Report of the Director of Corporate Services
hadstill been achieved in several areas of the 2020/21 Business Plan including;as well as continuing to do the ‘day job’ and the increasing challenges that this presents ordinarily, the majority of the Treasury & Pensions Team faced additional challenges as they moved to home working during March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The team had continued to work from home since then and, in addition to delivery of a Business Plan, had adapted many of their day to day working practices to maintain a high standard of service provision to all stakeholders. However, successes
· Following a scaled down promotional campaign, due to the pandemic and the wider move to home working, increasing the awareness and use of the Member Self Service / My Pension Portal and issuing most of the Annual Benefit Statements electronically by 31 August 2020;
· Continuing to make good progress with i-Connect; and
· Following a competitive tender process, the re-appointment of Hymans Robertson as the main Investment Advisors to the Pensions Panel.
Understandably, several planned activities for 2020/21 had been delayed or scaled back but good progress had still been made, for example:
· A Covenant Monitoring process had been developed which would sit alongside the Hymans on-line Funding Level Review tool; and
· Following the 2019 move to Utmost plc, scoping work and data collection had begun for the external review of Additional Voluntary Contribution providers.
Full details would be included in the final outturn report to be presented to the Pensions Committee at their meeting in June 2021.
The Committee were informed that the Business Plan for 2021/22 was, once again, split into 2 distinct sections. The first section dealt with Key Development Activities, which aimed to make the way the Team worked more efficient and effective. The second section dealt with the activities that the team needed to undertake as part of the day job, but which impacted significantly at certain points in the year or which happened as a by-product of another activity e.g. finalising the year end data. Once again, several of last year’s development activities had now been re-categorised into Business as Usual activity, including the continuing implementation of i-Connect, the engagement with payroll providers and producing the Annual Accounts in line with CIPFA’s new reporting requirements.
Several areas that the Treasury & Pensions Team had identified as Key Development Activities in 2021/22 included:
· Planning for the implementation of remedial action arising from the McCloud / Sergeant judgement (& possibly Goodwin) to include collection of retrospective data from Employers – Approximately 31,000 Fund members were in scope;
· Re-tendering for the Administration System provider, which will include the need for an externally hosted platform service;
· Promoting and encouraging the use of Member Self Service / My Pension Portal to Retired Scheme Members (with the aim of issuing the majority of P60s and payslips electronically);
· Assessing the output from the Scheme Advisory Board’s Good Governance Review and considering how best to implement any actions identified; and
· Developing a Staffordshire Pension Fund Climate Strategy and Climate Stewardship Plan.
RESOLVED – That the Staffordshire Pension Fund Business Plan for 2021/22 be approved and that the key challenges be noted.