Latest News - 22nd November 2018
At the USS Trustee meeting, held on 22 November 2018, the USS Trustee confirmed it does not propose to make any changes to the increases to contributions under the cost sharing process, nor to the related provisions which it consulted on. The Schedule of Contributions, Recovery Plan and Statement of Funding Principles (statutory documents needed to conclude the valuation) are now the matters left to resolve in the 2017 valuation, and these will be progressed by the USS Trustee through formal consultation with employers, through UUK.
At the same meeting, the Trustee confirmed plans to carry out a new valuation of USS as at 31 March 2018, in order to allow the Trustee to properly consider the JEP’s recommendations and employer position. Further details and frequently asked questions regarding the proposed 2018 Valuation and its implications can be found on the UUK web pages
15 November - Universities UK (UUK) submit formal response to the consultation with USS employers on the JEP recommendations and publish summary of responses
On 15 November 2018, UUK confirmed they had written formally to Bill Galvin to confirm that employers support the recommendations of the Joint Expert Panel, subject to acceptance from the USS Trustee and The Pensions Regulator, and the need for further information for employers on risk and its implications. UUK has further published analysis which provides a summary of the responses received to their consultation of employers on the recommendations of the Joint Expert Panel. The formal response from the University of Sheffield can be accessed via the link in the update below.
26 October - The University has submitted its response to the Universities UK (UUK) consultation with USS employers on the JEP recommendations
The University of Sheffield has submitted its response to UUK on the recommendations within the JEP report. The University's Valuation Working Group met in October to review the report and employer consultation and recommended a response to the consultation for the University to consider. The group recommended that that the University support the recommendations within the JEP report in full which proposed adjustments to the 2017 valuation which they believe could allow that process to conclude. This recommendation has subsequently been considered by both the University Executive Board and Council. Read the full response here.
24 September - Universities UK (UUK) publish a consultation with USS employers on the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) recommendations
Universities UK (UUK) have now published details of their consultation with USS employers on the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) recommendations, which were issued on 13 September 2018.
The UUK employer consultation is due to run until 30 October 2018, in parallel to the member consultation, details of which can be found below.
The UUK consultation is intended to explore employers' views about the JEP recommendations, under Phase 1, to assist in agreeing steps to complete the 2017 valuation.
Further details of the approach to the consultation and questions being asked of employers can be found on the UUK dedicated USS Employers web pages.
13 September - Joint Expert Panel (JEP) report published
The Joint Expert Panel (JEP) published its report on 13 September which covers its review of the USS 2017 valuation. The JEP was set up by the University and College Union (UCU) and UUK in light of the industrial dispute earlier this year on the proposed benefit changes.
The JEP report covers an assessment of the methodology, assumptions and processes underpinning the valuation. It explores the scope for possible adjustments to various elements of the valuation which the panel believes would allow it to be concluded. A number of related observations and recommendations have also been included in the panel’s report. The full report including an executive summary can be found here.
UUK and UCU will now consider the panel’s recommendations in the scheme’s formal negotiating forum, the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), before deciding on any changes to benefits and/or contributions. As part of this process, UUK will consult with employers on their views on the JEP's recommendations to inform talks with UCU and the USS Trustee. The University's internal working group will review and input into this consultation to ensure that a broader and collective view is considered before the University submits its final response. Further information and a timeline can be found here.
Consultation on 'cost-sharing process' (3 September to 2 November 2018)
USS have launched a 60-day statutory employer consultation on the proposed changes under the 'cost sharing process' with affected employees (active members and those eligible to join) and their representatives. The consultation will run from 3 September to 2 November 2018. The consultation material is available on a dedicated USS consultation site: www.ussconsultation2018.co.uk Responses to the consultation should be submitted via this site during the consultation period (members will need to log in using their USS member number).
In September the University arranged member presentations to be delivered at the University by an external presenter to explain the proposed changes in further detail in the context of the valuation process. If you have been unable to attend the presentation, you can also access presentation material via the dedicated USS consultation site (under 'Consultation Documents').
University of Sheffield Valuation Working Group:
The University of Sheffield have reconvened its working group to provide a collective understanding and input into the valuation process as it continues to develop. Further details of this group, including notes from meetings to date can be found here.
USS have published several recent updates to members on important developments in the valuation process. This includes details of the 'cost sharing process' which is running in parallel with the Joint Expert Panel. The latest update explains how the cost sharing process, if implemented, would affect members including higher contribution rates.
The Joint Expert Panel (JEP) has now been set-up and fully constituted with nominated members from both UCU and UUK and a Chair. Full details of the JEP, including its membership and chair, terms of reference and reports from meetings to date can be found on the dedicated JEP website.
A brief summary of events so far in the valuation process can be found here.
27 April Announcement
On Friday 27 April, representatives of UUK and UCU sitting on USS’s Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) agreed to revoke the benefit proposals it recommended to the trustee in January. It was agreed that a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) be set up to review the valuation, with a view to determining a way forward for USS that can be implemented on or close to 1 April 2019.
A new Q&A document for USS members has been published covering the latest development with USS, the Joint Expert panel and the valuation timetable.
Every three years the USS undertakes a valuation. The purpose of the valuation is:
To establish whether the assets held by the scheme are sufficient to cover the benefits promised to members.
To determine the level of contributions required from employers and members to meet future benefits and clear any past service deficit.
The actual valuation date was 31 March 2017, but there has and will continue to be a lot of activity following this date, including a consultation period with the sector on the future shape of the scheme.