Agenda item

Governance Report


72.1     The Board considered a report providing an update on various governance issues relating to Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) and the East Sussex Pension Fund (ESPF or the Fund), including changes in legislation and regulations.

72.2     Cllr Toby Illingworth (TI) asked what the impact of the increase in National Minimum Pension Age (NMPA) from 55 to 57 on 6 April 2028 would be on the Fund.

72.3     Michael Burton (MB), Pensions Manager - Governance and Compliance, outlined that any impacts on the Fund will be taken into account in future triennial valuations. The Chair commented that in actuarial terms the impact on the Fund will be broadly neutral.

72.4     MB provided an update on the appointment of a new Board scheme member representative to replace Diana Pogson. It is anticipated that the appointment will be made by the Governance Committee at the beginning of March and a replacement will be in place for the June Pension Board meeting.

72.5     The Chair asked for the Board member’s views on increasing the number of employer and member representatives to four each to broaden representation on the Board. The Board discussed the Chair’s suggestion and agreed to ask officers to explore the impact of changing the Board membership and to provide information on the composition of other Pension Boards for comparison.

72.6     The Board discussed the proposals for pension board member representation on the ACCESS Pool Joint Committee. The Chair outlined the current proposal which is for the eleven pension boards of the pension funds in the ACCESS Pool to nominate one representative (either employer or member representative), who will take turns in rotation to sit on the Committee. This would mean the pension board representative would change for each meeting and would give no opportunity for the representative to build up their knowledge of the issues under discussion. A more permanent representative, nominated for a longer term may be preferable. In addition, mechanisms would need to be agreed to ensure adequate feedback and representation of issues of concern to the various pension boards.

72.7     Lynda Walker (LW) commented that having some representation on the ACCESS Pool Joint Committee is to be welcomed and there has been a longstanding request to have member representation. Cllr Gerard Fox (GF), Chair of the Pension Committee, commented that the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) had talked about a number of models to allow greater oversight by pension boards. Alternative suggestions for representation had been discussed by the Joint Committee, and the Pension Board could express an opinion if they feel the current proposals are not adequate.

72.8     The Board agreed that the Chair should write to ACCESS to say that the Pension Board does not consider having a rotating representative is satisfactory for the reasons discussed. The East Sussex Pension Board would prefer a model with a more permanent representative and arrangements to ensure a wider pension board representation and a mechanism for the dissemination of information.

72.9     BM outlined the offer and costs for an online video learning academy from Hymans Robertson to cover a range of pensions issues and invited views from the Board on whether this resource would be useful and should be purchased.

72.10   The Board expressed mixed views on whether the online resource would be used and whether it would be useful. The Board asked if a trial could be arranged so that Board members could assess the usefulness of the material.

72.11   MB responded that it might not be possible to arrange a trial and the offer was on a cost per user licence. The purchase of a smaller number of licences could be explored. Paul Punter (PP) Head of Pensions Administration explained that he could make a number of training modules available which are part of the Heywood pensions administration system.

72.12   The Board expressed the view that it would be more prudent to explore the use of the training resource from Heywood first and agreed to recommend to the Pension Committee that the online training offer from Hymans Robertson is not taken forward at this point in time.

72.13   The Board RESOLVED to:

1) Note the change to normal minimum pension age and the possible change to the state pension age;

2) Note the possible additional requirement for dealing with transfer requests involving Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) benefits;

3) Note the change to audit deadlines;

4) Note the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) report on the 2019 Valuation across the LGPS;

5) Note the ongoing steps being taken to fill the Pension Board vacancy;

6) Agree that the Chair should write to the ACCESS Pool regarding pension board representation as detailed in paragraph 72.8 (above) regarding ways improve pension board member representation in the ACCESS Pool; and

7) Recommend to the Pension Committee that the online learning academy offer from Hymans Robertson is not taken forward at this point in time.


Supporting documents: