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

Introduction

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

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;

  • administration
  • 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.

Phase 2

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