Monday 5 December 2022 10.30am to 12pm Via MS Teams
Part 2 closed confidential. Not for publication under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in agreement with the Meetings and Minutes Procedure agreed by the Strategic Management Board on 3 March 2009
Stuart Goodwin (SG) – Chair - Head of Finance, Bedfordshire
James Cook (JC) - Deputy chair - Director of Resources, Hertfordshire
Jackie Ingle (JI) - Head of BCH Pension and Payroll
Superintendent Paul Sandwell (PS) - substitute Superintendents Association BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Sergeant Alan Wollaston (AW) - Police Federation BCH representative, Hertfordshire
Karen Morgan (KM) - Hertfordshire (but not a member)
Paul Mudd (PM) - XPS outsourced BCH pension administrators
Anthony Laud (AL) - NARPO BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Rebecca Weston (RW) - ESO, Hertfordshire Executive Support (minutes)
Afzal Chowdhury (AC) - Head of Legal Services, Hertfordshire
Colin Connolly (CC) - Head of Corporate Communications, Hertfordshire
Graeme Hall (GH) - XPS outsourced BCH pension administrators
1.Welcome and apologies
SG welcomed attendees to the meeting including new members ACC Genna Telfer and Supt Paul Sandwell and apologies were noted.
2. Approval of minutes and actions – 3 October 2022
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. Actions were reviewed and the action tracker updated accordingly.
3. Conflict of interest – declaration and registry
No conflicts of interest were raised.
4. Remedy update
The BCH Pension Challenge Board last met in November. The following updates were noted:
The position continues to be stable for forces in relation to McCloud.
It was confirmed that revised saving statements are to be produced for the legacy period by October 2024.
BCH are currently in the process of collecting pension data for XPS, this was noted to be a complex process, but BCH are making good headway and are on track for completion by end of calendar year.
The outcome of contingent decisions between the NPCC and the Home Office are still awaited, and forces have been encouraged to start to work on identifying the people affected for the opt out.
With regards to Ill Health Retirements, it was noted that forces have been asked to conduct a review of those officers in or retired from the 1987 scheme to see whether the member would have met the criteria on the alternative scheme rules and whether, if they do, that will reward them with a higher level of benefit.
There are 35 officers in the 1987 scheme who will require review across BCH, and this is currently being processed by OHU, overseen by the BCH Pension Challenge Board. The 35 officers will be written to, to advise them that this review will be undertaken as part of this programme of work.
XPS confirmed that this will not reduce levels of ill health pension or impact injury pensions which are separate payments and do not fall within the scope of this work.
PM advised that XPS have started to receive some IDRP's on contingent decisions. It was noted that these are currently on hold whilst awaiting further guidance about how contingent decisions and the cases are going to be dealt with.
There was discussion in relation to the types of challenges that may lay ahead, with it noted that consistency across BCH, with the response and approaches taken address these challenges will be key.
5. GMP reconciliation report
PM advised that the information from HMRC is now available and XPS have purchased new software which will enable this to be progressed quickly and move towards the next stage of GMP reconciliation and rectification.
6. XPS update report
NB talked through the XPS update report. The following was noted:
PM advised members that XPS can tailor the Performance Delivery Reports to the board’s needs and are happy to consider any requests from forces for additional data to be contained within the reports.
There was nothing significant to report with regards to the membership figures for the three police schemes. It was noted that the vast majority of members have now been moved across to the 2015 CARE Scheme.
Data Quality and Conditional Data – PM updated on the position with regards to the pension’s dashboard and the requirements from the Pensions Regulator with regards to bronze testing which will need to be in place. The review date for public sector for the pensions dashboard is the end of 2024 and these data testing areas are likely form part of that review. Appropriate preparation work is underway by XPS.
Breaches and Complaints – there were no breaches or complaints recorded for the Q2 period.
SLA Overview – it was noted that there has been positive improvement with regards to the SLAs, particularly across the last two months of Q2. This is as a result of the contact centre now being fully embedded and the progress made with regards to recruitment and training. XPS now expect to see the increased performance continue moving forward.
Action – All board members were asked to review the XPS Performance Delivery reports for their individual forces and advise Stuart Goodwin of any additional data requirements.
7. Ill health protections
The board discussed the position and next steps to be taken with regards to the following issues that have arisen in relation to ill health protections:
The discrepancy between the 5-year medical requirement as stated in regulations and auto-enrolment:
It was noted that XPS are currently awaiting Home Office advice on this matter. NPCC Pensions Lead Claire Alcock has clarified that people re-joining the scheme within five years do not need a medical and that forces have a discretion not to insist on medicals for auto enrolment.
Those that are opting in outside of the five years is where the issue arises and for which a process will need to be agreed.
There was discussion in relation to the different options for officers re-enrolling without a valid medical, such as whether they are put into the reduced scheme or the full scheme and where the burden of responsibility for the medical sits with each.
With the next auto-enrolment scheduled for May 2023, a decision will need to be sought from Scheme Managers on how to proceed. It was agreed that consistency across BCH and keeping members informed on the position would be the most pragmatic approach.
It has been raised that new recruits have been placed into a reduced pension scheme without the ill health benefits because medicals have not taken place before their start date.
Regulations state that the scheme manager may request them to have a medical prior to joining. It seems that this has not been happening because fit to proceed panels have been in place, which started during the COVID pandemic, when it was difficult to get medical examiners in.
It is unclear as to whether this is an on-going issue and further understanding is needed on how the fit to proceed panels operate.
Agreement will be needed on how new joiners are dealt with moving forward.
A decision will need to be sought from Scheme Managers on how to proceed.
It was agreed that consistency across BCH and keeping members informed on the position would be the most pragmatic approach.
Once a decision has been reached, SG will need to write to the HR Recruitment Team to inform them on the new process to be followed for new recruits.
A review was conducted and has identified 68 officers across BCH who are categorised as not being eligible for Ill Health. All of these cases are going to require further review by OHU on their medical position and will then have to be considered and dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
This work has been requested with OHU, who are currently reviewing resources and should be able to provide a timescale for completion in due course.
It was noted that this review of legacy cases may result in contributions having to be waived.
Decisions may need to be sought on individual cases from Scheme Managers on how to proceed.
Action – KM to work with OHU to obtain further background on the legacy cases and to gain further understanding on the fit to proceed panel process.
Action - JI/SG to prepare the relevant information and write to the three scheme managers for a decision on their preferred approach to auto enrolment.
8. Risk register
There has been no change to the red rated risk (13) in relation to transitional arrangements for McCloud.
Risk (14) Medicals to Determine Ill Health Eligibility – this risk will be reviewed once it has been determined whether this is an on-going issue or not. Once the actions in relation to medicals and auto-enrolment have been progressed consideration will be given as to whether or not this element needs to be added as a separate risk.
Risk (10) in relation the Evans & Ashcroft case – it is understood that this project is near to completion and a final summary report is awaited from XPS. PM agreed to seek an update on the position of the final summary report and confirmation on whether this risk can now be closed.
Action – PM to seek an update from Leanne Ferreira on the position of the final summary report and confirmation on whether this risk can now be closed.
Risk (12) Loss of active pension members – this risk will be reviewed following the next data collection and comparison with the last 6 months data.
9. Any other business
There was nothing further raised.
Date of next meeting: Monday 6 March 2023, 10.30am to 12pm via MS Teams