Members' Items (if any)
The Chairman requested that Councillor Alison Moore introduce her Members Items which she duly did. Councillor Moore outlined that there had been a repetition of unsatisfactory reports, reviews, data and although there had been some improvement the Pension’s Regulator had been required to intervene. Councillor Moore stated that there had been cause to request a change of the administration of the Pension Fund and noted that she had requested that the service become an in house model. She added the it was a requirement that key deadlines be met which had been an ongoing concern. She therefore requested that the Policy and Resources Committee receive an option papers and noted that the Committee had the power to review the position and make decisions for the benefit of the Council’s Pension administrating function.
Councillor John Marshall requested that an update from the Director of Finance be provided so that the deadline of 31 August 2019 was met. Councillor Danny Rich noted the importance of the item and outlined his support for Councillor Moore’s Members Item. He added that he had observed many concerns and frustrations and therefore he expected that options be considered to administer processes correctly.
The Director for Finance, Ms Darr noted that as a Member of the Local Government Pension Scheme she shared the Committee’s concerns and made the following points:
- That Capita were aware of the Council’s concerns and the choices that were available to the Council
- That the Council were monitoring progress against the Pensions Regulator’s minimum requirements for improvements to be made by the provider
- That the Council were observing the work performed by Caption in order for the annual benefit statement deadline of 31 August 2019 be met.
- She added that the Council were holding weekly meetings in order to track progress and receive updates
- That a plan was in place to deliver a good service beyond 31 August 2019 and not just stop at the minimum improvements required.
Councillor Moore gave her appreciation for the update, however she said that Members should be able to deliver a comprehensive scrutiny role and therefore she believed it was necessary that a range of options were required to exercise strong Governance arrangements. She confirmed that it was crucial that the Pension Fund Committee request that the Policy and Resource Committee is provided with a detailed options paper on alternative delivery options at the next meeting of that Committee. She added that it was necessary to exercise a proper challenge and scrutiny role and the Council need to understand what the wider options are so that the Pension Fund Committee are delivering a sound governance judgement.
The Chairman outlined that the Council were in contract with Capita and noted that the Pension Fund Committee didn’t have the power to choose or make a decision on the administrating provider. Councillor Alison Moore noted that it was important that the Pension Fund Committee request that the Policy and Recourse Committee receive an appropriate report with all relevant information so that an informed decision can be made with the Committee’s view and recommendation.
The Director for Finance, Ms Darr said that if the 3 tests, set by the Pensions Regulator, were not fulfilled and the deadlines not met, Officers will submit a report to Policy and Recourses Committee. The Chairman supported this. Councillor Moore said that the provider failings had been ongoing for many years and therefore regardless of the coming deadlines she requested to know if Capital could sustain the level of performance. She further questioned if there was capacity to provide a service to keep the Pension Fund in good health.
Councillor John Marshall said that the Committee should wait to see if the deadlines are met before the Committee make such a request and look at further options.
Councillor Anna Hutton said it was a function of the Committee to scrutinise the administration function, she added that a quality report of options was required and therefore she supported the item.
Councillor Anthony Finn sought clarity on the deadlines and therefore Ms Darr confirmed that the Pension Regulator has been clear that the deadline was 31 August 2109. She further confirmed that if Capita are not able to satisfy all the requirements then Officers would therefore submit a report of options to the Policy and Resources Committee.
Councillor Alison Moore said that the Pension Fund Committee should be on the front foot because for a number of years there had been an administration failing. She stated that she understood that a report to Policy and Recourses would be reported if there was a clear breach. She said that the reports presented to the Committee outlined that there are a number of ongoing issues and it concerned her if the contract obligations will be delivered.
Councillor Danny Rich stated that the Pension Fund Committee should be more ambitious and therefore the Council should be ahead of the game to ensure that Capita provide good quality data and reports within the required deadlines.
The Chairman said that although Members might agree that the service wasn’t as it should be the Committee should not now agree to make the request that a report be presented to Policy and Recourses.
Councillor Alison Moore said that because the next Pension Fund Committee was on 09 September 2019 and therefore very soon after the 31 August 2019 deadline she confirmed that the request be placed on hold until the next meeting of the Pension Fund Committee. She further added that the Committee must make a risk-based decision.
Having Considered the Members Item the Committee:
- That the Members Item be noted
- That the Pension Fund Committee noted that this item be revisited at the next meeting
- That the Pension Fund Committee agreed that the issue be taken very seriously