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 Not for publication under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in agreement with the Meetings and Minutes Procedure agreed by the Strategic Management Board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
SG welcomed attendees to the meeting and apologies were noted.
2. Approval of minutes and actions – 5 December 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. Future of police pensions review
SG signposted the NPCC letter circulated from the NPCC Pay & Pensions Lead CC Jeremy Vaughan, which updates on the plans for the review being conducted in relation to future police pension arrangements. The review will be completed by the end of the financial year and will consider whether the current way of managing and administering the Police Pension Scheme provides a long term stable and sustainable model, and effective governance and management. All forces have been asked to complete a survey and it was noted that JI has been co-ordinating the survey responses for BCH.
JI confirmed that Beds and Cambs responses have been submitted and the Herts response is still awaiting a response from the Herts Finance Team. This will be chased by JI today, and it was agreed that the response would be submitted without the finance information if required, to meet the deadline which has now been extended to 7 March 2023. XPS are also required to complete returns for each client. This is work is currently underway for completion by the deadline.
5. Remedy update
The position continues to be stable for forces in relation to McCloud.
The BCH Pension Challenge Board last met in January.
An update was provided at the last meeting by NPCC Pensions Lead. It was noted that the HMRC tax consultation closed on 6th January. This was a delay to the original closing date and has impacted on Home Office drafting associated regulations. Information has been provided in relation to some of the tax issues affecting immediate detriment cases. The consultation has confirmed how tax relief will be dealt with for the purpose of the 2015 scheme and how unauthorised payments will be authorised, but this will not take effect until 1 October. A list was provided on areas that forces should currently be considering:
Developing an understanding of the forces remedy cohort data and how this will be collated.
The requirement to rebuild legacy or reformed records for the remedy period.
Reassessing ill health retirement, where members have retired from ill health under the 1987 scheme.
Timetabling the provision of Remediable Service Statements from 1 October
JI confirmed that BCH are on track and working through these points, with no significant concerns at this stage.
BCH are currently in the process of collecting pension data for XPS, this was noted to be a complex process, but good progress has been made with only Hertfordshire data left to collate and this is on track for completion by the deadline.
BCH Payroll resourcing has improved, and JI confirmed this has had a positive impact on the team’s ability to deal with the McCloud work.
Once received, XPS will begin testing the data to identify any potential issues.
It is recognised that with the final legislation unlikely to come out until September there will need to be an agreement in place to provide pension options based on the draft consultation for people who are looking to leave from the 1st of October to allow members to make their decision. This will involve manual calculations and will need some discussion regarding how that process is going to work in due course.
There was discussion in relation to officers who were intending to retire between now and October, and the potential for those members to delay their retirement date in order to get remedy from 1 October.
6. 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.
7. XPS update report
NB talked through the XPS update report. The following was noted:
It was noted that the Contact Centre call handing data is now included in the XPS update report and moving forward will be further defined by individual force following the implementation of force specific contact numbers.
There was nothing further by exception to report.
8. Ill health protections
KM presented to the board updating them on the recent developments in relation to Regulation 36 on the 2015 Scheme, which, following an employee tribunal, the Home Office have conceded was discriminatory and as a result are now consulting on its removal. In the meantime, the Home Office have issued guidelines to forces ceasing the requirement for a Regulation 36 medical to join the pension scheme.
BCH HR have therefore taken the decision to cease the requirement from the beginning of February 2023 and individuals joining the pension scheme will be placed into the full pension scheme. This also applies to auto-enrolment and those looking to opt back into the pension scheme, thereby resolving the previous issues discussed in relation to medicals and auto-enrolment and existing officers pending medicals.
It was noted that there are 24 members that failed to comply with the medical requirement for auto enrolment last time around and HR are seeking advice from NPCC on best way to manage this cohort of officers.
Work will now be undertaken to action this and contact the relevant individuals; it was noted that BCH payroll don't intend to collect contributions retrospectively.
9. Risk register
There has been no change to the red rated risk (13) in relation to transitional arrangements for McCloud.
Risk (10) Evans & Ashcroft case – this risk has now been closed following project closure with each force having received their completion report.
10. Any other business
JI requested Cambs CFO Jon Lee is included on the circulation for the minutes from these meetings and is also sent the meeting invites to dial in on occasion, so that he is able to report back to the Cambs Chief Constable on any significant issues.
Action – BW to include Cambs CFO Jon Lee on the distribution list for circulation of minutes and invite him to future BCH Pension Board Meetings.
Date of next meeting: Monday 5 June 2023, 2pm to 3.30pm via MS Teams