Response to Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme Consultation
7th September 2018
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
Highland Council holds a dual role in pension fund matters as it is an ‘administering authority', but also an employer member of the scheme. It was agreed that The Highland Council, as a participating employer, will also provide a separate response.
Members recognised the enviable position of the Fund and expressed a strong desire to retain control of the Fund in the Highlands. Pension Committee Members were willing to consider some cooperation with the other Scottish funds around investment and administration, only if it was demonstrated to be of benefit.
Chair of the Council's Pensions Committee, Councillor Richard Gale said: "The Highland Council Pension Fund is a success story and is fully funded through years of prudent investment. It is important that we look at a global mix of investment opportunities and while we don't rule out investing in Scottish infrastructure, it must be in the interest of our members and generate a return that justifies the investment.
"We cannot allow for us to lose control of our pension fund and two of the options, in particular, would see that control being taken by a centralised body leaving us with little or no influence. It would be a very attractive windfall for the Scottish Government to take over our pension fund, but the risk of failure would leave thousands of people in the Highlands and Western Isles to pick up the cost of that failure. That could be of serious detriment to the individual wellbeing of pension recipients and impact the overall economy of the Highlands."
See more details about the review at -
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks. The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years. It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.
The Highland Council is looking for experienced staff or existing managers to drive the Early Learning and Childcare initiative forward, to ensure our youngest children get the best start in life and are ready to succeed. The Council will be almost doubling the provision of early learning and childcare over the next two years.
High Life Highland today announced that it has been successful in an application to the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund, to support its HLH Leadership Programme. "Choose to Lead" will be a Leadership Award that will be recognised by the SCQF Framework and accreditation of the award will be carried out by the University of The Highlands and Islands.
The Highland Council is encouraging local community groups to participate in the Scottish Government's Local Governance Review. Members have today considered the work to date preparing for The Highland Council's contribution to the Local Governance Review.
Progress on the Highland Council's review of its public conveniences has been welcomed by the Council's Administration. Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Environment Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "It's important that we put the review into context and acknowledge that Highland Council is the largest provider of public conveniences in the UK.
Caithness Councillors have welcomed information that shows progress being made in respect of destinations of pupils on leaving Wick High School in recent years. The information was presented at the Caithness Area Committee meeting held in Wick on Tuesday 28 August.
The Corporate Revenue Monitoring Statement for Quarter 1 (Apr - June 18), has been considered by the Council's Corporate Resources Committee. The paper sets out actions to address the projected 1% overspend of £5.1m.
One hundred and nineteen probationer teachers were recently welcomed to the Highlands at an Induction Course held in Smithton Free Church Hall. We were also delighted to welcome a group of 13 new Canadian teachers, recruited through our agency partners TimePlan Education who will work in our primary and secondary schools across the authority.
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