MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL STAFFING AND POLICY COMMITTEE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 25 OCTOBER 2023 IN THE PARISH COUNCIL OFFICES
Cllr K Burn
Cllr G Huntley
Cllr A Iley
Cllr J Rowell
Cllr P Vaughan (Chairman)
Cllr L Watson
Ms A Brindley Parish Clerk, Mr D Nicholson DPC
AGENDA PART 1
S&P001/23 1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.
The following apologies were received: Cllr Allsopp (leave), Cllr Foster (NCC business) and Cllr Hart (Work Commitments) which were agreed as acceptable reasons for absence
S&P002/23 2. MEMBERS DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND
OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).
Cllr Iley declared an interest in item 9.
S&P003/23 3. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR THE COUNCIL YEAR
Cllr P S Vaughan was duly moved, seconded, and elected to serve as Chairman of the Staffing and Policy Committee for the ensuing year.
S&P004/23 4. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR THE COUNCIL
Cllr J Rowell was duly moved, seconded, and elected to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Staffing and Policy Committee for the ensuing year.
S&P005/23 5. TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
Members agreed the minutes of 26 October 2022 and noted that these had previous minutes have been reported directly to the Parish Council on 23 November 2022 with no matters arising.
S&P006/23 6. Terms of Reference for the Committee
Members considered the Terms of Reference
RESOLVED: Members agreed the terms of reference for 2023/24
S&P007/23 7. Statement of Pensions Discretions Policy
The Parish Council is a good employer affording employees green book conditions of service. However, it is not a large organisation and limited staffing and financial resources have to be considered in setting this policy.
RESOLVED: Members agreed the attached schedule for inclusion in the Pensions Discretions Policy and requested that the Parish Clerk draw up a policy to reflect the decisions.
- Power of employing authority to grant additional pension (Regulation 31)
The Council may exercise this discretion mindful that consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications.
- Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (APC’s) Regulation 16 (2)(e) Regulation 16 (4)(d)
The Council may exercise this discretion mindful that consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications
- Flexible Retirement Regulation 30(6) TP11(2)
The Council may exercise this discretion mindful that consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications. This must also be in line with the Council’s flexible retirement policy.
- Flexible Retirement waiving of actuarial reduction Regulation 30(8) TPSch2, Para 2(1), B30(5) and B30(A)(5)
The exercise of this discretion is in a highly exceptional circumstance, however consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case, of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications
- ‘Switch on’ the 85-year rule LPGS Regulations 2014 (Transitional Provisions Savings and amendments – paragraph 2 (2) of schedule 2)
The exercise of this discretion is in a highly exceptional circumstance. Currently the Council has no member of staff that this would apply. However consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications
- Pre LGPS 2014 discretions – this does not apply to any member of staff
AGENDA – PART 2.
Members considered that in respect of Standing Order 3a and in view of the special and confidential nature of the business to be transacted, that it was advisable in the public interest that the press and public be excluded and asked to withdraw.
Items referred from part 1. for consideration.
Parish Clerk left the meeting
S&P08/23 Annual performance review of Parish Clerk. The Chairman reported that he and the Vice Chairman had completed the annual performance review with the Parish Clerk
Resolved: Members accepted the report and recommendations
Parish Clerk returned to the meeting
FAO and Councillor Iley left meeting
S&P09/2 Annual performance review of members of staff. The Parish Clerk reported that the annual performance reviews have been completed.
Resolved: Members accepted the report and recommendations
There being no further business the meeting closed at 12.30
Signed by the Chairman: ……………………………………………. Date: …………………..
Agenda Item 6
Terms of Reference
Staffing and Policy Committee
- Committee: The Staffing and Policy Committee is constituted as a committee of the Council.
- Membership: All Councillors can be members with a minimum of 5 Councillors and will include the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council.
The quorum shall be 3 members of the Committee.
- The Chairman (and Vice Chairman) will be elected at the first meeting of the Committee following the Annual Meeting of Choppington Parish Council.
- The Committee will meet 6 monthly, with a minimum of 3 working days’ notice given, or less if an extraordinary meeting is required.
- To consider matters relating to the Council as the employer.
- To consider matters of policy and make recommendations to the Parish Council as required.
- Performance Review of Clerk, appraisal by the Chair and Vice Chair (or in their absence 2 members of this committee) and to implement any recommendations or actions.
- To receive a report from the Clerk following performance reviews of staff and implement any recommendations or action. NB budgetary responsibility relating to ‘employee costs’ is considered by the Finance Committee
- To review and recommend to the Council policy documents
- Minutes: The business of the meeting is recorded as minutes and approved at next meeting. Due to the cycle of meetings, the minutes are noted at the following Parish Council meeting including recommendations for action.
- The terms of reference to be reviewed annually by the Committee.
Agenda item 7
Statement of Employers discretion policy – Report for consideration by Staffing and Policy Committee 25 October 2023
Choppington Parish Council has chosen to participate in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LPGS). Membership benefits are defined and mostly prescribed under this scheme but in certain areas it requires the employer (the Parish Council) to consider and formally agree some benefits that are discretionary. Under Regulation 60 of the LGPS Regulation 2013 (amended) each scheme employer must publish and keep under review a discretions policy which explains how it will apply certain discretions allowed under the Pensions Regulations. This policy will be available to the Council’s pensions administrator Tyne and Wear Pension Fund. (TWPF). Within the Local Government Pension Scheme there are over one hundred possible discretions which are either mandatory or optional.
- Legal Implications
The mandatory discretions fall under the LGPS Regulations 2013 & the LGPS Regulations 2014 (Transitional Provisions and Savings) and the LGPS Regulations 2008 (Benefits, Membership and Contributions)
- Cost Implications
Where there are cost implications, these are indicated for each discretion under discussion. The Parish budget contains employers liabilities for annual pension contributions, to date the Council has not set aside financial resources for additional payments. An earmarked balance may be required to cover future requirements.
- Resource Implications
There is not a direct resource implication.
Employees of the Parish Council may enrol into the LGPS. Each member pays their own contributions through salary deductions and can access pension benefits based on their statutory retirement age . The employer pays the balance of the cost of providing members benefits. 3 employees are currently members of the LGPS.
- Decisions Required
Members are required to consider the following 5 mandatory discretions. These powers exist to give local flexibility to Councils, taking into account changing working arrangements, best business case solutions and cost implications.
A decision is required for each of the discretions.
The policy arising from this document will be reviewed annually as part of the budget setting process.
1 Power of employing authority to grant additional pension (Regulation 31)
An employer can decide whether to grant additional pension to an active member or within 6 months of ceasing to be an active member by reason of redundancy or business efficiency. Additional pension is up to a limit of £7759 (2022-23 rates).
The council may consider this discretion on a case by case basis, but only when the business case is in the interest of the Council taking into consideration staffing and cost implications.
2 Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (APC’s) Regulation 16 (2)(e) Regulation 16 (4)(d)
Where an active member wishes to purchase extra annual pension by making additional pension contributions (APC)1, an employer can choose to voluntarily contribute towards the cost of purchasing that extra pension through a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC).
Note 1. This does not relate to cases where a member has a period of authorised unpaid leave. Under certain circumstances the employer must contribute 2/3rd of the cost to a SCAPC (Reg 2013 15(5)).
3 Flexible Retirement Regulation 30(6) TP11(2)
An employer can decide whether to permit flexible retirement for staff aged 55 or over who reduce their working hours and/or grade and wish to access their pension benefits. In such cases pension benefits will be reduced in accordance with actuarial guidance unless the employer waives reduction on compassionate grounds or a member has protected rights. NB The Parish Council will require a flexible retirement policy if this is agreed as policy.
4 Flexible Retirement waiving of actuarial reduction Regulation 30(8) TPSch2, Para 2(1), B30(5) and B30(A)(5)
When an employee has been permitted flexible retirement, and access pension benefits, their pension is reduced. The employer can decide whether to waive, in whole or in part, the actuarial reduction on benefits paid on the flexible retirement.
Employers may also waive on compassionate grounds members benefits for deferred members and suspended tier 3 ill health pensioners who elect to draw benefits on or after age 60 and before normal pension age. The Parish Council as the employer will pay any shortfall.
5 ‘Switch on’ the 85-year rule LPGS Regulations 2014 (Transitional Provisions Savings and amendments – paragraph 2 (2) of schedule 2
The 85 year rule applies to members joining before 2006 and currently Choppington Parish Council does not have members in the pension fund to which this applies. The rule states that if the member’s age plus the number of years in pension fund add up to 85 years or more, they are eligible to retire early without losing any pension benefits. The 85 year rule applies after 60 years of age. Between the ages of 55 and 60 members can choose to retire with reduced benefits.
The employer can decide to ‘switch on’ the 85-year rule for a member voluntarily drawing benefits on or after age 55 and before 60 (other than on the grounds of flexible retirement). Under these circumstances the employer will pay pension strain costs.
Pre LGPS 2014 discretions – this is not applicable
Choppington Parish Council does not have members who ceased active membership on or after 1 April 2008 and before 1 April 2014
actuarial guidance – based on a table which shows probability of a person dying before their next birthday
actuarial reduction – using actuarial tables a calculation is made to calculate the reduction in pension benefits with early retirement.
Deferred members – members who have been in the LGPS a minimum 2 years and have left before their retirement age but have kept their pension benefits in the LGPS
Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC). Employer and employee both pay additional contributions.
Strain Cost – Shortfall in the assumed level of funding needed to provide a pension benefit. Most strain costs are payable up front as a lump sum to the fund at the point that an event occurs. Strain costs relating to “no fault” events such as ill health retirements and deaths are not payable up front but instead are absorbed within the ongoing employer’s contribution rate as part of the actuarial valuation.
Suspended tier 3 ill health pensioners – tier 3 ill health refers to those likely to be capable of gainful employment within 3 years of leaving employment or before normal pension age. This pension is paid temporarily for maximum of 3 years or when employee enters gainful employment.