Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room A, Service Headquarters

Contact: Hannah Singleton, Executive Support 

No. Item




Apologies were received for Steve Pope (SP) and Peter Redbourn (PR).


Discussion with Michael Prior


Michael Prior (MPr), Chair of the Welsh Scheme Advisory Board (SAB), attended the meeting to discuss his experiences and knowledge acquired through his position.

The following items were noted of interest by the Board:

·        Local Pension Boards did not exist prior to 2015 and the implementation of new legislation. Boards were therefore new in their experience and understanding of the roles they played;

·        The Regulator would review the Pension Schemes of Public Sector organisations in the future to aid continuous improvement and sustainability. The Regulator recognised the importance of the cost incurred by Fire Authorities for the administration of the Pension Schemes as significant;

·        Of the 45 Fire and Rescue Authorities throughout the country West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF) provided the administration for 15 of them;

·        Cardiff had experienced concerns following the O’Brian Judgment (allowances for on-call firefighters); and

·        LGPS Boards operated similarly to that of a committee due to their ability to make decisions, whereas the LPBs for Firefighters Pensions Schemes did not.

MPr had reviewed the Board’s agenda and made the following comments and feedback based on his understanding of the Board’s current position;

·        The Board had been demonstrating good practice by keeping training logs and monitoring the knowledge of Board members;

·        The quorum issues experienced by the Board were understood and were not uncommon throughout the country;

·        MPr felt the governance arrangements in place for the Board were good;

·        Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service was not the only one to experience a breach in relation to the publication of Annual Benefits Statements.  A discussion was held around reporting of breaches. The Board was in agreement that if a breach appeared ambiguous they would err on the side of caution and report it as a breach. Cardiff Council had not reported a breach and had been contacted by the Regulator for not doing so;

·        Mid and West Wales had an independent Chair, with the other two Boards having a rotating Chair annually. An independent Chair was in addition to the total membership of the Board and was a non-voting position.

Merging of Local Pension Boards

MPr stated it was likely through evolution of LPBs that Boards would merge, therefore Boards should make consideration for this potential alteration. Merged Boards would decrease the likelihood of meeting cancellation due to increased numbers and quorum.

Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottingham had created a joint Pension Board but this had been aided by the fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) concerned having a common scheme administrator.

It was highlighted that for Boards to merge successfully the following must apply;

·        Consideration must be made for the division of membership amongst each of the parties;

·        There must be the opportunity to discuss bespoke issues experienced by individual FRAs;

·        each FRA would need to agree to establish the merged Board; and

·        The FRAs would need to have a common, shared administrator.

In respect of the latter point, it was noted that Dorset and Wiltshire had the same administrator as Devon & Somerset.

Cornwall FRS had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item LPB/19/18


Conflict of Interest Declaration


No conflict of interests declared. Reference was made to existing declarations made to the Board by AW.


Notes pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Notes of the meeting held on 15 February 2019 attached


The notes of the meeting held on 15 February 2019 were AGREED


Review of Actions pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Action log attached


The latest iteration of the Action Log had been shared with Board members, the following issues were noted:



Pension Board Member Training (Note PB/18/4(g))


All members and officers involved with the administration of Pensions to have undertaken all seven modules on the Pension Regulator Toolkit by the 18 April 2018 (PB/18/4/g)

Ongoing: see note LPB/19/22 below.



Roles and Responsibilities Documentation (Note PB/18/15)


MP would review the documentation relating to roles and responsibilities and where this information had been published (PB/18/15).

Ongoing: This would be completed prior to the publication of the next LPB Annual Report



Development of Risk Register (Note LPB/19/10)


To develop a risk register

Ongoing: The Risk workshop had taken place in February 2019, following this, SP would finalise the risk register and circulate to Members.



Development of Work Programme


MP to work alongside HS to create a skeleton programme of work. This will determine the dates for the next meetings.




Performance Measures


Performance measures as identified in the contract to be considered in terms of data collection and reporting. SP to work with Procurement and an update to be provided at the April 25 meeting

Ongoing:The Performance Measure received by the Service from WYPF do not align to those outlined in the contract, therefore the Service is unable to monitor them effectively. Work to rectify the problem had been commenced by the Procurement team, the outcome of which would be provided by AW.

Other Services which used WYPF as an administrator would be contacted to in an attempt to align the KPIs required by FRS’s.



Process for Local Pensions Disputes


Whilst there is reference on the Pensions Board webpage to contact details for the Pensions Advisory Service and the Pensions Ombudsman, there does not appear to be clear reference made to the local process to be followed relating to pensions disputes. 

Completed; website had been updated to reflect the necessary changes.



Annual Training Plan


An annual training plan to be considered but must be proportionate to the role of Pension Board members

Ongoing: Consideration needed to be made for Board Member induction training



LPB Annual Report


Future iterations of the Pension Board annual report could include detail on the number of retirements, new starters, membership numbers and ‘opt out’ numbers, as well as reference to statutory breaches (even if nil) and areas of identified good practice, as referred to within the Board terms of reference.

Ongoing: MP would include the suggestions when drafting the Annual Report.



Split Pensions Issue


SP would identify any individuals who received a split Pension and may have been paid an incorrect sum by WYPF. Clarity would be sought from WYPF to ensure they held enough data to rectify any errors encountered by the individuals.




Recruitment of Scheme Member to replace PR


SP to undertake an advertisement and recruitment process for the position of a Scheme Member Representative on the Board (PR’s position)

Ongoing: In the Scheme Manager update SP advised the Board the advertisement for the role of a Scheme Member Representative had been made on the 26 April 2019 with a closing date of the 17 May 2019. The advertisement had received interest and SP was confident this post would be filled.



Proposal to Increase Board Size and Change Quorum


FRA to be approached by the Board with a proposal to increase the Board membership to 8 and an alteration to the quorum to 50% (minimum one from each side)

Ongoing:  A report detailing the proposed amendments had been drafted for consideration by the Authority at its Ordinary Meeting on 7 June 2019

The draft report included options for one additional Scheme Manager and Scheme Member posts. The Board raised concerns as the paper had not been discussed with the Board prior to circulation with the agenda for the Authority meeting. A discussion was held around Senior Officers holding roles within LPBs and it was noted that both DWFRS and Cornwall FRS had senior uniformed officers on their Boards as Scheme Manager representatives.



Training Log Update


The latest iteration of the Training Log had been circulated to the Board, it was noted that BW had not yet completed the necessary training packages this had been due to work capacity.



Correspondence Update pdf icon PDF 73 KB

List of correspondence received since the last meeting attached


The latest iteration of the correspondence log had been circulated to Board members for information.



Scheme Manager Update pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Paper to follow


The Scheme Manager update had been provided as a supplementary agenda item to Board members.  In the absence of the delegated Scheme Manger representative, the Board raised items from the update they wished to discuss collectively.  The following points were noted;

·       Item 3.1.4: The Board requested an update from SP on the Annual Benefits Statement breach which had been reported to the regulator. The Board wished to know the date the breach had been reported and any additional feedback provided; 

·        Item 4.1.4: The training allowance for USAR had not been considered pensionable as it was paid based on the performance of duties within a specialist role. A statement made within the report on thes had caused confusion.  The statement was clarified as relating to a High Court Judgement and the Board was accurate in its knowledge i.e. that the Service did treat the allowance as pensionable;

·       Item 4.3.2: SP to provide clarification over the application of statute in relation to abatement rules and the movement into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).  Individuals taking up positions within Red One under Green Book terms and conditions of employment was cited as an example.

·       Item 5.2: The Board would undertake an assessment to determine if the Split Pension issue should be reported to the Regulator as a breach. A meeting of the Board would be held if necessary to review and ratify any decision made.



Dates of Future Meetings


The following meetings had been scheduled for the Board;

·        08 August at 15:00 in Meeting Room E, Service Headquarters

·        30 October at 15:00 in Meeting Room E, Service Headquarters

The October meeting would be moved if necessary to align with the visit by West Yorkshire Pension Fund. SP to confirm the date of the visit.