Recent information from The Pension Trust that the deficit facing the Scottish Voluntary Sector Pension Scheme, or SVSPS for short, was liable to jump from £28m to £41.5m in the space of 4 years has prompted LAYC and EVOC to re-raise concerns about how the scheme is being managed and the real threat it poses to existing organisation who are members of the scheme.
A recent invitation to attend the Employers Consultative Group with The Pension Trust was jumped on by Joan Fraser, Chair EVOC and Ian Boardman, LAYC and it provided both heat and light about the current re-valuation and the disagreement about key assumptions being made that greatly increased the projected scheme deficit. The Pension Trust went away to consider the forceful comments made by the ECG and ourselves and it will be interesting to see to what extent these are taken on board come the final actuarial valuation figures. This will inform the debt repayments for the next four years.
Although we are highlighting the SVSPS we are also aware of the local authority pension scheme, which a number of voluntary organisations accessed some years back, which is also facing crippling charges.
The pension situation is brewing a perfect pension storm with the growing deficits, introduction of auto enrolment and changes in accounting procedures which will bring organisations pension liabilities into their balance sheets as of this year.
LAYC and EVOC have drawn up a SVSPS briefing paper for the newly elected Edinburgh MP’s as pensions remain a Westminster issue and it has just been sent out so we will keep you posted as to the responses received. If you wish to use it in full or in part for sending onto your own constituency MP please feel to do so.
LAYC and EVOC are also seeking further meetings with SCVO to encourage more actions from them in support of the 100 voluntary organisations who are affected by the SVSPS situation alone.
Following a successful launch seminar of the recent research report ‘Universal Youth Work – a critical review of the literature’, further work is being done to explore the research gaps that it has thrown up and begin to prioritise what youth work focus research would be of benefit to the sector particularly given the current funding climate.
A follow up workshop lead by the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) and involving practitioners, managers and academics it began to explore and prioritise what focussed research would be of most benefit to youth work in Scotland over the next few years. The insights and priorities identified will now be taken forward by the youth work research group under the chair of Dona Milne which is a sub group of Youthlink Scotland’s implementation group for the National Youth Work Strategy.
For many groups the word auto enrolment will bring fear and loathing as organisations begin to face up to employer lead compulsory pension arrangements for qualifying staff. For others it will remain a bit of a mystery as to what it all involves and indeed whether it involves them at all.
Well the truth is more likely to mean that most groups will be captured by this government scheme which has been phasing in employers from the largest to the smallest over the past couple of years. For those smaller organisations (anything under 30 employers) the focus starts to shift to us with what’s called ‘staging dates’ (the date by which you must have the an employer/employee contributing pension in place by) now being issued by The Pension Regulator.
LAYC has been aware and concerned about the impact this will have on most groups and in particular those who don’t have any pension scheme in place and we have run a couple of auto enrol seminars to raise groups awareness of what they need to do and by when. At our most recent event member groups were asking if LAYC, in conjunction with the advisory company we use, would consider offering direct support to member groups to help get a ‘qualifying’ pension scheme set up and running for staff.
Following discussions with the company concerned enrolme.co.uk we are exploring what that service could look like and what demand there might be. This will assist us to gauge the potential level of interest and thereafter design a package with enrolme.co.uk which would include potential costs.
To help us make those judgments it would be very helpful if as many member groups as possible could complete the monkey survey which has 10 short questions so we can make better sense of what kind of support member groups are looking for.
The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CBJDKRN
Thanks for your time.
A bumper issue of Fast Networks is just out with a full 8 pages of articles celebrating some fantastic work across our member groups along with more focussed pieces on auto enrolment and the recent launch of youth work research report.
Hard copies have gone out in a mailing to all member groups and it is available to download via this link.