Venue: Furness Peninsula Blue Light Hub, Beehive Business Park, Thomas Way, Ulverston, LA12 7TU
Contact: Anthony Farrar Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Mr Lamb.
To note the Terms of Reference and Membership of the Board (copy enclosed).
The Terms of Reference were noted.
DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST
Members are invited to disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises
1 Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.
2 Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
3 Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority
(a) Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and
(b) Which has not been fully discharged.
4 Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority.
5 Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer.
6 Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)
(a) The landlord is the authority; and
(b) The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.
7 Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where
(a) That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the authority; and
(b) Either –
(i) The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.
In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.
A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).
Mr D Harrison declared a non-pecuniary interest. Sellafield and Cumbria County Council have a contract for which Mr Harrison is the Contract Manager.
EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC
To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any items on the agenda.
RESOLVED, that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Agenda Item No 10 – Update on Sargeant Remedy and Immediate Detriment, and Agenda Item No 11 – Verbal Update on Emerging Issues by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as the reports contain information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Authority holding that information).
To receive the minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 February 2022 (copy enclosed).
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 February 2022 be agreed as a true and accurate record.
To note the Schedule of Future Meetings (copy enclosed).
Members noted that the next scheduled meeting of the Cumbria Fire Local Pension Board would take place as follows:-
· 26 July 2022 at 2pm
· 20 October 2022 at 2pm
· 1 February 2023 at 2pm
The Democratic Services Officer will circulate meeting venues.
To consider a report from the Chief Fire Officer (copy enclosed).
Members considered a report from the Chief Fire Officer which advised them of any material risk management, policy or governance issues and national regulatory changes to 31 March 2022 and any performance monitoring issues of the Scheme to 31 December 2021.
The Senior Advisor – Pensions took members through the report, highlighting the following:
· Risk - The current risk register had 14 risks comprising 3 red risks (information security arrangements, Sargeant Judgement and Fire Governance Transition), 2 amber risks and 9 green risks. One risk had been added (Fire Governance Transition) and one risk removed (Covid 19’s impact on Pensions Administration) from the register. The Fire Governance Transition score was, a likelihood score of 4 “likely” and the impact of occurrence score, was 4 “Major”. The overall target score was 16.
· LPPA Performance - In the quarter to 31 December 2021, performance against the KPIs had been 96.5%, against the SLA target of 95%.
· Legal breaches– members noted there were no legal breaches reported to the Pensions Regulator for the quarter to 31 December 2021.
· Scheme Discretions – members noted that no scheme discretions had been exercised during the quarter.
· Pensions Ombudsman – there had been no cases referred to the Pensions Ombudsman during the period.
· IDRP – The Board were updated that two Stage Two Appeals which had concluded during the previous quarter, have now accepted amounts offered in respect of below standard service and these cases are now settled.
· Data Quality – The Scheme had benefited from the work undertaken before the pandemic, and data held by the Scheme continued to be of a good quality. Using the scoring mechanism as set out by the Pensions Regulator, the Scheme reported that 98.5% of its common data was present and accurate.
· Remedy to Sargeant Age Discrimination Case – There was a separate paper at Item 10 which provided an update on the Sargeant Remedy and Immediate Detriment.
· Matthews Second Options exercise – On the 9 March following an extended period of negotiation a MOU was agreed by Home Office, Local Government Association (LGA), Fire Brigade Union (FBU) and Fire and Rescue Services Association (FRSA). The remedy for retained Fire Fighters affected by the O’Brien judgment would be provided by way of a second options exercise allowing those in scope the opportunity to purchase pension entitlement as a special member of the FPS 2006.The regulations are yet to be drafted by the Home Office, following this they will go out to consultation before being finalised and laid before Parliament. The Home Office had 18 months to draft, consult and introduce this secondary legislation. The expectation was that Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRA’s) would start the second options exercise as soon as possible after legislation came into force. The exercise would run for 18 months. Officers had begun work on gathering relevant data. A separate report providing an update would be brought to the next Board meeting
· Pensions Dashboards – The LGA and SAB submitted their response to the ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
LPPA - Virtual Update on Project PACE
To receive a presentation from Rachel Blundell, Deputy Director Member Operations, Local Pensions Partnership Administration
The Operations Director - Local Pension Partnership Administration gave an update on Project PACE. The following areas were covered including:-
· Procurement Process
· Phase 1
· Helpdesk Performance given increased call volumes
· Concurrently running two systems
· Staff Turnover
The Chair remarked following the update on Project Pace it would appropriate to review Risk 1.2 of the Risk Register - Pensions Administration Processes. Members agreed that the wording and possibly the scoring of risk 1.2 should reflect what is happening with project PACE. Senior Advisor – Pensions noted this action.
A member queried if the new online software would contain a pensions calculator.
The Operations Director - Local Pension Partnership Administration confirmed that the new software would have that functionality.
The Finance Manager - Pensions Investments & Governance reiterated the earlier comment by a member, that it would be helpful to receive narrative where spikes in performance were apparent in the LPPA Administration Report.
The Operations Director - Local Pension Partnership Administration noted that it would not be possible to include them in the report but that she was happy to attend future meetings to provide a verbal update, this option was welcomed by Board Members.
DATE AND TIME OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the next meeting will take place at 2pm on 26 July 2022.
The next meeting will be held on 26 July 2022 at 2pm.
Update on Sargeant Remedy and Immediate Detriment
To consider a report from the Chief Fire Officer (copy enclosed).
Members considered a report from the Chief Fire Officer which provided the Cumbria Fire Local Pensions Board with an update on the remedy to the unlawful Age Discrimination found by the Court of Appeal, in December 2018. This case related to the transitional protection arrangements offered to some older members of the 1992 and 2006 Fire pensions schemes, when the 2015 Fire Pension Scheme was introduced.
The Government consulted on the various options to remove the discrimination and published their response in February 2021. The Deferred Choice Underpin (DCU) had been confirmed as the remedy, meaning those in scope would have the choice between CARE (reformed) or final salary (legacy) benefits for the remedy period, at the point at which the scheme member retired. The remedy is complex; and currently the main concern relates to how to deal with those who under the legacy scheme would have an immediate entitlement to pension benefits, prior to the detailed guidance of how to process such benefits being available.
Members were advised that the informal and non-statutory guidance on processing certain kinds of claims that was originally published in August 2020, was withdrawn by the Home Office with immediate effect on 29 November 2021, and the Government advises against processing any cases related to immediate entitlement under the remedy, before the legislation is in place, given the risks and uncertainty involved.
The Chair asked that Members be advised at the next meeting of the number of cases that are expected to fall into the time period between now and when the final guidance is expected to be available.
RESOLVED, that the Cumbria Fire Local Pensions Board noted the contents of this report.
VERBAL UPDATE ON EMERGING ISSUES
To receive a general verbal update from the Chief Fire Officer.
The Deputy Chief Fire Officer updated the Board on current emerging issues, including:-
· Local Government Reorganisation
· Staff Retention