Terms of reference
A summary of the board's purpose and how it will work.
The Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Advisory Board for Wales has been established under Regulations 10 to 13 of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (Wales) Regulations 2015.
The aims and objectives of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Advisory Board for Wales are to:
- advise the Welsh Ministers, on the desirability of changes to the 2015 firefighter pension scheme and any connected Scheme (connected schemes are the 1992 and 2007 firefighter pension schemes)
- advise the Welsh Ministers and Scheme Managers on any other matter it considers relevant to the effective and efficient operation of these schemes
- advise the local pension boards on effective and efficient administration and management of the scheme, any connected scheme and any pension fund
- Advise Welsh Ministers on elements of the valuation process, including the valuation assumptions that are recommended by Government Actuary’s Department and set by Welsh Ministers
- make recommendations on adjustments to the schemes in the event that costs breach the employer cost cap
The Welsh Ministers will use the membership of the Board as being the key contacts with whom they will consult prior to the introduction of scheme changes being made. This consultation may be through discussion papers at specific meetings either prior to or after formal consultation processes.
All changes to firefighter pensions regulations will also be subject to full public consultation. The Welsh Government will bring any such public consultation to the express attention of the organisations represented on the Board as the key stakeholders on firefighter pensions in Wales, thus providing the opportunity for a collective response through the Board itself, or individually on behalf of their representative organisation.
The Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Advisory Board for Wales is to consist of an independent Chair; and at least 2 and no more than 12 persons to be nominated by their representative organisations, and appointed by Welsh Ministers as follows.
- Independent Chair
Employer Representatives, individuals as appointed by the Welsh Ministers
- North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority
- Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority
- South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority
Employee Representatives, individuals as appointed by the Welsh Ministers
- Fire Brigades Union x 2
- Fire Leaders Association
- Fire Officers Association
- Fire and Rescue Services Association
Others in attendance
The Chair of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Advisory Board for Wales may, with the agreement of the members of the board, appoint advisory persons who are not members of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Advisory Board for Wales to attend meetings of the Board and any sub committees by invitation.
Regular attendees will also include:
- the Welsh Government (who also act as Secretariat)
- Fire and Rescue Authority Officers (as advisors to Fire and Rescue Authority Members)
- Local Government Association Pension Advisers
- Government Actuary’s Department (by invitation when required)
Members of the board should make every effort to attend in person. Where this is not possible substitutes may be allowed with the prior agreement of the Chair.
Members of the Board represent either employers or employees, in accordance with the scheme regulations. No member, and no substitute for a member, may represent both an employer and employees at any meeting.
Member representatives must be able to demonstrate their capacity to attend and complete the necessary preparation for meetings and participate in training as required.
Conflict of interest
Members of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Advisory Board for Wales must immediately notify the Welsh Ministers in writing (via the Board Secretariat) of any possible conflict of interest they may have. However, membership of the 2015 firefighter pension Scheme (or any related Scheme) does not of itself constitute such a conflict.
Process for Scheme Advisory Board advice
As the Board has no decision-making authority, it has no quorum. However, all members or their nominated deputies are strongly encouraged to attend. If the Chair believes those present do not fully and fairly represent the range of views that may exist among employers or employees as a whole, s/he may terminate the meeting.
The Chair shall attempt to reach consensus on all issues. Failing this, all advice provided by the Board should reflect any diverging views among its members and should be recorded by the Chair.
Frequency/structure of meetings
The Scheme Advisory Board will usually meet tri-annually, although meetings may be required more regularly from time to time (to discuss issues relating to the valuation of the scheme for instance). There may be circumstances where unscheduled meeting needs to be arranged at short (a few weeks) notice. Such meetings will be arranged at the discretion of the Chair.
Length of meetings will be approximately 2 hours (depending on agenda items); Group members are welcome to contact the secretariat between meetings if they wish to propose an issue for inclusion in the agenda.
Meetings will normally take place remotely via Teams, but there may be occasions when meetings will be required face to face in Welsh Government Offices or other venues throughout Wales.
Members will be expected to attend training provided by the Board from time to time. This will particularly be the case prior to the Board undertaking discussions and providing Welsh Ministers with advice regarding scheme valuation. Training may take place as part of a scheduled meeting or as a stand-alone event.
Papers and minutes
In line with the Welsh Government’s commitment to openness, we will publish minutes on our website as soon as possible after the meeting to which they relate. Members are welcome to share papers with their Local Pension Boards, although there may be instances where this is not appropriate. Where such instances occur, the Chair will advise members not to do so.
It may be appropriate to establish subgroups to consider specific issues. Subgroups will operate on an “as required” basis and will be accountable to the Scheme Advisory Board.