Friday, 22 April 2011

Another Gem from Jenny

Jenny Could not resist this one.

Since David Cameron is so opposed to alternative vote (Cameron and Miliband to lock horns over AV, 18 April) he will, presumably, do the honourable thing – resign and hand over to David Dais. Davis was first past the post in the Tory leadership election and Cameron won because the Tories use the AV system which gave him second preference votes.

Kenneth Brown. Bisley, Gloucestershire

Can we believe him about listening to the comments on the health service??

Could Andrew Lansley answer a simple question (NHS chiefs predict ward closures, 20 April)? The banks have failed; the NHS is a success; so why do bankers get bonuses and hospitals get closed? - Kevin Donovan Birkenhead, Merseyside

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Little known facts that could hide a danger for Local Authority democracy.

This was sent to me by Local Labour Councillor in Bristol Jenny Smith, little known facts that could make a big difference. The Secretary of State could decide who runs the local authority services embedded in the Localism Bill, which I thought gave decision making powers to local people. Have we been Condemned again.

Watch out for the small print The Public Bodies Bill – bonfire of the quangos – is replete with Henry VIII powers I am skipping the section on the History of the various Royal Dynasties but it at last comes to the king’s little domestic difficulty, producing a legitimate make heir, which was the trigger for the English Reformation. His reign saw the legal union of England and Wales; dissolution of the monasteries; creation of the Royal Navy and according to some historians a ‘revolution’ in government driven through by his energetic first minister Thomas Cromwell. These changes still have resonance today. It is however a piece of small print, a time bomb lobbed from the 1530’s into the second decade of the 21st century, which has the potential to wreak massive changes in the way England is locally governed. I am referring to “The Proclamation by the Crown Act 1539”. To understand its significance requires a knowledge of Statutory Instruments (SI),. These are the principle form in which delegated or secondary legislation is made in Great Britain – designed to implement the primary legislation as debated and passed by parliament. However some statutory instruments are made under provisions of acts which allow the instrument to change the parent Act itself, or to change other primary legislation. These provisions, allowing primary legislation to be amended by secondary legislation are known as “Henry VIII clauses”. Parliament has very little scrutiny over this type of secondary legislation. The disquiet about the power given by the ‘Reformation Parliament’ was evident when the 1539 Act was repealed following Henry’s death in 1547. However, similar powers to bypass parliament have resurfaced in modern legislation. A 1932 Report (the Donoughmore Committee) found that between 1888 and 1929 nine acts of Parliament contained such clauses. It recognised that their occasional use might be justified but concluded that their ‘use must be demonstrably essential, and justified on each occasion by the Minister “to the hilt”. There were none until the war, but they then returned in growing numbers. The use of Henry VII clauses now seems to have become habitual. According to the Minister of Justice more than 120 of them had been passed in the last parliamentary session alone. The coalition has continued the trend. The public bodies Bill (bonfire of the quangos) is replete with “Henry VIII” powers. Eric Pickles and his successors at the CLG are set to benefit from a massive extension of centralised power from the numerous Henry VIII clauses proposed in the misnames “localism Bill”. There are eleven such clauses alone in the Community Right to Challenge’ which will give the Secretary of State sway over how and who provides local authority services. This breath taking acquisition of power on a scale unknown to previous ministers responsible for local government requires a modern Holbein to capture the essence of the new monarchy at CLG and the shrunken status and role of the local government. Perhaps something dead and formaldehyde by Damien Hurst would fit the bill. John O’Farrell. DO ALL TRY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS. I NOW HOLD A LIST OF THE ACTS IN THE Bonfire of legislation and quangos from the web site. I am going through them hopefully today and will place the whole lot in the Labour members room. I think the deadline is the 27th so we must ensure that our officers are moving in the correct direction.

Thanks to Jenny.

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Monday, 18 April 2011

The Spin and the Reality

All credit needs to go to Barnet UNISON for the reality video and the fun overlays they've put in, but these two videos show the Local Government TV wasting money on the myth, and TV local news reporting on the reality. For once a Tory Councillor telling the truth.

Watch them both and weep for the spin, as this is what we get sold time and time again.

It's about time the politicians and the management listened to staff who provide the very services they seem to take great pride in cocking up.


Attack on Pensions all round.

I have taken some cut and paste and left their names in as they have given the pension questions a lot more thought than most and it will be interesting to see as the debate unfolds who is right. As most Public Sector Workers face over the next few months see potential losses all round, we must look to the future with more informed information than we have now.

One retired person comments below:

Middle-class mums will be pension losers

Patrick Collinson needs to check his pension reform facts a bit more closely before announding that “undoubtedly, women who took career breaks are big winners”.  (The nasty truth behind the spin, money 9th April_.  In the past, possibly, but in the future, far less so.

Pension credits for women leaving work to care for children only awarded to those who receive child benefit.  Child benefit, itself, will shortly be confined to households where no one pays the higher rate of income tax and earnings on which that higher rate is levied, is set to fall.  More middle-class, stay-at-home mothers will lose out.  They will have to work and pay NI for at least 30 years. 
Noel Whiteside Professor comparative public policy.  University of Warwick.

I’ve been amazed at the lack of insight in the media, and from commentators, about the flat rate pension idea and it was really welcome to see you questioning the government line. 

I’ve been retired for years.  I receive a pension for my 25 years in the civil service (until 1986), so my S2P/SERPS entitlement is reduced by a contracted-out deduction.  Nevertheless, I’ve just been told by the Pension Service that this year I shall get £122.98 per week in addition to the £102.15 per week basic State pension.  The suggested £140 per week, if it were to apply to existing pensioners (which the government of course-thankfully-says it won’t), would see me lose over £80 per week.

And I’m far from one of the rich, as one commentator on the BBC referred to people with S2P entitlement! Keep up the good work!!
John Ellis, Burgess Hill, West Sussex

UNISON's views:

Public service pension schemes have around 7.3 million pensioners and approximately 5.4 million active members. If we were to count potential dependants as well it means about 20 million people are with us in the fight to defend public sector pensions.

The Move to Consumer prices Index (CPI) for measuring inflation

  • The Government is committed to increasing public service pensions by CPI instead of Retail Prices Index (RPI) from April 2011
  • Parliament has already agreed to up rate social security benefits in line with CPI
  • Basic State Pension will go up this year by RPI next year the prices index on the triple guarantee will be CPI
  • Pension credit will go up by the cash increase in the Basic State Pension which means an increase of around 3.6% for this year much lower than RPI.
  • An official Pensions Increase Order is expected any day now for Public Service Schemes
  • The consequences are very significant. CPI is typically, on average, 0.7% per year lower than RPI
  • The Office of Budget Responsibility predict that pensions will be 8.5% less by 2017
  • Lord Hutton says the move represents a 15% cut in benefits.
  • The Royal Statistical Society, Institute for Fiscal Studies and UK Statistics Authority don’t believe the CPI to properly reflect pensioner spending patterns.

The Implications of CPI
·       Pensions may increase from April by 3.1% this year when otherwise would have increased by 4.6%
·       A woman on the average LGPS pension of £2,600pa will be £40 a year worse off
·       A member with an average LGPS pension of approx £4,100 pa will be £62 a year worse off
·       A member receiving the overall average public service pension of around £7800pa will be £117 a year worse off
·       The Government is well aware that CPI is set to be lower than RPI throughout this parliament especially in view of the likely increase in interest rates that would be covered by the RPI.
·       This is not just a pensioner’s issue. Everyone will lose. The most affected are likely to be early leavers whose deferred pensions will now go up in line with CPI.
·       Many private sector schemes are likely to follow suit where their rules allow a different index to be used.

Contribution Increases – the £4 billion Tax

Comprehensive Spending Review Statement 20 October announced that Pay As You Go Scheme excluding the armed forces have to make a saving of £2.8 billion a year by 2014/15 this will come from increased employee contribution phased in from 2012. This is in addition to any scheme changes although the expected saving of £1 billion from cost share is included in the total of £2.8 billion

The ‘savings’ for the LGPS England and Wales is around £900 million a year LGPS Scotland around £140 million. It is estimated that the flat rate increase to achieve this is 3% + of pay depending on the size of the payroll. If the payroll shrinks the size of the contribution required will increase.

It is meant to be progressive 40% of saving coming in 2012/13; 40% in 2013/24 and the remaining 20% in 2014/15. It will be banded to protect the low paid so middle earners will be hit with significant increases. If the low paid are protected and the threshold varies between schemes (egg LGPS England and Wales £18000 whole time pa, NHSPS around £21000) middle earners are likely to see their contributions increase by 2014/15 by more than 50%

The government wants the bands to be sorted out by June when it wants to start consultation on draft regulations for all schemes. UNISON broadly support the principles that any increase in contributions should protect the low paid, be progressive and not lead to opt outs.

We are implacably opposed to any increase that is just an across the board levy on members. It is little more than a tax on scheme members. It is called a saving but it will not benefit the schemes or the employers it will simply be a saving for treasury and central government that will cut the funding to the schemes and the case of LGPS the LA it will be a windfall for contractors with admission agreements. 

The government says it is to pay for improved longevity which is not true this tax is over 3 times the amount necessary to cover improvements. The government says that it is to help pay for the current black hole in PASYG schemes because the gap between contributions and pensions being paid is increasing. But neither the LGPS nor the NHSPS need any government top up they are both cash rich.

We fear that this unjustified tax/levy will make the schemes unaffordable for a high proportion of members and there will be significant opting out that will implode the scheme as remaining members have to shoulder the burden of the government tax on their attempts to save for retirement our YouGov poll suggests around 35% of a general public would leave a scheme that had equivalent increases in contributions.

Pensions and TUPE Transferred Staff or Fair Deal

•       FD is the agreement that enables TUPE transferred staff from public services to either remain in such a scheme where the regulations allow, or be provided with a “certified” broadly comparable scheme
•       Before 1999 the government issued advice that it was prudent for employers to provide comparable pensions to avoid possible claims for constructive dismissal- this was never tested.
•       FD came in wef 1999 it was guidance that was mandatory in the PASYG schemes but not the LGPS
•       The scheme had to be certified as comparable by the Government Actuaries Department (GAD) not all benefits need be the same and some can be traded off like inflation protection.
•       FD requires the new scheme to allow members to transfer their service in their former Public Service Scheme to the new scheme and get day for day credit or equivalent value –Bulk Transfer
•       Since 2007 a Direction has been in force for the LGPS that requires contractors to offer a comparable pension scheme

Admission Agreements
·       Since 2000 the LGPS has allowed private contractors to enter into an admission agreement with LGPS employer outsourcing the service and the LGPS Administering Authority –the fund
·       Agreements are nearly always ‘closed’ so only transferred staff can remain in the LGPS but can also be ‘open’ allowing new staff working on the service to join.
·       Joint talks continue with DCLG and CBI and other stakeholders to improve guidance and promote admission agreements as the option of choice
·       There is no comparable provision in the NHSPS passport arrangements allowing staff to remain in the NHSPS when they are transferred to arms length organisations or reorganisation are awaiting treasury approval

The Abolition of Fair Deal?
·       The Government stated in the CSR that it will launch a consultation on the future of Fair Deal. This should be launched shortly
·       There is a big danger that the Government will look to scrap FD because of the relative cost to companies bidding for public service contracts. There has been a lot of criticism from contractors who see the rising cost of private sector pensions as making the bids uncompetitive. Key issues are different discount rates and comparable schemes having to pay a levy to the Pension Protection Fund and the cost of running small schemes
·       Diluting Fair Deal would leave TUPE transferred staff at the pensions mercy of private contractors and effectively end any chance of an in house bid winning 
on financial considerations.

What is UNISON’s position on career average schemes?
·       This depends on the specific details of what’s proposed
·       Not against in principle if the overall value of the benefits was not reduced.
·       A scheme similar to NUVOS would be broadly acceptable
·       Would not support CPI indexation or inflation caps as inappropriate - particularly for active members
·       Reform should be on a scheme by scheme basis as average salary levels vary significantly between professions and hence a “blanket” career average scheme would be unfair
There should be flexibility to retain a final salary element, particularly in the NHSPS.

LGPS Governance and Fund Mergers

·       UNISON’s legal advice is that the LGPS should be subjected to the requirements of Directive 41/2003 Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision and in particular Articles 8 and 18

·       Under these articles the LGPS must be legally separated from the sponsoring employers. Investments must be made in the best interests of scheme members and where conflicts of interest arise, they must be resolved in the favour of scheme members

·       We suggest the most appropriate approach for achieving this obligation would be to create non-departmental government bodies to undertake the responsibilities of delivering the LGPS benefits.

·       There are considerable savings to be made from reductions in fund management costs and significant increases in income from fund merger, UNISON estimates that up to £1bn additional annual income could be made from fund mergers and additional economies of scale

·       Based upon our own research we commissioned an investigation into the last 10 years of investment strategy, performance, fund management costs and the economic benefits of fund merger

·       This research work was carried out by APG (All Pension Group) the fund managers for the Netherlands public sector pension scheme ABP. It established the following:

·       Based upon a LGPS model made of 14 funds rather than the current 101, and each with no less than £8bn under management, gross investment income rose between 2001-2009 by a total of £10.4bn

·       These income increases are equivalent to £624 per active (contributing) member per year – a figure we estimate to be around  2.7% of payroll[1]

·       This means there would be no need to increase member contributions by 3%

·       From 2001 to 2010 there could have been an income increase of £30bn in asset value.

·       We believe that fund merger offers the government the opportunity to create a modern and effective basis for the management of the scheme’s assets going forward and that the economic benefits of fund mergers should be shared between employers, (tax payers) and employees.

What does UNISON need to do?
·       We would need to seek legal advice on the specific issue of potential claims 1995 Section members could lodge if their NPA was to increase in line with increases in the SPA  for service after a future date - as we anticipate could be the case.
·       Continue to advise members and ensure they are receiving their CHOICE packs     

Hutton Recommendations and UNISON Comment

Hutton Recommendations
UNISON comment
Recommendation 1: The government should make clear its assessment of the role of public service pension schemes. Based on its framework of principles, the Commission believes that the primary purpose is to ensure adequate levels of retirement income for public service pensioners.

Public Sector Pensions should ensure independence in retirement so that our members can save and work without fear.  The real problem with UK pensions is the decline of good quality pensions for workers in the private sector, while their Directors continue on gold plated pensions.

Recommendation 2: Pensions will continue to be an important element of remuneration. The Commission recommends that public service employers take greater account of public service pensions when constructing remuneration packages and designing workforce strategies. The government should make clear in its remits for pay review bodies that they should consider how public service pensions affect total reward when making pay recommendations.

Pensions are deferred wages and that they form an important element of pay and conditions. But pensions are long-term issues and members will not receive their income for years to come so any pay packages need to take that into consideration.
Recommendation 3: The government should ensure that public service schemes, along with a full state pension, deliver at least adequate levels of income (as defined by the Turner Commission benchmark replacement rates) for scheme members who work full careers in public service. Employers should seek to maximise participation in the schemes where this is appropriate. Adequate incomes and good participation rates are particularly important below median income levels.

Many workers do not work full careers in public services. We need to ensure that schemes and benefit levels are fit for purpose long after they leave employment. UNISON has reservations about what are regarded as adequate levels of pension income.

Recommendation 4: The government must honour in full the pension promises that have been accrued by scheme members: their accrued rights. In doing so, the Commission recommends maintaining the final salary link for past service for current members.

We are relieved that the Commission recognised the importance of protecting benefits so that any change in the schemes would continue to move in line with salary increases. UNISON also believes there to be a potential case for arguing that there are other issues that need to be considered as accrued rights, such as the Rule of 85 in the LGPS.

Recommendation 6: All public service pension schemes should regularly publish data which, as far as possible, is produced to common standards and methodologies and is then collated centrally. This information should be of a quality that allows simple comparisons to be made across Government, between schemes and between individual Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Funds.

UNISON has argued for a long time that there should be greater transparency of data so that pension debates can be based on real facts and not myths and propaganda.

Recommendation 7: A new career average re-valued earnings (CARE) scheme should be adopted for general use in the public service schemes.

There is not enough detail in the proposals. The key is that they provide pensions that are value for money for scheme members. It is essential that any CARE scheme is not a cost cutting exercise and we are concerned that this is not spelt out in the final report.

Recommendation 8: Pension benefits should be up-rated in line with average earnings during the accrual phase for active scheme members. Post-retirement, pensions in payment should be indexed in line with prices to maintain their purchasing power and adequacy during retirement.

We pushed for active members’ benefits to be up-rated in line with average earnings for the build up phase. Post –retirement, UNISON supports increases by at in line with the Retail Prices Index.

Recommendation 9: A single benefit design should apply across the whole income range. The differing characteristics of higher and lower earners should be addressed through tiered contribution rates. The government should consider the trade off between affordability and the impact of opt outs on adequacy when setting member contribution levels.

UNISON supports tiered contribution rates and believes it equitable that those members that earn more and benefit more should pay a bigger proportion of the overall cost. It’s vital that the current 85% opt-in rates are not undermined by unaffordable and unjustified employee contribution rates. This is why we fundamentally oppose the government levy of a 50% increase in member contributions.

Recommendation 10: Members should have greater choice over when to start drawing their pension benefits, so they can choose to retire earlier or later than their Normal Pension Age and their pension would be adjusted accordingly on an actuarially fair basis. Flexible retirement should be encouraged and abatement of pensions in its current form for those who return to work after drawing their pensions should be eliminated. In addition, caps on pension accrual should be removed or significantly lifted.

UNISON has continuously pushed for greater member choice so that members can retire and draw their pension benefits when they need them. We support flexible retirement and pensions being increased if claimed “late” and would very much support the removal of service limit restrictions.

Recommendation 11: The government should increase the member's Normal Pension Age in the new schemes so that it is in line with their State Pension Age. The link between the State Pension Age and Normal Pension Age should be regularly reviewed, to make sure it is still appropriate, with a preference for keeping the two pension ages linked.

UNISON is against this move as we believe the statistical evidence suggests that the life expectancy of public service workers does not mirror the general advances of the population as a whole because lower life expectancy is linked to low earnings. This will pose serious issues for the NHS CHOICE process as people whom thought their Normal Pension Age was 60 could find this being 66 and possibly even higher.

Recommendation 12: The government, on behalf of the taxpayer, should set out a fixed cost ceiling: the proportion of pensionable pay that they will contribute, on average, to employees' pensions over the long term. If this is exceeded then there should be a consultation process to bring costs back within the ceiling, with an automatic default change if agreement cannot be reached.

There is no justification in reducing current cost ceilings as agreed with the last government. The   savings generated by previous reforms and the move to CPI indexation and contribution increases have reduced the cost of schemes to employers and government. UNISON will not accept any move to reduce the notional cost of the schemes. There are already cost-sharing provisions in the NHSPS which UNISON believes to be appropriate.

Recommendation 13: The Commission is not proposing a single public service pension scheme, but over time public service pensions should move towards a common framework for scheme design as set out in this report. However, in some cases, for example, the uniformed services, there may need to be limited adaptations to this framework.

UNISON argued strongly that only a defined benefit pension scheme would be able to provide adequate income for low to middle wage earning workers. Public service workers should only be moved to new schemes when this is agreed with UNISON.

Recommendation 14: The key design features contained in this report should apply to all public service pension schemes. The exception is in the case of the uniformed services where the Normal Pension Age should be set to reflect the unique characteristics of the work involved. The Government should therefore consider setting a new Normal Pension Age of 60 across the uniformed services, where the Normal Pension Age is currently below this level in these schemes, and keep this under regular review.

UNISON does not believe a “one size fits all approach” is necessarily appropriate because no workforce is the same. Reform needs to be on a scheme by scheme basis to ensure that the scheme best reflects and fits with the needs of its workers. However, there need to be clear and transparent underlying principles which are equality proofed and comply with equal pay and equality legislation.

Recommendation 15: The common design features laid out in this report should also apply to the LGPS. However, it remains appropriate for the Government to maintain the different financing arrangements for the LGPS in future, so the LGPS remains funded and the other major schemes remain unfunded.

UNISON supports the LGPS continuing to be a funded scheme and, because of this unique nature, questions the rationale for being included in the same reforms as the unfunded schemes.

Recommendation 16: It is in principle undesirable for future non-public service workers to have access to public service pension schemes, given the increased long-term risk this places on the government and taxpayers
The Commission completely misunderstands how admission agreements work in the LGPS and the safeguards to the Council Tax payer already built into such agreements.
Excluding workers after they have been privatised means that if Fair Deal is scrapped the very race to the bottom for pensions the Commission and Government say they want to avoid will happen.

Recommendation 17: Every public service pension scheme (and individual LGPS Fund) should have a properly constituted, trained and competent Pension Board, with member nominees, responsible for meeting good standards of governance including effective and efficient administration. There should also be a pension policy group for   each scheme at national level for considering major changes to scheme rules
Everyone who contributes to a scheme should be afforded the highest standards of governance and involvement in the management and administration of their money.­ A commitment to greater transparency and involvement by trade unions and scheme members will start to bring them into line with modern standards.

However the composition of the pension boards and national policy groups needs more detail before full commentary can be made. In the case of the LGPS boards there is no guidance on who will make the investment decisions and in whose interest they will be made.

Recommendation 18: All public service pension schemes should issue regular benefit statements to active scheme members, at least annually and without being requested and promote the use of information technology for providing information to members and employers.

We agree that this would help member engagement and understanding. This is already done in the LGPS and seems to work well. With regard to information technology not everyone has internet and e-mail access.

Recommendation 19: Governance and the availability and transparency of information would be improved by government establishing a framework that ensures independent oversight of the governance, administration and data transparency of public service pension schemes. Government should consider which body or bodies, including, for example, The Pensions Regulator, is most suitable to undertake this role.

We welcome improved governance and transparency, subject to the specifics of the framework and the body or bodies being sufficiently resourced and independent enough to perform the role adequately.

Recommendation 20: When assessing the long term sustainability of the public finances, the Office for Budget Responsibility should provide a regular published analysis of the long term fiscal impact of the main public service pension schemes (including the funded LGPS).

As long as we can be reassured that the analysis is truly independent and has a high level of competency and understanding of Public Service Schemes.

Recommendation 21: Centrally collated comprehensive data, covering all LGPS Funds, should be published including fund comparisons, which, for example, clarify and compare key assumptions about investment growth and differences in deficit recovery plans.

Again, UNISON would welcome greater transparency in this area but would need to be reassured that the analysis is independent and that the relevant assumptions are justified.

Recommendation 22: Government should set what good standards of administration should consist of in the public service pension schemes based on independent expert advice. The Pensions Regulator might have a role, building on its objective to promote good administration. A benchmarking exercise should then be conducted across all the schemes to assist in the raising of standards where appropriate.

We stated clearly in our submission response that administration within public service schemes (and certainly costs) compares favourably with the private sector.

Recommendation 23: Central and local government should closely monitor the benefits associated with the current co-operative projects within the LGPS, with a view to encouraging the extension of this approach, if appropriate, across all local authorities. Government should also examine closely the potential for the unfunded public service schemes to realise greater efficiencies in the administration of pensions by sharing contracts and combining support services, including considering outsourcing.

There is no evidence to suggest that improved collaboration over the purchasing of fund management for the LGPS has delivered anything like the income generation that fund mergers would achieve. UNISON submitted evidence produced independently that showed up to £1.2bn additional income could be made from merging the 101 funds to 14. This is £300m more than the 50% or more increase in member contributions. Savings in administration are insignificant compared to what could be done with fund management costs. UNISON does not support the outsourcing of administration services and there is no evidence that costs or service levels are better than in house staff.

Recommendation 24: The government should introduce primary legislation to adopt a new common UK legal framework for public service schemes.

A full review of all the legislation both UK and EU and the creation of a transparent legal framework is required. The specific recommendations however do not go far enough; Lord Hutton only referenced EU legislation and did not mention in full the EU Directive 41/2003/Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision which should be applied to the LGPS, this legislation is vital for scheme member security of their assets which is absent from the LGPS legislation.

Recommendation 25: The consultation process itself should be centrally co-ordinated: to set the cost ceilings and timetables for consultation and overall implementation. However, the consultation on details should be conducted scheme by scheme involving employees and their representatives.

UNISON agrees that consultation needs to be on a scheme by scheme basis with clear reference to workforce and scheme characteristics and that unions need to be at the forefront of these negotiations.

Recommendation 26: The Commission's view is that even allowing for the necessary processes it should be possible to introduce the new schemes before the end of this Parliament and we would encourage the Government to aim for implementation within this timeframe.

It is important that this review is not simply accepted and rushed through by Government and changes need to be properly consulted on and accepted as being appropriate prior to being implemented.

Recommendation 27: Best practice governance arrangements should be followed for both business as usual and the transformation process, for each scheme. And there will also need to be the right resource, on top of business as usual, to drive the reforms; particularly given the challenging timescale and scope of the reforms.

UNISON has pointed out in previous responses to the Commission that the Governance arrangements already in force have worked well when the Public Service Schemes were reformed form 2005 to 2009. It is essential to build on the structures that are already in place and expand through dialogue between employers, unions and government departments. The trade unions made strenuous efforts to ensure that members were engaged in the process and their views were heard. It is essential that this continues into the future.


Here is the predicted timetable for the campaign, the negotiations with government and consultation and implementation of the Protect Our Pensions Campaign
Get Active Now
Independent Public Services Pension Commission Reports
(March 2011)
Negotiations with Government All Things Pensions
(March 2011)
Government Budget March 23rd
UNISON Regional Briefings
(March/April 2011)
UNISON Training for Pension Champions and Contacts
(April/May 2011)
Negotiations with Government End (all things public service pensions)
(June 2011)
Government lays new legislation which increases scheme member contributions
UNISON consults with members/Government consultation over new legislation
(June 2011 – September 2011)
Government departments responsible for each scheme negotiate with unions
(October 2011)
Scheme member contributions due to start increasing by a minimum 50%
(April 2012)
Negotiations on New Pension Schemes Continue
(January 2012)
UNISON members consulted and agree on new schemes
New schemes implemented