Pension law specialists Sacker & Partners have commented on the lack of time for implementing any changes, following consultation on the Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which closed on August 15th.
Lauren Jackson, associate and member of Sacker’s public sector team, said a government response to the consultation will be needed soon, if the regulations are to be laid before parliament in time to come into force on October 1st, as planned. She said: “Administering authorities will await the outcome of the consultation with interest as there are some key areas yet to be decided. For example, the consultation invited views on how a single local pensions board could serve more than one administering authority. This is a strategy several administering authorities had expressed an interest in pursuing.”
Jackson added that because some key governance issues are not covered in legislation, they may be covered by detailed guidance. “For example, a high profile issue is whether an existing pensions committee (i.e. a section 101 committee) could become a local pension board. The draft regulations provide this will only be possible with the written agreement of the Secretary of State. We do not currently know what this is going to mean in practice, and also how easy it will be to get agreement.” Jackson concluded: “Given the potential challenges of getting arrangements in place before 1 April 2015, time is running out.”
Following the Hutton Report in 2011, the Public Services Pensions Act 2013 created a legal framework for reforms to public sector pensions, but much of the detail has still be finalised before the deadline of 1 April, 2015.