London Fire Brigade

Agenda and minutes

LFEPA Local Pension Board
Friday, 3 February 2017 10.30 am

Venue: Corporate Management Team Meeting Room, 3rd Floor (Director's suite), 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

Contact: John Johnson 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies received from Councillors Jack Hopkins and Leonie Cooper AM for the Employer’s Side, and from Matthew Herrington (FOA) and Paul Embery (FBU) for whom Richard Welch and Joe MacVeigh substituted respectively for the Employees’ Side.  Apologies were also received from adviser, Neil Lewins (LPFA).

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 13 September 2016.

 

Minutes:

  • Agreed the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 13 September 2016.
  • Agreed that the Clerk consults appropriate Members/Alternate Members/Advisers/ Clair Alcock (of the Scheme Advisory Board, SAB), and Members of other FRAs’ local pension boards regarding a further training session.

 

3.

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.

4.

Firefighters' Local Pension Board - Update Report pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Report by Head of Finance updating the Board on various matters, including a Scheme Advisory Board update.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Adrian Bloomfield introduced the report, drawing the Board’s attention to: –

 

  • The current position on the employee contributions holiday, as set out in paragraphs 12-15 of the report.  In reply to questions from Members, advisers agreed to confirm whether spouses/civil partnersof deceased pensioners were entitled to the contributions holiday payment.

 

  • The SAB update at paragraphs 24-25 (any Members interested in sitting on a SAB Sub-Group were asked to notify the Clerk).

 

  • Pension-related LFEPA Budget pressures as set out in paragraph 30.

 

  • The Pensions Regulator (TPR) public service governance survey referred to in paragraph 37 (officers had produced a related report on Risk Management – at item 6 - in view of the importance placed on that subject by TPR).

 

In reply to questions from Members, advisers confirmed that, although the LFB did not employ retained firefighters, it was responsible for its share of the additional national cost relating to retained firefighters becoming eligible to join the firefighters pension scheme. 

 

Advisers also confirmed that the Brigade would have to adhere to any future reforms relating to public sector exit payments, though it was expected that the limited circumstances where this might affect the Brigade would predominantly relate to non-uniformed staff.

 

Agreed –

 

  • That the report be noted.

 

  • That it be confirmed (via the Clerk) whether spouses/civil partnersof deceased pensioners are entitled to the contributions holiday payment.*

 

  • That Members interested in sitting on a SAB Sub-Group notify the Clerk.

 

*Officers have since confirmed that a deceased’s estate is entitled to receive payment of the refund of the contributions. There are currently 11 cases with the Government Actuaries Department for confirmation of the value of the refund due, and the Brigade will be in contact with personal representatives to arrange payments.

 

 

5.

Provision of Information pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report by the Head of Human Resource Management – providing information to the Board on the Firefighter Pension Schemes, including data regarding reasons for staff opting out of scheme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dominic Johnson introduced the report and drew Members’ attention to: -

 

  • The rising percentage of employees who were not in any scheme (now at just under 10% of the workforce) and the higher than average number of women and BME staff within that group.

 

  • The available data (included within the report) on the varying reasons given by staff for opting out of schemes, which generally indicated that employees were opting out for ‘value for money’ reasons.

 

  • The updated information given on IDRP cases, scheme discretions and LPFA performance.

 

Following discussion, Members asked officers to report back to the next meeting of the Board with some ideas as to how the Brigade could better encourage and promote scheme inclusion to all staff and particularly women and BME employees. 

 

Joe MacVeigh reiterated the FBU’s concerns about the growing disparity between the number of employees paying in to schemes (4,753) and the number of ex-employees collecting pensions (7,365)/deferred pensioners (1,212). 

 

Agreed –

 

·         That the report be noted.

 

  • That officers report back to the next meeting of the Board with proposals as to how the Brigade could better encourage and promote scheme inclusion to all staff and particularly women and BME employees.

 

 

6.

Firefighters' Pensions - Managing Risks pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Report by the Head of Finance – informing the Board of the current position with the management of risk relating to the firefighters’ pension schemes and considers whether a separate risk register is required.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Adrian Bloomfield introduced the report and advised that, as the LPB had no decision making responsibilities in relation to the FPS, and that related risks were currently being addressed in registers elsewhere (e.g. internal Finance Department, and LPFA), it was not essential for the LPB to have its own risk register as this time.  The position would be reviewed once the SAB had a register in place. 

 

In reply to questions from Members, it was confirmed that officers would continue, where possible, to offer advice/support and share best practice with other FRAs’ local pension boards, and that the proposed training session (item 2 above) would be a further opportunity to do that.

 

·         Agreed – That the report be noted.

 

 

7.

Date of Next Meeting

The Board are asked to note that the next meeting will be held in May 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 May (accounting for the FBU conference from 9-12 May 2017 and the school half term holiday at the end of that month) or early June 2017

8.

End of Meeting

Minutes:

The meeting ended at 10.59am.