Vicky Jenks (Pensions Administration Delivery Lead) introduced the report which outlined key developments affecting pensions administration and the performance of the Pensions Administration Service (PAS). She reported that work to promote the Member Self Service (MSS) platform was ongoing. Take up of MSS had increased since the last update to the Committee and efforts were being made to further encourage members of the pension scheme to make use of the system. The report provided a commentary of performance against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), improvements had been made against KPIs that were below target. She advised that workloads for the PAS had increased. It was proposed to make use of automation for basic tasks which would alleviate pressure on the team.
Vicky Jenks advised that use of the i-Connect system had helped to reduce the number of breaches. Employers had demonstrated a good record of supplying information in a timely way. Where breaches had occurred, it had been possible to resolve issues without difficulty. She reported that employers had been notified of changes to contribution rates which would come into effect from 1 April 2023. A consultation on the Funding Strategy Statement (FSS) had also been completed. She highlighted commentary in the report relating to engagement with academies to clarify the Fund’s expectations in circumstances when academies outsourced contracts. She advised that due to technical considerations, the Department for Work and Pensions had resolved to postpone the deadline for local government pension schemes to connect to the national Pensions Dashboard. This would provide additional time to complete the work that was required.
In response to Councillor Hammersley, Vicky Jenks advised that pensioners had been notified that paper payslips would be discontinued on 30 May 2023. After this point, if there was a change to the amount being paid or a change to the tax code, a letter would be sent to notify the individual. It was hoped that more pensioners would choose to opt into the MSS scheme to allow e-payslips to be issued. She highlighted the environmental and cost-saving benefits of MSS. It was acknowledged that some pensioners would not be able to access their payslip electronically. Requests to receive a paper payslip would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
In response to Councillor Millar, Vicky Jenks advised that work was ongoing to identify the barriers to take up of MSS and ways to improve engagement.
In response to Councillor Kettle, Vicky Jenks advised that the PAS continued to monitor workloads to ensure that it was adequately resourced to respond to increased demand. She advised that most new employers joining the Fund were academies. This was a relatively straightforward process. However, handling arrangements for academy’s contractors was more resource intensive.
That the Staff and Pensions Committee notes the content of the report.