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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 01/04/2003
STOCKTAKE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME



This report seeks the endorsement of the Executive to supporting the response prepared by the Local Government Pensions Committee to the discussion paper on the Local Government Pension Scheme as issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

There are no resource or environmental implications arising from this report. There are other implications which are referred to in the report.
APPENDIX F

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE - 1ST APRIL 2003

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Title:
STOCKTAKE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME

[Wards Affected: N/A]
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Summary and Purpose

This report seeks the endorsement of the Executive to supporting the response prepared by the Local Government Pensions Committee to the discussion paper on the Local Government Pension Scheme as issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

There are no resource or environmental implications arising from this report. There are other implications which are referred to in the report.

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Introduction

1. In August 2001, the Government announced a six month Stocktake of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) with a report being presented to Ministers at the end of January 2002.

2. The Government announced the initial findings of the Stocktake on 16th May 2002 and these were followed by a series of more detailed discussion papers. The first discussion paper, which included a number of questions concerning the benefits package offered under the LGPS, was issued on 9th September 2002.

3. The Employers’ Organisation asked local authorities whether the Local Government Pensions Committee (LGPC) should take the lead in assessing the issues raised in the Stocktake discussion. Two thirds of respondents replied in the affirmative.

4. As a consequence, the LGPC set up a Working Party which has prepared a draft response to the discussion paper which, as amended, has been approved by the LGPC and the Employers’ Organisation.

5. Local authorities have been invited to indicate their agreement, or otherwise, to the main points being made by the LGPC.

Background

6. The LGPS is the most significant of the conditions of employment offered by Waverley and this is, therefore, an important matter. It is felt appropriate that Waverley should make its views known.

7. However, Waverley is a small player in the LGPS. It has 440 employees in membership of the LGPS that, nationally, has a membership of some 2.7 millions.

8. Also, the LGPS is administered at County Council level and your officers do not have a detailed and in-depth knowledge of all matters related to the LGPS. On that basis, it is realistic that Waverley should use the LGPC draft to put forward its views.

The LGPC Response to the Discussion Paper

9. Attached as Annexe 1 to this report is a copy of the Local Government Pensions Committee (LGPC) Circular No. 130, which summarises the LGPC response, and includes Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 of that circular.

[Note. These documents are as distributed to Members of the Executive at its meeting on 17th March 2003.]

10. Circular 130 contains a further six appendices that contain background information. Copies of these will be provided by the contact officer for this report, on request.

11. The key (not the only) concerns that the stocktake is addressing in order to ensure that the LGPS remains viable and is relevant to its members are:

Ongoing ‘bear’ markets affecting investments

The age profile of local government employees is rising

Increasing longevity of scheme members

12. The key (employment related) issues proposed by the LGPC are, in summary:

Response from Surrey County Council to the Discussion Paper

13. Your officers are aware of the draft response that has been prepared by Surrey County Council. This is subject to agreement by its Audit and Governance Committee that was scheduled to meet on 27th March 2003.

14. The County Council response is in respect of the employment related matters identified above and is broadly similar to the response from the LGPC. However, in order to maintain the flexibility that the current provisions provide, the County Council has decided not to support the increase in the minimum age for early retirement, other than for reasons of ill-health, from 50 to 55 years.

Response from Waverley Borough Council to the Discussion Paper

15. Your officers are aware, through the various networks in which they participate, that the general inclination of local authorities is to support the views of the LGPC.

16. On the matter of the minimum age for early retirement, your officers understand the line being taken by Surrey County Council. Early retirement is a matter that is entirely at the discretion of the employing body. The employing body may never exercise that discretion but maintaining the possibility to do so at the age of 50 years may be an important factor in managing change in the workforce.

17. However, it is your officers view that, in recognition of increased longevity, of Government’s proposals in respect of retirement ages, and impending legislation on age discrimination, it is more important that these issues should be recognised and that the provisions of the LGPS should be actively adjusted accordingly. The proposal is, therefore, to support the LGPC view on this matter.

18. The LGPC has asked for local authorities to respond by indicating agreement (or otherwise) to the various points in the draft response, i.e. we may agree or disagree to any or all of the points.

19. Thereafter, we are requested to respond to the ODPM which we may do by merely saying that we endorse the views expressed by LGPC identifying, if necessary, any exceptions and the reasons why. Human Rights Implications

20. There are no specific human rights implications arising from this report

Community Safety Implications

21. There are no factors impacting on section 17 requirements of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Resource/environmental implications

22. There are no resource or environmental implications arising directly from this report.

"Opportunities for All" implications

23. The issues in the discussion paper raise some equality considerations in respect of proposals to vary provisions within the LGPS whilst offering protection to existing members of the Scheme.

Conclusion

24. Your officers see no reason to disagree with the views of those who have expert knowledge on the detail of the range of pension matters. As such, endorsing the views of the LGPC is considered to be the appropriate course of action.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive authorises officers to:

1. endorse the views of the Local Government Pensions Committee (LGPC) on the Stocktake of the Local Government Pension Scheme and advise the LGPC accordingly; and

2. write to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to affirm that Waverley's views are in line with those of the LGPC.
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Background Papers (CEx)

Other background data attached to the Local Government Pension Committee Circular No 130 not annexed to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Richard Wood Telephone: 01483 523387
e-mail: rwood@waverley.gov.uk







COMMS/EXEC/2002-03/612