Public service scheme return overview video transcript
Cat Dean, Communications: Hello, today I’m talking to Joey Patel from the Public Service policy team about the scheme return process. So Joey, can we start by you explaining exactly what a scheme return is?
Joey Patel, Policy Lead: Sure, so a scheme return is how we collect information from pension scheme managers on their scheme – and giving us this information is a legal requirement. Pension managers can provide this information via our online Exchange service. The process starts with us sending out a scheme return notice and this provides the deadline for when schemes need to give us this information.
Cat: What sort of information are you asking for?
Joey: So, it’s really quite straightforward. The information we’re asking for is things such as the scheme name, the scheme address, the PSR number or the registration number and the HMRC reference number. We also ask for information such as the scheme membership – for instance, active, deferred and pensioner numbers. We’ll also ask for contact details for the scheme manager, pension board, employers and for the administrator. We’ll also ask for schemes to give us a scheme contact.
Cat: OK, and why do you need this information?
Joey: So it’s important that we have this information so we can contact people who run these pension schemes. It’s also a legal requirement for us to collect this information to maintain our register of pensions, and we use the scheme return to ensure that we can keep this information up to date. It’s also used by people like the Pensions Tracing Service, if they need to get in contact with the scheme.
Cat: OK, thanks. What are the timescales for completing a scheme return?
Joey: So schemes have six weeks from the date specified on their scheme return notice.
Cat: How do they actually complete the scheme return?
Joey: So what schemes need to do is use our online service, Exchange. Some people will already be used to using Exchange. But for those who haven’t, they can then register with us. All that information is provided on our reporting duties page on our website.
Cat: What happens if you manage more than one scheme?
Joey: So, if you manage more than one scheme, you’ll need to complete a scheme return for each of those schemes. So for instance, if you are the pensions manager for the firefighters scheme in Essex, you’ll need to complete a scheme return for the 1992 scheme, the 2006 scheme and the 2015 scheme.
Cat: But doesn’t that mean that some members will be counted more than once?
Joey: Yes, that’s right – for example one person may be a deferred member of one scheme, and an active member of another scheme, so they will need to be put in the correct category for each scheme.
Cat: What happens if a scheme can’t complete their return on time?
Joey: Well, the information we’re asking for in this year’s scheme return is pretty basic, so we’re hoping people won’t find it too difficult. But we are providing the information upfront on our website, so schemes can start to prepare early. It’s important for schemes to know that the scheme return is a legal requirement, so if they do need any help or are having any difficulties they should get in touch with us. They can find information on how to contact us on our reporting duties page on our website.
Cat: Thanks Joey. And if you want any more information on public service schemes, please go to our website [www.tpr.gov.uk/ps-reporting].