A picture of the East Sussex Pension Fund square logo with the letters ESPF

Helping employers keep up to speed with the East Sussex Pension Fund

We are pleased to provide our latest newsletter. In this bumper edition you will find news on:

  • Introduction
  • Employer Forum – 24th November
  • i-Connect
  • ABS
  • MSS
  • Revised employer forms
  • LGPS 31 forms
  • Valuation - 2022
  • McCloud remedy
  • Academies and free school pooling contribution consultation
  • Town and Parish Council – Cessations
  • LGPS guides for employers and members
  • Employer training
  • Contacting the fund

All of the individual articles can be found on this web page.

Introduction - Employer Engagement Team

Welcome to the latest edition of the Employer Newsletter.

An image of a desk with a laptop on it and paper with the words 'newsletter'

Welcome to the latest Employer Newsletter.

As we enter the 4th quarter of the year the Employer Engagement team continue to focus on i-Connect - a cloud-based portal application which helps to manage the transfer of employee information from an employer’s payroll to the pensions administration system (Altair).

Nearly two-thirds of employers have now integrated i-Connect into their monthly processes. We will continue to engage with other employers who are not yet on-boarded during the remainder of this tax year.

On the 24th of November we will be running the 2022 Employer Forum. This will be held face-to-face at The Amex – the home of Brighton and Hove Albion football club. Your employer contribution rates that will apply from April 2023 will be provided on the day. The Forum provides an opportunity to gain knowledge about the how the Fund is run, understand your responsibilities as an employer, meet the team who support you and much more besides.

We would like to thank employers who completed their end of year return, either through i-Connect or the end of year template. The data allowed us to provide Annual Benefit Statements for Active and Deferred members. You will also have seen that we have asked employers to provide data to help us analyse the impact of the McCloud remedy on members’ benefits.

We have been busy supporting both employers and members of the Fund via virtual and face-to-face Local Government Pension Scheme training sessions and will continue to offer this service going forward. These have proved extremely useful to attendees. Please contact us If you would like us to run some sessions with your employees.

As always, please get in touch with the team if you need our support.

Tim Hillman – Employer Engagement Manager

[email protected]

Employer Forum - 24th November 2022

East Sussex Pension Fund are delighted to be able to host this year's Employer Forum in person.

Our Scheme actuary, Barnett Waddingham, will be presenting on the latest fund valuation. You will be given your employer contribution rates that will apply from 1st April 2023. It will be possible to book a 1:1 meeting with our actuaries on the day if you have questions about the calculation of your contribution levels. 

The day is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience about the how the Fund is run, understand your responsibilities as an employer, meet the team responsible for supporting you and much more.

Thank you to those who have already registered for the event. If you would like to attend, please email [email protected] with your details by Friday 14th October.

Picture of a face to face training session

The detail

Date:             Thursday 24th of November.

Timing:          9.30 am – 16.00 pm

Venue:           Amex Stadium - the home of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

Forum Agenda

9:30 am – 10:00 am            Registration – Tea, Coffee & Pastries, Employer Survey

10:00 am -10:10 am            Welcome – Tim Hillman (Employer Engagement Manager)

10:10 am – 10:25 am           Fund update – Councillor Fox (Chair of Pensions Committee)

10:25 am – 10:40 am           Update from Chair -– Ray Martin (Chair of Pensions Board)

10:40 am – 11:30 am           Valuation Update - Barnett Waddingham (Barry McKay)

11:30 am – 11:40 am            Coffee Break

11:40 am – 12:00 pm            Pensions administration – Paul Punter (Head of Pension Admin)

12:00 pm – 12:20 pm           i-Connect  - Paula Jenner (Pensions Engagement Officer)

12:20 pm – 12:35 pm           LGPS 31 Forms - Dillon Piggott ( Accounts & Investment)   

12:35 pm – 12:50 pm           Ill Health Process – Pensions Officer

12:50 pm – 13:15 pm           Funding Strategy Statement – ESPF/Barnett Waddingham

13:15 pm – 14:00 pm           Lunch

14:00 pm – 14:30 pm           Employer Training/Newsletters -Tim Hillman

14:30 pm – 15:00 pm           Communications – Paul Linfield (Communication Manager)

15:00 pm – 15:30 pm           Key tasks – (Pensions Administration Team)

15:30 pm – 16:00 pm            Ask the panel – a chance to ask the experts

16.00 pm                              Forum ends

i-Connect

i-Connect is a cloud-based system designed to allow a flow of employee information from your payroll system to East Sussex Pension Fund’s administration platform (Altair).

The i-Connect software allows employers to provide payroll information in a secure manner and negates the need to provide end of year reporting. The monthly data uploads will inform the Fund of new Joiners and leavers, pay and contribution data and changes to members personal details or contact information.

All employers of the Fund will be expected to onboard onto i-Connect (by end of March 2023). 87 out of 131 employers have already done so. The employer engagement team will contact the remaining employers with details of the onboarding process and the specifications required. Please contact  Paula Jenner if you would like to find out more or if you are ready to begin your onboarding process now.

Please visit the i-Connect website page for more information including guides to using the system.

Annual Benefit Statements

picture of a lady with a laptop, calculator holding paper

Most active members of the pension scheme now have their 2022 annual benefit statement (based on information on 31 March 2022). Thanks to all employers who provided us with the data required to produce the calculations.

The statements show:

  • Personal and employment information
  • Summary of total benefits
  • Value of death in service benefits
  • Projections if the member remains in the scheme until their normal pension age
  • A full breakdown of how total benefits have been calculated.

Members should have received an email or letter telling them that their statement is available via ‘My Pension’ the member self-service portal – please see the next article for information on how to register/retrieve usernames/passwords.

On the website we have a document ‘Your annual benefit statement explained’ to help anyone struggling to understand the breakdown of their pension information.

Where members have both deferred and active records, they would have received separate communications for each. We issued over 33,000 communications regarding statements prior to the 31st of August deadline.

My Pension - member self-service portal

For decorative purpose only

Our 24-hour online Member Self Service Portal is a fantastic source of information for active scheme members.

Members can use it to:

  • View their current employment details associated with their pension
  • Update personal information such as their address or nomination details
  • View annual benefit statements
  • Calculate the value of their pension at normal pension age if they were to leave employment
  • Calculate the value of their pension if they were to voluntarily retire prior to normal pension age
  • Calculate the value of their pension if they were to die whilst in service.

There is a web page available which provides support for members on registration and logging in together with commonly asked questions and answers.

Refer your employees here for support.

Revised employer forms

We have recently updated all the employer forms. We have simplified the content, ensured they are accessible to all and rebranded.

There are now two types of forms available:

  • Standard PDF to print off and complete by hand
  • Editable PDF to complete online

We are now happy to accept employer forms via email without the need for a handwritten signature if the email is sent:

  • By a contact at the employer who is listed on the authorised signatories list, and
  • from an employer email address e.g., [email protected]

All the latest forms can be found under ‘Employer Forms’ via the following web page:

Forms and Publications | East Sussex Pension Fund

LGPS 31 form

This form is for employers to confirm that contributions have been deducted and payments made to the scheme in accordance with the scheme’s requirements. We have recently updated the LGPS 31 form as part of a project to simplify the employer forms.

There are now two versions:

We can accept employer forms via email without the need for a handwritten signature if the email is sent:

1) By a S151 officer or delegated authorised signatory, and

2) From an employer email address e.g. [email protected]

If sending via post a wet signature is still required.

Email address to send forms - [email protected]

Postal address: Pensions, East F, County Hall, St Anne's Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UE

The Valuation process

Valuation image

We now have the initial results of the 2022 valuation for the East Sussex Pension Fund. This shows an improvement in the overall funding position because of strong investment performance and a reduction in life expectancy assumptions. Despite the positive results we anticipate overall contribution rates for employers will be close to those set at the previous valuation in 2019, mainly due to the impact of high inflation on future benefit accrual. We will be consulting with employers in November on a new Funding Strategy statement before figures are finalised.

Employers will be provided with their new contribution rates (payable 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026) at the Employer Forum taking place on the 24th of November. If you wish to attend, please email [email protected].

McCloud judgement

We have written to employers to ask for help with the data collection needed for the McCloud Remedy. Thank you if you have responded to us already. We worked closely with Heywood Consulting and asked that you:

  • Review the data by checking it against your records.
  • Identify any missing data of members from 01/04/2014 to present.
  • Include Service Breaks and Service History data for every member that has scheme membership within this period.

If you have not yet provided the data requested, please do so as soon as possible and send to [email protected].

A guide was provided with further information on the McCloud Judgement and what is expected from you. 

Note: The information requested is a legal requirement resulting from the McCloud ruling on Public Sector Pension reform. If not provided, East Sussex Pension Fund will not be able to apply any adjustments to members pension records. This may result in your employees receiving a lower pension than they would otherwise be entitled to.

Academies and free school pooling contribution consultation

As part of the revised Funding Strategy for the Fund certain groups of individual employers will be pooled for the purposes of determining contribution rates to recognise common characteristics or where the number of Scheme members is small. The main purpose of pooling is to produce more stable employer contribution levels, although recognising that ultimately there will be some level of cross-subsidy of pension cost amongst pooled employers.

We have sent a questionnaire to Academies (including free schools) as we are planning on pooling their funding level and contribution rates. Thanks to those who have responded to us. This change will form part of the overall 2022 valuation and there will be further opportunities to feed back as this process concludes over the next few months.

Town and Parish Councils - cessations

If you are aware that you will no longer have any active members in the East Sussex Pension Fund, then you will need to contact us to let us know as soon as you can. A cessation valuation will need to be completed to determine the level of any surplus or deficit in an employer’s share of the Fund as at the date the employer leaves the Fund (please note this is different from a triennial funding valuation).

Pound coin over a graph going up and down

If you are contemplating leaving the fund due to rising costs, it may cause a sizeable deficit or surplus payable by or to the employer. You will also need to consider your employment law responsibilities to your employees and their right to be a member of the LGPS. Any questions please contact the employer engagement team by emailing [email protected].

LGPS guides for employers and members

A reminder that we have guides available for employers and members of the Fund.

HR guide for employers

This guide sets out the requirements for Human Resources departments of employers who participate in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in England and Wales. The guide provides information about the responsibilities and duties that an employer participating in the LGPS must undertake, as well as the minimum information an employer needs to supply to the relevant LGPS administering authority (East Sussex County Council) to enable us to administer the LGPS effectively.

View the HR guide for employers here

Payroll guide for employers

This guide sets out the requirements for payrolls in respect of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) 2014, effective from 1 April 2014. The guide only covers employees in the LGPS in England and Wales.

View the Payroll guide for employers here

Pension administration strategy

The aim of the Pension Administration Strategy is to:

  • Set out the quality and performance standards expected of the Fund and its employers.
  • To ensure that both the Administering Authority and the scheme employers are fully aware of their responsibilities under the Scheme.
  • To outline the key performance standards expected to meet to ensure the delivery of a high-quality, timely and professional administration service.

Views the pension administration strategy here

LGPS member guide

This guide is designed to support members' understanding of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

View the LGPS member guide here

LGPS guide to planning retirement

This guide provides help and guidance for active members of the Local Government Pension Scheme who are planning for retirement.

View the LGPS guide to planning retirement here

Employer training

East Sussex Pension Fund have begun collaborating with employers to provide pensions training for any active or prospective members of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

These sessions cover:

  • Pension basics

  • Overview of the Local Government Pension Scheme

  • Understanding CARE (Career Average Revalued Earnings) & Final Salary schemes

  • Changing job roles and how it could affect your pension records

  • Tax benefits of Pensions

  • Pension affordability including the 50/50 Scheme

  • Member self-service

  • Leaving the scheme

  • Topping up your pension

  • And more

A picture of a training session shot from above

If you are interested in arranging training for your employees, please email us at: [email protected].

The Local Government Association have bite-sized training modules for employers on assumed pensionable pay and final pay available via this link - Employer bite size training (lgpsregs.org).

They have also scheduled employer role training dates - aimed primarily at staff working for scheme employers in England and Wales who have operational responsibilities under the Local Government Pension Scheme. Bookings are on a first come, first serve basis. The links below will show you what is covered, who the course is suitable for and booking instructions.

8th December 2022

10th January 2023

Contact us. We are here to help.

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