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RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2019 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
The Director of Corporate Service referred to paragraph 21 relating to the Staffordshire Pension Fund Annual Report and Accounts 2018/19 and indicated that these had now been sign-off by the Auditor and published by the December deadline.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the Pensions Committee held on 27 September 2019 be noted.
Report of the Chair of the Local Pensions Board
Note by clerk: Ms McCready left the room for the consideration of this item.
The Board were reminded that due to the terms of office of four Members of the Board coming to an end, three new appointments were made at the Board meeting on 27 September 2019. Following these appointments one vacancy remained for a Scheme Employer representative and nominations were sought via the Staffordshire Chief Finance Officers Group (SCFOG).
The outcome of this was that two expressions of interest were received and albeit one interested party subsequently withdrew, the other, Tracey McCready decided to apply for the vacancy. Ms McCready’s Employer had approved her application as being a suitable “officer of a scheme employer” and an “active scheme member”.
Ms McCready was therefore invited to meet with the Scheme Manager and Chair of the Board so that the role and responsibilities of a Board Member could be discussed together with her relevant skills and experience. Following this meeting, the Scheme Manager and Chair were minded to recommend to Members that Ms McCready be appointed to the Board representing Scheme Employers for a 4-year term to 2024.
The Board were also informed that a further vacancy would arise later this year when the Pensioner Member representing scheme members reached the end of his term of office. It was therefore recommended that expressions of interest be sought from retired members through an advert in the next In-Contact magazine to appoint a scheme member representative from October 2020.
In response to a question from Mr Birch concerning the likelihood of being successful in recruiting a Pensioner Member through an advert in the In-Contact magazine, the Director of Corporate Services indicated that a similar exercise had recently taken place to recruit a co-opted member to the Pensions Committee and had resulted in 2 or 3 people applying for the role.
RESOLVED – That:
(a) Tracy McCready be appointed to the Board, as an Employer Representative, representing larger Employers within the Staffordshire Pension Fund; and
(b) That expressions of interest be sought from retired members, through an advert in the next In-Contact magazine, to appoint a scheme member representative from October 2020.
Regional Pensions Board Chairs meeting
Oral report from Gordon Alcott
The Chairman informed the Board that, on his behalf, Gordon Alcott had attended the last meeting of the Regional Pensions Board Chairs. He explained that the following matters had been considered at the Regional Chairs Meeting:
· Revised Pooling guidance yet to be issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
· Feedback from the LGPS Central training session held in June.
· The Scheme Advisory Board’s “Good Governance Review”.
· The potential issue of guidance from the Scheme Advisory Board on Responsible Investing.
· The release of the Pension Regulator’s cohort engagement report.
· Local Pensions Board Annual reports
· Date of next Regional Pensions Board Chairs meeting – 16 March 2020
In response to a question from Mr Jenkinson, the Director of Corporate Services undertook to make enquiries as to where the Pensions Boards of the Partner Funds in LGPS Central published their annual reports and to forward this information to the Members of the Board.
Mr Jenkinson also extended an invitation to members of the Board to join him at the next Regional Pensions Board Chairs meeting.
RESOLVED – That the update be received.
The Role of the Local Pensions Board
Training by Hymans Robertson
The Board received a presentation from Mr Ian Colvin from Hymans Robertson outlining the role and responsibilities of Local Pensions Boards. The presentation covered the following matters:
· General Pensions Framework
· Primary Legislation
· LGPS Regulations and Guidance
· Who’s who at national level
· Who’s who at a local level
· Role of the Pensions Committee
· Functions of the Pension Panel
· The role of the Local Pension Board
· What should the Local Pension Board be doing?
RESOLVED – That Mr Colvin be thanked for his presentation.
Presentation by Director of Corporate Services
The Board received a presentation by the Director of Corporate Services providing an update on the LGPs Central Pool. The presentation covered the following matters:
· The background to LGPS Pooling
· The Governments criteria for Pooling
· The establishment of LGPS Central
· LGPS Central’s governance arrangements
· Cost and value for money
· LGPS Central’s investment offering
· Progress since 2028
· What LGPS Central is responsible for
· What more might LGPS Central do for Staffordshire
· Pooling Progress
RESOLVED – That the presentation be received.
Report of County Treasurer and Presentation by Staffordshire Internal Audit Services
The Board received a report of County Treasurer and presentation by Deborah Harris and Leanne Teece of Staffordshire Internal Audit Services updating them on the development of an assurance framework for the LGPS Central asset pooling arrangements.
They were informed that Staffordshire County Council were currently leading on a co-ordinated and collaborative Internal Audit response to the new arrangements operating within the Pool which had involved consultation with all Partner Funds Internal Audit functions, External Audit Partners, the Practitioners Advisory Forum and LGPS Central Ltd. A collaborative approach had been favoured in developing assurance over the new pooling arrangements operating within LGPS Central to:-
· ensure a consistent approach to all Partner Funds when providing assurance to their own organisation in relation to Pension Pooling;
· prevent duplication so that LGPS Central and LGPS Central Ltd are not having to deal with audit queries from all Partner Funds Internal and External Auditors;
· effectively share information between Internal Audit Partners and also between Internal Audit Partners and LGPS Central and LGPS Central Ltd; and
· identify risks and mitigating controls at an earlier stage.
As part of this collaborative approach, Staffordshire County Council’s Internal Audit Service had led on the development of an assurance framework applying the three lines of defence model, focusing on the management controls, oversight governance arrangements and independent assurance required to provide assurance to Partner Funds that potential risks regarding pooling had been considered and were mitigated. The assurance framework was approved by the Internal Audit Working Group (IAWG) in March 2019 and looks at the control environment for the LGPS Central Pool only.
The LGPS Asset Pooling Assurance Framework was structured using LGPS Central’s (the Pool) own Risk Register and focused on the following risk categories:
· Governance Risks;
· Company Risks;
· Financial & Operational Risks;
· Investment Risks; and
· Wider Pooling Risks.
How the LGPS Asset Pooling Assurance Framework should be applied by the collective and individual Partner Fund Internal Audit Functions was also set out in a formal Internal Audit Approach document which was finalised in June 2019 by the IAWG. This document identified that assurance was required annually across each of the categories of risk. Elements of this assurance were obtained as a collective of Partner Fund Internal Audit services whilst other elements were obtained individually by Partner Fund Internal Audit services.
For those risks where assurance was obtained as a collective, there was a need to ‘share the workload’ with no-one Partner Fund Internal Audit service covering all risks in any one year. In 2019/20, the following collective reviews were undertaken:
In addition to the above internal audit reviews, the Internal Audit Working Group reviewed, discussed and fed back comments following receipt of the Company’s Internal Controls Progress Report in the summer of 2019.
RESOLVED – That the development of an assurance framework by Staffordshire County Council’s Internal Audit ... view the full minutes text for item 48.
Dates of Future Meetings
27 March 2020
26 June 2020
10 July 2020 (Joint Training with Pensions Committee)
25 September 2020
6 November 2020 (Joint Training with Pensions Committee)
18 December 2020
26 March 2021
RESOLVED – That the dates of future meetings be noted.
Exclusion of the Public
The Chairman to move:-
‘That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) indicated below’.
RESOLVED – That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972 indicated below.
Exempt Minutes from the Meeting held on 27 September 2019
(Exemption paragraph 3)
(Exemption paragraph 3)
The Director of Corporate Services referred to paragraph 41 relating to Annual Benefit Statements and indicated that the Board would receive an update at their next meeting on the Date Scores and the Data improvement Plan.
RESOLVED - That the exempt minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2019 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
Exempt Matters arising from the Pensions Committee meeting held on 27 September 2019
(Exemption paragraph 3)
Exempt Minutes attached
(Exemption paragraph 3)
RESOLVED – That the exempt minutes of the meeting of the Pensions Committee held on 27 September 2019 be noted.