USS Valuation - Updates and Latest News
13 September 2019 - 2018 USS valuation concluded
The final contribution rates required of members and employers under the 2018 valuation have been confirmed. The overall contribution rate required to fund the current benefit arrangements is 30.7% of pay until October 2021 and 34.7% thereafter (subject to a 2020 valuation). The JNC, made up of member representatives (University & College Union) and employer representatives (Universities UK) and an independent Chair, decided in August that:
- members will contribute 9.6% of pay and employers 21.1% until October 2021, followed by 11% and 23.7% respectively thereafter (subject to a 2020 valuation); and,
- the benefits currently offered to USS members will remain the same.
Further information can be found on the USS pages.
23 August 2019 - JNC decision and next steps to concluding the 2018 valuation
Latest JNC decision
The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) met on 22 August to resume its consideration of the USS Trustee’s 2018 valuation report, which was submitted in line with Option 3. The committee decided by majority vote that no benefit changes should be made in response to the total contribution rate (30.7%), and that the change in the rate should be shared 65:35 between employers and members respectively (21.1%, 9.6% from October 2019).
The JNC representatives nominated by Universities UK (UUK) and the independent chair voted in favour of sharing the costs in this way, while UCU’s JNC representatives voted against.
UUK on behalf of employers remain committed to further discussions and have requested that the JNC reconvene in September.
The USS Trustee board have put forward the schedule of contributions and recovery plan for the 2018 valuation. A further employer consultation on the schedule of contributions and recovery plan will now need to take place, and employers have been asked to respond to UUK by 9 September. This will allow UUK to formally respond ahead of the USS Board meeting on 12 September, when it is expected that the 2018 valuation can be concluded. Meeting this timeline allows the valuation to be completed in time to replace the higher October 2019 increases scheduled from the 2017 valuation. The University's and UUK's subsequent response to the consultation can be found here.
6 August 2019 - Employer's response to option 3, planned next steps and launch of a contribution calculator
Employers representing 81% of the active membership of those employers responding to the consultation confirmed they were willing to support option 3, to allow the covenant to be confirmed as strong and to conclude the valuation with total contributions of 30.7% of salary. Further information can be found here. We now understand that the USS trustee will formally present a valuation report, in line with option 3, to the JNC w/c 19 August 2019 for its consideration as an outcome to the 2018 valuation. The planned next steps are summarised here. UUK have developed a contribution calculator to enable members to understand the impact of the employee contribution increases on their pay from the proposed outcome of the 2017 or 2018 valuations.
16 July 2019 - The University of Sheffield responds to UUK on the consultation around option 3
The University has submitted a response to UUK on the consultation relating to option 3 to finalise the 2018 valuation. The response has been considered and agreed by the University's Executive Board on the recommendation of the University's USS Valuation Working Group. The response can be found here.
19 June 2019 - The University of Sheffield responds to UCU regarding the instigation of a trade dispute.
UCU wrote to the University (and c70 others) on 7 June seeking guarantees from employers that member contributions to USS would not rise above 8% (their level prior to April 2019 - they are currently 8.8%), and current benefit levels be maintained. UCU indicated that if these conditions were not met a trade dispute would exist between the union and the University which would lead to a ballot for industrial action.
The University has responded to UCU - See the full letter here.
13 June 2019 - The University of Sheffield's USS Valuation Working Group submits its response to the USS Joint Expert Panel (JEP) following a call for evidence for phase two:
The USS Joint Expert Panel (JEP) recently provided an update on the second phase of its work and issued a call for evidence, to aid this phase. This call for evidence focused on:
- Potential principles that could underpin future valuations and support the scheme’s sustainability;
- Alternative paths to the valuation; and
- Questions of how risk is shared in the scheme, including approaches to contributions and mutuality.
The University of Sheffield's USS Valuation Working Group has submitted its response, which can be found here.
The JEP has stated it is on track to publish its second report in September 2019.
30 May 2019 - The University submits its response to UUK on the three options put forward by USS for finalising the 2018 valuation
The University has submitted its response to UUK on the three options put forward by USS for finalising the 2018 valuation. The University's Valuation Working Group met to consider and agree a recommended response which was then approved on behalf of the University Council by the University's lay officers. The University's full response can be found here.
9 May 2019 - The USS puts forward three options for finalising the 2018 valuation
The USS has put forward three options for finalising the 2018 valuation, following consideration of UUK’s proposed contingent contribution arrangements and its overall feedback on behalf of employers. Further detail can be found on the USS web pages. USS has written to UUK, University & College Union (which represents members) and the Chair of the JNC setting out these options in more detail and will need to consider their feedback before the outcome of the 2018 valuation – and the rates members and employers will pay – can be confirmed. The University's Valuation Working Group is currently reviewing the options to input into and inform the University's response.
13 March 2019 - Consultation response to the Technical Provisions Consultation under the 2018 valuation
The University has submitted its response to the Technical Provisions Consultation in respect of the 2018 valuation. A copy of the response is available on these pages here. A copy of the original consultation document and associated information documents, including the proposal for contingent contributions issued by UUK as part of this consultation, are all available on the UUK valuation pages, via the links box on this page. The University of Sheffield Valuation Working Group met in February and March to discuss and form a recommended response from the University which was approved by the University Executive Board and Council prior to its submission to UUK.
31 January 2019 - USS Trustee finalises contribution rates under 2017 valuation
The USS Trustee has confirmed the final contribution rates required of members and employers under the 2017 valuation. Subject to the outcomes of the 2018 valuation, and when it is completed, there may be implications for the implementation of the later phases of contribution rates outlined above.
22 January 2019 - Consultation response to the schedule of contributions and recovery plan and technical provisions consultation
USS are now concluding the 2017 Valuation, and the University of Sheffield submitted their response to UUK regarding the proposals on the final consultation on the Schedule of Contributions and Recovery Plan by the deadline date. A copy of the response is accessible on these pages here. The collated employer response submitted by Universities UK (UUK) is available on the UUK valuation pages, via the links box on this page. In addition, the 2018 Valuation process launched on 2 January 2019 and all employers are being consulted on the Technical Provisions. Copies of the consultation document and frequently asked questions are available on the UUK valuation pages, via the links box on this page. The University of Sheffield Valuation Working Group will be formulating a recommended response to this from the University and it will be presented to Council for approval before submission by 26 February 2019.
22 November 2018 - Valuation update
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 webpages via the links box on this page.
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.
August 2018 - University of Sheffield Valuation Working Group reconvened
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.