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 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 On-boarding Activities” and “Leaving Employment and Annual Administration Activities”.
- The next training modules, to be offered in Q4 2018, are “Retirements and Deaths”. Training Resources which include pdf version 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 summer 2017, with representatives from all Sectors, to provide input on the data to be captured and the design of the system.
- Development is now at an advanced stage, with a formal test pilot of the Databank by a number of Relevant Authorities recently concluded.
- It is expected that databank will be operational from Q4 2018, with bodies onboarding to the Databank from in waves from Q4 onwards. Practical training on the operation of the Databank will form a core part of the activity associated with onboarding organisations to the Databank.
- DPER is presently focussed on assessing the readiness of organisations to onboard to the Databank, prior to finalising a schedule of the various waves for onboarding, and developing training content for the Databank.
Phase 3: Design of a Long-Term Shared Administration Service:
- The work involved in defining the scope and requirements for a future Shared Service to administer the Single Scheme across the public service involves extensive work.
- A series of workshops will be run from Sept–Dec 2018, focused on an in-depth examination of all pension administration processes from hire to retire. Representatives from all sectors will be involved in this work with the aim of defining/agreeing a single set of standardised processes.
- In tandem, work is being progressed to examine the data, technology and back-office requirements.
- Once all the requirements are well understood, the outcomes will be brought to Government in 2019 for decision on the most appropriate model for long-term implementation across the public service.
Updates on the Single Scheme Administration Project will be placed on the Project News and Bulletins Section of our website each quarter.