Agenda item

Fire Pension Board Status Report and Risk Register Review

To receive a report providing an update on the development of key issues.


The Board received a report which provided an update on ongoing issues (Item 12 in the Minute Book).  The report was introduced and the Board’s attention was drawn to the Risk Register at Appendix A of the report, and Members were invited to suggest any amendments to this.  The Chairman queried whether the risk ‘Regulatory and Compliance’ was still a medium risk?  Officers highlighted that the impact was still there but the likelihood after mitigation could be reduced to a score of ‘one’ as the risk was being managed well with connections to the SAB, information from the Pension Regulator and dedicated resources in place to examine new legislation.


Officers again highlighted the Sargeant/McCloud case as outlined in paragraphs 7 – 11, and the consultation which would be published tomorrow which would help significantly in explaining the timescales that remedy would apply to.  The O’Brien case was outlined which related to part-time working and pensions, and it was highlighted that the potential remedy and work involved in this going forward could be significant, and Officers were unsure at this stage how remedy would apply.


Paragraph 21 provided the Board with an update on Covid-19 and it was noted that while some Hampshire Pension Service workers had HCC supplied hybrids or laptops, other fixed desk workers were reliant on home PC’s to access systems which didn’t offer them full functionality.  As working from home would be in place until at least the end of September and possibly longer, HCC has recently made the decision to provide all fixed desk workers with the necessary IT equipment to work from home more effectively and efficiently.


Paragraph 26 highlighted that also as a result of Covid, some scheduled pre-retirement courses have had to be cancelled.  It was heard that the next course was scheduled for the 23 November, and the Board were asked to give their view on holding virtual pre-retirement courses if not in a position to run these face to face.  The Board supported holding these virtually if not in a position to run these face to face, which was the preferred option.  Members agreed that holding these virtually would ensure that those approaching retirement had the opportunity to receive relevant information they needed and also the opportunity to ask questions.  Officers were mindful that holding these courses virtually may not enable as much interaction, but separate one to one sessions could be arranged afterwards if needed.  The Chairman highlighted that he would follow this up with the academy that organise the courses and discuss the planning for these, potentially catering for both face to face and virtual courses depending on circumstances at the time, and to make people aware in advance. The Chairman would feedback to Officers after academy discussions.


Members noted that there had been a recent appointment panel for a new Scheme Member representative on the Board.  It was heard that the successful applicant would be recommended for appointment at the HFRA meeting next week.  The other applicant, who was also of a high standard, would be recommended to fill any future Scheme Member vacancy without the need for a further appointment process.


Officers drew attention to some of the preparations for the new Combined Fire Authority (CFA) as outlined at paragraphs 47 – 51 in the report, and arrangements for the creation of a new Firefighters’ Pension Board and Terms of Reference.  The Board’s thoughts were sought on the potential to increase membership on the new Pension Board by two members, to include Members from the Isle of Wight Fire Pension Board.  Jo Thistlewood from the Isle of Wight Council highlighted that their Scheme Member representatives were keen to ensure that there was ability for an Isle of Wight Scheme Member to be included on the new Pension Board.  It was noted that in governance terms this would need to be examined so were in a position to be able to appoint to the new Board before 1 April 2021. 


Members also questioned whether there would be any administration issues in transferring Isle of Wight pension data to the Hampshire pension system, but it was heard that this was progressing well.  Jo Thistlewood from the Isle of Wight Council highlighted that the total number of active, deferred and retired Isle of Wight Firefighters’ was under 400 and didn’t anticipate any difficulties with the transfer of data. 


Members also queried about temporary promotions with the formation of the new CFA, and Officers confirmed that this was in the process of being explored.


Questions were also raised about awareness of the new administration of pensions for Isle of Wight Firefighters’, and whilst Officers were confident that there wouldn’t be any huge differences, it would be helpful for Officers from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to discuss this further.  It was noted that as Isle of Wight Firefighters’ didn’t have a pensions portal, there could be an increase in numbers signing up to the portal with the formation of the CFA.


Members agreed to add an extra recommendation for an options report to be brought to the next Board meeting setting out options for membership and any other decisions that would need to be made in forming the new Pensions Board.  This would then need to be brought to the Shadow Authority for approval.




a)   That the content of the report was noted by the Hampshire Fire Pension Board


b)    That the Risk Register as set out in paragraphs 5-6 and APPENDIX A be approved by the Hampshire Fire Pension Board and the Board note that for Risk 4, ‘likelihood after mitigation’ be moved to a score of ‘1’.


c)    That the appropriate facilities for the pre-retirement courses as set out in paragraph 26 are endorsed by the Hampshire Fire Pension Board.


d)    That the Hampshire Fire Pension Board ask officers to explore options for the new Hampshire and Isle of Wight Pension Board as discussed at the meeting, and to bring a report to the next meeting of the Hampshire Fire Pension Board.

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