Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has been told of a pension fund's "serious concerns" over delays to a consultation on new governance regulations.

Chairman of the Essex Pension Fund Board, Cllr Rodney Bass highlighted worries about the coordination, clarity and timeliness of the development of the regulations in a letter to Mr Lewis in early February.

Cllr Bass said this "impaired the effective administration of the LGPS [Local Government Pension Scheme] and the service that LGPS beneficiaries and taxpayers expect."

But more than three months on, local government pension funds continue to wait for news on the expected consultation on draft governance regulations which had been expected in March or April and was already "much later than originally expected".

The Essex board called for "sufficient clarity in time to plan and implement the necessary arrangements".

Cllr Bass wrote: "It is to be hoped that when issued the draft Regulations will be comprehensive and provide sufficient clarity, even if still subject to consultation. Failure to do so will inhibit the planning and implementation process. Further delays would be particularly unhelpful, given that Council Constitutions will potentially need to be amended, the new Boards populated and Members trained to ensure they can carry out their role effectively."

"The introduction of local Pension Boards to an LGPS Fund in particular could impose unnecessary and excessive bureaucracy given the established governance framework already in place. One clear option, which would enable a speedier implementation, would be for the Regulations to recognise the scrutiny and audit arrangements already in place within local authorities and seek to utilise these."

The Department for Communities & Local Government said it would be consulting next month.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis said the introduction of the new LGPS a year ahead of other public service pension schemes has been "particularly challenging and demanding" but added he believed the Government was "now in a good place".


From Municipal Journal: 22 May 2014