The Board and committees will meet virtually for the foreseeable future to ensure support for the scheme and contact with relevant government departments is maintained. The secretariat remains available at home by mobile, email or video (MS Teams or Zoom) as detailed on the contacts page.
There is now a Covid-19 News page on the lgpsregs site plus FAQs for scheme administrators and employers these will be updated as new information becomes available and further items for the FAQ are received or clarified.
The mortality impact reports on two LGPS funds commissioned in September 2020 have now been updated to include mortality data from the winter period and can be found on the COVID-19 Mortality page
The survey was sent to LGPS administering authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the results can be found on the COVID-19 Surveys page
On 25 June 2020, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 received royal assent and came into force on 26 June. The measures introduced by the Act which is designed to assist companies during the pandemic includes provisions for a moratorium during which companies can defer debts. The Board is seeking legal advice on the potential impact of a moratorium on employer deficit contributions.Links to the Act and further information are below;
The results of the LGPS COVID-19 Governance survey that was completed between 1st May and 15th May 2020 are now published in a summary document. Please use the link below to access the summary.
Details of the NHSC Life Assurance Scheme were published in 21st May. We have compiled a summary of the main aspects of the scheme which also contains links to further information and the rules of the scheme . Please use the link below to access the summary.
Thank you to all of you that took the time to complete our LGPS resilience and cash flow surveys the results can be found using on the COVID-19 Surveys page
A survey of administering authorities in England & Wales and Scotland in relation to cash flow. The results can be found using on the COVID-19 Surveys page
Coming into force on 30th April The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 extend the publication date for local authority audited accounts to 30th November 2020 with the public inspection period now starting on the first working day of September 2020. To accompany the regulations government has also produced an explanatory note.
At present there are no plans for an automatic extension of the publication date for LGPS fund report and accounts however MHCLG have requested that you inform us of any 'knock on' issues arising from these regulations to enable them to keep the matter under consideration
A survey of administering authorities in England & Wales and Scotland was conducted between 24th March and 6th April, the results can be found using on the COVID-19 Surveys page
TPR has now published Scheme administration: COVID-19 guidance for trustees and public service setting out the critical processes for administrators including paying members’ benefits, retirement processing, bereavement services, as well as any administrative functions required to support these.
Regulations enabling councils to hold electronic and digital meetings using virtual locations such as internet locations, web addresses or conference call telephone numbers come into force on 4th April 2020. Follow the link below and view regulations 5 and 6.
The Board has issued a statement concerning the 2019 valuations and the recent movements in equity markets
The PLSA have published Top Tips for DB Schemes and LGPS Funds . Although there are sections that are not directly applicable to the LGPS (TPR guidance for trustees, insurance policies, buy outs etc) there is a lot of good advice and guidance on how to approach dealing with the current situation facing pension schemes.
PASA have also issued Covid-19 Guidance for Administrators setting out priorities together with the basic and high level enablers to achieve them. Again not everything will be directly applicable to LGPS administration teams but nevertheless very useful.
On Friday TPR issued updated guidance for DB trustee schemes. Although not directly applicable to the LGPS the guidance includes matters faced by all private sector DB schemes such as valuation assumptions, employer contribution holidays and transfers and provide valuable insight into the regulator's approach.
We have been in contact with MHCLG regularly on a number of Covid-19 related matters and from next Wednesday we will hold weekly video calls to discuss administration issues. Included in these calls will be the feedback from the survey plus other issues raised by authorities and employers. These calls will inform our Q&A responses and assist MHCLG in considering any necessary guidance.
Some concern has been raised about the ability of pension committees to take decisions virtually. Section 78 of the Coronavirus Bill provides powers to the Secretary of State to make regulations regarding council meetings due to be held up to 7th May 2021. We understand that regulations are being worked on to come into force shortly after the Bill gains royal ascent.
The Board Chair has sent a letter to pension committee and pension board chairs with regard to the impact on service provision and supporting the request to administering authority pension managers from the Board Secretary
A message to administering authority pension managers from the LGA Head of Pensions and Board Secretary regarding service provision together with a request to complete an online survey on Covid-19 related issues to better inform discussions with MHCLG and to include in the forthcoming lgpsregs Q&A
On 16th March government announced an extension to the deadline for publication of local government financial audits from the end of July to 30 September 2020. Since then LGA have sought further clarification on this and whether this also affects the other deadlines, such as the sign off for the accounts. MHCLG have confirmed that they will be amending the whole chain of publication requirements in the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, not just the final publication date for accounts. The intention is that the date for the public inspection of draft accounts will move to the first 10 working days of July, which will mean that the accounts themselves will not need to be signed off until 30 June. We have asked MHCLG to confirm if it is their intent to apply a similar delay to the publication of scheme annual report and accounts.
The Chair of the Scheme Advisory Board, Councillor Roger Phillips, has today sent a letter to the Chairs of LGPS Pension Committees regarding the discretionary abatement of pensions for staff who will be returning to assist in the delivery of vital services:
There has been a lot of disturbing news lately about the fall in stock markets and the potential resultant impact on defined contribution pensions.
LGPS defined benefit pensions are not linked to stock market performance and are set out in statute.
Although short term investment values may vary, the LGPS as a long-term investor is securely managed to address any longer term impacts.
LGPS Scheme members can therefore be assured that both their contributions and their pension, whether in payment or built up to date, will be unaffected.