BCH Police Pension Board minutes 25 September 2023
Minutes of the BCH Police Pension Board
Monday 25 September 2023 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Not for publication under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in agreement with the Meetings and Minutes Procedure agreed by the Strategic Management Board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
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)
Graeme Hall (GH) - XPS outsourced BCH pension administrators
Anthony Laud (AL) - NARPO BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Rebecca Weston (RW) - ESO, Hertfordshire Executive Support (minutes)
Stuart Goodwin (SG) - Chair - Head of Finance, Bedfordshire
JC welcomed attendees to the meeting and apologies were noted.
2. Approval of minutes and actions – 19 June 2023
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. Actions were reviewed and the action tracker updated accordingly. The following was noted:
Action 142 - JC was provisionally proposed for the deputy chair role in the absence of any other volunteers and noting that this is an exception to the terms of reference. It was agreed that this would be put forward for formal ratification at the next meeting.
Action 157 – with regards to SG’s request for new starter data to be added to the XPS update report, it was noted that XPS opt out data is not accurate with regard to new starters as any new starters that immediately opt out of the pension scheme will not be registered with XPS. As this data can be obtained more accurately through BCH Payroll, it was agreed that Jackie Ingle would incorporate new starters data into the standing auto-enrolment and opt out data six monthly update which is due to come to December’s meeting for review and consideration as to how this data will be reported to and reviewed by the board in the future.
Action – Jackie Ingle to incorporate new starters data into the standing Auto-enrolment and Opt Out Data six monthly update which is due to come to December meeting, for review and consideration as to how this data will be reported to and reviewed by the board in the future.
3. Conflict of interest – declaration and registry
No conflicts of interest were raised.
4. Remedy update
Regulations have now been laid in parliament and will come into force on 1 October 2023.
XPS are working to provide members retiring in October with estimates based on remedy, however this is proving challenging due to issues with the GAD calculator. This is currently being worked through with GAD.
The NPCC Pensions Team have launched an informative website for members in relation to remedy which includes a number of FAQs. A link has been set up internally within BCH to the NPCC website through SharePoint. James Cook requested that a notice is also published via the BCH intranet sites to point people in the direction of the website.
Action – Vanessa Lynch to arrange for a notification to be published via BCH intranet sites in relation to the pension legal challenge, to direct people to the new NPCC website.
Further work is scheduled to take place with XPS/BCH Payroll to look at next steps and review the timetable for remedy implementation.
There was discussion in relation to the current volume of queries from members, particularly those that are due to retire which Jackie Ingle noted was currently manageable.
It was noted that there have been some queries from officers who opted out of the pension scheme. Jackie Ingle advised that the current Home Office guidance which states that if an officer opted out within six months of their taper day or 1st of April 2015, they can automatically re-join the scheme. Anybody outside of that period of time will need to provide evidence that the opt out decision was due to the 2015 scheme coming in. It was noted that this is likely to become quite challenging and result in Scheme Mangers having to make decisions on individual cases. James Cook noted that there will be a need for consistency across forces.
Action – James Cook to raise the issue of remedy opt outs at the Scheme Managers Steering Group with a view to agreeing a set of principles for proposal to NPCC that Scheme Mangers can consider adopting as part of remedy implementation, to provide consistency across the forces.
Graeme Hall confirmed that this shouldn’t be the case and all immediate choice members should be receiving their options from XPS before they leave. The only issue at present is in relation to providing the net contribution deduction with interest due to the current issues with the GAD calculator, however it is anticipated this will become available for members in due course.
Al Wollaston agreed to feed this update back to the relevant members and will continue to raise any further queries received from members with the relevant board members outside of the meeting as required.
Al Wollaston highlighted that from a Federation perspective they have received enquiries from members who have advised that they are being told that they cannot receive their calculations until after they have retired.
5. GMP reconciliation report
Due to McCloud work being prioritised the full GMP Reconciliation Report has been delayed. Reconciliation data has been prepared and run through the data validation tool. All validation queries have been investigated and updated. XPS are confident the pace of processing the data will pick up considerably, despite the initial delays and anticipate the full report will be available to forces within the next two months.
6. XPS update report
Graeme Hall talked through the XPS update report. It was noted that membership numbers continue to trend upwards across most cohorts in Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire. There was nothing further by exception reported or raised.
7. Risk register
The risk register was reviewed, and the following was noted:
BCH Pension Board
Risk (6) Loss of Board Members – it was agreed that this risk would remain at amber at this time with the current deputy chair vacancy and an impending retirement.
Scheme Manager and Force (Employer)
Risk (7) Automatic Enrolment – it was agreed that as this year’s automatic re-enrolment is complete this risk will be reduced to green until the approach of the next automatic enrolment date.
Risk (14) Medicals to Determine Ill Health Eligibility – there was discussion in relation to how this applies to the 30+ retire and rehire scheme with it noted the current Home Office guidance doesn’t cover the position for officers wanting to re-join the pension scheme that have been re-hired under this arrangement. It was agreed that this risk would remain as is until a position on this was determined.
Action – Jackie Ingle to draft a set of principles on the approach to be taken for officers returning through the 30+ retire and rehire scheme that are looking to re-join the pension scheme, for agreement at the next meeting.
It was noted there has been no change to either of the red rated risks in relation to transitional arrangements for McCloud.
There were no new risks or issues raised.
8. Ill health problems
Karen Morgan updated the group on the work being undertaken across BCH in relation to ill health retirement eligibility, following the outcome of an employee tribunal where the Home Office conceded that Regulation 36 was discriminatory, and their subsequent guidance to forces to cease the requirement for a Regulation 36 medical to join the pension scheme. The following was noted:
Further advice from the Home Office is awaited with regards to cases where members have a genuine ill health retirement restriction.
Karen Morgan provided a summary of the current cases. There are currently 63 cases within BCH of members who are identified as not being eligible for ill health retirement. 37 of those cases will remain as they are because they don’t qualify for ill health retirement, and Home Office guidance is awaited on how they will be re-entered back into the reduced scheme. 18 cases will need to go back into the full scheme based on the auto-enrolment/five-year arrangement and their original medical assessment. Eight cases require further checks.
It was noted that the 18 members being put back into the full scheme will not be required to pay back any additional pension contributions due to this being deemed an employer issue.
9. Any other business
Historic Service Records
Al Wollaston highlighted an issue which has been raised by some members through the Federation regarding XPS not having service records for part time officers for a particular period of time.
It was noted that this was a Herts issue with it relating to a period when pensions were administered by the County Council, and seemingly their records in relation to part time service were not correctly transferred across to XPS as they should have been, when XPS took over administration. It is understood that this information is held within the Council but is not easily accessible. Karen Morgan confirmed that work is underway through the BCH Transactional Team to understand how many members are affected.
James Cook requested that this is progressed with the Council as a priority, acknowledging that from a member’s perspective this is an unsatisfactory position and could impact on their pension.
Action – Karen Morgan to contact Herts County Council to establish whether they hold the relevant missing service record information and an estimate of the timescale it will take to retrieve the information, and feedback to JC outside of the meeting, so that a decision can be made if required on how this situation can be progressed.
Date of next meeting: Monday 4 December 2023, 10.30am to 12pm via MS Teams