Agenda item

Hampshire Fire Pensions Administration Report 2019/20

To receive a report providing an update on Pensions Administration for 2019/20.


Members received a report from Pension Services providing the Board with an update on pensions administration (Item 10 in the Minute Book).


The report was introduced and Officers outlined that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of staff had been homeworking and technology had enabled this to be fulfilled effectively.  By using Microsoft Teams software for calls, the telephone contact team’s functionality was now back to where it was pre-pandemic, and this software would continue to be used going forward.  It was noted that some staff have needed to go into the office during the pandemic and undertake certain office based tasks such as dealing with post and scanning.  As part of work being undertaken looking at processes and systems, areas of work which receive paper would also be examined to look at possibilities for future paperless working.  Members noted that when exploring possibilities for future paperless working, Officers would need to be mindful of factoring in the older age of clients and any difficulties this may present.


Members attention was drawn to Section 5 of the report which highlighted administration performance, and it was noted that for each quarter of the year, the Service Level Agreement of 15 working days for all processes had been met without exception.  It was explained that these figures were pre-Covid but the expectation was that this performance would continue to be high.


Officers outlined Section 6 of the report which illustrated that the uptake in Firefighters’ registering for the Members portal was disappointing, with a total figure of 16.2%.  It was noted that there had been a change to the process for new starters, and from April 2020 new starters would be asked to register to the portal to access starter information.


Section 9 of the report outlined work being undertaken to implement the new Combined Fire Authority (CFA) and the actions being taken to ensure all Isle of Wight fire pension data would be transferred by the 1 April 2021, and it was heard that this was progressing well.  Officers also highlighted the substantial audit ratings received by the pensions administration team as set out at Section 11, and how difficult it was to receive such a rating.  The Chairman extended his congratulations to the Team for all their work and the impressive audit outcome.


Questions relating to the report were asked of Officers. Members of the Board, whilst acknowledging there had been an increase in numbers, were concerned about the numbers registering for the portal, and discussed whether there were any other mechanisms which could be used to encourage sign-up.  Officers explained that there were communications linked to the Annual Benefit Statement and reminders were also published on the internal intranet but ultimately was reliant on personal responsibility.  It was noted that the new process in place for new starters would help to increase registration numbers and awareness.  It was also highlighted that consultations as referred to in the Scheme Advisory Board verbal update were also useful, and these would raise the profile and awareness of pensions.


The Chairman highlighted that in his role as Chairman of the Operations Management Board (OMB), he would take an action back to the OMB to look at communications amongst workforce teams.  This would also be an opportunity to look at the promotions route and whether anything could be targeted there to engage people as they progress through promotion.  In answer to a query about opportunities to work with the Unions in joint working, the Chairman would also explore this further through the joint trade union mechanism and raise as an agenda item.





That the Firefighters’ Pension Board noted the contents of the report.

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