For the attention of employers within the Essex Pension Fund who are eligible to both nominate and vote for, candidates for the position of Smaller Employers Representative (SER) on the Essex Pension Fund Board.

Opinions are sought, by close of business on Tuesday 4 March, on two possible options regarding the timing of the next election for this position. The background and rationale are set out below. Constituent employers are invited to respond to the following email address: employer.team@essex.gov.uk

Background

In early 2012, at the Annual Employer Forum, smaller employers elected Jenny Moore, from Billericay School (an Academy) to serve for a period of two years as SER on the Essex Pension Fund Board. Under normal circumstances arrangements for the nomination and election process would commence shortly.

The Public Service Pension Act 2013

Since that election, the Public Services Pension Act 2013 has gained parliamentary assent. Under the terms of this Act, all Public Sector Pension Schemes are required to establish a Local Pension Board. It is expected that this requirement will commence in April 2015.

The precise role of this new Local Pension Board has yet to be clarified however draft Regulations outlining how the Act applies to the Local Government Pension Scheme are anticipated prior to Easter 2014. These may include details on representation requirements. It is expected that the existing governance arrangements of the Essex Pension Fund will undergo some change or realignment in around a year's time and any new appointment might therefore be short-lived.

Timing of SER election

In view of these developments in governance requirements it is felt that there is merit canvassing opinion amongst constituent employers on whether there is support for extending Jenny Moore's existing tenure for a further 12 months. This would allow clarity on new arrangements to be gained, and appropriate actions taken. Jenny Moore has indicated that, provided such support was forthcoming, she would be happy to continue in this role for another year. However, this is an exercise in canvassing opinion - it is not a request that constituent employers agree to a recommendation.

Options

Constituent employers are therefore asked to indicate, during the next three weeks, whether they have a preference for commencing the election for SER to the Essex Pension Fund Board either:

OPTION A: immediately

or

OPTION B: after a delay to coincide with the new governance arrangements which commence in April 2015 *

Note: * Option B in effect would mean an election in around 12 months' time.

Kevin McDonald, Director for Essex Pension Fund, or Jody Evans, Head of the Essex Pension Fund, are more than happy to discuss this matter and answer any questions you may have, so please feel free to call them with any questions on 01245 431215.

Kevin McDonald will report on this matter at the next meeting of the Essex Pension Fund Board on Wednesday 5 March 2014, and will subsequently be in touch once more to indicate the outcome. So that we establish as accurate an indication of views as possible, we do encourage all constituent employers to participate.