Review of academies
Academies - update from meeting 29th March 2017
On the 29th March, Councillor Roger Phillips, Chair of the Board, met with the local government Minister, Marcus Jones, and Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the school system to discuss the findings of the PwC report and agree next steps. Councillor Phillips set out the three mechanisms for change highlighted in the report including non-regulatory measures within the LGPS; regulatory measures within the scheme and thirdly, measures outside of the LGPS including through primary legislation.
Ministers were supportive of the Board’s conclusion that nothing would be gained without some degree of change. Ministers agreed that the immediate focus should be to explore the scope for resolving the identified issues within the LGPS, either by way of general guidance, statutory guidance or, where necessary, through changes to the scheme’s regulatory framework. Although agreeing to focus on solutions within the scheme at this stage, Ministers were also clear that should these not prove effective, more radical measures outside of the LGPS would not be completely ruled out.
Next steps– Ministers agreed that DfE, DCLG, GAD and the Board should continue to work closely together to pursue solutions, engaging key stakeholders including pension funds, actuarial firms and academy trusts as appropriate. The next stage will be to gather relevant evidence and develop specific proposals for change that the Board will consider before submitting its recommendations to Ministers for their consideration.
4th April 2017
Academies - update from Advisory Board meeting 6th March 2017
At the meeting of the Scheme Advisory Board on 6th March 2017, PwC presented the draft report “Options for Academies in the LGPS”. The report was commissioned by the Board to review current issues faced by the LGPS and associated stakeholders in relation to academies participating in LGPS funds in England. The Board is anxious to point out that the draft report makes no attempt to make any recommendations. Instead, it outlines a number of issues raised by stakeholders and how they envisage these concerns being resolved.
Although, in principle, the Board accepted the draft report’s findings, it was agreed that no statement should be made ahead of discussions with DfE and DCLG about PwC’s findings and next steps. The Board is hopeful that such a meeting will be possible later in March to be followed as soon as possible by a formal statement from the Board regarding publication and next steps.
14th March 2017
The Scheme Advisory Board (SAB), in support of its work plan for 2016/17, intends to investigate the issues and develop options to address those issues with regard to the policy objective to convert all schools to academies and what this would mean for LGPS pension funds and their host authorities. In progressing this work the Board will ensure that officials at DfE and DCLG are fully aware of its scope and potential outcomes as the co operation of these Departments will be instrumental in achieving any positive outcomes.
Phase 1 of this work commenced with an invitation to bid for the collection and analysis of issues both current and potential. To assist bidders, background information on the LGPS and academies was provided (see link below) PDF 4 pages 259kb
Several bids were received and, after careful evaluation of the elements required, the work was awarded to PwC.
PwC have now commenced work to identify the issues of the current academy/LGS relationship and the implications of future increases in academy schools and MATs as perceived by a range of stakeholders (e.g. schools, MATS, relevant government departments, relevant unions, academy payroll service providers, and pension funds) . The issues will be grouped into areas including;
- actuarial and funding
- investment and
- legal (including member representation)
and will be further grouped into the possible general directions of travel required to address them (better arrangements within the current scheme, changes to the current scheme and changes outside of the scheme).
PWC's report will be presented to the Board at its March 2017 meeting to enable a proposal for a general direction of travel to be considered.
If a general direction of travel can be agreed a further period of more detailed work will be undertaken including working up detailed options for guidance, regulation and/or primary legislation together with full consideration of the potential benefits and obstacles of each. It should be noted that no matter what the outcome of this work no decisions regarding changes to the LGPS with regard to academies can be made by the Board who can only recommend such changes to the Secretary of State.
Board secretariat February 2016