Category Archives: Employer news

Obtaining I R M P opinions during the pandemic

The Local Government Association has received queries about obtaining opinions from Independent Registered Medical Practitioners (I R M Ps) during the current crisis. The Association of Local Authority Medical Advisers (A L A M A), confirmed that ill health applications should continue to progress during the pandemic and published the following statement:

“During the current COVID-19 crisis, it is important to continue to progress ill health retirement applications. It is also particularly important that assessments remain fair and reasonable, and that should include requesting GP and specialist reports as required. There has never been a requirement for these assessments to be face to face, therefore paperwork reviews, with telephone clarification if needed, is the most appropriate way to progress these.

If it is not possible to get reports, an assessment should be based on whether reports are likely to influence your decision further, and whether you have enough objective evidence to make an opinion. Opinions should always be ‘on balance of probability’. There will be times when you simply don’t have sufficient objective evidence to support ill health retirement, and you have been unable to get clinical reports. You should suggest that the applicant requests copies of clinical reports direct from their GP.”

Employers and administering authorities may experience delays in obtaining an I R M P’s opinion in relation to an ill health retirement application or a Tier 3 ill health review. Any such delay could affect the date from which an ill health pension is payable, or the date that a Tier 3 pension is upgraded to Tier 2. To help them make their decisions, employers and administering authorities may wish to ask I R M Ps to include in their report information about any delays due to COVID-19 that have affected the member’s application.

LGA LGPS Corona Virus Webinar

The LGA Pensions Team recently ran a 30 to 40 minute Zoom webinar aimed at LGPS employers. The webinar covered employer issues that have arisen due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Government measures put in place in their response.

A recording of a previous session is now available for viewing and can be found at the following link;- LGA webcast

McCloud judgement (UPDATE)

As you will be aware, the Government has confirmed that the McCloud judgment applies to all public service pension schemes. Despite this, we are aware that companies are actively encouraging members of these schemes to lodge costly claims. The pensions challenge website is one example of this.

It is important that members are made aware that if they qualify for protection it will apply automatically. They do not need to make an employment tribunal claim. Please communicate this to your employees.

Covid-19 employer FAQ’s

The LGA have created a series of FAQ’s in relation to the current Covid-19 virus.  The latest version can be found here

Draft Pension Administration Strategy (PAS) document for consultation.

Over the last few months a review has been conducted of the Pension Administration Strategy (PAS) which has been in place since 1st April 2015. The review has been carried out in accordance with regulation 59 of the Local Government Pension Regulations and follows the 2018 restructure of Peninsula Pensions, changes to LGPS regulations, advances in technology and improvements to performance monitoring. The review also reflects the growth in membership and demands of Scheme members and employers.

The draft PAS documents have been reviewed by the Devon Pension Board and the Investment & Pension Fund Committee’s for both the Devon and the Somerset Funds and we now intend to consult with all Scheme Employers.

Please can you review the relevant draft strategy document below and respond with any comments or suggestions to quoting “Consultation on Devon PAS” or “Consultation on Somerset PAS” in the subject heading by 19th January 2020.

Draft Devon Fund Pension Administration Strategy

Draft Somerset Fund Pension Administration Strategy

Written Statement on Cost Cap Process

Further to the proposed regulation changes outlined in January’s edition of Pensions Line and at the PLOG’s last week, we have received the following email from the Scheme Advisory Board:

The Government has today published a written statement which announces a pause in the cost cap process for public service pension schemes pending the outcome of the application to appeal the McCloud case to the Supreme Court. A copy of the judgement can be found here 

The statement can be found here

Although the statement gives no timescales for the outcome of this case we understand it could be late 2019 or early 2020 before we know.

The LGPS Advisory Board (SAB) will now consider whether, given this announcement, it should withdraw the benefit change recommendations made to MHCLG as a result of its own cost cap process.

We understand that the LGPS could, if McCloud is upheld, be required to make changes to the underpin and that such changes would need to be taken into account in a revised SAB cost cap result.

In taking a view, the SAB will be aware that delaying benefit changes to possibly 2020 while backdating them to April 2019 would constitute a significant administrative burden on administering authorities and employers. Although SAB will immediately start considering next steps it should be stated that even if the SAB wishes to press on any changes to benefits can only be made with the agreement of Government.

Therefore although administering authorities may wish to continue to prepare for the SAB recommended cost cap benefit changes (as set out in our email of the 21st December) they should not anticipate their implementation unless and until such time as MHCLG formally consult on them.

We will naturally keep you updated as we hear more.

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McCloud update for employer’s

Posted on by mark griffin

The Local Government Association(LGA) have produced guides for employer’s in respect of data collection and a Q&A.  The documents can be viewed here;-

Q&A document for employers

Data Collection

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MHCLG Publish McCloud consultation for the LGPS

Posted on by mark griffin

MHCLG has published a consultation on amendments to the statutory underpin. The consultation seeks views on proposed changes to the LGPS in England and Wales to remove the unlawful age discrimination identified in the McCloud judgment.  The consultation can be found here;-

Consultation on statutory underpin

The 12 week consultation will close on 8 October 2020. please check for the latest news.

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Please check your email address book

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

We are now compliant with the new Government Digital Service (GDS) standards for email encryption. This means that there is no longer any need for separate GCSX email addresses.

To make sure that your emails still get to us, please update your email address books by removing ‘gcsx’ from any addresses you currently hold. If you do attempt to use a ‘gcsx’ address, your email may bounce. 

The changes guarantee that any email sent from a address, to an address ending in any of the following, remains secure:
Please be aware that we’re currently updating our forms and leaflets with new email addresses.

For any questions, please get in touch with Employer and Communications Manager, Shirley Cuthbert.

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Pensions Line May 2018 amendment

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

An amendment to the Annual Allowance email address. Pensions Line May 2018 amendment.

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Pensions Line May 2018

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

… including GDPR, the Annual Allowance for 2017/18, and LGPS Bulletins and Amendments. Pensions Line May 2018.

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Pensions Line March 2018

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

… including information on Employee Contribution Bands, Salary Sacrifice Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contributions, and payment of pension fund contributions. Pensions Line March 2018.

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February 2018 Pensions Line

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

… including information on the Devon Pension Fund Annual Consultative Meeting. February 2018 Pensions Line.


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Automatic enrolment and transitional delay update

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

The LGA has released an update in the LGPC Bulletin 163 to confirm that the DWP agrees with the Pensions Regulator’s (TPR’s) guidance – please see our website for further details.

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Clarification regarding ill health retirement process

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

The Pensions Ombudsman has asked all employers to be alerted to a trend they have identified whilst dealing with LGPS ill health retirement complaints.

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Annual Employer PLOG Meetings

Posted on by Shirley Cuthbert

Now is the time to book your place at one of our annual employer meetings. These meetings are for those staff who are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Local Government Pension Scheme for either the Devon or Somerset Pension Funds.

The meetings will be held at three venues to cover the geographical catchment area for employers within both funds:

Tuesday 23rd January 2018  at Caddsdown Business Centre, Bideford

Wednesday 24th January 2018 at Taunton Racecourse

Thursday 25th January 2018 at Exeter Racecourse

This year we are running sessions before and after the main talks so our day will be spilt into three sessions. If there is someone who doesn’t usually attend these meetings but you feel they may benefit from any of the sessions, then please book them a space – they do not have to attend the main presentations unless they wish to. Find out  more and book here.

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