Single Scheme Administration Project
The Single Public Service Pension Scheme was introduced on 1 January 2013 and applies to over 350 Public Service employers who are responsible for administration for their members. At the time of introduction, it was recognised that as a career-average scheme, it is very different from earlier Public Service Pension Schemes. As such, the appropriate framework for effective administration needed to be considered in some detail.
Recognising this, a team was established within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2016 and is progressing work, in collaboration with public service employers, to examine the administrative arrangements that will best suit the Single Scheme in the long-term. The Project Team reports to a National Implementation Steering Committee that is made up of senior personnel representing the largest sectors of the public service.
Baseline Study 2014:
- The Baseline Study was carried out to examine the operation of the Single Scheme at the time and assess implementation across the public service.
- A number of specific challenges in implementation were found in the Health and Education sectors, where casual working is widespread.
- A wide range of HR, payroll and pensions systems were found to be in operation across the public service.
Feasibility Study 2016/7:
- The purpose of this phase was to examine various options for the long-term administration of the Single Scheme and involved extensive engagement with all sectors of the public service.
- The recommendations from this assessment were brought to Government for decision in April 2017. A phased approach was agreed, in order to address deficits in current implementation of the Scheme while also progressing the design of a long-term shared administrative model.
Phase 1: Immediate Implementation by all Relevant Authorities:
- The legislation requires that all Relevant Authorities must undertake the work required to fully implement all Single Scheme rules and provide Annual Benefit Statements to all members since Jan 2013.
- DPER is supporting this work through the release of this website (June 2017), provision of toolkits and guidelines published on the Employers section and augmenting the guidance available on an ongoing basis.
- In tandem an extensive programme of training for HR, Pay and Pensions administrators has been developed. Modules delivered to date include “Recruitment and Onboarding Activities”, “Leaving Employment and Annual Administration Activities” and “Retirements and Death Benefits Administration Activities”.
- The next training event, to be offered in Q2 2019, is a re-run of the “Recruitment and Onboarding Activities module”. Training Resources which include pdf versions of the training manuals can be downloaded here.
Phase 2: Build a Single Scheme Databank:
- The development of a databank was approved by Government, in order to secure the benefit information for all members from all employers and ensure it is managed to an agreed standard.
- A Working Group was established in 2017, with representatives from all Sectors, to provide input on the data to be captured and the design/testing of the system.
- Development is now at an advanced stage with the Databank to become operational from Q2 2019.
- Relevant Authorities will be onboarded in waves, with practical training to be provided to all, covering both preparation of data in the correct formats and on how to use the system.
- DPER is presently assessing the readiness of organisations prior to finalising a schedule of the various waves for onboarding, and will be engaging directly with Relevant Authorities on this.
Phase 3: Design of a Long-Term Shared Administration Service:
- In parallel to Phases 1 and 2, work on examining the optimal operational model for the long-term administration of the Single Scheme is being progressed.
- A series of workshops were run in Q4 2018, focusing on an in-depth examination of all pension administration processes from hire to retire. Representatives from all sectors were involved in this work with the aim of defining/agreeing a single set of standardised processes.
- In early 2019, a Technical Design Advisory Group reviewed outcomes from the process work from an ICT perspective and made a number of recommendations for consideration in defining the long-term model.
- Work to collate all outcomes and evaluate a number of potential operating models is now in progress, with recommendations to be brought forward for decision over coming months.
Updates on the Single Scheme Administration Project will be placed on the Project News and Bulletins Section of our website each quarter.