equipment to all staff expected by April 2021.


The first phase of three phases of recruitment for Administration posts started in September 2020. A Trainer has been appointed to train the new recruits. A new member of the Investments Team has been appointed and will start in January 2020.


Shirley Marsh-Hughes asked regarding recruitment if the number of people applying for posts and quality of applicants was sufficient.


The Pensions Manager replied that the quality and number of applicants for posts has been good and that over the three phases the current plan is to recruit to 11 posts.


Shirley Marsh-Hughes asked if any work would need to be outsourced regarding the McCloud legislation.


The Pensions Manager replied that a decision had not yet been taken as to whether this work would be carried out solely in house, outsourced or a combination of both.


Councillor Paul May wished to congratulate the Pensions Manager and the team as a whole for all the work they had done this year under such difficult circumstances. He asked if the Committee could be informed of any progress on McCloud in between when they meet formally.


The Pensions Manager replied that yes this could be done.


The Committee RESOLVED to:


i)  Note the Fund and Employer performance for the three months to 30th September 2020.


ii)  Note the updated Risk Register and actions taken.




Supporting documents: