Liz Firmstone, Service Manager, Transformation, introduced the item and summarised the main points of the report. She said the implementation of the member self service scheme was going well and the rollout was to be extended on a gradual basis, in order for any issues to be identified and resolved. The increase in the number of requests for transfers or information about transfers had continued. Staff were busy working through these but were also having to manage the incoming changes to legislation governing pension funds. However Members were reminded that administration of the Fire Service pensions were being outsourced, which would help free up resources to manage the administration of the Warwickshire Pension Fund. Liz Firmstone reported that Staff and Pensions Committee have approved a move to using e-payslips for pensioners. She advised that the majority of funds have already gone paperless and although Warwickshire would be doing the same, members will continue to have the option to opt out of this and request paper versions of their payslips. Going paperless would help support the commitment of achieving net zero carbon emissions.
There were some key performance indicators that had missed their targets, and these are being addressed. Key performance indicator monitoring processes were having the desired effect of allowing staff to analyse the data that was available and see where resources needed to be redirected.
There had been one red breach in respect of an employer failing to submit member data on time. This had been reported to the Pensions Regulator, who were satisfied with the actions that had been taken to rectify this. The data had now been submitted and the employer was being set up onto iConnect. There had been some green breaches reported, many of which related to one payroll provider that managed the payrolls of several employers.
Regarding McCloud, there had been a steering group meeting the day before and it was felt that everything was on track. Liz Firmstone told Members that the quality of data held in relation to McCloud was very good.
There was currently one complaint and two IDRP, which were being dealt with.
Liz Firmstone drew Members’ attention to the fact eight employers had joined the pension scheme and one had left, which she said reflected the ongoing increase in the level of demand in the service.
Responding to questions from Jeff Carruthers, Liz Firmstone said although there had been an increase in demand for the service no backlog in work had built up. Additionally the number of breaches had been discussed at a recent meeting and it was not felt it was a potential cause for concern. She said although some employers may miss a deadline by a day or two, and this may not have a drastic impact on the Fund’s work, it was not something that staff wanted to become a habit and actions were being taken to address this.
Sean McGovern said it was right that service users should be encouraged to go online to access their records, but felt it was important the option to have paper copies should remain. Liz Firmstone confirmed that this would remain open to service users.