Venue: Meeting Room Z, Fire & Police HQ, Leigh Road, Eastleigh
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Mark Hilton and Ross Singleton.
Declarations of Interest
To enable Members to disclose to the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest they may have in any matter on the agenda for the meeting, where that interest is not already entered in the Authority’s register of interests, and any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests in any such matter that Members may wish to disclose.
Members were mindful of their duty to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest they had in any matter on the agenda for the meeting, where that interest was not already in the Authority’s register of interests, and their ability to disclose any other personal interests in any such matter that they might have wished to disclose.
No interests were declared.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.
The minutes of the last meeting were reviewed and agreed.
Pursuant to Standing Order 19, to receive any deputations to this meeting.
There were no deputations.
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman welcomed Cllr Mellor, the Chairman of the Standards and Governance Committee, who had come to observe the meeting.
He thanked Clare Neale for completing the The Pension Regulator (TPR) survey and reminded Members that they had until the following week to provide any comments they have.
The Chairman then reminded Members that there would be a training session after the meeting.
Scheme Advisory Board
To receive a verbal update on the Scheme Advisory Board.
Councillor Price explained that this item is covered very well in the reports later the in agenda and that he had nothing further to report.
To receive a report providing an update on legislation and the Local Government Association.
The Board received an update on legislation and the Local Government Association (LGA). (Item 7 in the minute book).
Officers presented the report and highlighted four bulletins had been issued by the LGA since the last meeting, which were attached as appendices A-D to the report.
Board Members’ attention was drawn to:
· Paragraph 7 of the report regarding Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) collaboration sessions on Matthews, the aims of which were to discuss the legislation and policy, the interactions between this and McCloud and the proposed timeline for implementation.
· Paragraph 9, regarding Pension Dashboards. The officer explained that a report from Hampshire Pension Services (HPS) would be presented to the Board providing an update on progress in due course.
· Paragraph 17 and that the judicial review hearing related to the McCloud remedy costs in the costs control mechanism commenced on 30 January and not 23 January as stated in the report.
In response to a Member’s question, the Board heard that with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being suspended, apart from special cases, no more immediate detriment will take place and that if an amended version of the MOU is in place, a decision would need to be made based on the risks.
The Chairman confirmed that in respect of immediate detriment HIWFRA is allowing re-engagement on a case-by-case basis, and that a number of members of staff have been supported. The Chief Financial Officer confirmed that the Standards and Governance Committee had approved the continued suspension of the Framework in July 2022.
The content of the report was noted by the HIWFRA Firefighters’ Pension Board.
To receive an update on the development of key issues and to review the Risk Register.
The Board received a status report and an update on the Risk Register (Item 8 in the minute book).
The Employer Pension Manager (EPM) introduced the report and explained that pre-retirement courses had been booked up until November 2026, with three courses being run in a year.
The Chief Financial Officer explained the issues that had been raised by the on-call firefighters based on the Isle of Wight. She reported that the aim is to run face to face sessions with these members of staff to discuss their specific issues and to be able to signpost them to further information where applicable. She further reported that this engagement was important to ensure that people were ‘clear’ before any new offer was made to them.
In response to a question from a Board Member, it was confirmed that:
· That level of issue had not been raised by staff on the mainland and the problems stem from a period before combination.
· Officers had been working with the Fire Brigades Union on this issue.
The Board heard that:
· The first ‘in person’ Fire Pension Scheme AGM had taken place after a couple of years and that the EPM and a Board Member had attended.
· As at the end of December, there had been a small increase in the uptake of the use of the Portal. Members discussed the fact that if the new dashboard encourages deferred members to contact HPS, then this will provide better information relating to these scheme members.
· The annual Pension Regulator (TPR) scheme returns had been submitted and the data scores were improving and reported at paragraph 15 of the report.
In response to a Member’s question, it was explained that the jump in the data score for the 2006 Modified Fire Pension Scheme was due to the way the data is reported and the tidying up of records.
The EPM reported that there had been no amendments to the Risk Register since the last report in October 2022.
Members’ attention was drawn to paragraphs 18 and 19 of the report regarding the Matthews/O’Brien case and that there is a claim form on the members Fire Pension Scheme website for people who believe they are in scope and that a project team will be set up to deal with the remedy.
It was explained that scheme members will need to be put into separate cohorts to ensure those affected by McCloud are taken into consideration. A pictorial timeline was provided at Appendix C to provide an overarching view of the work with key dates.
The Board heard that: