Pensions Line - September 2017

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      September 2017

New Automatic Enrolment Guide

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A new version of the automatic brief guide (version 7.0) has been uploaded to

The new guide aims to supplement the information provided by the Pensions Regulator (TPR); it covers automatic enrolment from the perspective of the LGPS and the Teachers' Pension Scheme, and contains signposts to the detailed guidance available on TPR’s website.

The sample letters have also been updated and are now contained in a standalone document and are available on

Updated guidance relating to Transitional Delay has also been released. Find out more

Employer Self Service Update

With effect from 1st October 2017, you will be able to inform us of a new member using an automatic Starter form which has been developed within Employer Self Service (ESS). This will mean there is no longer a need to access the Starter form through our website, download it and send the completed version to our secure mailbox or post a paper copy. You will simply be able to complete all the fields on the screen. Press submit and the data will be sent directly to our system as a file and then we can upload it automatically. A user guide is available on our website here and you can access ESS here.

This facility is designed for individual notifications only so if you currently use interfaces to inform us of bulk starters, please continue to do so.

Reporting on your employee/membership data is in development but there are a couple of tweaks still needed. We are hoping to be able to launch this for you in the new year so watch this space!

New Forms

Following feedback from some of you, we have re-designed our Leavers, Flexible Retirement Leaver and Estimate Request forms to hopefully make them easier to understand. The forms now follow a ‘if yes, go to section….’ format and ensures we capture everything we need to process your employee’s benefits. The new forms will be available for you to use on our website from 2nd October 2017.

We also plan to launch a spreadsheet which will help work out the pensionable pay needed to calculate the pre-2014 final salary benefits – so watch out on our website.

Annual Benefits Statements

Thank you all for your usual co-operation with the year end process. Annual Benefit Statements have now been issued to scheme members directly or through Member Self Service (MSS). Next year, we are considering sending all statements directly to members’ home addresses (for those who still wish to receive the paper copies) which may mean a bulk data cleansing exercise for us to ensure we hold the correct data,  but we will be in touch in due course.  In the meantime, please let your employees know that they can access their pension information by registering for MSS here.

Pensions Discretions Policy

Recent advice from the Local Government Association has set out clarification on the employer approach to setting discretion policies. It is important that a discretions policy should show the basis on which a scheme employer will consider exercising the discretions listed and in doing so not fetter their decision. In other words, the policy should not be so rigid or restrictive to prevent flexibility where a situation requires it. We do have some guidance to help with setting policies on our website and we will also be discussing this topic at the Employer PLOG meetings in January.

General Reminders

Don’t forget there is a Retirement Process Leaflet available on our website which you can issue to your employees who are retiring which sets out the timescales involved to help manage their expectations.

Also, a small reminder that you do not need to issue your new employees with a Transfer-in request form or an Expression of Wish form as both forms are part of our Starter Pack, This means that a new member will receive these automatically within a couple of weeks of their pension record being created.

Save the Date!

Next year's Employer PLOG meetings are being arranged for:

  • Bideford on Tuesday 23rd January 2018
  • Taunton on Wednesday 24th January 2018
  • Exeter on Thursday 25th January 2018

We will be changing the format slightly next year to incorporate an introductory session before, and workshops after the main talks. The introductory session will provide a general overview of the LGPS so will be ideal for new staff. The workshops will focus on specific subjects/areas.

In the main talks, we plan to cover data protection, employer discretions, administration strategies, and disclosure regulations but we would like your feedback on topics you feel need to be addressed as either part of the main talk or as a workshop. Please let us know here.

Exit Payments updates

Unfortunately, there is no further news on the Exit Cap, but a recent Local Government Association Bulletin confirms a consultation is still awaited. The update can be found here.


Employer Liaison Team


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