London Fire Brigade

Agenda and minutes

LFEPA Local Pension Board
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 2.30 pm

Venue: G-04 - Ground Floor, 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL. View directions

Contact: John Johnson x30084, or 020 7983 4926 

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Noting the Board’s Terms of Reference in respect of the annual rotation of the chair, the Board is asked to elect a Chair from the Employee’s Side.

 

Minutes:

The Board noted that its Terms of Reference stipulated that, in this second year, the Chair of the Board  be nominated from one of the employee representatives.

 

  • Gareth Beeton (FBU) was appointed as Chair.

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies received from Councillors Jack Hopkins and Oonagh Moulton for the Employer’s Side, and from Matthew Herrington (FOA) and Paul Embery (FBU) for whom Joe MacVeigh substituted for the Employees’ Side. 

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 27 May 2016.

Minutes:

  • Agreed the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 27 May 2016.

 

4.

Declarations/Conflicts of Interest

The Board are asked to declare any interests and/or conflicts of interest.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations or conflicts of interest declared by Board Members.

 

5.

Membership/Substitute Members and Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The Board is asked to note the Membership of the Board as set out on the agenda paper, and the named Employee Side substitute Members as follows:  Joe MacVeigh, Greg Edwards and Jason Hunter (all FBU); Richard Welch (FOA); and Sabrina Cohen–Hatton (Prospect).

 

The Board is also asked to note the attached Terms of Reference of the Board, as confirmed at the Annual Meeting of the Authority on 30 June 2016.

 

Minutes:

 

The Board noted the Membership and Terms of Reference (as attached to the agenda) and agreed at the 30 June Annual General Meeting; and the named substitute Members set out on the agenda paper..

 

6.

Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) Update and Discussion with Chair of SAB pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Report by the Head of Human Resource Management – providing an update on the SAB. The Chair of the SAB will also be attending the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board received a presentation from Malcolm Eastwood (Chair) and Clair Alcock (Firefighters’ Pension Adviser) on the current position with the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) (England).

 

A document relating to the presentation was circulated to Members – see Appendix 1.

 

The Board were updated on the membership and set-up of the SAB; governance and the ‘escalation framework’ arrangements; its consultations with central Government; the current Work Plan and budget; the dissemination of best-practice advice; proposals for sub-groups and sharing of information; and current future and  live issues such as the ‘contributions holiday’ and tax law changes.

 

Board Members were encouraged to attend the SAB’s Fire Pensions Conference which was taking place on the 10th and 11th of October.   

 

Mr Eastwood and Ms Alcock answered questions from Board Members.  It was confirmed that invitations were to be sent in due course to local Board Members to participate in the work of the SAB Sub-Groups, and that the Clerk of the Board should liaise with the SAB regarding future training possibilities for LFEPA Board Members.

 

Agreed – That the report be noted and that the Clerk consults the SAB regarding any future training possibilities for Board Members.

 

7.

Firefighters' Local Pension Board - Update Report pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Report by Head of Finance updating the Board on various matters.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Adrian Bloomfield introduced the report, drawing the Board’s attention to current legal cases impacting on the pension scheme, including issues such as loss of protected pension age and the transitional arrangements for the 2015 Scheme; and current issues such as auto enrolment, employees opting out of the schemes and the LPFA shared service proposals.

 

In reply to questions from Members, Mr Bloomfield confirmed that officers recorded the reasons why staff were opting out, particularly new employees, and no pattern had emerged in relation to stations/watches. The Board asked for a report or briefing on the matter, setting out the varying reasons given.

 

It was confirmed that the LPFA had written to relevant staff about the imminent tax changes.

 

Agreed –

 

·         That the report be noted; and

 

·         That officers provide a report or briefing outlining the varying reasons for staff opting out of the pension schemes.

 

8.

Provision of Information pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report by the Head of Human Resource Management – providing information to the Board on the Firefighter Pension Schemes.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dominic Johnson introduced the report, confirming the data set out in Appendix 1, including the increasing number of staff in the 2015 scheme, the declining number in the 1992 scheme, the high percentage of women in the 2015 scheme, and the data on opt-outs.  He confirmed that the June 2016 leavers and joiners statistics in the report were inflated due to the recent auto-enrolment exercise.

 

Mr Johnson updated the Board on the first IDRP case outlined on page 83 of the agenda.  Officers had received notification of a provisional decision to uphold the complaint, but would be making representations and believed there were likely to be strong grounds for appeal if the decision was confirmed.  The Board would be updated at its next meeting.

 

The Board discussed the reasons for firefighters ‘commuted to maximum amounts’.

In answer to questions from Members, Mr Johnson confirmed that following the expected abolition of the LFEPA, the Commissioner would become the Brigade’s Scheme Manager.

 

Agreed – That the report be noted.

 

9.

Firefighters' Pensions Administration: Shared Service pdf icon PDF 122 KB

A report on this subject is to be considered by the Authority’s Resources Committee on 16 September 2016.  A copy of the report will be forwarded to Board Members once it is published on 8 September, for information/discussion.

 

Minutes:

Adrian Bloomfield introduced the report.  In answer to questions from Members, he confirmed that the LFEPA/Brigade would be looking to make administrative savings from the Local Pensions Partnership if this were to become the permanent basis of the shared service.

 

Agreed – That the report be noted.

 

10.

Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Report by the Head of Human Resource Management – providing information, as previously requested by the Board, on the background and arrangements within the Authority for Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures under the Firefighters Pension Schemes.      

 

Minutes:

Dominic Johnson introduced the report and Jeff Lustig answered questions from Members.  Dominic Johnson confirmed that officers were satisfied that the IDRP decision-making bodies were properly constituted.

 

Joe MacVeigh stated that the FBU believed that the spirit of the legislation called for an independent appeal process, involving elected Members, notwithstanding the expected abolition of LFEPA.

 

Agreed – That the report be noted.

 

11.

Date of Next Meeting

The Board are asked to note that the next meeting will be held in January 2017, on a date to be confirmed by the Clerk following consultation with Members.

 

Minutes:

Agreed that the Clerk consults Board Members on a suitable date for the next meeting of the Board in late ..

 

12.

Any other business

Minutes:

Annual Benefit Statements

 

Advisers answered questions from Members regarding the lack of ‘widows pension’ information on some annual benefit statements, and confirmed that the Employees Side should encourage its members to contact the LPFA about any missing data.