Vicky Jenks clarified that the report provided updates of key developments within the pension team. The report focused on the success on the I-connect project which is due to complete by 30th June 2021. I-Connect is used to transfer data from scheme employers to the member pension scheme records via an electronic portal. The use of I-Connect has reduced the number of breaches being recorded by the Pensions team. There were other ongoing projects for example, the application of pensions increase of 0.5% in April to all pensions in payment. The report also documents key performance indicators; where a payment is to be made, these are treated as the highest priority.
A review of the breaches policy had recently been undertaken and the process for recording breaches updated. In April 2021 there were 21 green breaches compared to April 2020 when 81 breaches were recorded. The new reporting procedure and I-Connect will improve the breaches procedure.
Vicky Jenks stated there was a recent red breach with a total of 6 dependants being overpaid. Even though the number of members that were affected was small compared to the number in the scheme, the value of the overpayments was deemed to be significant, and it was rated as red breach and reported to the Pensions Regulator. The Pension Regulator stated that they were content with Warwickshire County Council’s processes that have been implemented to address this issue and reduce the risk of this occurring again. This breach was resolved appropriately. The fund and employers work together to prevent further breaches.
Other ongoing projects included the pension dashboard and implementing arrangements to address the consequences of the age discrimination case of McCloud.
Councillors Millar and Gifford praised the I-Connect rollout and improved administration within the pension team. Chris Norton stated that a few years ago a governance review was undertaken to help improve the administration service and steps have been taken to implement best practice recommended and these now form part of business as usual.
Staff and Pensions Committee note this report.