IoM Pension Scheme Scoops UK Award
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The Isle of Man government's new unified public sector pension scheme won a prestigious industry
award at a recent ceremony in London in recognition of the scheme's 'innovation
The accolade, Public Sector Scheme of the Year, was received by the island at an event hosted each year by industry publication
Professional Pensions, which recognises the best pension schemes offered throughout the British Isles.
Launched in April 2012, the Isle of Man's ambitious Government Unified Scheme (GUS) is the product of four years' development. The scheme harmonized 15 different pension
schemes covering around 10,000 civil and public servants, manual workers, healthcare
professionals and firefighters. The aim was to address the crucial issue of
sustainability and provide for the long-term security of pensions for employees,
whilst making arrangements simpler, more affordable, and less vulnerable to UK
changes over which the island has no control.
A dedicated statutory body comprising employer and employee representation
and an independent Chair, the Public Sector Pensions Authority (PSPA), was also
established to provide effective ongoing governance. The outcome has been a
more streamlined, more sustainable scheme that is controlled by the Isle of
Man’s own government and by the island's legislative assembly, the Tynwald.
GUS overcame fierce competition from schemes offered by a number of UK public
authorities, including by the councils of West Yorkshire, Northern Ireland, Cambridgeshire
and Northamptonshire. The judging panel of industry experts reportedly selected
the Manx scheme for its innovation, focus on member communications, administrative
efficiencies and excellence in governance. It was also noted that the Isle of
Man had achieved major public sector pension changes which are still several
years away from implementation in the UK.
Ian Murray, Chief Executive of the Public Sector Pensions Authority, said:
"This has been a real team effort over the past four years, with many people
and organisations contributing to the successful implementation of GUS, including
several government departments and with support and input from trade unions.
In terms of driving forward change, it has been one of the biggest projects
undertaken in the Isle of Man’s history. A large part of the island’s population
is linked to the public service either by direct employment, marriage, retired
ex-employees or other family relationships. Introducing changes that affected
such a major element of the local community was always going to be a challenge.
To achieve this degree of change against a backdrop of economic uncertainty
and low or zero wage increases has been even more remarkable."
Jerry Carter, Chairman of the Public Sector Pensions Authority, added: "Winning the Public Sector Pension Scheme of the Year award is a magnificent
achievement and reflects the tremendous amount of work that has been put into
the successful introduction of GUS. It is no mean feat to be ranked by expert
judges ahead of some huge UK public sector schemes which have massive resources
at their disposal. Bringing together 15 different schemes has been a unique
and complex challenge. It effectively started from scratch, with a totally blank
sheet of paper. Change of this magnitude inevitably generates strong opinions,
and great care has been taken to listen to the views of all parties. The result
of this collaborative effort is an award-winning unified scheme which better
meets the needs of the people of the Isle of Man."