PLSA AC 18: The new PLSA policy board

Written by Natalie Tuck
19/10/18

Natalie Tuck speaks to PLSA policy board chair Emma Douglas on the need for a policy board and how it will work

Why was there a need to create a policy board?

The PLSA decided to create a policy board because having a single body, responsible for strategic oversight of all policy work, will make it easier to determine priority areas and ensure the PLSA can arrive at policy positions that work for its wide range of members.

How have members of the PLSA reacted to the creation of a policy board?

After asking members to change the rules at the AGM in October 2017, the PLSA consulted with its members on next steps and members were broadly very supportive of this change. The PLSA is run by its members so it wanted to ensure it spent time getting their input.

The policy board intends to set up supporting bodies and working groups if needed, how does this differ to the previous councils in terms of governance?

The policy board will decide, with advice from the PLSA’s executive, what supporting bodies it needs. We anticipate this will be a combination of standing bodies that represent different member sectors – like the councils today – and working groups, which it has used for projects such as Hitting the Target.

The policy board will take a strategic, holistic view of policy but we will continue to consider the individual needs of defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, as well as specific scheme types such as master trusts and the Local Government Pension Scheme. Should a new issue become apparent, we have the ability to set up a working group.

How will the policy board itself be run, in terms of members, meetings per year, and leadership?

“The policy board will meet for the first time in early October to discuss the terms of reference and the supporting committees it may need, and this will include how often it will meet. We expect it will meet at least three times a year and that the more detailed work will be done by the committees in the substructure. However, this will be decided on when it meets in October.

The full membership will be: Anna Rogers, ARC Pensions Law; Teresa Fritz, Croydon Pension Fund; Laura Myers, Lane Clark & Peacock LLP; Emma Douglas, Legal & General Investment Management Ltd – Chair; Jackie Peel, Mars UK; Brian Henderson, Mercer; Chris Hogg, National Grid; Zoe Alexander, NEST; Nicola Mark, Norfolk Pension Fund; Adrian Boulding, Now: Pensions; Carol Young, Royal Bank of Scotland; Michael Watkins, Smart Pension; Jamie Jenkins, Standard Life; Neil Mason, Surrey County Council; Gregg McClymont, The People’s Pension; Mel Duffield, Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS); Rachel Brothwood, West Midlands Pension Fund.

The PLSA’s executive team, led by Nigel Peaple, PLSA director of policy and research, will also attend all meetings of the policy board.”

What projects do you envisage the policy board will have as a priority when it comes into effect? Will current projects such as Hitting the Target, be continued?

When the policy board formally meets for the first time we’ll review and prioritise the PLSA’s current projects to see if there is anything else we should be working on, or anything we should stop. We absolutely expect Hitting the Target to remain a priority for the PLSA and the targets themselves will be published in early 2019.

How is the policy board going to take a holistic view of policy, whilst at the same time remaining focused on specific needs of different areas?

“The policy board will take a strategic, holistic view of policy and to enable us to deliver this we have ensured that the membership represents the diversity of the PLSA’s broad membership.

We will continue to consider the individual needs of defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, as well as specific scheme types such as master trusts and the Local Government Pension Scheme. Should a new issue become apparent, the policy board has the ability to set up a working group.”

What are the long-term goals of the policy board?

The ultimate goal of the policy board will be to shape the PLSA’s policy agenda for all aspects of retirement income and ensure it continues to lead the way on major policy issues.

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