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Public service pension schemes code laid in Parliament

Ref: PN15-02
Wednesday 14 January 2015

A new code of practice to help public service pension schemes meet governance and administration legal requirements has been published by The Pensions Regulator.

The code is particularly directed at scheme managers and pension board members of public service schemes. It sets out the standards of conduct and practice expected of them and also includes practical guidance to help them comply with legislation, including new requirements, which come into force in April 2015.

The draft code (PDF, 167kb, 67 pages) has now been laid before Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly and is subject to Parliamentary procedure. Together with the legislation, the regulator’s powers will come into force from 1 April 2015.

The regulator has published an essential guide (PDF, 45.9kb, 8 pages) to help scheme managers and pension board members navigate the code.

The regulator’s executive director for DC and public service pension schemes, Andrew Warwick-Thompson said:

“High standards of governance and administration are vital to ensure that members of all schemes receive the benefits they are owed at the right time.

“This code has been produced to help scheme managers and pension boards for public service schemes meet the legislative requirements and achieve those high standards. We will be working with those involved in running public service schemes to understand and embed the code, and if necessary we will use our powers to ensure the legal requirements are met.”

You can watch a video which accompanies this press release using the above media player. To view subtitles select the subtitles icon at the bottom of the video. You can also download a full transcript of the video (PDF, 51kb, 3 pages).

The regulator has published its regulatory strategy for public service schemes, outlining how it will assist scheme managers and pension board members to improve governance and administration practices and comply with the law by educating and enabling them, and enforcing legal requirements if necessary.

To support the code and regulatory strategy, the regulator has developed a number of learning resources as part of a new public service section of its website.

These aim to help schemes deal with issues such as how the scheme is run, internal dispute resolution procedures and how effectively schemes manage contributions. Additionally, an online e-learning programme and further tools will go live shortly.

Editor's notes

  1. The Public Service Pensions Act 2013 and Public Service Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 introduce the framework for the governance and administration of public service pension schemes and provides for extended regulatory oversight by The Pensions Regulator.
  2. This code relates to public service pension schemes established under the Public Service Pensions Acts, new public body pension schemes and to other statutory pension schemes which are connected to those schemes. It does not apply to schemes in the wider public sector.
  3. The regulator received 54 responses to its consultation on the code from a wide range of stakeholder groups including government departments, pension administrators, legal and actuarial advisers, pension consultancies and trade unions. Most responses were broadly supportive of the draft code. In particular, respondents generally agreed that the draft code covers the relevant legislation and that it gives practical guidance about ways in which scheme managers and pension board members can comply with the legal requirements for which they are responsible.
  4. The regulator will consult on its compliance and enforcement policy for public service schemes in the coming weeks. This will outline its approach to regulation and risk, how it will engage with schemes, and when it will move to enforcement.
  5. The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. We have objectives to: protect members’ benefits; reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).
  6. You can view the consultation and supporting documentation in regulating public service pension schemes. We’ve also produced further resources and support to help those involved with managing public service schemes.

Press contacts

Katherine Long 01273 811859

Matt Adams 01273 662086

Out of hours 01273 648496

www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

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