Details of events supported by the work of the Scheme Advisory Board can be found here.

Details of events supported by the work of the Scheme Advisory Board can be found here.

Fire Pensions Annual Conference – London – 24-25 September 2019 SAVE THE DATE

Our popular Fire Pensions Annual Conference is back! The two day programme allows delegates to network with fellow colleagues and hear the latest news on the Firefighters' Pension Scheme (FPS) from the scheme's key stakeholders.

You will hear important updates, including:

  • Chairman of the Scheme Advisory Board
  • The Home Office
  • Legal Updates

As well as providing the opportunity to network with other FPS stakeholders, there will be interactive and thought provoking workshops to take part in during the day, including:

  • Abatement
  • Transitional Pension Calculations

The full programme will be available shortly. Use the links below to book your place now!

Day 1 – Tuesday 24 September 2019 4:30pm - 6:30pm followed by drinks reception

Primarily for Scheme Managers and Local Pension Board chairs, day 1 of the conference will provide practical guidance on the role of the scheme manager and will offer the opportunity to network with counterparts in other Fire Authorities.

Following this session there will be a drinks reception on the terrace from 6:45pm

Day 2 – Wednesday 25 September 2019 9:30am - 3:30pm

Day 2 of the conference provides delegates with an annual update on the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme from key stakeholders.

Pensionable pay workshop: Firefighters’ Pensions – London – 18 July 2019

 

We were pleased to welcome over 70 delegates to our sold out event on 18 July 2019, in order to discuss the challenge of interpreting pensionable pay within the legislation and case-law.

The morning session was opened by Clair Alcock who outlined how 45 different decision makers, case-law, and legislation combine to provide complexity in determining pensionable pay. This was followed by an in-depth look at the most recent case Booth vs Mid and West Wales from Jane Marshall, partner at Weightmans LLP and legal adviser to the Fire Scheme Advisory Board. Steven Pope, Head of Human Resources at Devon and Somerset Fire then took to the stage to deliver a practitioner's insight into pensionable pay decision making. Before lunch we welcomed back Jane Marshall to give a case-law round up and a discussion on what steps Fire Authorities now need to take to remedy pensionable pay. The number of questions received during Jane and Steven's sessions demonstrated how valuable it is to hear first-hand issues on pensionable pay.

   

Following lunch, Clair Alcock shared some thoughts on decision making to ensure that pensionable pay is considered at the heart of any pay structure, we then welcomed James Durrant, Pensions Manager at Essex Fire Authority who shared some thought provoking insight into tax consequences of retrospective action to ensure that where action is taken, tax law is complied with.

The final session of the day was a panel discussion session, which allowed the audience to ask questions of all the speakers of the day.

The complete presentation slide deck from the event is available here. To view the conference in pictures, visit our @LGAWorkforce twitter feed, #LGAfirepensions

We would encourage all delegates to give feedback using the electronic forms provided after the event so we can continue to improve our training events.

Ill-health and injury workshop: Firefighters and Police Pensions – London – 19 June 2019

 

Over 90 delegates attended the Firefighters’ and Police pensions ill-health and injury workshop at 18 Smith Square on 19 June 2019. We were delighted to welcome so many colleagues from the sector to the event, to examine the common issues found when running an ill-health process and discuss what can be improved to help best practice.

The morning session was opened by the LGA’s Clair Alcock, who gave an overview of the structure and benefits of ill-health and injury awards in the Firefighters’ and Police schemes. This was followed by an in-depth look at the legislation governing both schemes from Jane Marshall, partner at Weightmans LLP and legal adviser to the Fire Scheme Advisory Board. Jane also took the audience through the appeals process and relevant case law, highlighting common issues than can arise in the process and how to avoid them.

  

Continuing the theme of sharing best practice, Claire Johnson from West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service took to the stage to discuss the ill-health retirement process in place at WYFRS, from employee awareness to final outcome and potential appeal. The number of questions received demonstrated how invaluable it is to delegates to hear first-hand the experiences of other authorities.

Following the overview of an FRA’s role and responsibilities, we were pleased to welcome Dr Ian Griffiths, Consultant Occupational Physician and experienced IQMP, who gave a fascinating and often humorous insight into the role of the IQMP and the decision making process. Dr Griffiths covered some further elements of case law, discussing how these may impact on the medical decision.

  

After lunch we were joined by our LGA colleague Phil Bundy, senior employment law adviser, to talk about mental health in the workplace, with particular reference to the emergency services. Phil outlined the legal framework in place to protect employees, and what employers can do to support staff with mental health conditions.

For the final session of the day, the audience were split into their respective areas of expertise, with a dedicated workshop for each scheme. Clair Alcock led an interactive session for FPS colleagues, using the Sli.do app. Delegates were invited to select randomly from 7 hidden discussion points relating to all aspects of ill-health and injury, and submit questions and comments, in addition to voting in anonymous polls. A list of FAQs based on issues raised will be collated and uploaded here in the coming weeks.

  

The complete presentation slide decks from the event are available here.

To view the full conference in pictures, visit our @LGAWorkforce twitter feed, #LGAfirepensions

We would encourage all delegates to give feedback using the electronic forms provided after the event so we can continue to improve our training events.

LPB annual wrap-up training 2019 - London - 18 June 2019

Twenty delegates from across the FPS governance community attended the popular annual LPB wrap-up training event held at 18 Smith Square on 18 June 2019.

In the session led by Claire Hey, attendees received a whistle-stop tour of the background to the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes and funding, followed by an overview of the roles and responsibilities of those involved in governance – the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB), scheme manager, and Local Pension Boards (LPBs). Malcolm Eastwood, chair of the SAB, was also on hand to provide input on the current work of the Board.

We were joined in the afternoon by The Pensions Regulator, to provide the headline results from the 2018 Governance and Administration survey in relation to FPS. This summary provided an ideal basis for the following session, which considered next steps LPBs could take to become more effective and signposted resources available to assist boards. The event concluded with a look at current and future issues affecting the schemes.

  

The full presentation slide deck from the event is available here.

The content of the course will be reviewed on an annual basis and we plan to continue to offer wrap-up training yearly, for new members to boards or those requiring a refresher session.

If you wish to enquire about full board training at your own venue, please contact the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Each board is entitled to a free training session under the Scheme Advisory Board levy. Examples of previous sessions are held here.

Firefighters and Police Local Pension Boards governance conference - London – 15 May 2019

We were delighted to welcome over 60 delegates from the Firefighters’ and Police Pensions sector to the LGA offices on 15 May 2019 for our second Local Pension Board governance conference. The event gave attendees the opportunity to network with fellow board chairs and representatives and participate in an interactive session on supporting the scheme manager, as well as hearing from industry experts on current issues of importance to boards.

After an inspiring opening address by the chairs of each Scheme Advisory Board, the audience heard a case law update from Eversheds Sutherland, focusing on current legal issues that may have direct or consequential impact on the schemes. This was followed by a much anticipated overview of the 2018 Governance and Administration survey outcomes presented by the Pensions Regulator.

  

The event then took a more participatory turn, with Tristan Ashby, chair of the SAB Local Pension Board effectiveness committee, chairing an interactive session using the Sli.do app. Delegates were invited to select random hidden topics for discussion and submit questions and comments, in addition to voting in anonymous polls. A list of the most popular questions will be posted here in the coming weeks, however, one slide generating considerable interest was a depiction of the scheme year cycle.

  

The afternoon session began with a look at how the boards of other public service pension schemes operate. Karen McWilliam took a break from her day job at Aon to share her experiences and best practice as independent chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund board with attendees. In the concluding presentation of the day, Clair Alcock of the LGA delivered some thought provoking insight into the behaviours of high performing boards, illustrating how LPBs can add value by assisting the scheme manager.

  

The complete presentation slide decks from the event are available here.

To view the full conference in pictures, visit our @LGAWorkforce twitter feed, #LGAfirepensions

Data: Pensions in a digital era - London - 3 April 2019

Around 60 delegates were in attendance at 18 Smith Square on 3 April 2019, to hear a host of industry experts reflect on why data is so important for the Firefighters’ and Police Pension Schemes, and how technology can play a part in getting data right.

The audience first heard a joint presentation by DWP and Aquila Heywood on the implementation of the Pensions Dashboard and how this might work in practice for Fire and Police schemes. DWP gave an update on the response to their consultation which closed on 28 January 2019; the LGA Bluelight team provided a response which can be viewed here.

ITM provided an insight on data improvement plans and discussed the work undertaken with the Cabinet Office to improve their member data. This was followed by a session by Civica on using technology to communicate with members and the increasing value of offering a member self-service portal, considering that the introduction of the dashboard will drive expectation for digital solutions.

  

The afternoon opened with a workshop session on data scoring for TPR, led by Aquila Heywood and LGA. Last year for the first time, schemes were required to measure both their common and scheme specific data for the annual return. The LGA issued some informal guidance on how this might be carried out and will be reviewing this for 2019 based on workshop feedback. We would like to thank delegates for their participation in this session.

We were delighted to welcome GAD to give an update on the 2016 scheme valuation for FPS, focusing on the importance of the data that feeds in to the process, the reasons that some data items were excluded from assumption setting this time around, and how this could be improved for 2020.

  

The final session of the day was delivered by Equiniti and discussed the HMRC scheme reconciliation exercise, covering where schemes should be by now and what is left to do.

The complete presentation slide decks from the event are available here.

To view the full conference in pictures, visit our @LGAWorkforce twitter feed, #LGAfirepensions

Fire Pensions Annual Conference 17-18 September 2018

We were delighted to kick off our annual fire pensions conference with a meeting of the regional chairs to discuss the progress of the fire pensions officer groups around the country. All agreed that the forums are a great opportunity for colleagues from FRAs and administrators to get together and discuss relevant issues and common themes with their peers. If you are interested in attending your local group, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The gathering of the regional chairs was closely followed by a meeting of technical group, attended by our technical community and many interested observers. Our capacity at the meeting was almost double the usual attendance, which is a testament to the popularity of the conference event.

An overwhelming 60 delegates were present for first official session of the conference – an update on issues relating to governance of the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes. Following the Chair’s introduction, we were pleased to welcome Rachel Watson from the Home Office to provide a view from central government. Attendees then heard from Tristan Ashby, chair of the Scheme Advisory Board’s Local Pension Board effectiveness committee, on the work of the committee, including a high level summary of recent governance survey results. Ian Howe of Leicestershire County Council gave a presentation on the work of the East Midlands FRAs in looking to form the first joint FPS local pension board, which was complemented by Sarah Mekins from North Yorkshire Police, discussing her experiences as chair of the largest joint Police LPB. The day ended with a networking drinks reception on the roof terrace at 18 Smith Square.

   

The day 1 presentations are available here.

The full technical/ administration AGM took place on day 2 with a full house of around 100 delegates in our Bevin Hall conference room.

    

The AGM delivered a packed agenda. Malcolm Eastwood, chair of the FPS (England) SAB, again opened the day, giving a more in-depth update on the work of the Board and challenges ahead. This was followed by an engaging government panel session with representatives from the LGA, the Home Office, and the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD). Andrew Hopkinson, in his role as national secretary to the Fire Leaders Association, then opened a discussion on public service pensions tax.

Following a short break, delegates received a fascinating update on relevant case law from colleagues at Eversheds Sutherland LLP. After which, attendees could select one of three technical workshops to join: Accurate Forecasting and the Top-Up Grant; Medical Appeals; or Combining Pension Scheme Service. All workshops were well attended and received unanimously positive feedback.

During lunch, delegates had opportunity to network with colleagues and visit the exhibition stands hosted by various suppliers and advisers to the pension scheme industry. Lunch was followed by a short feedback session from the workshop facilitators, and a welcome update on pensionable pay from Jane Marshall (Weightmans), legal advisor to the SAB. The final session of the day saw Aon launch the forthcoming FPS benchmarking exercise, outlining the intention, scope, and prospective timescales of the project. Watch this space for more information, coming soon.

Malcolm Eastwood closed the conference for 2018 with a reminder of the challenges which 2019 may bring, and thanked all for their participation and support. We echo these thanks, particularly to our speakers and exhibitors for contributing to the success of the event, and to all delegates who took time out of their busy schedules to attend. We look forward to seeing you again next year.

The day 2 presentations are available here.

To view the full conference in pictures, visit our @LGAWorkforce twitter feed, #LGAfirepensions

Annual Local Pension Board wrap-up training - London - Tuesday 19 June 2018

Twenty delegates from across the FPS governance community attended the annual LPB wrap-up training event held at 18 Smith Square on 19 June 2018.

Attendees received a whistle-stop tour of the background to the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes and the Pensions Regulator attended the session to provide an overview of the 2017 Governance and Administration survey results. Malcolm Eastwood, chair of the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB), gave an update on the SAB’s work and, following a light lunch, the afternoon continued with Clair Alcock highlighting the roles and responsibilities of those involved in governance and outlining resources available to assist. The session concluded with a look at current and future issues affecting the schemes.

The full presentation slide deck from the event is available here.

The content of the course will be reviewed on an annual basis and we plan to continue to offer wrap-up training yearly, for new members to boards or those requiring a refresher session.

If you wish to enquire about full board training at your own venue, please contact the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Each board is entitled to a free training session under the Scheme Advisory Board levy. Examples of previous sessions are held here.

Fire and Police Local Pension Board Governance - London - Wednesday 9 May 2018

The joint governance event hosted by the Fire and Police Scheme Advisory Boards with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) took place on 9 May 2018 at the LGA Offices in Smith Square, London. Around 60 delegates and speakers from across the schemes attended and we would like to thank all for their participation.

A joint welcome from the Board chairs set the tone for the day and was followed by a view from the Home Office. The Pensions Regulator attended the session to give a briefing on the 2017 Governance and Administration survey results as well as outlining the roles and responsibilities of Local Pension Board (LPB) members.

Reflections on practical experiences of joint police boards, and from the chair of the Fire SAB LPB Effectiveness Committee gave context, while the final session of the day offered boards practical tips on self-assessment and adding value, with a brief look to future challenges. Delegates also had opportunity to network with colleagues and share experiences of operating LPBs over the past two to three years.

The full presentation slide deck from the event is available here.

                                      

       

      

Special members of the 2006 Firefighters' Pension Scheme - refresher workshop - London - Wednesday 2 May 2018

We were pleased to welcome around 50 delegates to the FPS 2006 Special Member workshop held on 2 May 2018 at 18 Smith Square. Our thanks go to Vicky Jenks of Shropshire Pension Fund and Chris Mulholland from GAD for their contributions, and to all delegates participating in the event.

This refresher workshop focused on the history and framework of the 2014 provisions which allowed special members to join the 2006 scheme, how this was communicated to employers and members, and gave an overview of the 2016 valuation statistics in relation to this group of members.

Scheme managers, pensions, finance and HR professionals from a range of FRAs, along with software providers, received a detailed update on the technical aspects of the amendments and had opportunity to reflect on their own experiences.

The full presentation slide deck from the event is available here.

   

    

Meeting GDPR and TPR's data requirements - London - 29 March 2018

Around 70 delegates and exhibitors attended the data seminar held at 18 Smith Square, Westminster on 29 March 2018. Thanks to all those who contributed to the success of the event.

The conference aimed to look from a pensions perspective at the requirements of becoming both GDPR compliant and meeting TPR expectations, and was intended for data controllers (scheme managers), Data Protection Officers, data processors (administrators), Local Pension Boards and industry experts.

The audience enjoyed absorbing presentations from the LGA, ITM and TPR, along with practical tips from Local Authority colleagues, and had opportunity to view some of the solutions on offer from software suppliers. 

   

   

    

The full presentation slide deck from the event is available here.

Tax Awareness Seminars

The series of regional tax awareness seminars hosted and run by Barnett Waddingham has now concluded. Thank you to those that attended and participated in the sessions.

Fire Pensions Annual Conference 9-10 October 2017

Chair, Malcolm Eastwood, addressing the audience on day two of the event.

Please click here to view the slide presentations from both days.