Colin Connolly (CC) - Head of Corporate Communications, Hertfordshire
Superintendent Jon Hutchinson (JHut) - substitute Superintendents Association BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Debbie McGregor (DM) - Minutes - ESO, Herts Executive Support
T/ACC Dan Vajzovic (DV) - CPOSA and Superintendents Association BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Afzal Chowdhury (AC) - Head of Legal Services, Hertfordshire
Anthony Laud (AL) - NARPO BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
JH welcomed attendees to the meeting and apologies were noted as above.
2. Approval of minutes and actions – 29 November 2019
Minutes were approved as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
JH noted that Item 77 on the action tracker stated “JH and GC to follow up with KC” should have read “JH and GH (Graeme Hall) to follow up with KC”.
3. Matters arising – action updates
Actions were reviewed and the tracker was updated accordingly.
4. Conflict of interest
As part of Pension Board regulations, all Board Members have to recognise if they have any conflict of interest which could result in an impartiality. No one declared a conflict of interest.
5. Risk register
JI discussed changes that will affect the risk register.
Change over from Kier to XPS has now been reduced on the risk register
Auto enrolment has been amended to show a higher risk on the register
Two board members leaving their positions will now be shown on the register as amber until there is clarity on who will become the new chair. James Hurley will be leaving in April 2020 and Dan Vajzovic has agreed to carry on for one more year in his current position
McCloud is still red on the risk register and will be discussed in detail on the below Agenda item – McCloud update. It was felt that the work load and what is involved is not clear at the moment and with whom it sits with
Pension administrator issues – a lot of work will sit with the Pension Administrator – this will now be recorded as a high risk until more information is known
6. Performance report
JI provided three papers for the three forces performance reports for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
GH talked through the three forces reports submitted by JI:
All three reports were all of similar formats to end of December 2019 showing what is happening in each area on a month by month basis
There were no marked issues in any one force
Task were being left open as all the information was not being provided in the time frame
Common data failures were:
National Insurance Numbers (five of the six failures where under 16 years)
Failures on titles of categories on report (going forward these will drop off)
Incorrect addresses – now resolved as requested correct addresses from the Force
Undecided leavers – waiting for an option back
Deferred Pension members (not showing any history)
Pension and Widows – payment or post returns – we suspend these and wait for someone to get back to us
GH said there are no marked issues in any one force but some tasks were left open where XPS have received the information in, but they are chasing something else up and need more information to come back. These cases are then left open.
7. McCloud update
JH gave a verbal update on McCloud:
JH reported that in 28 October 2019 we had the order from the Treasury that remedy would be implemented and put in place for the approx. 13,000 claimants
This affectively allowed that the Claimants would be treated as if they were on their former schemes
Claimants would be allowed to put in compensation claims
All this information is now on the intranet, our website and has been reflected within our force
We have put in place a Project Board – terms of reference are in this paper
The project board identifies the number of claimants and the number of people who are affected who were non claimants
The three reports show early numbers of claimants and non-claimants but more work will need to be carried out
The claimant numbers appear to be relatively low
It is looking like two thirds of the officer work force will have to change their pension treatment
JI and HR have been liaising to achieve up to date figures
Three weeks ago the Treasury issued a paper – this technical paper and will present two choices (this paper is not for public knowledge)
A process will be developed over the next 3 or 4 months – legislation will be approved and implementations will be put in place, this will allow more visibility
A formal staff side communication is being worked on and will become clear at branch level
XPS have provided date for our 28 forces by January 2020 which shows a good knowledge of data control
Officers who received full protection are now being given the option to move into care schemes
By 2022 a lot of people will have to be offered these choices
Comms: JH and CC discussed Comms in relation to McCloud and updates:
To establish a BCH Webpage to implement updates on McCloud / internal in the first instance and then external
NARPO and Deferred members need to be included in visibility of updates
In November 2019 an intranet story started internally with fact sheets
There is an email question contact point on our intranet which has already been used
In April 2020 the government will issue their Statement which will need to be placed on the intranet
April 2020 Government will issue the consultation document which we will be putting on the website for both internal and external information. We should ask for comments – We believe MPCC may bridge this with FAQs
XPS will be discussing COMMS on their monthly telecom meetings with us and establish which information can be shared and then added to their pension website
8. Pension membership and auto-enrolment
There is a plan for the coming auto-enrolment. JI verbally updated:
JI informed that the legal re-enrolment date was 1st May 2020 which we will stick to
XPS are holding a forum in a fortnight’s time where they will be covering tax year end process and auto enrolment – an update will be more clear after that
GH added that the employer has the responsibility to bring people in on the required date and then XPS will only deal with any opt outs. XPS will need to be made aware of all who are auto enrolled to set up a record or to reactivate a deferred record. The members will need to contact XPS to request the form to opt out of the auto enrolment
Standard communication and letters are in hand for information for members – JI will check with pensions regulator website and use their template
JI’s team will relay this information out to the members
JI said it will be achievable with the extra new starters and temp who has carried out auto enrolment before with a previous company
HR have offered to help with any extra admin support
We should send out a standard letter showing time lines of the auto enrolment process without giving any pensions advice – neutral facts about pensions could be offered
XPS have a pension scheme presentation on their website
XPS induction presentation can reduce opt out rates
Action: Letter to be sent out from all of the Chief Constables to explain that auto enrolment is coming and here is some information on the pension scheme – then hyper link to the XPS presentation – also an email link which would mean if you want more information contact JI’s team – This is the Employer’s responsibility. Letter needs to go out by end of March early April 2020. The communication needs to be clear that they cannot opt out until after the 1st May 2020. A letter to be sent out after 1st May 2020 to say “You have been auto enrolled” then to contact XPS to request a form to opt out”. KM and JI to work together – KM to work on first draft of the letter
9. Annual benefits statement and annual pension tax statement performance
GH gave verbal update on annual benefits statement which had to be issued by the end of August 2019.
Information was sent out: Beds 99.13% - Cambs 99.53% - Herts 97.11%
Some that did not receive them were those with a pension sharing order and the GMP – the calculation process did not produce a benefit statement for these and this is now being chased up by XPS. Then they can look at the small percentage and get those figures sent out.
If someone starts in March and have not contributed, they have no contributions but are still entitled to a statement, but this means that they will be given this information in the next year’s statement.
Pension saving statements: These have to be sent out by the 6th October 2019 – XPS send these to people they believe are close to breaching, so across of three Forces there were 81 issues. Pretty much an even split between the three Forces. Beds was 27, Cambs was 25 and Herts was 29. Of that 81, XPS believe that 28 breached based on the info they hold for increasing their pension benefits. 29 are breached but don’t believe there are any taxes due. 8 were close to breaching, so XPS will contact them to see if there is another income that they don’t know about. 16 for the dual scheme, these were transitioned across to the 2015 scheme and either breached in one or close to breaching in both schemes.
Annual Benefit statements with Herts having 97.11% that is probably 50 people, which is quite high. GH said he could find a breakdown and let us know why this was so high. JH asked for this information within the next two weeks to take to the board meeting.
Action: JH asked that there be a breakdown provided by XPS on the Herts figure 97.11% which is approx. 50 people in the Herts area where the number seemed quite high – GH said he would send this over in the next two weeks
10. Review of breaches and complaints
GH of XPS reported that a data breach had occurred. On a monthly basis XPS provide data to all the Forces. This data included membership information, details of anyone who has breached annual allowance or lifetime allowance and that results in a big extract from their data base. Unfortunately two of the tabs that contained this information on the document were not deleted and this was sent out to one of our Forces. So they received all the details of all 28 forces which in total showed approx. 2,000 people. This should not have happened. This was sent via a secure portal, and as soon as this was received they reported to XPS and XPS deleted the file, XPS asked the Force to confirm they deleted the file also, XPS then deleted the file from their secure file location on their server. XPS then had to look at the process of how they do this going forward to protect data and XPS have put extra steps in to make sure this will not happen again.
XPS did report this to all of the forces and asked if this would go to the ICO.
JH reported that this is a systemic issue and XPS said it was with their compliance at the moment being looked at. JH asked for an update within the next few days on what Compliance reports.
ICO will need to form a view of this based on all the factors and ingredients that shaped this breach. We need to see a proportionate process to be shown alongside the ICO.
XPS to produce a summary and alert ICO and inform forces that this is what they are doing going forward to prevent this happening again.
Action: We need to see a proportionate process activated. A Summary to be produced by XPS – share with the ICO then inform individual forces
11. Any other business
Re-joiners – over five years issue – There is an ongoing case at the moment in Hertfordshire. This will be looked at outside of this meeting as we are waiting for Home Office update
Nomination Forms for Beneficiaries – JM said this form is in hand. XPS gave a list of people who had not received a nomination form. These cases were then sent a letter. This was only sent out in Herts. KM and JI agreed that Cambs and Beds needs to be looked at now with regards to the same process.
Action: A reminder letter to officers may be the way forward. JH to speak to CC about widening the remit of the website to include this topic
12. Forward planning – Dates of next meetings - 2020