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Employers

1. Employers

We deal with around:

  • 260 employers
  • 24,000 active employees
  • 29,000 ex-employees
  • 19,400 pensioners

The employers include a range of scheduled bodies (major and smaller), admitted bodies and independent schools in Buckinghamshire. Scheduled Bodies are required to offer LGPS membership to their employees. Admitted Bodies are employers who have entered into an admission agreement with us to allow their employees to join the LGPS. 

 

LGPS Employer responsibilities

The LGPS is a statutory scheme, governed by the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations. These regulations outline your statutory responsibilities as an LGPS employer. In brief, your main responsibilities are to:

 

Scheme/Fund registration information

  • LGPS Pension Scheme Tax Reference (PSTR): 00329946RE
  • Pension Fund Pension Scheme Tax Registration (PSTR): 00328524RG
  • The Pensions Regulator's Pension Scheme Registry (PSR) number for the Pension Fund: 10123049
  • Scheme Contracted Out Number (SCON): S2700138P - contracting out ceased from April 2016

Guides, forms and booklets

Visit the Employees' guide forms and booklets page to download our Scheme member documents.

 

2. Automatic enrolment

Automatic enrolment is a government initiative to help more people save for later life through a pension scheme at work. It requires employers to automatically enrol their eligible workers into a pension scheme. The employer must also pay money into the scheme. Automatic enrolment is being rolled out in stages, across all employers. It started with the larger employers first, but, by October 2018 all existing employers were required to offer a workplace pension scheme to eligible workers.

For the purpose of automatic enrolment workers are put into three different categories depending on how much they earn and their age. The categories are:

  • eligible jobholders
  • non-eligible jobholders
  • entitled workers

Every employer in the UK has been allocated a date from which the duties will first apply to the employer, known as the employer's 'staging date'. An employer's staging date is based on the number of people in the employer's PAYE scheme on 1 April 2012.

Employers in our pension fund should provide us with details of their auto enrolment staging date and also their subsequent 3 year auto enrolment staging anniversaries by emailing employers@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

For more information on Automatic Enrolment and the LGPS, please read the Local Government Association's Automatic Enrolment Guide.

4. Employers’ guides, forms and booklets

Our Pension Administration Strategy, Roles and Responsibilities document, forms, spreadsheets and various training and guidance notes can be downloaded below.

 

Pension Administration Strategy and Roles and Responsibilities document

Pension Administration Strategy 2020 - includes the BCPF Charging schedule
Roles and Responsibilities document 2021 PDF, 758KB - a detailed LGPS administration guide for BCPF Employers

 

Employer forms

i-Connect monthly submission reconciliation form- Monthly reconciliation form for i-Connect employers 
Employer estimate request form PDF, 200KB
Notification of employee leaving - Form
Retirement certificate PDF, 195KB

 

Employer spreadsheets

Monthly notification spreadsheet - monthly banding 2021-22 (10 Lines)
Monthly notification spreadsheet- monthly banding 2021-22 (140 Lines)
Monthly notification spreadsheet - monthly banding 2021-22 (1000 Lines)
Monthly notification spreadsheet - monthly banding 2021-22 (8000 Lines)
Monthly notification spreadsheet - monthly banding 2021 - 22 (10,000 Lines)
New Final Pay calculation spreadsheet - FP calculation, used to calculate Final Pay
Change of address template - used to notify us of changes in home address

 

Employer training and guidance notes

Below is a range of training resources and guidance on various topics designed to assist Buckinghamshire LGPS scheme employers.

McCloud monthly data gathering 2021/22 Q&A - Information for employers about submitting monthly data in respect of the McCloud Judgement.

Outsourcing your payroll for LGPS employers - employer considerations when using a third party payroll provider [PDF | 457kb]

Employer's IDRP Guide PDF, 306KB
Egress Switch registration instructions - how to register for Egress Switch when we send you an encrypted email.
General Employer training - presentation covering Fund governance, calculation of pay, our SLA and other Employer / Fund functions.
Year-end training 2020 - a detailed look at our year-end process.
50/50 Section employer guidance notes - an explanation of the 50/50 section of the LGPS and the Employer's administration requirements.
Pay terminology document - an explanation of Final Pay, Actual Pay, Assumed Pensionable Pay and the other terms we use relating to pay.
Reductions in Pay factsheet - an explanation of 'the best of the last 3 years' and 'Regulation 10 - best average 3' which may apply in the calculation of Final Pay.

 

General Data Protection Regulation

Memorandum of Understanding - re: compliance with Data Protection law.

 

5. Becoming a Fund employer

The page contains general information on

  • becoming a Fund employer,
  • important changes to employer status that we need to be made aware of
  • employer’s exiting the LGPS

 

Become a Fund employer

The LGPS is a statutory pension scheme which means that the rules of the scheme are set out in the law, including which employers can participate in the LGPS. The different types of employer able to participate in the LGPS is set out in Schedule 2 of the LGPS regulations 2013.  

  • Schedule 2, part 1 employers are known as scheduled bodies. They have an automatic right to participate in the LGPS and must offer the LGPS to all qualifying staff.
  • Schedule 2, part 2 employers are known as designated (or resolution) bodies. They are entitled to join the LGPS, but they do not have to. They must pass a resolution stating which employees they will offer the LGPS to.
  • Schedule 2, part 3 employers are known as admitted bodies. Admitted bodies are able to participate in the scheme through a written agreement known as the Admission Agreement.
  • Schedule 2, part 4 employers are bodies deemed part of a LGPS Fund employer such a governing body or a school maintained by a local authority. Schedule 2, part 4 employers are not considered the Fund employer for the purpose of the LGPS regulations, but they must offer the LGPS to all qualifying staff.

Upon joining the LGPS, you should be aware of your employer responsibilities and the associated costs.

 

Your employer responsibilities

Once in the scheme, all employers must ensure that they meet the employer responsibilities set out in the regulations. These duties are in addition to your auto-enrolment responsibilities and include, but are not limited to:

The Roles and Responsibilities document is a guide created to assist you in following the regulations. It also provides guidance on our Fund specific processes.

 

The cost to employers

When you join the scheme, you take on the responsibility of funding your employee’s pension benefits which are referred to as your ‘liabilities’.

A valuation will be carried out when you first join the scheme to assess your individual employer contribution rate. This is performed by the Fund actuary and your contribution rate is determined based on your covenant strength and the estimated cost of your liabilities. Your employer contributions must be paid to the Fund on a monthly basis in addition to your employee contributions. Employer contributions are reassessed for all Fund employers every three years.

Other costs an LGPS employer is liable to pay include, but are not limited to:

  • Ill-health assessment costs
  • Pension strain costs (for example in the case of redundancies)
  • Actuary/Administrative/Legal costs for non-standard work
  • Exit costs
  • Outsourcing/TUPE associated costs

You should also be aware that employers may be issued charges in accordance with the Pensions Administration Strategy if you fail to meet your responsibilities.

 

Access to support

Employers have access to the support services we offer to assist you in fulfilling your duties. These include:

 

Outsourcing/TUPE

If you are an LGPS Fund employer considering outsourcing a service, you need to ensure you are considering pension issues during the procurement phase and especially when the tender specifications are drawn up.

 

When staff TUPE transfer to a new contractor, there are specific pension requirements any prospective contractor will need to meet and checks that you will need to carry out in regard to pensions before you can proceed. There are also costs involved that you need to be aware of. Due to the nature of the process, it can take some time to approve a new employer for admitted body status. You should ensure you have allowed for this. 

 

Applying for admitted body status

The LGPS is a defined benefit pension scheme for local government workers or those employed by organisations that work for or with local government. Admitted bodies listed in Schedule 2, part 3, can be a community of interest group, but most commonly a body is admitted to the LGPS where local authority service is outsourced. Admitted bodies are able to participate in the Fund through an admission agreement. If you are considering taking over a contract which requires you to obtain admitted body status, please contact us for more information on the admission process.

 

Academy conversions and multi-academy trusts

Academies are scheduled bodies listed in Schedule 2, part 1 and therefore must enrol all employees who are not eligible for another public sector pension scheme (such as Teachers pension scheme) in the LGPS. If you are converting to academy status or are a multi-academy trust taking on a new academy, you should inform us as soon as possible, so that we can explain the process and advise you of the costs involved.

 

While all academies in a multi-academy trust, pool their assets, each individual academy will require its own valuation report and will therefore be liable for the cost of this. You will be required to present this report when you first join a multi-academy Trust, and if you decide to change Trusts, you may be asked to obtain a revised valuation report by the new Trust before you are admitted.

 

Local authority maintained schools

If you are a local authority maintained school considering outsourcing, the first thing you need to do is contact the local authority. As the local authority is considered the Employer under the scheme regulations, they will need to approve any outsourcing decision. You should be aware that the local authority are unlikely to act as a guarantor and that any new contractor will need to be willing to put a Bond in place and meet any associated costs.

 

Change of payroll provider

If you are considering changing your payroll provider, you should ensure that you have read our ‘outsourcing your payroll’ guide. This explains what you need to think about before you proceed and also what to look for in a potential payroll provider. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are planning to change your payroll provider.

 

Exiting the LGPS  

You become an exiting employer if:

  • If you are a designated body (schedule 2, part 2) and your last active LGPS member leaves your employ or retires, and you decide to offer an alternative pension provision to your employees in the future.
  • If you are an admitted body (schedule 2, part 3) and your last active member leaves your employ or retires, or your contract comes to an end.
  • You are a Fund employer (schedule 2, part 1, 2, 3 or 4) who becomes insolvent.

If any of these circumstances apply, we will need to carry out a cessation valuation to assess the cost of any remaining liabilities you have to the Fund. There is a charge for carrying out the cessation valuation which you will be liable for. Please contact us for the current fees.

The cessations valuation will reveal whether you have a deficit and therefore owe a payment to the Fund (exit payment), or whether you are in surplus, in which case the Fund may consider paying an exit credit. Funds exercise discretion over who and in which circumstances an exit credit can be made.

If you don’t have any active members left in the scheme, but you expect that you may offer the LGPS to employees within 3 years of becoming an exiting employer, we may be able to issue a ‘suspension notice’.

More information can be found in your Admission Agreement (if you are an admitted body) as well as the Funding Strategy Statement.

The circumstances where the Fund would consider an alternative arrangement to a lump sum payment to meet employer exit payments are set out in the deferred debt and debt spreading policies document.

It’s important that you inform us as soon as you are aware that you may exit the scheme so that we can start making preparations and inform the Fund actuary.

If you require any information about leaving or joining the scheme, or you need to discuss anything on this page, please contact us at employers@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

6. In-Form: Employer’s newsletter

In-Form is the quarterly newsletter for Buckinghamshire Pension Fund Employers.

In every issue you’ll find essential updates from the Pensions and Investments Team, including:

  • scheme news
  • bitesize training
  • employer FAQs
  • special features focusing on issues of interest to LGPS employers

Latest issue of In-Form: Summer 2021- Issue 5

 

Previous employer newsletters

Spring 2021- Issue 4
Winter 2020 - Issue 3
Autumn 2020 – Issue 2
Spring 2020 - Issue 1
March 2020
December 2019

Receive our employer updates

Join our employer mailing list to ensure you receive your quarterly copy of In-Form.

We’ll also send important updates from the Employer Liaison Team, and information on training opportunities and events.

To add your name, email employers@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

 

Send us your feedback.

If you have any comments, suggestions or things you would like to see covered in In-Form, we’d like to hear them.

Email: pension.feedback@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

 

7. Employer events and training

To support you in your role as an LGPS employer, we run free regular training webinars. We also offer free induction webinars for your employees.

Webinars are conducted as Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) Live Events. Upcoming webinars are listed below.

This page also explains how to book and what you can expect from a live webinar.

 

Upcoming employer webinars

There are currently no employer webinars scheduled. A new programme of employer webinars will be announced soon.

 

How to book

You can attend as many webinars as you wish and there is no limit on the number of places you can reserve.

To book yourself or any other members of your organisation onto one or more of the webinars, email employers@buckinghamshire.gov.uk confirming the:

  • name of your organisation
  • full name of all attendees
  • full email addresses of all attendees

We will then send out an invite for the event. This will contain a link you will need to click on to access the webinar. If you do not use outlook, ensure that you don’t miss out by adding the event to your calendar.

 

Attending a webinar

If you don’t have the MS Teams application, you will still be able to attend the webinar.

There will be an opportunity at the end of each webinar to ask any questions you have via the chat bar. Please be aware that we will only be able to answer general questions about the subjects covered in the training. If you have specific questions in relation to your organisation, you should discuss these directly with your Employer Liaison Officer. You won’t need to have your camera or microphone on when you attend the event.

Please ensure you click the link at the right time to access the webinar. We advise joining a few minutes before the webinar is due to start to ensure you can access the webinar.

For quality and training purposes, all webinars will be recorded. You will not be able to record the event.

 

After attending a webinar

After you attend the webinar, we will issue any accompanying notes and PowerPoint slides to the email addresses you provided at the time of booking.

To help us monitor the quality of the training we provide, please take a few minutes to let us know how you found the webinar. You can do this by sending us a quick email or completing any survey sent out to you.

 

Previous employer webinars

Final pay- 10 June 2021

An LGPS overview for admitted and resolution bodies - 29 April 2021
The year-end process – 8 March 2021
The SLA, the PAS and submitting information - 25 January 2021

If you have any suggestions of what topics you would like to see covered in future webinar presentations, please contact us.

 

Webinars for your LGPS employees

We run a quarterly induction webinar presentation entitled 'Introduction to the LGPS'. This is open to all new LGPS starters and provides a brief overview to scheme members about how the LGPS works and some important things they need to be aware of as a new member in the scheme.

The dates of the induction webinars for 2021 to 2022 are shown below. 

Date Time Booking form to be provided by
Thursday 27 May 2021 10am to 10.45am 24 May 2021
Wednesday 4 August 2021 10am to 10:45am 27 July 2021
Monday 20 September 2021 2pm to 2:45pm 13 September 2021
Wednesday 19 January 2022 11am to 11:45am 12 January 2022
Tuesday 26 April 2022 4pm to 4:45pm 19 April 2022

To book your employees onto the webinar:

  1. Complete a webinar booking form (XLSX, 11.8KB).
  2. Email it to employers@buckinghamshire.gov.uk by the deadlines shown.

We will then issue an activation link to your employees. Please send one booking form only. 

Booking for these events are done purely through employers. Please do not ask your employee to approach us directly to book onto the webinar.

 

Other training options for your organisation

For a fee, we may be able to provide specific training for your organisation. To discuss your requirements, contact us by emailing employers@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

 

8. COVID-19 - LGPS information for employers

The government has released new guidance for Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this guide is to provide employers with a summary of the key directives and clarify the fund’s position on any recommended discretions.

You may receive questions from members concerned about their financial situation and the impact of the crisis on their pension. Please refer them to our website where we will be publishing specific guidance for members.

 

Prioritising services

As COVID-19 has led to increased staff shortages due to factors such as sickness, and the Government’s COVID-19 response plan, administering authorities have been advised to prioritise paying benefits, and processing retirements and deaths. We are following this guidance. This does mean, that it may take us longer to deal with work relating to areas not considered a priority. We appreciate your understanding and patience at this difficult time.

The Pension’s Regulator has asked employers to focus on providing leaver and pay information for retirements, pay information for any death in service and paying over employee and employer contributions.

 

Contributions and other payments

The regulations state that employer contributions must continue to be paid (as per the individual employer contribution rate) to the Administering Authority (AA) in line with the usual timescales.

We have made no amendment to our discretionary policy or funding strategy statement at this time, and expect payment of all other invoiced items, such as pension strain, to be paid as per the usual timescale.

Contact us as soon as possible if you anticipate any delays.

 

Submission timescales

The government has not yet issued any extension on statutory pension deadlines; therefore, we continue to expect the delivery of information, such as the monthly and year end returns to be received within the usual timescale.

We understand that you may be experiencing added pressures at this time and may also need to prioritise workflow. Communication and transparency are crucial to enable us to support each other. If you anticipate any delays to the timescales agreed in the service level agreement, contact your Employer Liaison Officer (ELO) as soon as possible.

 

Electronic communications

Help us to minimise delays and time spent by staff in the office by ensuring that, where possible, all communication is sent to us electronically.

The government recently confirmed that electronic signatures are as reliable as wet ink signatures, and all our pdf forms are fully editable.

If you are not yet using i-Connect to provide us with pension information, you are missing an opportunity to decrease your workload and paperwork. We are still supporting employers to set up this invaluable resource. Contact us to find out more.

 

Furloughed staff

Employees paid under the government’s COVID-19 job retention scheme (CJRS) are known as furloughed staff. The government recently announced it would be extending this scheme until September 2021. The government previously announced that it intended to replace CJRS with the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention bonus, but this has been delayed due to the extension of CJRS.

Employees qualifying for furlough will receive 80% of their wages (from 1 November 2020 to 30 June 2021), paid for by the government, up to the value of £2,500 a month for the qualifying period. The employer can choose to top up the value to 100% of the employee’s usual wages. After 1 July 2021, the amount you can claim will reduce and you will need to top up your employee’s wages. 

Contact your Employer Liaison Officer if any of your staff paying into the LGPS have been furloughed.

Here are the key points to consider when dealing with furloughed employees in relation to LGPS administration:

  • Furloughed pay is pensionable; therefore, employee and employer contributions should be deducted based on the employee’s actual pay. No Assumed Pensionable Pay (APP) should be applied. If the employee receives only 80% of their pay, their pension contributions, and correspondingly, their pension build-up, will be less than if they had continued to receive 100% of pay. The member can choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APC) to make up for the loss. The employer can choose to contribute towards this, but there is no obligation to do so. Before 1 August 2020, employers could reclaim the cost of employer contributions up to 3% but are unable to reclaim these after this date.
  • The employer must continue to pay contributions to the AA as per the employer contribution rates tables on the pensionable pay which includes any amount funded by CJRS.
  • If a member’s final pay calculation is reduced due to furloughed pay, we will require three separate final pay calculations in respect of the three years prior to the last day of service. We will use the highest of these three figures in our assessment of pension benefits. All members are entitled to this provision. Furloughed employees will not qualify for a 3 in 10 final pay calculation. Please indicate to us where an employee’s pay has reduced due to being furloughed so that we can assess their pension entitlement accurately and save you the trouble of supplying us with information we don’t need.
  • The government has specified that all furlough pay must be paid to employees in the form of money. Salary sacrifice schemes should not be deducted from the grant. Where the employer provides benefits to furloughed employees through a salary sacrifice scheme, these benefits should be in addition to the furlough pay.
  • Furloughed workers on parental related leave are entitled to the usual associated paid leave.
  • If furlough pay forms all or part of a member’s pensionable pay, it should be used to determine the employee contribution rate at reviews. The employer can set the band in April and choose to keep it in place until 31 March of the following year; however, the regulations also allow for review mid-year if, during the year, there are changes to employment, or a material change to income.
  • If a member who has been furloughed, retires due to ill-health, you need to provide us with an Assumed Pensionable Pay figure (APP). The regulations advise that you can calculate the APP using a higher pay figure to reflect the pensionable pay the member would normally have received had they not been furloughed.
  • If a furloughed member dies in service, and their pay has been reduced, the regulations advise that the employer can calculate the APP for the death grant using a higher pay figure to reflect the pensionable pay the member would normally have received.
  • Employers can decide to end the furlough at any time and bring employees back to work.
  • If a member on furlough has their contractual hours reduced, the hours used for the calculation of final pay should include any hours subsidised by the wage support scheme.

 

Summary of important dates for CJRS

1 July 2020

Employers were able to bring back previously furloughed employees on a part-time basis (flexible furlough).

1 August 2020

A new taper began to operate. Employers required to meet part of the salary and other costs previously provided by the scheme. Previously, employers were able to reclaim up to 3% of pension contributions back from the government, they were no longer be able to do so.

1 September 2020

Government grant towards employee wages reduced to 70%.

1 October 2020

Government grant towards employee wages reduced to 60%.

1 November 2020

Government grant towards employee wages increased to 80% up to the value of £2,500 per month. Employer’s to pay NICs and pension contributions.

1 July 2021

The amount an employer can claim through CJRS will reduce. You'll also need to make a contribution to your employee’s wages.

Please refer to government guidance for more information about these changes to CJRS.

1 October 2021

CJRS will close.

Refer to government’s CJRS guidance for further information.

 

Secondment for active members

Where a member of staff has been seconded under the government’s plan for emergency staffing to the NHS, they will still be paid their usual wage; therefore, their pension contributions should continue as before.

 

Deferred and pensioner members returning to work as emergency staffing

Deferred or pensioner members returning to paid work as part of the government’s plan for emergency staffing, should be given access to the LGPS where they qualify for it. In the case of pension abatement, the fund’s policy continues to apply.

However, we will also apply the government stipulation that no worker should be penalised for helping with the COVID-19 effort.   

 

Emergency Voluntary Leave (EVL)

Any member on EVL, should not lose out on pension build-up if they have temporarily left the post to volunteer in the health and social care sectors to support the COVID-19 effort.

APP should be added to the Cumulative Pensionable Pay (CPP) for pension purposes. Employer pension contributions should be based on the APP.

Employee pension contributions should only be paid on any actual pay the employee receives during the period. When submitting information to us, please advise us if a member has received APP due to EVL.

 

Reserve Forces Leave

If an employee is called away from their usual work on Reserve Forces Leave (RFL) as part of the Government’s plan to tackle COVID-19, the employee will have the choice to leave or remain in the LGPS.

For those that choose to remain, the employee and employer contributions should be based on APP. The employer should notify the MOD of the APP figure, as well as the contributions payable. It would then be the MOD’s responsibility to pay all contributions to the AA.

If the employer makes any payment to the member during the period of leave, it would not be pensionable.

 

Progressing ill health retirements

It is expected that ill-health retirements should progress as usual during the COVID-19 crisis. Delays in obtaining the IRMPs report could affect the date a post-2014 deferred pension is paid on the grounds of ill health, as well as the date a tier 3 pension is upgraded to tier 2.

Therefore, you should ask the IRMP to include any information in their report about delays caused by the crisis and should consider this in the member’s application.

Though furlough is not to be used for short term sick leave, if a current employee’s long-term sick pay is coming to the end, you could consider whether they would qualify for the CJRS. For further information, see the LGA’s advice on eligibility.

 

Contacting your Employer Liaison Officer (ELO)

Although face to face meetings are on hold for the time being, our ELOs are still available to answer queries and can also offer meetings via Microsoft Teams.

More information about employment issues related to the pandemic can be found on the LGA’s COVID-19 employment Law FAQs.