Public Service Pensions Bill

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY NORTHERN IRELAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS’ SUPERANNUATION COMMITTEE (PSP 09)

1. Introduction

1.1 The Public Service Pensions Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 13 September 2012. This paper provides specific details of those matters in the Bill which, in the view of NILGOSC, require amendment.

1.2 NILGOSC has not taken specific legal advice on these matters.

1.3 NILGOSC is the Northern Ireland Local Government Officer’s Superannuation Committee. It is the Non-Departmental Public Body with responsibility for administering the Local Government Pension Scheme for Northern Ireland (LGPS(NI)). NILGOSC’s sponsoring department is the Department of the Environment, one of the Northern Ireland Executive’s central government departments.

1.4 The Local Government Pensions Scheme in Northern Ireland has in excess of 92,000 members. 204 public sector employers use the scheme. The LGPS (NI) is a funded pension scheme.

2. Contents of the Bill

2.1. Clause 5 – Pension Board

2.1.1 Para 7 outlines those bodies which can act as a ‘relevant authority’. NILGOSC should be listed here but reference to it is missing. NILGOSC should be listed under 5(7)e as the relevant authority of the LGPS(NI). It is unnecessary to list clause (e), ‘a district council constituted under section 1 of the Local Government Act (NI) 1972’, as it is not relevant.

2.2 Clause 12 Employer Contributions in Funded Schemes

2.2.1 Para 92 of the explanatory notes, which deals with clause 12 of the Bill, expressly states that the Responsible Authority for the LGPS (NI) is the Department of Finance and Personnel. However, the draft Bill states in clause 12 (8) that the Department of the Environment the Responsible Authority. The Explanatory Notes need corrected.

2.3 Clause 14 Records

2.3.1 Under this clause, the Department of Finance and Personnel has the power to direct NI schemes to keep certain records. We would like it confirmed that it is the drafters intention that this power rests with Department of Finance and Personnel for the LGPS (NI) and not the Department of the Environment.

2.4 Closure of Existing Pension schemes

2.4.1 Para 1 states describes a ‘closing date’. The word ‘closing’ has specific meaning for pensions schemes. It is NILGOSC’s understanding that the new LGPS 2014 scheme will be made by amending existing secondary legislation. Service will stop accruing on 31 March 2014 in the old schemes and will start accruing in the new scheme from 1 April 2014, but the old scheme will not close. An alternative wording to ‘closed date’ should be found.

2.4.2 Para 4 states that the existing LGPS scheme will close on 1 April 2014 -this date should be 31 March 2014.

November 2012

Prepared 8th November 2012