Report of the Director for Corporate Services
A report relating to the Staffordshire Pensions Committee Training Needs Analysis and Training Policy 2022/23 was presented to the Pension Committee for consideration and approval.
The Committee were informed that Section 248A of the Pensions Act 2004, as amended by the Public Services Pensions Act 2013, required that trustees of occupational pension schemes should be trained and have knowledge and understanding of the law relating to pensions, the role of trustees, the principles of scheme funding and investment, and the management and administration of pension scheme benefits.
The Committee noted that the CIPFA Knowledge and Skills Framework identifies eight core technical areas where Pensions Committee Members were expected to have a general awareness and understanding of the key elements in each area.
The eight core areas were:
· Pensions Legislation and Guidance
· Pensions Governance
· Funding Strategy and Actuarial Methods
· Pensions Administration and Communications
· Pensions Financial Strategy, Management, Accounting, Reporting and Audit Standards
· Investment Strategy, Asset Allocation, Pooling, Performance and Risk Management
· Financial Markets and Products
· Pension Services Procurement, Contract Management and Relationship Management.
All Pensions Committee Members, Local Pensions Board Members and Senior Fund Officers were asked to complete a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) during November 2021. The results of the TNA for the Pensions Committee, the Local Pensions Board and Senior Fund Officers showed a generally good level of collective knowledge across all 8 areas. Senior Fund Officers results reported significant levels of knowledge across all areas of activity. The results of the TNA would be used to inform the delivery of general and specific, targeted, training in the future and a review would take place again in late 2022.
It was explained to the Committee that, as with all training plans, some flexibility in terms of times and methods of delivery would be required. Where appropriate, training would be incorporated into scheduled Committee and Board meetings in June, September, December and March and two dedicated training sessions for both Committee and Board members would be held in July and November. The Committee were provided with a proposed training scheme for 2022/23, derived from the detailed results of the 2021/22 TNA.
It was explained to the Committee that it is best practice, and a further demonstration of good governance, to set out the Pension Fund’s approach to the training of all individuals charged with the oversight of the Fund. A revised version of the Staffordshire Pension Fund’s Training Policy was presented to the Committee. This incorporated the requirements of the updated CIPFA Knowledge and Skills Framework, including a set of seven statements which the Pensions Committee was asked to formally adopt.
Cllr Sutherland referred to the online training which he had found to be a helpful tool and suggested that Committee members work through the modules and use it to refresh their knowledge.
RESOLVED - (i) That the results of the 2021/22 Training Needs Analysis at Appendix 2 in relation to the requirements of the CIPFA Knowledge and Skills Framework, be noted.
(ii) That the resultant 2022/23 Training Plan in paragraph 11 of the report, be approved.
(iii) That the Staffordshire Pension Fund’s revised Training Policy, attached at Appendix 4 to the report, be approved.