IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENT: Pensions Auto-enrolment in September
All Barnet Council employees that meet all of the following criteria:
- You earn over £192 per week (or £833 per month)
- You are aged 22 or over and
- You are under state pension age.
And are not already in the Pensions Scheme were enrolled into the Local Government Pension Scheme LGPS on 15 September 2019.
You will be able to see in your payslip this month just how much the Council has paid in to your Pension Pot and how much you have contributed.
This month you should receive a letter from the Council explaining why they have enrolled you into the Pension Scheme.
If you have any questions please note the dates and times of Pension briefings below.
Barnet Council wide Pension briefings:
Oakleigh Road Depot Wednesday 25th September 2019, 6am to 10am
Harrow Depot Thursday 26th September 2019, 6am to 10am
Colindale Building, Room 1.9, Friday 27th September 2019, 9am to 2:30pm
If you need any support or advice, please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to join the Barnet UNISON banner on the march simply contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email email@example.com
Since the formation of Barnet Council in 1965 there has always been an office for our members to visit and meet with their reps first when it was NALGO and now Barnet UNISON.
Barnet UNISON has moved a few times over the last decades. We were based in an old mortuary in Hendon until the Council moved services “lock, stock and barrel” to North London Business Park (NLBP).
We remained in NLBP until the Council began its new accommodation strategy.
We were moved to Barnet House and we are still here.
It is really important for our members that they have access to their trade union.
Currently we have large numbers of members at Oakleigh Road depot, NLBP, Colindale.
Over the last 12 months we have been in discussions with the Council to find suitable accommodation that is accessible and provides confidentiality.
Why are we not at Colindale?
The set up in Colindale is open plan and the Council were unable to secure an enclosed office where we could meet, greet and discuss issues with our members. It is important that members are able to access Barnet UNISON without others knowing.
Subsequently we have been looking at some other properties. Originally we were going to return to Building 2 NLBP for a limited amount of time but that has not materialised.
Time is running out.
At the moment we are still in Barnet House because the building is still open for Housing Needs service which has not moved to Colindale. At some point Barnet House will be closed and we will be out on the streets hence the need to find something suitable.
We are still hoping to find a solution with the Council but we need to be prepared for potentially being homeless.
How you can help?
We are calling on all members to keep a look out for anywhere they think might be suitable for a Barnet UNISON office.
It’s important that members understand that the branch does not have funding for an office and therefore any costs would have to be taken out of our existing budget. This is a real concern because we have a large and diverse membership and we struggle to live within our budget each year. We will of course be contacting our union to ask if they are able to provide extra funding for accommodation and we will report back to our members the outcome of that request.
There has been a serious catalogue of failure by Capita in regards to the Administration of Barnet Council Pension Scheme. The Pensions Regulator has recently issued another warning over the performance of Capita.
This is why Barnet UNISON is offering a FREE Pension Health check for all members who are in Barnet Council Pension Scheme.
All members of the Pension Scheme should be receiving in the post their 2019 Annual Benefit Statement in early September 2019.
When you have received yours and would like to understand it better or wish to have it checked then please contact the Barnet UNISON office for a 1-1 meeting by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
If by 1 October 2019 you have not received your 2019 Annual Benefit Statement please contact Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or e-mail email@example.com
“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.”
Barnet UNISON branch thinks it’s important to bridge the gap between the call for #ClimateChangeStrike #20Sept and how the causes of #ClimateChange are directly impacting on the health and wellbeing of our members.
Trade Unions have a long history of taking up health and safety issues on behalf of their members.
It’s important that the campaign to deal with #ClimateChange doesn’t treat it as an abstract issue that affects someone else.
The causes of #ClimateChange are real and are already having an effect in workplaces all over the world.
Our branch has already begun discussions with Barnet Council about air pollution and we are due to meet later this month.
In the meantime we are beginning conversations with our members via leaflets, online videos which we are posting on our social media sites and in our weekly eNews communication.
Here are two very simple but effective videos made by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
What does Air Pollution PM 2.5 do inside children’s body and brain?
“Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body” World Health Organisation (WHO)
Earlier this month our branch executive passed a motion entitled:
End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity which you can read here:
Please sign our End the causes of Climate Change Petition now 👇👇👇👇👇