Agenda and draft minutes

Surrey Local Firefighters' Pension Board - Friday, 17 January 2020 10.05 am

Venue: Members' Conference Room, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DN

Contact: Amelia Christopher 

Items
No. Item

1/20

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

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    To receive any apologies for absence.

    Minutes:

    None received.

     

    The Chairman welcomed the Deputy Chief Fire Officer for his attendance at the Board meeting and his involvement in firefighters’ pension arrangements.

     

2/20

MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 14 OCTOBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

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    To agree the minutes as a true record of the meeting.

    Minutes:

    The minutes were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.

3/20

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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    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 none.

4/20

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

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    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    Notes:

     

    1. The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (13 January 2020).

    2. The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (10 January 2020).

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

    Minutes:

    There were none.

5/20

ACTIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 61 KB

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     The Board is asked to review and note its action tracker.

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Tom Lewis - Pensions Support & Development Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. A14/19 - Due to the recent departure of the Pensions Lead Manager, the Chairman recommended that the service’s findings concerning the administration and benchmarking review by Aon, would be brought forward to the Board’s next meeting.
    2. A16/19 - The risk relating to data improvement would be added subsequent to the meeting and the action would include reference to data quality within the ‘Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Common Data Quality Statistics ORBIS’ report and the ‘Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Scheme-Specific Data Quality Statistics ORBIS’ report, as well as Scheme Address Tracing.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    As detailed in the key points above.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Board reviewed and noted its action tracker.

     

6/20

ADMINISTRATION UPDATE (1 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 31 DECEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

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    The Board is asked to note the content of this report and make recommendations if any further action is required.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Lindsey Shaw - Workforce Information Officer

    Tom Lewis - Pensions Support & Development Manager

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

     

    1. The Chairman concurred with the Action in Fire Bulletin 24 for the HMRC to contact the Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA). The Vice-Chairman and Workforce Information Officer added that the Fire Service were awaiting guidance from the Pensions Administration team on the backdating of the contracting out certificate to 6 April 2000 and suggested that an update be presented to the next meeting of the Board - detailing the effect on National Insurance contributions and the Modified Pension Scheme.
    2. The Pensions Support & Development Manager explained that the Action in Fire Bulletin 24 concerning the sharing of the contact details of the pensions manager to the Bluelight Team would be addressed once the new Head of Pensions Administration was appointed.
    3. The Chairman explained that the action in Fire Bulletin 25 regarding the 2020 Valuation for FRAs to mitigate as many data issues as possible, was being addressed through the reports on Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Common Data Quality Statistics ORBIS, Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Scheme-specific Data Quality Statistics ORBIS and Scheme Address Tracing to ensure that data held is up to date.
    4. The Chairman provided an update on the Sargeant case which concerned discriminatory transitional arrangements on the basis of age, sex and race. As a result of the Sargeant case the Action in Fire Bulletin 27 for FRA’s to identify members with relevant service, whether claimants or non-claimants was highly important.
    5. In response to Member queries on the Sargeant case, the Workforce Information Officer:

    ·         Explained the interim order by the Employment Tribunal in December 2019, whereby claimants were treated as satisfying the age criteria regardless of their actual age as long as they met the other criteria within the scheme at 31 March 2012 and 31 March 2015. Claimants would automatically satisfy schedule 2, paragraph 12 within the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England) Regulations 2014 whereby an active member of the 1992 Scheme would reach normal pension age or be eligible to be an active member of the NFPS at normal pension age by 1st April 2022 - relevant information would go to the Scheme Manager imminently.

    ·         Commented that both current Ill-Health and retrospective Ill-Health applications were a priority and would be assessed by Independent Qualified Medical Practitioners (IQMP) under the 1992 and 2015 Schemes. She reported that there had been a handful of such cases within the last five years.

    ·         Noted another area of priority regarding those who were treated as if they remained within the 1992 Scheme who wished to retire with immediate effect and met the eligibility requirements of being over 50 with 25 years’ service, the ‘rule of 75’ - including service in the 2015 Scheme.

    ·         Reported the absence of further information from the Home Office, which was raised at the last Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) and noted that the factsheet detailing the interim order from the Employment Tribunal was unsatisfactory. The Fire Service was currently fact-finding to identify  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/20

7/20

RISK REGISTER pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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    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:

    Witnesses:

     

    Ayaz Malik - Pensions Finance Specialist

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

     

    1. The Pensions Finance Specialist explained that the register contained the additional risk F21, which concerned the move out of County Hall. It was rated as Amber as the Pensions Administration team were unlikely to move to Woking. The Chairman noted that Property Services were looking into buildings near the existing site of County Hall in order to retain resources and expertise.
    2. The Pensions Finance Specialist noted that risk F9i concerning the failure to notify staff of the Modified Pension Scheme had been updated to amend the typographical error in the residual risk section, it remained rated as Red.
    3. The Chairman updated the Board on risk F18 regarding the failure to agree ownership for scheme manager responsibilities, which would remain as Red. He reported that there would be a change of membership with the Vice-Chairman leaving the Board to assume responsibility as the Scheme Manager.
    4. The Chairman emphasised the importance of action A16/19 concerning the addition of a risk relating to data improvement.
    5. A Member pointed out the typographical error in risk F19 concerning the potential breach in the cost ‘ceiling’ of the current valuation of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, which should be amended to cost ‘floor’.
    6. A Member suggested that pensionable pay be added to the risk register and in response the Vice-Chairman noted that it was a priority. The definition of pensionable pay had been changed by the UK Fire Service in December 2019 to include backdating for members of the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Board noted the content of the report, including changes to the scoring of current risks and the inclusion of additional risks and approved the Surrey Firefighter’s Pension Scheme (FFPS) Risk Register.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    The typographical error in risk F19 concerning the potential breach in the cost ‘ceiling’ of the current valuation of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, will be amended to cost ‘floor’.

     

8/20

REVISED TERMS OF REFERENCE DELEGATION OF ATTENDANCE TO SUBSTITUTES pdf icon PDF 191 KB

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    The revised Terms of Reference (version 3) to be adopted by the Local Firefighters’ Pension Board.

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Lindsey Shaw - Workforce Information Officer

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

     

    1. The Chairman introduced the report and reminded Members that the Audit and Governance Committee had approved the delegation of attendance to substitutes and it was for the Board to endorse it.
    2. The Chairman stressed that Board Members including substitutes needed to be trained. The Workforce Information Officer commented that Members were entitled to one day of training per year and agreed that she would liaise with the Bluelight Senior Pension Adviser and Firefighters’ Pension Adviser on a future date - Members concluded that a whole day session was preferred and such sessions provided invaluable updates to participants. Members asked to have a summary of major training areas that need to be covered.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee adopted the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference (Version 3) to allow Local Firefighters’ Pensions Board members to delegate attendance. This will ensure the Board can meet and will aid the development of potential future Board members.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    1. The Workforce Information Officer will liaise with the Bluelight Senior Pension Adviser and Firefighters’ Pension Adviser on a future date for Member training.
    2. The Pensions Finance Specialist will provide Members with a summary of the major training areas that need to be covered.

     

9/20

EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

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    That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information under the relevant paragraphs of Part 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

    That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information under the relevant paragraphs of Part 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

     

     

     

10/20

THE PENSIONS REGULATOR PUBLIC SERVICE GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION SURVEY 2019

    The Board to note the Survey.

     

    Confidential: Not for publication under Paragraph 3

    Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular

    person (including the authority holding that information)

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Board noted the Part 2 Survey.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    None.

     

11/20

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

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    The next meeting of the Surrey Local Firefighters’ Pension Board is to be agreed.

    Minutes:

    It was agreed that the date of the next meeting was to be decided by Members subsequent to the meeting.