“The Pensions Regulator has issued a draft improvement notice to the London Borough of Barnet to tackle deficiencies in the pension fund’s administration processes and controls.”
“Meanwhile, a recent internal audit report has identified a number of “high risk-rated issues” in relation to the scheme’s administration, which is outsourced to Capita.”
The above are extracts from an article by Pensions Expert Sophia Imeson | July 15, 2019 “TPR still unhappy with pensions admin at Barnet”.
“It’s becoming a full-time job just keeping track of the relentless number of issues arising from poor performance of the Capita Pension Administration service. The question our members keep asking is “how many times does Capita have to fail before the service is taken off Capita and brought back in-house?” Whilst Barnet UNISON I welcomes the news that the Leader of Barnet Council wants to “get things right” where Barnet UNISON differs is why the reluctance to simply end the contract? Barnet UNISON has sat in too many committee meetings where councillors have heard the following: “Capita has put together a plan.”
It is too late for any plan. It is patently obvious there are some pretty fundamental problems with the Capita Pensions Administration Service which is why in July 2019 “internal audit report has recently flagged up a “limited assurance” level for the scheme’s design and effectiveness of controls in place.”
The latest news is that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued a draft improvement notice to Barnet Council should be the final straw.
What should Barnet Council do next?
Barnet Council needs to seriously think about what it does next. The reason Barnet UNISON says this is because to run an efficient Pension Administration Service you need to ensure the HR and Payroll are working effectively as this can also have a serious impact on Pension Administration.
The problem Barnet UNISON can see is the Council knee jerk reaction due to understandable pressure to act could end in the Council simply moving to another HR provider.
This act fails to assess the impact of Payroll issues on Pensions Administration service.
For some reason, when Capita bid to take over our services in 2012, they proposed to split the in-house Payroll service by running payroll services out of Belfast and Carlisle.
It would be an understatement to say that there have been issues with Payroll.
If Barnet Council simply switch provider, fast forward six months’ time and councillors could be sitting in a committee meeting listening to LBB HR, Capita (Payroll) and Pensions (new provider) all arguing who is responsible for service issues.
Barnet UNISON has consistently taken the same approach to these endemic failures.
Barnet Council needs to bring back and rebuild the Payroll and Pension Administration services to work alongside the recently returned HR service.
Only then does Barnet UNISON believe that the Pension Administration service can return to the high standards it provided before the outsourcing to Capita”
Background reading of previous reports on Capita Pensions in Barnet
- TPR still unhappy with pensions admin at Barnet
By Sophia Imeson | July 15, 2019
“The Pensions Regulator has issued a draft improvement notice to the London Borough of Barnet to tackle deficiencies in the pension fund’s administration processes and controls…..”
- Light at end of tunnel in Barnet admin fiasco
By Stephanie Hawthorne | May 23, 2019
“The problem was once so serious that Hymans Robertson, the actuary to the scheme, was commissioned by Barnet council to investigate the quality of the pensions data, and it was feared that inaccuracies could lead to a delay carrying out the triennial valuation later this year.”
- Ongoing data problems spark valuation concerns at Barnet
Sophia Imeson | March 28, 2019
“In 2017, the Pensions Regulator said it had fined the Local Government Pension Scheme fund £1,000 for failing to submit its 2016 scheme return on time.”
- Barnet in TPR breach as Capita misses payments
Alex Janiaud | October 22, 2018
“The London Borough of Barnet Council has reported itself to the Pensions Regulator after failing to produce 447 pension benefit statements on time.”
“A spokesperson for the regulator confirmed that it was “in contact with those responsible for the governance and administration of the scheme”.
The spokesperson said: “We expect all those responsible for the governance and administration of a scheme to ensure appropriate internal controls are in place to ensure that non-compliant employers fulfil their responsibilities to that scheme.”