The Pension Regulator - Improvement Notice
The Chairman welcomed the Chairman of the Local Pension Board, Professor Geoffrey Alderman.
The Head of Treasury and Pension, Mr George Bruce introduced the report. He summarised the contents of the Improvement Notice issued by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) on 25 July 2019 to London Borough of Barnet to address weaknesses in the processes and controls within the administration of the Barnet Pension Fund. He therefore informed Members that the report outlined the improvement and actions taken to respond to the Notice.
The Chairman of the Local Pension Board, Professor Geoffrey Alderman was welcomed to address the Committee. He outlined the role of the Local Pension Board and therefore stated that the Board had voiced concern in relation to data cleansing and Scheme employers. He said that the Local Pension Board was unimpressed that the External Auditor was not in attendance at the last Board meeting and therefore Board Members were not able to cross examine the report. Mr Bruce said the external auditor had agreed to attend the next meet of the Local Pension Board.
Councillor Alison Moore spoke in relation to the letter from the Pensions Regulator. She said that a high volume of cases and issue were outstanding, including the late circulation of Annual Benefit Statements to some Scheme Member. Councillor Moore acknowledged that a lot of work had taken place and stated that further work was still required to have a robust pension’s administration service. Councillor Moore added that the Council should not have got into the situation and therefore questioned if there were enough resources in place to deliver the work in order to resolve the large number of open cases. Councillor Moore noted that a number of people had not received an annual benefit statement and requested that such Members be written to with an update.
Mr George Bruce responded to these points as did Mr Paul Faulkner who outlined that there were Scheme Members who had not received Annual Benefit Statements. Mr Faulkner said that extra resources had been deployed in order for work to be completed.
Councillor Alison Moore requested to know what the additional cost was in order for the extra resources. Mr Faulkner said that there was no intention to charge the Council for any deployment of resources. Councillor Moore sought clarity on the level of training that Capita staff received, Mr Faulkner said that all staff were trained appropriately, he added that the Capita had a experienced Local Government team in place.
The Committee outlined some concerns in relation to the late payment of contributions from employers. Professor Geoffrey Alderman asked on behalf of the Local Pension Board why financial penalties have not been implemented to employers that had not submitted information The Director of Finance, Mrs Darr said that training was being provided and she noted that attention would be given for repeat offenders. It was noted that further informed would be provided. The Chairman requested that the Local Pension Board be updated in respect to this.
Councillor Moore said that an options paper should be submitted to the Policy and Recourse Committee. The Chairman requested that it be minuted that the Pension Fund Committee at its next meeting will consider the position which members duly noted.
Having considered the report the Committee:
- The Pension Fund Committee noted the content of the response and the actions taken to comply with the Notice and the verbal update from officers.
- The Chairman requested that it be minuted that the Pension Fund Committee at its next meeting will consider the position of requesting that Policy and Recourses receive an options paper, members duly noted this.
- TPR_Improvement_Notice, item 8. PDF 124 KB
- Appendix 1 – LB Barnet TPR response, item 8. PDF 399 KB
- Appendix A2- Contributions monitoring process notes, item 8. PDF 416 KB
- Appendix B - Conditional Data Cleanse update as at 22 August 2019, item 8. PDF 438 KB
- Appendix C - ABS Checking Report - Appendix 2, item 8. PDF 560 KB
- Appendix C - ABS Checking Report - Appendix 3, item 8. PDF 626 KB
- Appendix C - ABS Checking Report, item 8. PDF 718 KB
- Appendix D - Remediation plan_, item 8. PDF 817 KB