Agenda item

Staffordshire Pensions Committee and Local Pensions Board Training Needs Analysis & Training Policy 2024/25

Report of the Director of Finance


The Pensions Committee was provided with a report from the Pensions Committee and Local Pensions Board Training Needs Analysis & Training Policy 2024/25.


The Committee was reminded that the CIPFA KSF identified eight core technical areas where Pensions Committee Members were expected to have a general awareness and understanding of the key elements in each area. The eight core areas were highlighted as:


     Pensions Legislation and Guidance

     Pensions Governance

     Funding Strategy and Actuarial Methods

     Pensions Administration and Communications

     Pensions Financial Strategy, Management, Accounting, Reporting and Audit Standards

     Investment Strategy, Asset Allocation, Pooling, Performance and Risk Management

     Financial Markets and Products

     Pension Services Procurement, Contract Management and Relationship Management.


Throughout 2023/24, training continued to form part of Pensions Committee meetings covering topics relevant to agenda items covered on those days; Risk management, Cyber Security and Benchmarking were some of the areas covered in this way. Two focussed joint training days with Pensions Committee and Pensions Board Members also took place, which covered: Strategic Asset Allocation, Public Sector Procurement Rules and Regulations, and Investment Performance Measurement and Analysis.


Whilst in previous years knowledge assessments had been based on a self-assessment, in 2023 the Pensions Committee and Local Pensions Board agreed to take part in the external Knowledge Progress Assessment (KPA) offered by Hymans Robertson. The assessments were completed during December 2023 and January 2024 and assessment consisted of a series of multiple-choice questions across the 8 core areas.


The average overall score for the Pensions Committee was 51.4% whilst for the Local Pensions Board it was 64%. This was as expected given the Board were required to have a more detailed understanding of the Fund due to their scrutiny role. In general, the Committee’s results were in-line with the findings of the Hymans’ 2022 National Knowledge Assessment where the average score for Committee participants was 51%. The average Pension Board score for Staffordshire was above the average Pension Board member score in the Hymans’ 2022 National Knowledge Assessment of 61%.


2024/25 Training Plan


Having considered the detailed results from the 2023 KPA, the training proposed for 2024/25 was likely to include:


     Pensions Legislation and Guidance and Pensions Governance.

     Investment Strategy, Asset Allocation, Pooling, Performance and Risk Management and Financial Markets and Products.

     Pensions Administration and Communications, Pensions Legislation and Guidance

     Pensions Fundamentals training.


Pensions Committee and Local Pensions Board Members were reminded that they had been provided with access to Hymans Robertson’s online LGPS Learning Academy, called ASPIRE, which covered all the key areas of the CIPFA KSF.


Training Policy


The Staffordshire Pension Fund’s Training Policy was attached at Appendix 2 for approval by the Committee. The policy incorporated the requirements of the latest CIPFA KSF and included a set of seven statements which the Pensions Committee formally adopted at their meeting on 25 March 2022.


It was highlighted that the DLUCH consultation on asset pooling and good governance might dictate that training may need to be more rigorous in the future. Members were informed that the Fund would continue to deliver training in the usual manner until it became necessary to change the process.


Councillor Greatorex suggested that the Hymans analysis should capture the areas the Committee and Board members needed to learn about quickly so training could be arranged whilst the information was fresh in the minds of members. Councillor Greatorex also stated that he found Trustee toolkit very useful as a learning tool, primarily due to the way it was displayed as a series of modules. It was suggested that it would be useful to have a demonstration of some of modules provided at a future committee meeting.


Resolved: a. that the results of the 2023 Knowledge Progress Assessment in relation to the requirements of the CIPFA Knowledge and Skills Framework, attached at Appendix 1, be noted.


b. that the 2024/25 Training Plan be approved.


c. that the Staffordshire Pension Fund’s Training Policy, attached at Appendix 2, be noted.

Supporting documents: