News

1st September 2022 DLUHC launches its climate risk reporting consultation

DLUHC has launched its consultation regarding governance and reporting of climate change risks. The consultation seeks views on proposals to require Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) administering authorities in England and Wales to assess, manage and report on climate-related risks, in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 24th November 2022.

26th August 2022 SAB Chair writes to Paul Scully MP on age discrimination in LGPS benefits

The Board Chair, Cllr Phillips, has written to the Minister recommending reform of the LGPS rules on death grants and survivor benefits. This is to address recent challenges that the current rules are discriminatory and also to investigate “future proofing” Scheme benefits against potential future legal challenge.

3rd August 2022 SAB Chair writes to Paul Scully MP on Audit issues within the LGPS

The Board Chair, Cllr Phillips, has written to the Minister outlining issues facing funds as a result of audit issues relating to the main local authority accounts. The letter proposes separating pension fund accounts from main local authority accounts as a potential solution to the problem, and asks the minister to task officials to work with the Board and its committees to consider the benefits and risks of such an approach.

3rd August 2022 SAB publishes statement in response to UKLFI's letter to the SAB Chair

The SAB has published a statement in response to UKLFI's letter to the SAB Chair. The full statement is available on the BDS section of the SAB website.

2nd August 2022 McCloud update from DLUHC

DLUHC has provided an update on its work to rectify “McCloud” age discrimination. This has already been shared with LGPS administering authorities in England and Wales and software suppliers. Full details are available in the July LGPC bulletin.

21st July 2022 New ministers for the LGPS

We understand that Paul Scully MP will be the new minister for Local Government and will therefore take up responsibility for the LGPS. We expect that the change of minister, and the process of electing a new Conservative party leader / Prime Minister, may lead to some delays in current workstreams, however we will continue to work with the Department to minimise those as much as possible. The Board Chair, Cllr Phillips, has written to the minister to welcome him to his new role. The Chair previously wrote to the new Secretary of State, Greg Clark MP, seeking an assurance that the consultation on TCFD reporting can proceed as planned for the Autumn, if not sooner. Information on Greg Clark can be found here.

21st July 2022 Academy Trust and Local Government Pension Update

The Department for Education (DfE) has made a written ministerial statement confirming an extension of the guarantee that the closure of an academy trust will not lead to any outstanding LGPS liabilities reverting to the fund. This guarantee was first made in 2013 and now includes a new increased annual ceiling of £20m. The Guarantee provides academy trusts with direct Government backing for certain pension costs. The DfE has asked administering authorities to ensure that this is reflected in this year’s scheme valuation, both in the setting of employer contribution rates and the length of deficit recovery periods. A Parliamentary Minute which sets out the detail of the Guarantee, has been laid in both Houses.

20th July 2022 Net Pay Arrangement Anomaly

HM Treasury has published draft legislation confirming that certain low earning individuals who contribute to pension schemes via a Net Pay Arrangement (NPA) will receive a direct top-up payment from HMRC from 2024-25 onwards, as announced at Autumn Budget 2021. This payment will mean that NPA savers receive the same level of top-up as those who contribute via a relief-at-source arrangement. According to HM Treasury, 1.2 million people are eligible for this pay boost, with 200,000 set to see a £100 increase in their take-home pay. The average beneficiary would receive an extra £53 a year. Further details can be found here

29th June 2022 LGPS 2016 Scheme Valuation Report published by Government Actuary's Department

GAD has published its report on the 2016 scheme valuation which calculates the cost cap cost of the scheme using HM Treasury's valuation directions, as at 31st March 2016. The report concludes that the costs of the scheme were 1.2% below the target cost, meaning no action is required to be taken as there is no breach of the 2% corridor..

12th May 2022 DLUHC publish Special Severance Payment Guidance

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published statutory guidance on the making and disclosure of special severance payments by local authorities in England. The guidance sets out the criteria employers should consider in the circumstances in which it may be appropriate to make a special severance payment. It also the clarifies the disclosure and reporting requirements.

11th May 2022 Queen's Speech Update

Today the government’s legislative programme was laid out and as expected a Procurement Bill was included which will cover the procurement, purchasing and investment decisions of public bodies. The programme also includes a Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Bill. The BDS Bill is the same as announced in the 2021 Queen's Speech.

27th April 2022 Board Chair writes to Minister Kemi Badenoch MP in response to the Levelling Up White Paper

Cllr Roger Phillips has written to the Minister to set out the Board's response to the Government's Levelling Up White Paper which was published in February 2022.

19th April 2022 Board Chair and Secretary meet with Minister Kemi Badenoch MP

Cllr Roger Phillips and Board Secretary Jo Donnelly had a useful meeting with the Minister after the Easter weekend. Topics discussed included climate risk and reporting regulations for the LGPS and broader responsible investment themes (including BDS); levelling up; pooling and the impact of National Living Wage increases in the coming years on local government.

17th March 2022 Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill receives Royal Assent

The Queen has now given Royal Assent to the PSPJO Bill so it becomes the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022.

11th March 2022 Further note on amendment on investment in the light of foreign and defence policy

The amendment was passed by the Lords on 9th March and will now form part of the PSPJO Bill. A further note containing extracts from Hansard and questions on the effects of the amendment is available on the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions page of this site.

9th March 2022 Letter from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to Pension Committee Chairs

The letter sent by the Secretary of State today to the Chairs of Pensions Committees is available on the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions page of this site.

4th March 2022 Note on LGPS Investments in Russia

Further to the update on 28th February 2022 below, a related note has been drafted which is available on the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions page of this site.

28th February 2022 LGPS Investments in Russia

In the light of events in Ukraine and resultant extant and potential sanctions by the UK government any LGPS funds who are not already doing so are advised to consider the implications for their investment portfolios and discuss with their pools and asset managers what action should prudently be taken.

23rd February 2022 BDS amendment to McCloud Bill

An amendment to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill relating to investment in line with UK foreign and defence policy was passed at the report stage on 22nd February. Further details can be found on the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions page of this site

22nd February 2022 McCloud Bill reaches final stages

The report stage and third reading of the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill will take place on the afternoon of 22nd February. The final list of amendments will be debated, and if any are passed which relate to the LGPS, in particular NC1, further information will appear on this site

18th February 2022 Further amendments to the McCloud Bill

Further amendments to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill have been laid and will be debated at report stage on 22nd February. Given the importance of the Bill passing by the end of March we would not expect those amendments not laid by the government or directly related to McCloud to have the backing of the government. In particular the amendment laid by Robert Jenrick MP [NC1] covers ground slated for the Boycotts Disinvestment and Sanctions Bill which was included in the Queen’s speech and is expected later in this parliament.

2nd February 2022 DLUHC publishes Levelling Up whitepaper

Today the government published the Levelling Up whitepaper which includes references to LGPS funds having plans for up to 5% of assets to be allocated to projects which support local areas. We understand that in this context local refers to UK rather than local to a particular fund and that there will be no mandation beyond the requirement to have a plan. Further details will emerge over the period up to an expected summer consultation which we understand will also include the outstanding climate risk and reporting regulations and the pooling guidance.

1st February 2022 Change to DLUHC email addresses

From 1st February 2022 DLUHC email addresses will change from @communities.gov.uk to @levellingup.gov.uk There will be a period of transition whilst both domain names will work.

31st January 2022 DWP Consultation on Pensions Dashboards Regulations Launched

DWP have launched a consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations. The consultation closes on 13th March 2022.

25th January 2022 Meeting with Mr Michael Lynk

The Chair of and representatives from LAPFF, together with the SAB Secretary held a call with Michael Lynk on 11th January to discuss his letter to funds. The discussion was productive and it was agreed to it follow up with another call in a month or so. It was made clear that LGPS funds’ primary objective in investment is to ensure pensions are paid but they do take human rights issues seriously in their decisions and through LAPFF are actively engaging with many of the companies listed on the database. In that respect Mr Lynk will provide further information on the database in particular the process for removing companies from it. LGPS Funds who are considering responding to Mr Lynk may wish to reference this ongoing discussion.

25th January 2022 - Representation on LGPS pools

Following representations from the Chair of Access Pool, the statement from the Board on fund member representation within LGPS pool governance structure published on the 21st December 2021 has been amended on the Investment Pooling Updates page

21st January 2022 PSPJO Bill amendments for LGPS

Amendments in respect of the LGPS to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill have been laid before parliament in advance of committee stage next week. A summary will be provided on the McCloud page of this site once we have had chance to examine them in detail.

7th January 2022 Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) Judicial Review Dismissed December 15th 2021

This Judicial Review claim argued that the process around the consultation conducted by HM Treasury in summer 2020 in response to the McCloud/Sargeant cases was legally flawed. The element of the consultation of paramount concern to the PSA was the closure of legacy public service pension schemes on 31st March 2022. The judge found some of the grounds arguable, and that there had been legal errors in the decision-making process following the consultation. However, the judge found that the errors were not material and did not ultimately affect the outcome or content of the consultation response. The judge also stated that “the courts must not do anything directly or indirectly that would delay the passage of a Bill through Parliament, or which would directly or indirectly tell Parliament what the form or content of a Bill should be”. This is a reference to the fact that the Parliamentary process is underway in relation to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill. The full judgment can be found here

At present, the outcome of this Judicial Review has no impact on the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Earlier News articles can be found on the News Archive page