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Meetings and decision making

Important

Early draft of the code of practice

This code is not in force yet. It is an early version for the new code of practice consultation.

To give us feedback on issues such as the design, usability and navigation of this code, email us at webfeedback@tpr.gov.uk.

You can also read more information about the consultation.

Published: 17 March 2021

We expect governing bodies to spend an appropriate amount of time running their scheme. In most cases, the governing body will need to meet at least quarterly.

Under section 249A of the Pensions Act 2004MT1, governing bodies of certain schemes must establish and operate an effective system of governance (see Scheme governance) including internal controls (see Managing risk using internal controls). However, there are certain exemptions.MT2

Under section 249B of the Pensions Act 2004, scheme managers of public service pension schemes are required to establish and operate internal controls which are adequate for the purpose of securing that the scheme is administered and managed in accordance with the scheme rules,MT3 and with the requirements of the law.

Governing bodies must include the following in their written meeting records:MT4, MT5

  • the date, time and place of the meeting
  • the names of all in attendance, including professional advisers or any other person present
  • the names of those invited to the meeting but who did not attend
  • any decisions made at the meeting, including the names of those who participated in them
  • any decisions made outside a meeting since the previous meeting, or taken by a committee/sub-committee, including the time, place and date of the decision, and the names of the members of the governing body who participated in the decision
  • decisions relating to the winding-up of the schemeMT6

Governing bodies that are required to put in place effective systems of governance should establish processes for planning and running meetings. Our expectations for these are listed below.

Establishing meeting processes

  • Understand and adhere to any prescribed governance processes in the scheme rules and legislation.
  • Set the frequency of meetings for the governing body.
  • Establish the circumstances, including legislative restrictionsMT7, where and how extraordinary meetings may be called.
  • Consider the complexity and urgency of any issues affecting the scheme to determine the length of the meeting.
  • Create a process for rescheduling postponed meetings.
  • Set expectations for members of the governing body in preparing for meetings, and actions needed in between them.
  • Agree who has responsibility for setting the agenda and who else is consulted in its development.
  • Agree standing agenda items, for example risk register and conflicts of interest items, and administration tasks.
  • Establish the number of members of the governing body required to attend for any meeting to be considered quorate.
  • Consider the extent to which the governing body can influence or direct other parties (such as the sponsoring employer) in decisions that may have material consequences for the scheme or the business supporting it.

Decision-making

  • Ensure that decisions are made in accordance with the scheme rules and regulations, and the terms of reference of any sub-committees.
  • Keep records relating to any decision taken by members of the governing body, including related advice or information.
  • Establish appropriate retention periods for records of decision-making.
  • Consider publishing information about their activity (see General principles for member communications), for example board papers, agendas and minutes or summaries of meetings. Redactions relating to sensitive or confidential information and/or data covered by the data protection legislationMT8 may be appropriate.
  • Consider ways to publish additional information, including information that has been requested, to encourage scheme member engagement and promote a culture of transparency.

Glossary and legal references

Internal controls

  • arrangements and procedures to be followed in the administration and management of the scheme
  • systems and arrangements for monitoring that administration and management
  • arrangements and procedures to be followed for the safe custody and security of the assets of the scheme (Section 249A of the Pensions Act 2004)

Quorate

The necessary representation of members of the governing body to make a decision

Scheme rules

The rules and associated documentation setting out how a given scheme is to operate

MT1Articles 226A of The Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

MT2Section 249A(3) Pensions Act 2004
[Article 226A (3) of The Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005]

MT3As defined in Section 318(2) Pensions Act 2004

MT4Section 49 Pensions Act 1995; [Article 49 Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995]; Regulations 12 and 13 Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations 1996; [Regulations 12 and 13 Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997]

MT5Regulation 6 Public Service Pensions (Record Keeping and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2014
[Regulation 6 Public Service Pensions (Record Keeping and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014]

MT6Section 49A Pensions Act 1995; [Article 49 Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995]; the Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up Notices and Reports etc) Regulations 2002 [the Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up Notices and Reports etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland 2002]

MT7Section 32 Pensions Act 1995 [Article 32 Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995]; Regulations 9 and 10 Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations 1996 [Regulations 9 and 10 Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997]

MT8Data protection 1998 and GDPR