World peace, an end to hunger and some pensions common sense - my wishes for 2012

20 Dec 2011 Voices

Regular pensions blogger David Davison makes his pension wishlist for 2012.

Regular pensions blogger David Davison makes his pension wishlist for 2012.

2011 was a year of promise but unfortunately very little delivery. Hopefully 2012 will be a little more productive. Here are my main pension wishes for the new year.

  • More control for charities involved in multi-employer pension schemes. The inflexibility of the current legislation which requires charities to continue to build up pension liabilities against their wishes, which they can’t afford and which restrict their ability to engage in sensible merger or restructuring activity should be changed. The DWP consultation on the Section 75 legislation closed on the 10th August and hopefully proposals for change will be forthcoming early in 2012. Leading representative bodies need to keep the pressure up on this issue.
  • Greater clarity around ‘Fair Deal’. Charities looking to provide out-sourced services to the public sector will have found the pension landscape very problematic through 2011 and may even have been forced in to agreeing poor pension deals because of the confusion surrounding government plans. Lord Hutton’s public service pension commission report recommended ending access to LGPS for private sector employees which prompted a review of ‘Fair Deal’ undertaken by DWP. The consultation period ended in mid June and the delay in providing out-sourcers with clear guidance has made negotiations with local or contracting authorities very difficult. Hopefully this will be addressed early in 2012.
  • An end to the rangling over public sector pension reform. The current impasse and the uncertainty it creates are unhelpful for the sector with numerous charities participating in public sector schemes. Higher costs are much more directly visible to the sector and there’s no option to lay these off to a ‘daddy with deep pockets.’ Any increased costs therefore have a direct impact on the bottom line and on the ability of the organisation to meet charitable objectives.
  • Greater understanding about the likely financial and human resources impact of auto-enrolment on charities. Recent research suggests that the message is still not getting through and organisations are unaware of how significant and wide-reaching the legislation will be for them.

I might just be too much of an optimist hoping for all this and possibly world peace and an end to famine are more realistically achievable. Only time will tell. Merry Christmas and a happy 2012.


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