To be presented by Ms S Price, Assistant Pensions Administration Manager, Buckinghamshire Council
Ms S Price, Assistant Pensions Administration Manager, introduced the report which
provided the Board with an update on the roll-out of i-Connect to scheme employers and the ‘my pension online’ service for scheme members.
Ms S Price highlighted the following points:
· The online service continues to be used as standard practice for scheme members to receive communications from the Administration Team, as well as being used to update personal details and obtain pension estimates.
· Overall, 28.54% of membership of the Buckinghamshire Pension Fund were fully registered to use this service, with a further 7.09% partially registered. A breakdown between membership status was set out in a table in the report.
· There was a surge in pensioner opt outs in April last year as a result of the pensioner newsletter going out in March 2020, which confirmed that paper copies of p60s and payslips would not be sent unless the scheme member opts out of the online service. However, since then there had not been an increase in opt outs and the number of pensioner opt outs had remained around 2600.
· Targeted communications to those who have partially registered or not registered was being worked on and a letter was due to be issued to all pensioner scheme members who were partially registered or not registered.
· Through the ‘my pension online’ service, scheme members could run benefit calculations, update contact details and death grant nominations and view communications from the Benefit Administration Team including benefit statements and retirement packs. The table in the report provided a breakdown of the number of actions taken by scheme members between 1 October 2020 and 28 February 2021 and showed that the service was being used.
· At the end of February 2021, 122 employers had been onboarded onto i-Connect and were successfully submitting data on a monthly basis via this service, which covers approximately 25% of active scheme membership. Since then, a further 3 employers had also been onboarded.
· All employers who were not yet using i-Connect had been issued with communication confirming that they would either need to be live from 1 April 2021 or have an onboarding date agreed otherwise charges would be imposed on a monthly basis if data was submitted in an alternative format.
· The Systems team had re-started discussions with the fund’s biggest employer, which had previously been put on hold. This employer accounts for approximately 35% of all active scheme membership. It was hoped that testing with 37 Academies that fall under this employer would begin shortly with the main payroll to follow.
The following points were discussed as a result of questions/comments from members of the Board:
· It was noted that the facility to update bank details on ‘my pension online’ was not available to members. Officers had requested that this facility be made available to members and it was hoped that this was something that would be developed in the future. At present, members could submit a letter with any bank changes by uploading it onto ‘my pension online’ as long as a signature was included.
· To increase the number of members registering for ‘my pension online’, the team had used a number of methods to increase registration uptake including reminders in employer’s newsletters and member communications. The team had also been encouraging members to register when speaking to them on the telephone.
· Following a question regarding whether there were any plans to create an app for ‘my pension online’, officers explained that they were not aware of any plans to create one, but that it was something that could be raised at the next review meeting. Action: Ms S Price
· The rational for the amount being charged to employers for not using i-connect was explained to members of the Board. Whilst it was recognised that this was not a large amount of money for the larger employers, discussions were underway with these larger employers regarding the next steps forward. The members of the Board were advised that the impact of the charge and the amount being charged would be kept under review.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.