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Agenda and minutes

GMFRS Local Pensions Board - Firefighters Pension Scheme
Tuesday, 14th July, 2015 2.00 pm

Venue: CLT Meeting Room, Fire Service Headquarters, 146 Bolton Road, Swinton, M27 8US. View directions

Contact: Donna Parker, Democratic Services Manager  Email:  parkerd@manchesterfire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Paul Argyle, Director of Emergency Response and Paul Etches, Fire Officers Association.

 

2.

Welcome and Introductions by Alyson Hall, Director of People & Organisation Development (DPOD)

Minutes:

Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager took the opportunity to welcome everyone to the first meeting of the GMFRS Local Pension Board – Firefighter Pension Scheme Meeting.

 

3.

Insight into the role of the Pension Boards by Clair Alcock, LGA Firefighter Pensions Technical Advisor

Minutes:

Clair Alcock, LGA Firefighter Pensions Technical Advisor, was in attendance and gave an update on the introduction of the Local Pension Boards which came into force on 1st April 2015.

 

It was reported that The Public Service Pensions (PSP) Act 2013 included several provisions relating to better governance and improved accountability of all the various public sector pension schemes. These arrangements would apply to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and other Public Sector Schemes including the schemes for civil servants, armed forces, NHS, teachers, judiciary, police and firefighters. There were a number of requirements within the PSP Act 2013 which impact on the Firefighters Pension Schemes (FFPS). One of the provisions was the requirement to establish a local Pension Board for each Fire Authority, with responsibility to assist the administering authority (also known as, the scheme manager):

 

- To secure compliance with; The Firefighter’s Pension Scheme regulations and any other legislation relating to the governance and administration of the LGPS, and; the requirements imposed by the Pension Regulator in relation to the FFPS; and the requirements imposed by the Pension Regulations in relation to the FFPS: and

-  To ensure the effective and efficient governance and administration of the FFPS.

 

A copy of the Firefighter’s Pension Scheme (FFPS) Guidance on the creation and operation of Local Pension Boards in England and Wales was circulated at the meeting for Board Members’ information.

 

Board Members had a detailed discussion on the role of Pensions Board going forward and asked questions on how other Fire and Rescue Authorities had established their Local Pension Boards and the role of the LGPS Advisory Committee including the governance arrangements. Clair Alcock, LGA Firefighter Pensions Technical Advisor answered all questions and queries accordingly.

 

Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager, thanked Clair Alcock for attending the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the update and comments raised, be noted.

 

4.

Background, Purpose and Responsibilities of the Pension Board (DPOD) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager, advised that at the meeting of the Authority on 23rd April 2015 (Minute 86 – Pensions Board – Firefighters’ Pension Scheme refers) the Pension Board was established in compliance with the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Regulations and associated legislation. The Authority also appointed the Chairman of the Authority and Deputy County Fire Officer as Employer Representatives of the Pensions Board.

 

The role of the Local Pension Board as defined by The Firefighter’s Pension Scheme (amendment) (Governance) Regulations 2015 was to assist GMFRS as Scheme Manager to:

 

- To secure compliance with the Firefighter’s Pension Scheme Regulations and any other legislation relating to the governance and administration of the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes

-  To secure compliance with requirements imposed in relation to the Firefighters Pension Schemes by the Pensions Regulator

-  Ensure the effective and efficient governance and administration of the Firefighters Pension Schemes

-  Provide the Scheme Manager with such information as it required to ensure that any member of the Pensions Board or person to be appointed to the Pensions Board does not have a conflict of interest.

 

The Pension Board shall provide an annual report to a full meeting of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority and would include information on the business conducted by the Pensions Board with any risks or concerns identified and mitigation steps proposed. The Pension Board would also ensure it effectively and efficiently complied with the code of practice on the governance and administration of public service pension schemes issued by the Pensions Regulator.

 

The Pensions Regulator had published two guidance documents entitled ‘Public Service Pension Boards’ and ‘Public Sector Pension Board Members’ and was attached at Appendix A and B of the report for information.

 

RESOLVED: That the update, be noted.

 

5.

Draft Terms of Reference for the Local Pensions Board for Greater Manchester Firefighters Pensions Scheme (DPOD) pdf icon PDF 196 KB

Minutes:

Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager presented the draft Terms of Reference for the Local Pension Board Members and requested that the document was approved in principle subject to the LGA Local Pensions’ Board Training that was taking place in July 2015.

 

It was reported that the Local Pensions’ Board would be constituted as follows:-

 

a) Two Employer Representatives who could demonstrate their capacity to represent the employer, and their knowledge and understanding of the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes.

b)  Two scheme Member Representatives who could demonstrate, their capacity to represent other scheme members, and their knowledge and understanding of the Firefighters Pension Schemes.

c)  The Board would appoint a Chairman on an annual basis from amongst the Members of the Board.  The Chairman would have a casting vote in the event of the equality of votes and would be appointed at the next Board Meeting.

 

The Local Pensions’ Board would initially consist of a total of 4 Members.  However, this was subject to review and further appointments may be made, if required by the Local Pensions’ Board after the initial training session that was taking place in July 2015. Gary Keary, FBU, raised his concern that the formal quorum of the Board was 3 Member and no substitution was permitted. In response, Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager confirmed that this would be reviewed at the next meeting once the training session had taken place.

 

It was reported that the Pension Board was not a decision making body, however, only Board Members who were employers and representatives would have individual voting rights. The Local Pensions’ Board would be accountable to the Scheme Manager.

 

Donna Parker, Democratic Services Manager, raised the issue of Members Declarations on Interests at meeting and how best these should be recorded. Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager, stated that a standard item titled ’Conflict of Interest’ would be published on all future agendas and requested Donna Parker, Democratic Services Manager, to research how other Fire and Rescue Authorities were addressing this issue.

 

A detailed discussion was had on the Employee representation on the Local Pensions’ Board being split equally between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Fire Officers Association (FOA). Gary Keary, Employee Board Member advised that the FBU felt that this did not take into consideration the difference in membership between the two trade union bodies, and recommended that a democratic approach was taken to electing employee’ side representatives. In response, Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager, suggested that expressions of interest could be sought from members of all the Fire Pension Schemes’ and that a selection process

 

Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager, advised that she would be leaving GMFRS at the end of August 2015.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

1.  The content of the report and comments raised, be noted.

 

2.  The draft Terms of Reference of the Local Pensions’ Board, be approved in principle, subject to change following the LGA Local Pension Board Training Sessions in July 2015.

 

3.  A standard item titled ’Conflict of Interest’ would be published on all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Local Pension Board Training (DPOD) pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Minutes:

Alyson Hall, Scheme Manager, advised that the Local Government Association (LGA) had invited Local Pension Board Members and their advisers to participate in Local Pension Board Training. Key speakers would be in attendance from DCLG, Eversheds, The Pension Regulator, KPMG and LGA to provide an overview and insight into the requirements of the Local Pension Board.

 

It was reported that 5 sessions were being held across the country. A session was being held at GMFRS Training and Development Centre on 30th July 2015, which Gary Keary (FBU), Tony Holt, Paul Etches (FOA), Donna Parker, Democratic Services Manager and Councillor David Acton, Chairman of the Authority would be attending. Paul Argyle, Assistant Scheme Manager, was due to attend the session at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Training Centre on 22nd July 2015.

 

Councillor David Acton asked if the training sessions could be filmed for those who could not attend. In response, Alyson Hall advised that she would raise this request with the Corporate Communications Directorate and Clair Alcock, LGA Firefighter Pensions Technical Advisor would raise this request with the LGA.

 

RESOLVED: That the dates of the ‘Local Government Association (LGA)’ Local Pension Board Training, be noted.

 

7.

Any other business

Minutes:

There were no items of business submitted.

 

8.

Date and frequency of future meeting (DSM)

Minutes:

Board Members agreed that the Local Pension Board should meet three times a year namely September, February and May with additional meetings being arranged as required at the agreement of the Chairman.

 

RESOLVED: That the Democratic Services Manager arrange the meeting dates for the 2015/16 municipal year.