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Building and maintaining knowledge


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

You can also read more information about the consultation.

Published: 17 March 2021

Individual members of governing bodies must ensure they have the appropriate knowledge and understandingBU1 to enable them to properly exercise their functions. Learn more in Working knowledge of pensions  and Governance of knowledge and understanding.

The members of a governing body should invest sufficient time in their learning and development, alongside their other responsibilities and duties. Governing bodies should provide their members with the necessary training and support.

Members of a governing body should be aware that their responsibilities and duties begin from the date they take up their post.

Learning programmes should be flexible, allowing members to update areas of learning and to acquire new knowledge. Members of governing bodies who take on new responsibilities will need to ensure they gain relevant knowledge and understanding.

Trustees of occupational pension schemes have the right to time off to perform their duties as trustee of their employer’s scheme and for trustee training.BU2

The steps to help governing bodies ensure their knowledge and understanding is established and maintained are outlined below.

Members of a governing body should:

  • be able to demonstrate a basic level of knowledge and understanding needed to run their scheme within six months of their appointment.BU3 See Working knowledge of pensions.
  • start on a programme of learning immediately on appointment, if not before, in conjunction with a scheme specific induction programme, if one is provided
  • undertake advanced scheme-specific learning once a good understanding of the scheme has been obtained
  • consider how they are meeting our expectations of knowledge and understanding. See Working knowledge of pensions.
  • review their own knowledge and understanding and identify any gaps at least annually, particularly in relation to changes in legislation or their scheme
  • keep records of any review of knowledge and understanding and steps taken to address any gaps
  • keep records of any alternative or further learning activity (eg reading, attending conferences, sessions with the scheme advisers)

Legal references

BU1Sections 247, 248 and 248A of The Pensions Act 2004
[Articles 224, 225 and 225A of The Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005]

BU2See section 58 of the Employment Rights Act 1996
[Article 86 The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996]

BU3Sections 247and 248 of The Pensions Act 2004
[Articles 224 and 225 of The Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005]