Provision of year-end information is a statutory requirement for every employer contributing to the pension fund.
Employers are obliged to supply Peninsula Pensions with relevant data for every active member of the pension scheme during the preceding financial year (1 April to 31 March inclusive).
We use the year-end process to reconcile member records with your payroll data and to correctly account for all starters and leavers during the period.
With the advent of our online member portal, Member Self-Service (MSS), scheme members now have direct access to their pension records.
Any estimates or calculations the member produces through MSS relies on the data we hold being as accurate as possible. This annual exercise ensures that the data is never more than a year out of date but eventually we would like to be accurate to within a month.
The year-end process culminates in the production of an Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) for every scheme member which is a document detailing the current value of their accrued benefits.
The member will receive a statement for every active employment they have in the scheme. Without the data provided by you, particularly salary data, the production of an ABS is not possible, and we have outlined the consequences below:
- The production of an ABS is a regulatory requirement, the success or failure of which is closely monitored by The Pensions Regulator.
- Every active scheme member is entitled to receive an ABS by 31 August each year.
- Members who do not have access to an ABS by this date are declared to The Pensions Regulator.
- The Pensions Regulator will decide what action should be taken with regards to an administering authority which fails to reach a 100% ABS success rate. The regulator has discretionary powers which include warnings, fines and punitive action – several authorities within the UK, not Peninsula Pensions, have already fallen foul of these powers.
- Should any fine be levied by The Pensions Regulator resulting from an employer’s failure to provide required data, the charge will be passed on from Peninsula Pensions to that employer.
Taking the above into consideration, it should be apparent why we insist on such strict deadlines for the year-end process. The following is a rough calendar of events:
- First week of March: Year-end request emailed to all employers within the pension fund
- Second week of April: Deadline for employer annual return submissions.
- April to August: Systems Team are entirely focused on the year-end process for next few months. Data processed and any queries are raised/resolved.
- First week of May: Chasers sent to employers for outstanding data.
- First week of July: Main bulk of ABS data extracted and sent to the printing company.
- Second week of August: Point of no return. Receipt of late employer data is irrelevant as no time for Systems Team to turn around the data. Final batch of ABS data is sent to the printing company.
- End of August: Deadline for ABS to reach every active scheme member.
- September: The Pensions Regulator informed of ABS success rate.
Devon County Council’s Audit Department stipulate that all necessary data regarding the year-end process should be submitted to us by the end of the second week in April.
If you are unable to submit your data by or shortly after this deadline, please contact the Systems Team immediately.
This data should adhere to the guidance within this manual and the template to which it refers and be usable on receipt by the Systems Team – in other words, with the minimum amount of additional work needed in order to load the data onto our system.
The point of no return is self-explanatory. As 31 August moves ever closer, time available to the Systems Team to turn around data and to sort queries grows ever more precious.
Data received after this date will not be completed in time to allow an ABS to be produced and made available to the scheme member.
The submission of your data is only the beginning of the process and there will always be a short period of time between receiving the data and getting it onto the system. After that, we need to deal with any queries following the data load.
With this in mind, we ask that you make every effort possible to meet the April deadline or shortly thereafter otherwise you increase the risk of not having your data uploaded in time for 31 August.
Completing the template
Employees with multiple employments should have each one recorded as a separate entity so there is one line of data per employment, not all figures combined into one entry.
This requirement applies to all three tabs on the annual return template:
- Annual Returns
- CARE Pay
- Hours for Casual Employees
If the data you submit does not take into account multiple employments, it will be returned to you for correction and re-submission.
If an employee changes contracts within the given period, a promotion or work reallocation, for example, we would again expect one line of data per employment.
The data for the old contract should have the Date of Leaving field completed, along with all data bar FTE Salary and Employee Basic Contribution Rate. The new contract data will pick up immediately from where the old one finished.
Both contracts should have corresponding CARE entries, with dates and values correctly reflecting the split across two separate employments. The Comment column is where you can add any clarifying remarks.
Please ensure that all members of the pension scheme are listed in your data, even if they did not pay any contributions during the year.
A large part of the year-end process is the identification of scheme members who have left employment during the year but have escaped our attention.
Anyone with an active status on our system who is not present on a year-end data submission will be flagged as a potential leaver.
In order to remove dormant casuals from this check, we request that you include all casuals on your annual return data, particularly the Hours for Casual Employees tab so that we do not need to query them with you later.
- Alphanumeric content should be presented in capital letters wherever possible.
- Cell formatting should be Text, while dates should conform to the short date format (for example, 01/01/2001).
- Formatting salaries and numbers as Number/Currency/Percentage is not necessary as we prefer them in Text, particularly when leading zeroes are involved.
- Special characters are not required – entries in a salary field do not require a £ prefix, percentages do not require % as long as five decimal places have been used.
The two main tabs on the annual return template, ‘Annual Returns’ and ‘CARE Pay’, share some common data:
- Employer number – A unique five-digit number, assigned to every employer contributing to the pension fund. Please contact us if you require confirmation of your employer number.
- NI Number – Nine characters in length. Unique to a given employee and the primary identifier used within Peninsula Pensions.
- Surname/Forenames – Employees full name in capital letters and long-form where possible (no initials).
- Scheme – A three-digit number, indicating which pension fund the employee contributes to:
- 001 Devon County Council
- 004 Somerset County Council
- 601 Police Officers (new scheme)
- 801 Firefighters (new scheme).
- Payroll reference – A unique identifier for each employee. No set format.
- Job reference (optional field) – In addition to the payroll reference, some employers operate a second number to further differentiate between multiple employments. This is an optional field with no set format.
Additional data requirements on the Annual Returns tab are as follows:
- Date of leaving – The date on which the employee ceased contributing to the scheme in this particular employment. A leavers form via Employer Self-Service will be expected unless a second line of data is present on the annual return, continuing from where the leaving date finished.
- Employee basic contribution rate – The percentage rate of basic contributions paid by the scheme member as at 31 March (as per contribution tables). If a member is contributing at a reduced 50/50 rate, the contribution rate should be adjusted accordingly.
- Main section – Total contributions paid by the employee at their basic contribution rate (as per contribution tables). Should not include additional payments of any description.
- 50/50 section – Total contributions paid by the employee at a reduced 50/50 rate of contribution.
Additional payments should not be included and should instead be declared below.
- Added years – Total contributions paid by the employee for added years contracts. Added years contracts would have commenced prior to 1 April 2008.
- In-House AVCs – Total contributions paid by the employee into an In-House AVC contract (generally with Prudential)
- APCs – Total amount of Additional Pension Contributions made by the employee. This field can include the purchase of additional pension or paying for lost pension due to authorised unpaid absence (for example, additional maternity leave or trade disputes).
- ARCs – Total amount of Additional Regular Contributions made by the employee. ARCs would have commenced prior to 1 April 2014.
- Employer Shared Cost APCs – Total amount of Additional Pension Contributions made by the employer.
- Hours worked – A percentage of whole-time (37 hrs per week), expressed to five decimal places (for example, 18.50 hours per week would be presented as 50.00000). Should be left empty if the employee is full-time or casual.
You should also take weeks factor into account if the employment is affected by school term-time hours. Somerset employers: see note below.
- FTE salary as at 31 March – Full-time equivalent salary, where full-time is equivalent to 37 hrs per week, 52 weeks per year. The salary should include any known contractual payments on which the member makes pension contributions (for example, merit payments, allowances and contractual overtime). Somerset employers: see note below.
- Job title (optional field) – Description of the employment in question. Particularly helpful to the Systems Team when multiple employments for the same employee are present.
- Comment – Any additional remarks you wish to make in order to clarify a particular situation or circumstance.
Somerset Employers: Hours Worked – A percentage of whole-time (37 hrs per week), expressed to five decimal places (for example, an employment of 18.50 hours per week would be presented as 50.00000). No adjustment should be made for the number of weeks worked each year.
Somerset Employers: FTE Salaries – Term-time employments should have their FTE adjusted/reduced according to the total number of weeks worked each year.
For example: Actual basic annual salary (adjusted to take into account the number of weeks worked each year), plus any additional pensionable recurring pay, multiplied by the basic hours worked (37), divided by actual hours worked each week.
Data requirements applicable to the CARE Interface tab for all employers are outlined below:
- LGPSMAIN From Date – 1 April of the financial year, or if an employment/contribution commences during the year, the employment/contribution start date. Should also be populated if the employee moves from 50/50 (reduced contribution) back to Main (standard contribution).
- LGPSMAIN To Date – 31 March with just a handful of exceptions: leaver during the year, date of contract change or the date before the member moved to 50/50.
- LGPSMAIN Pay – Total pensionable pay received by the employee through this particular employment while on the Main tranche (as at 31 March). Should also include Assumed Pensionable Pay (see note below).
- LGPS5050 From Date – 1 April of the financial year, or the date the scheme member moved onto the 50/50 rate.
- LGPS5050 To Date – 31 March with just a handful of exceptions: leaver during the year, date of contract change or the date before the member moved to Main.
- LGPS5050 Pay – Total pensionable pay received by the employee through this particular employment while on the 50/50 tranche (as at 31 March). Should also include Assumed Pensionable Pay (see note below).
Assumed pensionable pay (APP) is used when a member moves to reduced or no contractual pay as a result of sickness or injury.
It also applies during relevant paid child-related leave (ordinary maternity, paternity or adoption leave, paid shared parental leave and any paid additional maternity or adoption leave) or a member on reserve forces service leave.
In such circumstances, the amount added to the cumulative pensionable pay should be the APP and not the actual pensionable pay received (if any). This ensures that the member is not adversely affected by the reduction in pay.
Hours for casual employees should be recorded on the appropriate tab. All casual employees on your payroll should be declared, regardless of whether they claimed during the year or not.
- Total (pensionable) hours claimed – Total hours claimed on this employment. Scheme members who did not make a claim during the year should still be included in the data (with an entry of ‘0’ hours).
- Average hours worked per week – Total hours averaged over the year, resulting in a weekly ‘average hours worked’ figure. Correct to five decimal places.
Submitting your data
You should send your completed annual return template to the dedicated annual return mailbox at email@example.com
Feel free to send any questions or queries regarding the annual return process to this mailbox as it is monitored daily during this period (April-September).
Alternatively, you may contact your assigned Systems Team member directly (see the details below).
Systems Team interaction
Assuming the annual return template is completed as detailed in this guide, the process of reconciling the data and uploading it to our pension database should be relatively straight forward.
However, the process does rely upon data being formatted correctly. Please be advised that data failing to conform to this guidance or submitted using anything other than the provided template will be returned to you for further attention and resubmission.
Once the data has been uploaded to the member records, several reports are run in order to identify records with missing data (or records not present on the employer data).
Many errors will be self-apparent and corrected by the Systems Team, but others will require further clarification by you (usually involving multiple employments or pay reference confusion).
Outstanding starters and leavers will be recorded on our in-house tasking system and assigned to the Employer Liaison team, who will continue to monitor the tasks and chase, if necessary until all outstanding queries have been resolved.
If you have any queries or concerns or need clarification, please send an email to one of the Systems Team members:
- Tom Bird – Devon County Council and Devon Fund employers (non-schools) firstname.lastname@example.org
- James Dyche – Devon Fund schools email@example.com
- Sophie Downer – Somerset County Council and Somerset Fund employers (non-schools) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Bradford – Somerset Fund schools, police officers, firefighters email@example.com
- Edward Hipkiss – District, borough, city, parish, town councils, police civilians firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can call 01392 383000 and ask for the person by name.
Please note that the team should only be contacted specifically regarding the annual return or interface process/contents; general queries should continue to be raised through existing established channels.