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Posted by: John Brace | 20th January 2015

Councillors recommend that they chose who will receive £thousands for sitting on new Pensions Board

Councillors recommend that they chose who will receive £thousands for sitting on new Pensions Board

                                                                   

Above is video of the Pensions Committee meeting of 19th January 2015.

Pensions Committee Wirral Council Merseyside Pension Fund 19th January 2015 L to R Pat Phillips Cllr Geoffrey Watt Cllr Mike Hornby Cllr Chris Carubia Cllr Nick Crofts Cllr Harry Smith

Pensions Committee Wirral Council Merseyside Pension Fund 19th January 2015 L to R Pat Phillips Cllr Geoffrey Watt Cllr Mike Hornby Cllr Chris Carubia Cllr Nick Crofts Cllr Harry Smith

I’ll start this piece by declaring an interest as my father is paid a pension by the Merseyside Pension Fund administered by Wirral Council.

Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee (which form part of the governance arrangements for the Merseyside Pension Fund worth billions of pounds) met yesterday evening. The agenda and reports for this meeting are on Wirral Council’s website.

The first main item on the agenda was the creation of a Pensions Board which I’ve previously written about when it was discussed at a previous meeting of the Pensions Committee last year.

The original recommendation in the report had been “That Members consider the proposals for the Wirral Pension Board set out in this report and the draft Terms of Reference and advise officers of any required amendments before submission for approval and implementation by Wirral Council.”

The Chair of the new Pensions Board will receive £2,751 a year (plus travel & subsistence expenses) and the employer/employee representatives will receive £1375.50 a year (plus travel & subsistence expenses). Just before the meeting started a much more detailed recommendation was handed out. This was agreed at the meeting and is now a recommendation to a future meeting of all Wirral Council councillors. One of the implications of the revised recommendation is that three councillors (who are not on the Pension Committee) will form a selection panel to choose who is on the new Pensions Board.

The complete revised recommendation is below:

“1. Pensions Committee agrees and recommends to Council:

a) the establishment of a Pension Board pursuant to regulations (The Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2014) in accordance with the Terms of Reference set out in appendix 1, subject to the membership being agreed by Council and the Terms of Reference being amended to confirm that the board shall be quorate providing a minimum of 4 members are present.

b) that the Pension Board shall have the authority to do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of its functions.

c) the establishment of a selection panel by the Council in accordance with appendix 3 to consider and assess applications received and undertake interviews. The selection panel is to make recommendations to Council with regard to appointments to the Board.

d) that the Head of Pension Fund be authorised to implement the administrative arrangements required to undertake a recruitment exercise necessary for the selection and appointment of members to the Board.

e) that the definition of independent member for the purposes of the Board shall be agreed as:

  • not a current elected member or employee of a participating scheme employer
  • has not been an elected member or employee of a participating scheme employer in the past 5 years

f) that in respect of the two active member representatives, the initial appointment to the Board for one of the representatives shall be for a term of 6 years and the other for 4 years; that in respect of the two representatives of local authorities, police/fire/transport authorities and parish councils, the initial appointment to the Board for one of the representatives shall be for a term of 6 years and the other for 4 years.

g) that the Pensions Committee (and the Heads of the Pension Fund and of Legal and Member Services after consultation with the Chair of the Pensions Committee prior to the meeting of the Council in March 2015) may recommend to Council changes to the Board and its Terms of Reference having regard to the final form of regulations and statutory guidance.

2. that the Selection Panel’s Terms of Reference as set out in Appendix 3 shall be that:

  • it shall comprise 3 elected members
  • it shall not consist of current Pensions Committee members
  • There shall be two advisors to the selection panel: the Head of Pension Fund and a representative from the Fund’s external auditors.

3. That the following amendments be made to the Board’s terms of reference set out in appendix 1.

a) Section 3 “Members of the Board shall cease to be a member of the Board if they do not attend two consecutive meetings and fail to tender apologies which are accepted by the Board” be substituted for “Other than by ceasing to be eligible as set out above, a Board member may only be removed from office during a term of appointment by the majority agreement of all of the other members. The removal of the independent member requires the consent of the Scheme Manager”.

b) Section 3 the following shall be added: “In the event of the independent member not being available for a Board meeting, a Vice Chair for that meeting shall be determined by the Board members”.

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Responses

  1. Don’t these greedy vultures already get enough money with allowances as a councillor as well as sitting on this that and another committee as well as travelling expenses notwithstanding the paid employment or pensions both state & industry pensions.
    I was a trustee of my companies pension fund & well as two other trustees and none claimed a penny and our pension was 115 per cent over funded not like the Merseyside pension fund which is I understand is only 77 per cent funded & guess who will eventually pick up the short fall yes you have guessed it the poor ratepayer will pick up the tab as usual. So what mismanagement has gone on in the past to show these disastrous deficit.
    As usual answers on the back of a fag packet .

    • Thanks for your comment. You are right that the Merseyside Pension Fund isn’t fully funded. I think there will be at least one independent member on the Pensions Board, so when it is all agreed by Council, considering your experience why not consider applying for the position?

      In the past it was suggested that employers in the fund increase their contributions to make the Merseyside Pension Fund more fully funded. However the response from some local councillors representing the local councils on Merseyside was that they don’t want to do that as they’d prefer to spend their budgets on matters other than increased pension contributions and therefore usually insist that any increases are either not implemented or delayed.

  2. Hi John judging by the previous pension committee decisions I don’t think even with my help or advice there is little or no chance of rescuing the previous maladministration of this important fund. It is not a question of increasing benefits but actually meeting past & current obligations.
    Thanks you for considering me for the position but I think Wirral council is a lost cause.

  3. And as the Council starts its cuts on the budget, when Council employee’s start doing less hours, and when it comes to get retirement , their pensions will be even less, as its worked out on their last five years in employment.

  4. Fairy Tale

    Wirral Chamber aiming to have five small business hubs across the borough and grow revenues to £3.5m.

    Bring in the Administration to stop the nonsense of putting “Chamber Pots” in vacant buildings, courting and feting Stellas’, Reno holidays, China trips gifting people like “Wirral Funny Bizz” super profits that make their salaries and pay off’s look like peanuts.

    Ooroo

    James


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