Liz Firmstone (Service Manager – Transformation) introduced the report which outlined key developments affecting pensions administration and the performance of the Pensions Administration Service. She provided an update which covered the roll-out of the Member Self Service (MSS) initiative; performance of the Pensions Administration Service against KPIs; and employer breaches, including good progress to obtain information from a particular Multi Academy Trust leading to a resolution (once payment and i-Connect data had been reconciled). In respect of Valuation, she advised that there had been no significant increases in employer contribution rates. She reported that the Fund had no outstanding Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP) cases.
In response to Councillor Millar, Liz Firmstone advised that increased numbers of green breaches in January and April 2022 were due to slower reporting by academies during exceptionally busy periods of the academic year.
Councillor Gifford stated that the increase in the number of eligible members making use of the MSS system was positive. He highlighted the advantages of ensuring that the system was as user-friendly as possible. This would help to attract increased participation.
Liz Firmstone advised that measures were in place to refine the MSS system to make it more intuitive and user friendly. She advised that scheme members had received assurance that the system was secure and confidential. It was hoped that this would lead to increased participation.
In response to Councillor Gifford, Liz Firmstone advised that non-teaching academy staff made up a significant proportion of the Pension Scheme. The Employer Relations Teams played a key role to engage with these members to promote awareness of the MSS resource. She provided assurance that there were no plans to remove existing services for members of the Scheme who chose not to make use of MSS.
Councillor Gifford moved that the recommendation be accepted and was seconded by Councillor Hammersley. This was supported unanimously by the Committee.
That the Staff and Pensions Committee endorses the report.