Agenda and minutes

Local Pension Board - Thursday, 30th March, 2017 3.00 pm

Venue: Town Hall, Main Road, Romford

Contact: James Goodwin  Email: 01708 432432

No. Item



The Chair will announce details of the arrangements in case of fire or other events that might require the meeting room or building’s evacuation.



The Chairman gave details of the arrangements in case of fire or other event that might require the evacuation of the meeting roonm.



(if any) – receive.


Apologies were received from Justin Barrett. It was agreed that Mark holder should chair the meeting on this occasion.


Apologies were also recorded from Debbie Ford, Pensions Accountant.



Members are invited to disclose any interest in any items on the agenda at this point of the meeting.


Members may still disclose any interest in an item at any time prior to the consideration of the matter.



There were no disclosures of interest.



To approve as correct the minutes of the meeting held on10 January 2017  (attached) and authorise the Chair to sign them.



The minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2017 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Matters arising:


Minute 22: It was confirmed that a resource was now in place to assist with working through the backlog of pensions administration work.


Minute 23: The Annual Report of the Board had been presented to the Pensions Committee.


Minute 24: Officers would check the level of indemnity that the Board had and report back on this to the next meeting.


Minute 25: Noted that a Board member and officer had attended a recent meeting of the London CIV which had covered investment strategy.


Minute 27: Final changes to the TUPE manual had been put in place and an update would be given at the next meeting.



Report attached. The Board is asked to note the update and make any comments it considers appropriate.


The strategy would assist by setting out the standards expected between the Council and employer members of the scheme. The strategy, which was reviewed regularly, was not mandatory but was enforceable.


It was hoped that e-initiatives introduced under the strategy would lead to better customer service for members. Employers who were late in submitting contributions would be chased by officers, although this would be done in consultation with the Board and the Pensions Committee. Discretion could however be used and it was hoped to build stronger relationships with employers over time.


E-initiatives included an on-line portal for employers to give notification of new starters etc. Monthly contributions could be submitted on-line and there was also the facility to upload estimate requests in bulk in the case of for example a large redundancy exercise.


It was aimed to sign up all scheme employers to the strategy by 1 April 2018. Expected benefits of the scheme were higher efficiency and improved communication with employers. Havering would be seen as a Lead Authority in this area and fewer complaints (from an already low number) were also expected. Reduced administration would also mean cost savings for the pensions team.


The case management system showed key performance indicators and service level agreement, The website fed into the system and this allowed better management of the pensions caseload. All queries were logged and support was available 24:7. Both systems were already in use in Bexley and Newham and it was emphasised that this was separate from the systems available for staff.


The service level agreement with employers would generally be in a generic format. If payroll data was received late from Havering, this would be flagged as late in the same way as for other employers and the Council could be open to the same fines etc. under the strategy. 


Officers added that the Government Actuaries Department had introduced changes to the split of how payments were made. Whilst this would not affect members, it would lead to some changes to how the pension scheme was reported.


The Government was likely to look at the affordability of the scheme over the next 1-2 years and then consult on any possible changes. No changes were therefore expected to be implemented until around 2020.


It was noted that the administration of the scheme was becoming a specialist job and the scheme had also become more complex for members. There were spreadsheets available on line that could give a rough idea of pension entitlements etc.


It was agreed that officers would continue to update the Board on the progress of the Pensions Administration Strategy.






Report attached. The Board is asked to note the update and make any comments it considers appropriate.

Additional documents:


The Board considered a slightly amended version of the report for this item which is attached to the minutes for reference.


It was noted that the Membership Self Service (MSS) portal was now available and improvements were being made. The system was considered secure and cost in the region of £5,000 per annum plus VAT. Scheme members were able to use the on-line system to view records, benefit statements etc and update nomination forms. Payslips and P60s for pensioners could also be viewed.


There were approximately 11,000 scheme members who could access the system and around 1,000 people had now registered on-line. The portal would be promoted via benefits statements etc and people would have to opt out of the electronic system if they still wished to receive paper copies of statements. This would produce a saving in costs for printing and postage. It was expected that more people would sign up to the on-line system when the annual benefits statement was released.


The pensions team had received training on the portal and active members had been contacted in tranches of 2,000 each. It was possible that there could be small discrepancies with the payroll system and the roll out would be completed by summer 2017. Officers would keep the Board updated on progress.


MSS was also being promoted on the Council’s website and via global e-mails to staff. E-mails had also been sent to deferred members. It was clarified that members could only amend non-financial details via the portal and could not update any data affecting the value of a pension.


It was accepted that members were often confused about the pension scheme but MSS could assist with this and allow members to be in control of their benefits. The amount of additional contributions paid was not currently included on the site and officers would look into this. General feedback about the site had been very positive. All schools in the Havering pension scheme had access to the site.


MSS would deliver financial benefits to the Council in terms of reducing the number of hard copies being sent out whilst still meeting disclosure requirements required under the scheme regulations. Pension forms and statements would be published direct onto the system. Only 166 people had this far opted out of MSS – less than 2% of total scheme membership.


Further promotion of MSS was planned to take place over the next three months and the new release of the system this year would support all browsers. Officers added that potential savings via reduced need for hard copy statements alone amounted to £4,000 per annum.


The Board noted the position.  



Note to Board: the annual report of the Local Pensions Board was noted at the meeting of Pensions Committee on 14 March 2017. No specific feedback was given on the report.


It was confirmed that the Annual Report of the Board had been noted at a recent meeting of the Pensions Committee. No specific comments had been made on the report.



To consider any other items in respect of which the Chairman is of the opinion, by reason of special circumstances which shall be specified in the minutes, that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.


The Board agreed to defer a discussion of its work plan to the next meeting.


Officers would forward the latest version of the compliance documents.


It was suggested that Key Performance Indicators could be looked at in more detail at the Board. Officers responded that reporting of these indicators was currently on hold until revised systems were in place. The case management system would help with this.


It was confirmed that, under legislation, each Council was required to have its own Local Pensions Board and the Board could not therefore be combined with that for Newham or another area.