Agenda and minutes

Surrey Local Firefighters' Pension Board
Thursday, 29 March 2018 3.00 pm

Venue: Surrey Fir and Rescue, Wray Park, St David's

Contact: Sharmina Ullah 

Items
No. Item

1818.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

1918.

MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 26 OCTOBER 2017 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

2018.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

     

    Notes:

    ·         In line with the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, declarations may relate to the interest of the member, or the member’s spouse or civil partner, or a person with whom the member is living as husband or wife, or a person with whom the member is living as if they were civil partners and the member is aware they have the interest.

    ·         Members need only disclose interests not currently listed on the Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

    ·         Members must notify the Monitoring Officer of any interests disclosed at the meeting so they may be added to the Register.

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

     

     

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest received.

2118.

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    Notes:

     

    1. The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting, Friday 23 March 2018.

    2. The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting, Thursday 22 March 2018.

    3. The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Minutes:

    There were none.

2218.

ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 128 KB

    The Board is asked to note its actions and recommendations tracker.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Board agreed to review item 11, the actions and recommendations tracker of the supplementary agenda ahead of the main reports to track the progress of the Board’s actions to date.

     

    2.    Members received a finance briefing outlining the process for making contribution deductions and marked action 10/17 as complete.

     

    3.    It was noted that the Board would receive the following project updates relevant to item 5, the administration report and that these items could be removed from the actions tracker;

    -       Contributions holiday exercise

    -       GMP reconciliation

    -       General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

    -       Online portal and

    -       Service training programme

     

    4.    There was a discussion around action 14/17, the stage 2 complaint and officers confirmed that a breach would be reported to the Pensions Regulator (tPR).

     

    Actions/Further information to be provided:

     

    Officers to circulate a copy of the breach report to the Board.

     

2318.

UPDATES AND FURTHER INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THE BOARD

    The Local Firefighters’ Pension Board is asked to review the updates and identify any further actions or issues.

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Board agreed to review item 12 ahead of the main reports to address Members concerns with the Council’s failure to notify staff of the Modified Pension Scheme Exercise (2015).

     

    1. The Pensions Lead Manager notified the Board that a project plan was in place to rectify this breach and resources would be allocated to deliver this.

     

    1. In light of the Pensions Lead Manager’s impending departure from the Council, assurances were given that the project plan would be met and the breach would be reported to the Pensions Regulator.

     

    Actions/Further information to be provided:

     

    None.

2418.

ADMINISTRATION UPDATE: 1 SEPTEMBER 2017 - 28 FEBRUARY 2018 pdf icon PDF 257 KB

    Purpose of the report:

     

    To update the Board on performance and current issues from 1 September 2017 – 28 February 2018.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

    None

     

    Witnesses:

    Jason Bailey, Pensions Lead Manager

    Eric Jameson, Senior Pension Officer

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. It was noted that in the period between 1 September 2017 and 28 February 2018, there were only four retirements and all cases were completed efficiently.

     

    1. It was further noted that all new employees or employees re-enrolled in this period had opted out of the pension scheme. It was explained that there were varying reasons which indicated that there was no definitive underlying issue.

     

    1. Despite employees opting out, the Board emphasised the importance of encouraging employees to join the Pension Scheme. Officers noted this concern and assured Members that engagement on promoting the Pension Scheme at recruitment stage was being established however it was difficult to encourage new staff under temporary contracts.

     

    1. The Board were informed that there was one death in service and a lump sum grant of three times annual pay was paid.

     

    1. Officers reported that the tax return in relation to the contributions holiday exercise was successfully completed for HMRC ahead of the deadline for receipt of 31 January 2018.

     

    1. The Board were reminded that ITM Ltd were commissioned to carry out GMP reconciliation work and highlighted that, from a total of 1,737 cases requiring review at the start of the project, the number had reduced to 443 cases upon completion and 301 had been referred back to HMRC.

     

    1. Officers informed Members that a mini tender had been submitted to prospective providers to carry out the review of the remaining cases and an update on this process will be provided at the Board’s next meeting.

     

    1. Members referred to annex 3, the GMP reconciliation report and asked Officers to clarify the term ‘out of scope’. It was explained that this referred to cases that had no GMP liability.

     

    1. The Board reviewed a letter communicating a 3% increase to pensions in payment to retired FPS Members and their dependants in 2018. Officers noted Members concerns with the GMP section and going forward how it could be more reader friendly.

     

    1. It was highlighted that the online portal was experiencing issues with the ‘projection tool’ and the site was undergoing further testing to resolve this.

     

    1. It was noted to promote resilience across the Business Operations team, steps were being taken to ensure that Firefighters Pension Scheme knowledge was available across the wider team including East Sussex.

     

    1. The Board suggested that employees on temporary and part time contracts should be encouraged to join the pension scheme when offered permanent or full time positions. Officers noted this and advised this would be taken on board for future recruitment processes.

     

    1. Officers highlighted that a refresh on material for people joining the LGPS was underway and that this could be shared with the Board at a future date.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    Officers to include a recruitment summary in the next administration update report.

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Board noted the contents of the report.

     

2518.

ANNUAL BENEFIT STATEMENT EXERCISE 2018 UPDATE pdf icon PDF 281 KB

    Purpose of the report:

     

    To inform the Board of the plan for the production of the 2018 Annual Benefit Statements (ABS’s), ensuring the statutory deadline of 31 August 2018 is met.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Jason Bailey, Pensions Lead Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Board were reminded that were some delays in issuing the ABS’s to scheme members in 2017 and the statutory deadline of 31 August 2017 was missed in some cases. The breach was reported to the Pensions Regulator in November 2017 and it was noted that a response was received and no enforcement action was being taken.

     

    2.    Officers assured Members that, to ensure compliance with the statutory deadline for 2018, the production of ABS’s for active members was scheduled to take place at an earlier date and completed by the end of June 2018.

     

    3.    It was noted statements would be generated online and made available via the online portal, allowing members to access this information themselves. It was further noted that paper statements for deferred members would be brought forward also.

     

    4.    Members agreed that the online portal was a good step forward and supported this process.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    None

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Board noted the content of this report.

     

2618.

PREPARING FOR GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS (GDPR) pdf icon PDF 194 KB

    Purpose of the report:

     

    With new data protection regulations due to come into force in May 2018 this report summarises progress to date and highlights future activity in Pensions Administration to ensure compliance with the new legislation.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Jason Bailey, Pensions Lead Manager

    Eric Jameson, Senior Pensions Officer

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    It was noted that new data protection regulations were due to come into force in May 2018.

     

    2.    It was highlighted that an action plan had been prepared and established across the Orbis partnership to ensure the service was responding to the new legislation.

     

    3.    Members were informed to maintain records of data processing, experts within the IT&D team were carrying out an analysis of the Information Asset Register.

     

    4.    Members were further informed to support data security measures, a risk assessment on the pensions administration system, Altair, was also being carried out by IT&D.

     

    5.    The Board were advised that new procurement processes and contract T&Cs had been introduced by the Orbis Public Law & Orbis Procurement service. As a result, service provider contracts were being updated and dealt with at corporate level.

     

    6.    Officers highlighted that privacy notices were also being updated and would be issued with any future correspondence to Firefighters as well as publishing it on the internal website.

     

    7.    It was clarified that nothing beyond how many days of sickness and reason for absence was held on file for Firefighter medical records.

     

    8.    Officers advised that an update on the action plan work streams would be provided at the Board’s next meeting.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    None

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Board noted the update provided.

     

2718.

SURREY FIREFIGHTER'S PENSION RISK REGISTER pdf icon PDF 283 KB

    Purpose of the report:

     

    The Board is asked to note the content of this report, including changes to the scoring of current risks and the inclusion of additional risks and approve the Surrey Firefighter’s Pension Scheme (FFPS) Risk Register (shown as Annex 1). The Board is further asked to make recommendations of any amendments to the Surrey FFPS Risk Register.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Neil Mason, Head of Pensions

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. It was noted that risk F6 (failure to recognise and manage conflicts of Board Members) was reassessed and reduced as per the Board’s request from its meeting on 26 October 2017.

     

    1. It was highlighted that officers also reassessed risk score F9 (failure to administer the scheme in line with regulations and policies) following the Board’s concerns on 26 October 2017 that the risk could potentially be greater than anticipated and as a result increased the inherent risk from 21 (amber) to 32 (red) and the total residual risk was increased from 14 (green) to 16 (amber).

     

    1. Further to the Board’s recommendations on 26 October 2017 it was further highlighted that the risk register was amended to include risks for GMP reconciliation (F15) and Work reform (F16).

     

    1. The Board agreed an additional risk should be included on the Risk Register to reflect the impact of the Pension Services Manager leaving the Council on 20 April 2018.

     

    Actions/Further information to be provided:

     

    None

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Board noted the content of this report, including the changes to the scoring of current risks and the inclusion of additional risks and made the following recommendation;

     

    The Surrey FFPS Risk Register to be amended to include an additional risk for the Pension Services Manager’s departure and the impact it would have on the Service.

     

2818.

OMBUDSMAN'S DETERMINATION THE NEW FIREFIGHTERS' PENSION SCHEME (ENGLAND) (2006 SCHEME) pdf icon PDF 244 KB

    Purpose of the report:

     

    The Board to note the Ombudsman’s determination regarding a recent case in relation to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

     

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. It was explained based on the ruling of this recent Ombudsman’s determination the decision reached at the stage 2 complaint in November 2017 was unsound.

     

    1. Officers said that they would review the decision made at stage 2.

     

    1. It was noted that the service would need to decide whether to overrule the decision as it cannot be referred back to the adjudicator. The Pensions Lead Manager noted this and assured the Board an opinion would be formed how best to resolve this.

     

    Actions/Further Information to be provided:

     

    None

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Board noted the content of this report.

     

2918.

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING