The Department for Communities and Local Government has released (on March 28th) a further consultation in relation to changes to the LGPS. The consultation document includes 3 sets of draft regulations:
- An updated version of the draft regulations which were first circulated for comments in December 2012, and which deal with the main benefits provisions of the new career average scheme to be introduced from April 2014.
- Regulations dealing with transitional arrangements (in particular, these contain for the first time details of the protections for those who are within 10 years of their current normal retirement date when the LGPS 2014 comes in).
- Some miscellaneous amendments to the current LGPS regulations, aiming to deal with (amongst other things) identified shortcomings in the provisions relating to auto-enrolment and exit debts.
There remain some significant areas of the proposed LGPS 2014 provisions in relation to which the various interested parties (including the Local Government Association and relevant public sector trade unions) have still not been able to reach agreement, such as revaluation mechanisms. These are listed in Annex B to the consultation document.
Equally significantly, there is still no further detail on the cost control and governance proposals for the LGPS 2014: the consultation paper indicates that these are unlikely to be provided until after the Public Service Pensions Bill is finally enacted.
With less than a year to go until the intended start date for the LGPS 2014, the Government is evidently keen to get the draft regulations finalised and laid before Parliament as soon as possible, and therefore the consultation period on the first set of regulations and the outstanding policy issues in Annex B will run for only 5 weeks, up to 3 May 2013.
Given that the Government Actuary’s Department has stated that it will not issue certificates of broad comparability until such time as the LGPS 2014 scheme regulations have been finalised, other than in exceptional circumstances, completion of the consultation process within a short timeframe will no doubt also be welcomed by contractors involved in tendering for public sector outsourcing contracts at present.
Consultation on the other regulations will last for 8 weeks, with a closing date of 24 May 2013