The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) is the administering authority for the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund. As such, RBWM has certain statutory responsibilities for the administration of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in Berkshire. This includes the six Unitary Authorities (of which RBWM is one) and around 250 other associated employers who make up the membership of the Pension Fund.
The administering authority has ultimate responsibility for interpreting and implementing statutory LGPS regulations, which includes taking decisions about fund investments, for receiving monies due to and paying monies owing from the Fund and for making sure that it has robust systems and processes in place to ensure that the scheme is administered in line with scheme regulations and within prescribed levels of performance.
This document has been prepared as a service level agreement between the administering authority and the pension administration team and sets out service standards or ‘promises’ of the level of service that the team will provide to ensure that the administering authority achieves its statutory responsibilities. A copy of the current SLA can be found here Royal County of Berkshire Service Level Agreement.
The introduction of the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations 2013 made significant changes to the way in which the LGPS has to be administered and in accordance with regulation 59 the administering authority has prepared a written Pension Administration Strategy setting out its policy with regard to how the pension scheme should be administered at both the administering authority and Scheme employer level. A copy of the Pension Administration Strategy can be found here.
An important part of ensuing that the requirements of the Pension Administration Strategy are maintained is the pension administration Service Level Agreement. The administering authority has prepared the SLA in accordance with regulation 59(2)(b) and (c) which states that an administering authority can consider certain matters as appropriate when determining how the scheme should be administered.
The matters are:
- The establishment of levels of performance which the administering authority and its Scheme employers are expected to achieve in carrying out their Scheme functions by
- The setting of performance targets,
- The making of agreements about levels of performance and associated matters, or
Such other means as the administering authority considers appropriate.
- Procedures which aim to secure that the administering authority and its Scheme employers comply with statutory requirements in respect of those functions and with any agreement about levels of performance.
Pension Administration Service Level Agreement
Each Scheme employer is required to agree and sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund. The SLA provides a standard by which both parties will agree to administer the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) on behalf of its current and former Scheme members. A copy of the current SLA can be found here Pension Administration Service Level Agreement.
Communication between the administering authority and its Scheme employers also plays a vital role in ensuring that the scheme is administered effectively and efficiently and so the administering authority has prepared a statement of policy concerning communication with members and Scheme employers in accordance with regulation 61 of the LGPS Regulations 2013. A copy of this statement can be found here.
It is very important that the Scheme employers understand and accept the responsible role that they have in ensuring the LGPS is administered to a high standard. The role of a Scheme employer has never been under as much scrutiny under former regulations and when the Pension Regulator's codes of practice, currently under consultation, come into force from 1 April 2015 Scheme employers will need to make sure that their processes are robust and sufficient to avoid potential fines that the Pensions Regulator will have the power to levy.