Report to:


Pension Committee


Date of meeting:


15 June 2023



Local Pension Board



Report of Pension Board to Pension Committee



Inform Pension Committee of the focus and work completed by the Pension Board in the last 12 months


RECOMMENDATIONS: The Pension Committee is recommended to:

1)    Note the report covering the work completed in year by the Pension Board.

1.         Background

1.1       This document outlines the actions taken by the Local Pension Board of the East Sussex Pension Fund (ESPF). It also details the training undertaken in the past 12 months to enable individual Pension Board members to develop and maintain the required level of knowledge and understanding to enable them to fulfil their function of supporting the Administering Authority, which is also known as the Scheme Manager.

1.2       This document will allow the Pension Committee to build a more detailed understanding of the work being done by the Pension Board to improve the operation of ESPF.


2.         Membership and attendance

2.1       The membership of the Local Pension Board over the past year has been

Scheme Employer Representatives

·         Stephen Osborn - Deputy Director of Finance, University of Brighton (until January 2023)

·         Cllr. Tom Druitt - Brighton & Hove City Council

·         Cllr. Toby Illingworth- East Sussex District and Borough Councils


Scheme Member Representatives

·         Lynda Walker – UNISON

·         Niki Palermo – GMB

·         Neil Simpson – Pensioners’ representative

Independent Chair

·         Ray Martin

2.2       Stephen Osborn stepped down from his role at the University of Brighton in January 2023 and, as such, also stepped down from his role on the Pension Board. Since then, Officers, with the oversight of the Pension Board, have sought to obtain nominations from Scheme Employers to fill the vacant position. Only one employer, University of Brighton, put forward a nomination to fill the vacancy. The Independent Chair of the Board and the Pension Manger for Governance and Compliance met with the nominated officer and following consideration of their knowledge and skills made a recommendation to the Governance Committee to appoint to he vacancy, which was approved on 18 April 2023 for a four year term.

2.4       Attendance at meetings has deteriorated since the last report to the Committee. One meeting, in February 2023, was not quorate and was not attended by either of the in-post employer representatives. A second meeting, in September 2022, was cancelled as it coincided with the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II and an alternative date could not be found before the Pension Committee meeting.



27 May 2022

9 September 2022 (meeting cancelled[1])

15 November 2022

8 February 2022 (not quorate)

Stephen Osborn





Cllr. Tom Druitt





Cllr. Toby Illingworth





Lynda Walker





Niki Palermo





Neil Simpson





Ray Martin






3.         Work of the Pensions Board

3.1       Meetings are scheduled to be held shortly (no less than 2 weeks) before each Pension Committee meeting, where all papers relating to administration, governance, policy, audit and communications are first considered by the Board prior to final versions being presented at Committee for approval. This allows the Board to feed in on matters of governance and represent the views of members and employers in the documents that are then taken for approval.

3.2       Members of the Pension Board participate in, the Communications Working Group, the Administration Working Group and the McCloud Working Group. By participating in the working groups members of the Pension Board are able to use their knowledge and experience to support officers of the Fund during the development of new policies and procedures. This year the Pension Board members have assisted with the preparation of Annual Benefit Statements to make them more useful for members whilst still including all the information legally required, assisted with the drafting of surveys designed to help the Fund improve the service it offers and the creation of the Employer Toolkit, which is used to provide training to Employers that participate in the Fund.

3.3       The Pension Board considers its work programme at each meeting taking into account the regular items it sees and what is planned for upcoming Pension Committee meetings and are able to request areas of focus to be added to the Board work plan.


4.         Actions  

4.1       Since the last Pension Board report in June 2022, members of the Pension Board have supported Officers and the Pension Committee by engaging with an employer which has been causing ongoing, significant challenges for the smooth operation of the Fund.

4.2       Pension Board members have attended as observers, a meeting of the ACCESS Investment Pool, the vehicle used by the Fund to meet its obligations regarding the manner in which it places its assets for investment purposes. Whilst not involved with investment matters, the Pension Board members were able to provide insight into the governance around ACCESS and suggest ways it could be improved.

4.3       Members of the Pension Board have supported Officers with the defining of Administering Authority Discretions to ensure that a clear list is published and both Employers and Fund Members know what to expect. In addition, the Board members have made suggestions to the revision of numerous policies of the Fund including the revised Pension Administration Strategy to ensure the documents are clear on responsibilities of officers and other stakeholders.

4.4       Outside of the formal Board meetings, Pension Board members have provided input to Officers. For example, they commented on initial drafts of the debt spreading policy to help ensure it was in a position for the Pension Committee to approve ahead of it going out for consultation.



5.         Training

5.1       In the past year the Pension Board, along with members of the Pension Committee, have been offered a range of training opportunities. Additionally details of reading material and relevant podcasts have been provided on a monthly basis.

5.2       Since the last report, Pension Board members have attended training events covering:

            5.2.1    LGPS Pooling

            5.2.2    An industry update on issues facing Pension Boards

            5.2.3    TPR’s new Code of Practice

            5.2.4    Pension Fund accounts

            5.2.5    The wider pensions landscape

            5.2.6    The LGA’s LGPS Fundamentals event


6.         Membership of the Pension Board

6.1       The Pension Board is expecting to see a number of changes to its membership over the next quarter, this will bring with it an increased emphasis on training to ensure all Pension Board members have the knowledge and understanding they need to fulfil their duties. There will also be an increased emphasis on the need to attend meetings following the Board only meeting twice in quorate meetings during the past year.



Ray Martin

Chair of ESPF Local Pension Board




Contact Officer:

Sian Kunert, Head of Pensions







[1] This meeting was cancelled following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II the previous day