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Highland Life / Integrating Care / NHSH / THC Employee Information / Pensions Briefing

Pensions Briefing for Employees

HR Sub-Group 10 August 2011

Pensions Issues Overview

This is a brief explanation of the approach being taken in relation to pensions (a) for staff who transfer under TUPE and (b) for staff in traditional health service roles who apply for jobs with The Highland Council after 1 April 2012. It reflects the position as at 4 August 2011. Any changes or developments will be reported to the Planning for Integration HR sub-group.

General approach

The general approach is to create minimum disruption to existing pension arrangements of staff by ensuring they can remain in their existing pension scheme following transfer.

Legal advice has confirmed that this can be achieved through existing regulations.

Close contact is being maintained with the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) and with civil servants within the Scottish Government in case Ministerial direction is required for any regulation to take effect; there is, however, no indication at this stage that this will be necessary.

Transferring Staff

For staff who are currently employed by The Highland Council, it requires The Highland Council (as administering authority) to make an Admission Agreement to the Local Government Pension Scheme in relation to staff who are:

- currently employed by The Highland Council;

- and are members of the LGPS;

- and are likely to be employed by NHS Highland as Lead Agency from 1 April 2012.

This Admission Agreement will apply to staff whether they are members of the “old” or the “new” Local Government Pension Scheme. An initial meeting has been scheduled with the Payroll and Pensions Manager of The Highland Council to start this process.

For staff who are currently employed by NHS Highland, it requires The Highland Council to apply to become a Direction Body under the NHS Pension Scheme in relation to staff who are:

- currently employed by NHS Highland;

- and are members of the NHS Pension Scheme;

- and are likely to be employed by The Highland Council as Lead Agency from 1 April 2012.

It should be noted that no local authority in Scotland has previously applied to become a Direction Body, but legal advice says that it is indeed permitted under existing regulations. The Scottish Public Pensions Agency has confirmed this. This Direction Body status will apply to staff whether they are members of the “old” or the “new” NHS Pension Scheme. An initial meeting has been scheduled with the Payroll and Pensions Manager of The Highland Council to start this process.

Legal advice states that the above approach is consistent with government guidance in relation to pensions. Since staff are able to remain in their existing pension scheme, there is no requirement to offer transferring staff the option of moving to the pension scheme normally associated with their new employer.

New Starts

Concerns have been raised that both The Highland Council and NHS Highland may have difficulties recruiting in future if new starts are unable to continue membership of their existing Pension Scheme. SPPA are looking at whether it is possible under existing regulations for new starts to join the NHS scheme although employed by the Highland Council, and also for new starts to join the LGPS although employed by NHS Highland. Civil servants in the Scottish Government have been asked to lend support to this request, and if necessary to consider amending regulations to permit this to happen.

Donald Shiach, HR Lead, Planning for Integration

Information correct as of 10 August 2011

A printable copy of this document is avaialble here.

© 2006 Highland Wellbeing Alliance.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme.