The University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS)

Pension Review Project

The University of Sheffield has undertaken a review of the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS). Following agreement by Council, the new arrangements for staff on Grades 1 to 5, called the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan, commenced on 1 December 2011.  Full details of the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan are available at www.sheffield.ac.uk/uspsfrp.

Discussions with the trade unions are on-going in relation to potential transitional arrangements for those staff with benefits built up in the final salary section of USPS (pre-30 November 2011).

These pages provide information for University staff about the USPS Pension Project Review.

 

Latest Developments

6 December 2011
In response to queries relating to the impact of the changes to USPS on the terms and conditions of staff, the University has issued the statement below.

The changes to the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS) do not constitute a breach of terms and conditions of employment. University contracts of employment entitle staff to membership of the Scheme and that position is unchanged. There is nothing in your terms and conditions which specifies the nature of the Scheme or the benefits to be provided under it. Your membership of the Scheme is subject to the terms and rules of the Scheme as amended from time to time by the Trustees. Nothing in your contract of employment prevents the Trustees of the Scheme from making changes to the Scheme or creates any obligation on the University or the Trustees to maintain the Scheme in a particular form.

The changes made to the Scheme with effect from 1 December 2011 (which were made following consultation with staff and trade union representatives) do not conflict with the University’s terms and conditions of employment, and do not require agreement by staff or trade union in order to be effective.

 

5 December 2011
Scheme members and pensioners should have received a letter from Capita Hartshead over the weekend. Capita Hartshead have taken over the external administration of USPS from MNPA with effect from 1 December 2011.

This administrative change does not impact on the scheme design or the nature of the USPS trust. The appointment of Capita Hartshead by the USPS Trustees follows a competitive tender process and will result in a reduction in the amount spent on external administration by the scheme.

If members have any queries regarding the letter, or the way the scheme is administered, please contact the Pensions Team on 21397.

 

18 November 2011
The Director of Human Resources has confirmed the launch of the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan with effect from 1 December 2011. The scheme will launch as outlined earlier in the year whilst discussions with trade unions continue in relation to the transitional arrangements for existing members of the pension scheme.

A number of presentations to staff to provide an overview of the scheme design have also been announced in the message. The details are available to download via the Quick Links to the right of this page as "Staff Communication 18 November 2011".

 

17 November 2011
The Director of Human Resources issued a statement today prepared jointly by the trade unions Unite and Unison, and the University outlining the decision of all parties to involve ACAS in the current discussions around changes to USPS. A copy of this statement is downloadable via the quick links on the right of this page as "Staff Communication 17 November 2011".

More details as a result of the discussions with ACAS will be provided when they are available. In the meantime, the launch of the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan is going ahead on 1 December 2011 and planning is underway to deliver a number of presentations about the new scheme for all staff on grades 1 to 5. Further details will be published shortly.

 

15 November 2011
Ahead of the implementation of the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan on 1 December 2011, the scheme Trustees are ensuring the necessary changes are made behind the scenes to the scheme trust deeds and other arrangements.

One aspect of this is the change from the scheme being contracted out of the State 2nd Pension (S2P) to enabling members to begin building up benefits in S2P once the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan is launched. A formal part of this process is for the scheme to surrender its contracting out certificate. The University has now issued notice of intention to elect to surrender the contracting out certificate for USPS dated 17 November 2011. This will be displayed on relevant notice boards for staff to read at your convenience, it will last for three months until actual certificate surrender date 17 February 2012.

This is in line with the information provided to all staff on grades 1 to 5 in the consultation booklet back in December 2010, and subsequent communications to affected staff which are available on these web pages.

Further information about the formal launch of the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan will be issued by email and posted on this web page in the near future.

 

31 October 2011
Following the most recent series of meetings with trade union colleagues from Unite and UNISON, the new USPS Flexible Retirement Plan will be launched for all staff on Grades 1 to 5 with effect from 1 December 2011. An outline of the scheme design can be found on the USPS Review website or via the following link: USPS Flexible Retirement Plan.

The University had put forward a package of additional transitional benefits for all existing members, which regrettably were rejected by both trade unions. However both parties remain committed to finding a practical solution and as such have agreed to continue to discuss the detail of these transitional arrangements further. This is in light of a further, extended transitional offer which was made by the University on 31 October 2011.

An e-mail was sent to all staff on 31 October 2011 in relation to the launch. A copy of the e-mail can be found via the link to the right of this page.

Further detailed communications will follow in the near future which will outline the steps needed ahead of the new scheme launching on 1 December 2011. Road shows will also be held during November at which the scheme design will be explained and staff will be able to answer questions about it. The dates of these sessions will be advertised separately.

 

19 October 2011
Following a series of recent meetings held between the University and representatives of Unite and Unison, a package of additional benefits has been presented by the University with the aim of improving the new pension arrangements for members and resolving the current dispute over changes to USPS.

The additional benefits offered by the University would enable current members of USPS, who have already built up benefits in the final salary section, to use their Flexible Retirement Plan to purchase additional service in the final salary section when they retire, with the University guaranteeing certain minimum levels of service, for a specified period.

The Flexible Retirement Plan would also enable staff on grades 1 and 2 to join and build up benefits equivalent to five per cent of their salary at no cost to themselves for a limited period, to provide a stepping stone to further, higher level retirement savings at a later date.

Both Unite and Unison are holding branch meetings this week at which they intend to share details of the offer with their members. Details of this package can be found below.

The implementation date for the changes to USPS will be 1 December 2011, and eligible staff will be contacted with more details of how to join in the near future.

 

10 August 2011
Following productive discussions between the University and representatives of Unite and UNISON, both unions have agreed to suspend any further industrial action whilst talks continue to seek a resolution to their dispute in relation to changes to USPS for staff on grades 1 to 5. The University has agreed to delay implementation of any changes until 1 December 2011.

A series of meetings will be held between now and the end of October 2011 with the aim of delivering mutually acceptable changes to USPS to ensure it is an attractive, affordable and sustainable pension scheme for the University and for members in the long term.

Staff will be informed of the outcomes of the meetings at a later date. In the meantime, no action is needed. The scheme will not now change with effect from 1 September 2011 as previously advised.

 

28 June 2011
Letters have been sent to all staff on grades 1 to 5 regarding the changes to USPS. The letter and supporting documents outline the key features of the new arrangements – to be called the USPS Flexible Retirement Plan - and answers some common questions from staff.

Copies of these documents can be found below:

 

24 May 2011
The ballots issued by the unions Unite and Unison have now closed and both unions have received a mandate to take industrial action.

In total, those who voted in favour of strike action from both unions represents 13% of the total staff population on grades 1 to 5.

81 Unite members and 157 Unison members voted in favour of strike action, representing 27% and 40% of the respective Union’s membership at the University.

No notice has yet been given to the University of any intention to take action as a result of either ballot.

The USPS Review Project Team is continuing to meet with all the trades unions. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 25 May to seek a resolution to the dispute.

 

20 May 2011
Following an email to staff on 20 May 2011 further information about the changes to USPS is available via the quick link to the right entitled "Changes to USPS at a glance". The text from the email can also be found here.

 

19 May 2011
A communication has been sent out to all staff informing them of the University Council’s decision to approve changes to USPS, including closing the final salary section to future accrual, and introducing a cash balance scheme for staff on grades 1 to 5. Please see staff communication dated 19 May 2011 for further details.

 

6 May 2011
Additional information has been circulated to staff by email or letter where appropriate, regarding the USPS Review. It provides summary information on the project as well as some key FAQs. The summary information is attached as a quick link to the right of this page and the email message is available here.

The University Council will meet again on 18 May 2011 to consider revised proposals on changes to USPS following the consultation exercise.

The trade unions Unite and Unison have opened ballots on industrial action in relation to the proposed changes to USPS. These ballots are due to close on 18 and 20 May respectively.

 

12 April 2011
At its meeting of the 11th April, the University of Sheffield Council carefully considered proposed changes to the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS). A detailed paper submitted by the USPS Review Project Team set out the content and outcome of the consultation process which has now concluded, and recommended proposals to amend the scheme.

The Council also considered a presentation made by the Directors of Finance & Human Resources, and documents submitted by the Joint Union Campus Committee (JUCC).

Following lengthy discussion by members of Council, it was agreed that the University Council required more time to reflect further on the proposals. A special meeting of Council will now be convened as soon as practicable to enable this discussion with the aim of reaching a final decision on the proposals at that point.

 

1 April 2011
An additional communication has been sent out to current members of the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS) working at grade 6 or above. Please see staff communication dated 1 April 2011 for further details.

 

16 February 2011
The consultation period relating to the USPS Review has been extended to 25 March 2011. Please see staff communication dated 16 February 2011 for further details.

 

7 February 2011
The consultation period relating to the USPS Review has been extended, in the first instance, to 14 February 2011. Please see staff communication dated 7 February 2011 for further details.

 

2 February 2011
Additional questions and answers have been added to the consultation FAQs regarding staff on Grades 6 and above and deferred benefits.

 

11 January 2011
As part of the consultation process, the Directors of HR and Finance have sent a new message to staff, including a summary of the proposed changes for staff on Grades 1 to 5 and for staff on Grades 6 and above. A new presentation has also been produced, summarising the proposed changes.

 

1st December 2010
Consultation on the proposed changes to the USPS has now started. A consultation pack has been sent to share these proposals with all staff who are current members or eligible to be members of the USPS. The consultation period will run from 1 December 2010 to 10am on 7 February 2011, and responses will be accepted during this time. A copy of the message sent to staff is available here.

 

23 November 2010
The Directors of Finance and Human Resources have sent a message to all staff informing of the University Council's decision to move forward to consultation on proposed changes to the Scheme. Consultation will begin on 1st December 2010.

 

September 2010
The project team have now consulted with external pensions experts and are in the process of creating a set of recommendations for discussion with University Governance bodies and University recognised Trade Unions. These considerations will take place during autumn 2010, leading to a staff consultation period. The second audio presentation can now be viewed. This update provides a brief reminder of the issues facing the scheme and describes some of the options for potential changes that could be made to the USPS.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Topic Information on:
Consultation Information for existing and eligible USPS members during the consultation period.
General information Background information about USPS, final salary defined benefit schemes, management of USPS, financial reporting of USPS.
USPS Pension Project Review Explaining the Project Review process; why we are undertaking the review, who is involved, timescales and terms of references, communication with members.
Impact on members Information for new and existing members on benefit protection, retirement, USPS during the review period.

 

Need help or more information?

Who to contact
If you have any questions about the review you are welcome to call the review helpline on 0114 222 4493 or email uspsconsultation@sheffield.ac.uk

If you have any queries regarding your own pension entitlement, please contact the Pensions Office by email at pensions@sheffield.ac.uk or by telephone on 0114 222 1397 or 0114 222 1399.  Alternatively, you can write to the Pensions Office, Department of Finance, The University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN or you can call in person to 10-12 Brunswick Street (please report to reception in the first instance).

If you are visiting the Department of Finance in person then you can find out more about how to find us and our opening times.


Postal Address:
Pensions Office, Department of Finance, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN

Location Address:
Pensions Office, Finance Department, Arts Tower, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN