Agenda item

Staffordshire Pension Fund Business Plan 2018/19

Report of the Director of Finance and Resources


The Director of Finance and Resources presented the Pensions Business Plan 2018/19 and explained the key issues to be faced in the coming year which included:


·                    Ensuring full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into effect in May 2018;


·                    Continuing to implement i-Connect software for data collection with Fund Employers, with the aim of having 50% of Active Fund Member data submitted monthly;


·                    Development of the Pension Fund website and a review of the ways in which we communicate with our Scheme Members and Fund Employers; and 


·                    Implementation of the new Governance Arrangements in relation to LGPS Central Limited to include the reporting arrangements and review of asset transition plans. 


In response to a question from Mr Jenkinson regarding to the development of the Pension Fund website, the Director of Finance and Resources indicated that the website received around 10,000 hits per month.


Mr Davis referred to the indicative costs in relation to Pooling and enquired as to what was included in the “governance” costs.  In response, the Director of Finance and Resources stated that the majority of  “governance” costs related to the Fund’s contribution to LGPS Central’s annual operating costs which was separate to the transition costs.


Mr Davis also enquired as to the staffing levels within the Pensions Team and whether this was sufficient to manage the current workload.  In response, Mr Greatorex indicated that the Audit and Standards Committee had also raised this issue and that the Internal Auditor was to examine the issue further.  The Director of Finance and Resources indicated that there was currently a recruitment exercise ongoing with the intention of recruiting to up to seven grade 5 posts.  Once the appointed persons were in-post this would then start to free-up the time of the more experienced members of the team so that they could take on other tasks.


The Committee also received an update on progress against the 2017-18 plan and noted that significant successes had been achieved in a number of areas including:


·                    Implementing new processes and procedures following a review of the  Fund’s Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) providers at the end of 2016;


·                    Issue of the Annual Benefit Statements by 31 August 2017;


·                    An initial review of compliance to The Public Service Scheme Code of Practice and Public Service Regulatory Strategy in relation to Disclosure of Data e.g Breaches;


·                    Appointment of an independent Performance Measurer for the investments of the Fund; and


·                    Continued support to LGPS Central Ltd in its progress towards Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval.


With regard to Performance Standards, the Committee were informed that whilst performance in certain areas might not be back to the optimum target levels the Pensions Services Teams would wish for, there was a sense that things were starting to improve. Issues with recruiting appropriately skilled staff were being addressed via the recruitment exercise to ‘grow our own’ instead. And issues as a result of the fragmentation of the County Council’s payroll were being focused on as a key area of development activity in 2018/19, with the implementation of i-Connect.  The Director added that a full set of performance statistics would be provided as part of the Outturn reporting to the Committee’s next meeting in June.


In response to a question from Mr Jenkinson in relation to the Fund’s  anticipated increase in Actuarial Fees in 2019/20, the Director of Finance and Resources confirmed that this was due to the Triennial Valuation taking place.


RESOLVED – That the Pensions Business Plan 2018/19 be approved and the key challenges which might affect performance be noted.

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