The Pensions Regulator has now taken responsibility for governance and administration standards in public service pension schemes and has issued a Public Service Code of Practice.
From the 1 April 2015, the Pensions Regulator assumed responsibility for setting standards of governance and administration in public service pension schemes together with increased regulatory oversight. These changes come at a time when sweeping reforms to public service pension schemes are introduced by the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 in order to reduce and manage costs.
About the code
As part of the Pension Regulator’s new governance and administration framework, a new Public Service Code of Practice will be introduced. The code is particularly directed at those newly appointed scheme managers and pension boards responsible for designing and running the schemes, providing them with practical guidance and standards of conduct and practice, to help maintain and improve the governance and administration of their schemes.
The code displaces the Regulator’s various existing codes, in so far as they apply to public service pension schemes, providing scheme managers and pension boards with a single point of reference. The code is separated into four core sections: governing your scheme; managing risks; administration; and resolving issues. Within each of these sections a summary of the legal requirements is provided together with practical guidance on how scheme managers and pension boards can meet their legal duties and obligations. The code itself is not a statement of law, failure to meet the underlying legal requirements may result in the Regulator issuing an improvement notice or imposing a penalty.
What impact will the code have?
It is not yet clear what impact the introduction of this public service specific code will have on improving the governance and administration of public service pension schemes. There is general consensus from some within the public service itself that providing a single source of reference with practical guidance, relevant to the governance and administration of public service pension schemes will not add a significant additional burden on their activities. It is therefore hoped that this code will provide a useful and timely tool for scheme managers and pension boards allowing them to maintain and enhance the governance and administration of their schemes.
Author: Tony HolloranThis information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.