Following the introduction of the administration levy on 1 April 2017 which saw the shift of funding the administration of the NHS Pension Scheme from the Department of Health to NHS employers, we changed the role of the National Pension Group that had been in place for a number of years. This group consists of the Chairs from each of the regional pension/payroll groups that meet on a quarterly basis across the country. The Chairs come together at NHS Pensions in Fleetwood every three months and historically we discussed items relating to the current service and particular items of interest that we knew were on the horizon.
Now that employers directly fund our service, the terms of reference of the group needed redefining and at the April 2017 meeting we explored how the group could play a different role moving forward. As part of the redefining of the terms of reference, the name of the group has changed to the NHS Pensions Service Improvement and Development Board. More importantly its role has changed so that the group have more influence in Pensions developments and improvements. This will support employers and create more efficient processes both internally and externally.
By providing a greater understanding of the development priorities within NHS Pensions the reasons we prioritise the way we do we can work with the group to provide a better service. Employers are better informed and able to greater influence the consideration and decisions on upcoming developments. From a Pensions perspective it gives us greater insight into the constraints employers face and the benefits some changes would make to them and how they administer the Scheme locally.
The day has been split into two sessions, the morning session is about horizon scanning and the afternoon session will focus on the current NHS Pensions change priority list and progress against those developments together with potential future changes to either a business or system process. A new process has been drawn up by the group on how to raise a change and how it goes through the approvals process in order for it to come before this board.
The above picture was taken at the meeting held in Fleetwood in July and as you will see the session was well represented. The chairs feedback the details of the day at their next regional meetings and they in turn cascade the messages to their own organisations.
Its early days - it will take a bit of time to embed the new process but all attendees are seeing this as a positive step forward in our engagement strategy.