Monday 3 October 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 Not for publication under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in agreement with the Meetings and Minutes Procedure agreed by the Strategic Management Board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 Jon Hutchinson (JH) - substitute Superintendents Association BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Karen Morgan (KM) - Hertfordshire (but not a member)
Anthony Laud (AL) - NARPO BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
Rebecca Weston (RW) - ESO, Hertfordshire Executive Support (minutes)
Sergeant Alan Wollaston (AW) - Police Federation BCH representative, Hertfordshire
T/ACC Dan Vajzovic (DV) - CPOSA and Superintendents Association BCH representative, Cambridgeshire
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 and apologies were noted.
2. Approval of minutes and actions – 6 June 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. Annual Terms of Reference review
The TOR was reviewed, it was agreed that it remains fit for purpose and there were no changes or amendments required. The TOR was approved by the board.
5. Auto-enrolment/Opt-out data
It was noted that the next auto-enrolment date is scheduled for May 2023.
JI recently conducted a review with national payroll managers on the percentage of opt outs across the country. The following was noted:
19 forces have responded to date, the majority sit at average of between 5 – 7% of police officer opt outs.
Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire opt out numbers were noted to be higher than the average of those forces that responded at 9.8% (Cambs) and 10.7% (Beds).
There was discussion as to why this may be the case, it was noted that nationally the average length of service has decreased and in addition to this McCloud, recruitment issues and cost of living challenges may also have had an impact.
It was agreed that the figures will continue to be reviewed and monitored moving forward. It is anticipated that developments with McCloud may result in more officers returning to the pension scheme and it was also noted that the NPCC are looking to raise the possibility of introducing a 50/50 scheme with the Home Office.
6. Remedy update
The BCH Pension Challenge Board last met in September. The following updates were noted:
The position continues to be stable for forces in relation to McCloud.
Discussions are on-going between NPCC and Home Office with regards to contingent decisions around key issues such as tax, annual allowance and interest on contributions, whilst updates to legislation and regulations are awaited.
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.
XPS have issued a bulletin in relation to McCloud covering areas such as the re-joiner’s scheme and protected pension age and keep regularly updated with NPCC and HMT on key issues.
All forces have received copies of Ill Health (IH) cases for review and XPS will work with BCH to ensure they all are working from the same information, in preparation for when the next steps for IH cases are known.
7. GMP reconciliation report
NB advised that the XPS team are awaiting up to date information from HMRC in order to reach the final reconciliation position. This is now expected to be finalised by the end of November 2022. The project will then move to the rectification phase which will involve writing out to scheme members to advise on under/over payment values and how that affects benefits. The project team will then seek a policy decision from forces on how payments will be treated.
8. XPS update report
NB talked through the XPS update report. The following was noted:
There was nothing significant to report with regards to the membership figures for the three police schemes.
Data quality and conditional data – NB 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 – NB confirmed that XPS now have a new process in place with additional layers of security following the April 2022 breach, to enhance the protection of members personal data and reduce the risk of any future breaches.
SLA overviews – it was noted that Q4 has seen a considerable improvement in KPIs across the forces, this was felt to be as a result of progress made in relation to recruitment, training and the new call handling service which is now up and running.
It was noted that a new supplier has been introduced working in-line with the call handling service, which moving forward, will allow the provision of data in relation to member call handling. The data will be regularly reported through force Client Service Review meetings.
9. Risk register
There has been no change to the red rated risk (13) in relation to transitional arrangements for McCloud.
It was noted at the last meeting that risk (12) in relation the Evans & Ashcroft case was near completion. NB agreed to seek an update on the position and confirmation on whether this risk can now be closed.
Action – NB to provide JI with an update on the current position in relation to risk (12) Injury Pensions - Evans & Ashcroft v South Wales Police case.
There was discussion in relation to risk (14) Medicals to Determine Ill Health Eligibility noting the associated action update from XPS. JI highlighted the discrepancy between the 5-year medical requirement as stated in regulations and auto-enrolment. With the next auto-enrolment scheduled for May 2023, a decision will need to be sought from Scheme Managers on how to proceed.
There was noted to be a national issue with regards to resourcing medicals and it was highlighted that HR are receiving an increasing number of queries in relation to medicals and IH eligibility.
KM advised that the Home Office have been asking for data on IH retirements and those who may have been excluded from the IH eligibility and to feedback any issues. KM agreed to take this back to the Home Office on behalf of BCH.
Action – KM to feed back to the Home Office, following their request for information regarding IH cases, on the discrepancy between the 5-year medical requirement and auto-enrolment.
Action – NB to raise risk (14) Medicals to Determine Ill Health Eligibility at the next quarterly pension service review meeting on 24th October 2022 for insight on what other XPS forces are doing around this issue.
10. Any other business
BCH Pension Board Intranet/Internet Site - re-publication of the minutes on the three external websites covered under action 145. It was noted that the BCH Pension Board Intranet site also requires updating and it was agreed this would be incorporated as part of the same action (145)
2023 Meeting dates – proposed 2023 meeting dates were noted by the board. Formal meeting invites are to follow.
Chair/Deputy Chair Rotation – on the basis that a member deputy chair is yet to be identified, it was agreed that SG would remain in the role as Chair of the BCH Police Pension Board.
CPOSA & Superintendents Association BCH Representative – JH updated the board on the provisional plan for CPOSA and Superintendents Association representative replacements following the departure of ACC Dan Vajzovic. SG agreed to follow up directly with the proposed replacements outside of the meeting. It was noted that TPR scheme return will need to be updated once the new representatives are confirmed and have completed the relevant training.
Date of next meeting: Monday 5 December 2022, 10.30am to 12pm via MS Teams