Via Microsoft teams

In Attendance:

Board Members

  • Mr M. Gilmartin Delegated Scheme manager
  • Mr K. Kirby Deputy Chair, Head of Pension Governance & Compliance
  • Mr M. Cronin Superintendents Association
  • Ms D. Martin. Chief Finance Officer
  • Mr P. Squire, Essex JBB

Advisors to Board

  • Mr J. Stonestreet Payroll / Pensions Manager
  • Mr D. Golding Pensions Technical Essex County Council
  • Ms Z. Smith Payroll Pensions Officer

Apologies

  • Ms L. Heggie, Essex JJB

Item 1 Conflict of interest: No declarations

Resolved

Item 2 Previous minutes

To check Essex page web page is up and running.

Resolved

Item 3 Scheme Manager Appointments & Scheme Manager Report

No new appointments. 
Board members noted the extensive Scheme Manager Report.

Resolved

Item 4 The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006

The Board noted the Scheme Manager decisions to now proceed with the Degree of Disablement Reviews. The board members endorsed the proposed methodology. The employee representatives suggested the out of scope could include any member over age 65/66/67, on the basis, of reaching normal state retirement age. The employer representatives had no objection to amending the exclusion criteria. The employee representatives mentioned the Court of Appeal decision re Staffs Police may be appealed but could not advise if judicial leave to appeal had actually been provided or whether the employee representatives as opposed to the IODPA were appealing.

The employer representatives were clear that In R (P. Goodwin and others) v Chief Constable of Staffs Police (2020) EWHC  2477 Admin) Mr Justice Linden;

  • It is for the defendant (PPA) to decide whether a suitable interval has elapsed since the last assessment or re-assessment and, if it has, he is obliged to consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered. I agree with Mr Holt-Allen that there is therefore a continuing duty to monitor whether an award is being paid in accordance with the 2006 Regulations. (“Para 81”)
  • The true abuse of power in the present case would be for the Defendant (PPA) failing to act in accordance with the 2006 Regulations. (“Para 88”)

In terms of media strategy the board also favoured advising everyone who was in scope of the review (which would last for in excess of three years).

The employer representatives raised some concern about those officers that had retired under ill health particularly with psychiatric conditions. The employer representatives accepted the review process would be viewed as a negative process but re-iterated there must be a substantial change in the pensioners medical condition which was a matter of medical fact based on the medical evidence available before a degree of disablement would change. This was a high medical threshold not just based on a mere perception. The employer representatives hoped that pensioners would co-operate to avoid the use of Regulation 33 as use of Regulation 37 provided an appeal route for the pensioner through the Police Medical Appeals Tribunal, at no cost to the pensioner. The employee representatives agreed with this contention and recommended consulting NARPO on the methodology and timing of the proposal.

Resolved – Degree of Disablement methodology agreed subject to age amendment to reflect state retirement age. Reviews to commence subject to consultation with NARPO. The Board should monitor outcomes.

Item 5 Breaches of Law procedure. Two cases where discussed 

Payroll & Pensions have undertaken a check to ensure there are no similar cases and the Business centre has confirmed they have a system in place for when a member is on leave to ensure work is picked up concerning leaver processing.

Using the TPR framework it was agreed;

Case E 1 GREEN
Case E 2 GREEN

Resolved

Item 6 PSAB Update

  • Remedy not expected until 2021/22 consequently no implementation action to apply and monitor.
  • NPCC are liaising with the Home Office re police service funding concern. It was noted the NPCC have formally raised with the Policing Minister.
  • There are no “middle vento” Kent cases.
  • The Home Office have issued the Immediate Detriment Guidance which is being applied in respect of active members retiring through normal and ill health retirement.

Resolved – Board members noted current status.

Item 7 – Public Services Pension Act 2013 section 249B   Internal Controls Framework. (Includes cyber review plan) 

The Board reviewed the risk framework. Key areas of concern were;

  • Transfers are causing issues concerning placement in correct scheme. Payroll & Pensions have been re-issued with the Home office design framework including tapering tables. Payroll & Pensions to liaise with HR to ensure a proper mechanism exists.
  • Data Issue- There is a data mismatch issue which is significant requiring prioritising to ensure benefits are paid properly. Payroll & Pensions to liaise with KCC and provide the Board with a progress report at the next board.
  • Contributions have been confirmed.
  • Cyber risk: Civica to confirm cyber reviews have taken place
  • Cyber risk: SAP- IT to migrate to new server to advise Board of dates.
  • Auto- enrolment – Completed including declarations.
  • Publishing information – Essex page to be checked to see it is up and running.
  • Leaver and new entrants- up to date.
  • AA- Confirmed issued.
  • SMP resilience- Board members noted new contract to be issued.
  • Board members noted there had been significant data cleansing.

Resolved- Payroll & Pensions to action.

Item 8 – Evans & Ashcroft

79 cases, 63 resolved. Average settlement £401.00 Chair thanked ECC for prompt action and processing.

Resolved - ECC to update board members at next board meeting.

Item 9 -Scheme Evaluation

Board members noted the current position.

Minutes Approved

Signed Chair Kevin Kirby

Kevin Kirby
Head of Pension Governance & Compliance