When it comes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), whilst it is one UK-wide pension scheme, there are over 80 individual regional funds, and we work with 70 of them. Each of these funds administers things in slightly different ways, with specific rule sets regarding the information they require and how they use the data. Therefore, the scheme involves a lot of bespoke work to process on behalf of schools.
At Dataplan Education, our Innovation Team have worked with our pension experts to create a solution that offers the level of bespoke work required with enhanced efficiency. Together, they have developed our own LGPS report generator.
Dataplan’s LGPS report generator
Our LGPS report generator can easily produce batches of monthly returns, contribution summaries, annual returns, and ad hoc reports. In addition, we can create custom fields for any sort of data required now or in the future if a new rule set or a new type of arrangement comes into effect. Whilst this doesn't happen very often as the process is very settled now, we are prepared should that be the case with templates that can meet the majority of needs and the ability to add custom fields.
Working with leading pension system providers
Across the regional funds, there are two leading pension system providers; Civica and Aquila Haywood with iConnect
Civica has UPM a pension admin system used by almost half of the regional funds and we work closely with the individual LGPS funds and Civica to be early adopters. Quite frequently, we engage with them before they make system changes to the pension schemes, ensuring that the processes are as comprehensive and efficient as possible.
Aquila Haywood’s product, iConnect manages monthly returns. As with Civica, we work very closely with iConnect so we can contribute to their system and process development.
Creating efficiency for schools with their LGPS
At the moment, two-thirds of the schools we have are with pension scheme providers using monthly returns. So, although effectively it is the LGPS equivalent of MCR, it is not one single process that fits all; it is multiple processes that are similar but not the same.
With LGPS, we can group schools, so if we've got thirty schools with a particular fund, we generate one return for those 30 schools. We can also generate a single return for all schools within a specific Fund, even if there are multiple academy trusts, independent academies or schools still under LEA control This provides great efficiency. There is a significant advantage to moving over to monthly returns because, like Teachers' Pensions, the data goes on to the member's record straight away. Therefore, they can see their pension entitlement build up on a monthly cycle. If there are any queries, they get dealt with sooner; it removes administrative workload because we can bulk process returns for that school in that fund.
For the remainder of our schools, their pension providers are still on the annual return cycle. Most of them are moving over time, with about nine or ten funds moving over in the next nine months or so. So for annual returns, we have to do a separate starter, leaver and change notifications, which are all processes our team of education pension experts do as part of our pension service to schools.
Does your school need help with your Local Government Pension Scheme? Contact us to find out how our pension and innovation experts can help.