Report of the Director of Finance
The Pensions Committee received a report of the Director of Finance relating to the Staffordshire Pension Fund Business Plan 2023/24.
Progress on 2022/23 Business Plan
The disruptive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic no longer affected the service provision. The hybrid working arrangements allow officers to continue to embrace the developments that have been made in technology, and the impact these had on operational activities.
The experience, dedication and enthusiasm demonstrated across the Treasury & Pensions Team enabled the ongoing delivery of a high level of day-to-day service provision to all the Fund’s stakeholders, as well as the delivery of several Key Development Activities from the 2022/23 Business Plan. These included:
Performance Standards 2022/23
The Committee was made aware of the challenges implicit in administering the LGPS, and the regulatory complexity that brought with it. Planning for a wide range of new and changing legislation meant that there would always be more to do.
The Fund had experienced a small increase in staff turnover over the last 12 months which had not been helped by a challenging recruitment environment; a problem echoed nationally across other LGPS. However, the recruitment program had continued and whilst the level of applicants had fallen, several successful appointments had been made. The Fund had finally been able to introduce a new five pillar team structure, which would future proof the service and allow for succession planning. This had facilitated internal promotions, to a new wider Management Team.
Key Developments for 2023/24
Several areas that the Treasury & Pensions Team had identified as Key Development Activities in 2023/24 included:
Cost and Resources
The Pension Committee heard that the Fund had six main areas of ‘resource/cost’:
The most expensive area was highlighted as the Investment Management Fees. Whilst this figure appeared high the return on investment demonstrated that the Fund was receiving value for money in this area.
In response to a question asking what was included in the “other expenses” costs, the Committee was informed that the cost was predominantly associated with the independent performance management fees. It was confirmed that a more detailed breakdown would be brought to the June 2023 Committee meeting.
In response to a question asking how many Fund officers worked from home, it was confirmed that 100% of the team were offered a hybrid working option, meaning they were able to work both from home and in the office at various times throughout the working week. The Committee was also informed that specific “team days” had been arranged to ensure officers were able to spend time together on a regular basis.
Resolved: That the Staffordshire Pension Fund Business Plan for 2023/24 be approved, and the key challenges, be noted.