The Board is referred to the report recommendation.
Scott Campbell (AON) presented the report in detail and advised the Board that it was a question of how things got done, policies, practices, etc. AON had undertaken the review and had made comparisons against National best practice, AON governance framework and other LGPS in order to highlight areas that require improvement.
It was noted that AON Officers had previously observed the Pension Committee, Pension Board and had undertaken in-depth discussions with the Head of Pensions.
During the discussion it was noted that AON had considered the mixed representation of the different sectors on the Committee and the Board. It was suggested that there should possibly be an increase in the employee and employer representation on the Pension Committee. Board Members welcomed this suggestion.
In terms of the frequency of meeting, AON were please to note that the number of Pension Board meetings had increased from 2 to 4 a year. In addition, it was also noted that training had also been provided to all members since the review was undertaken and this had been duly noted.
The Board noted that a related workplan was in the process of being devised by the Head of Pensions and this would be presented to the September Committee meeting for consideration and to the Board in October.
Members acknowledged the reports findings and recognised that it was necessary for Board Members to challenge, question and voice their concerns. It was anticipated by holding more regular meetings the Board would develop further and interact with the Committee more due to the increased frequency.
During the discussion, it was noted that some items were regulatory for the Committee to consider and the Board’s function was more of an oversight role. The newer Board Member’s recognised that at times they felt out of the depth with some of the content, and felt unable to challenge initially. It was noted that the report content was well presented it was a question of experience at this stage. The Chair added that if Board Members didn’t fully understand the report content, how could they be sure that Committee members understood them.
Officers appreciated the points raised and acknowledged it was not for Members to spot errors in the report but to be confident that the Committee was making the right decisions. These skills sets would be improved over time with knowledge and training.
The Head of Pensions referred to the knowledge assessment that was circulated by the Actuary, Hymans Robertson. It was noted that a training plan would be developed in accordance with the collated responses.
It was also recognised that there would be an impact from the McCloud ruling and the triennial valuation going forward.
In response to a question, the Head of Pensions explained that the fund performance update acted as a form of key performance indicators (KPI’s).
Members also recognised that the Fund needed to have its own view in terms of cyber security and business continuity plans. The Head of Pensions advised the Board that these areas were developed and a report would be presented to Committee in September and the Board at its October meeting. Members were interested in the cyber security elements given the issues faced by some other authorities.
That a report be noted.