Councillors recommend that they chose who will receive £thousands for sitting on new Pensions Board
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Above is video of the Pensions Committee meeting of 19th January 2015.
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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