Agenda and minutes

South Yorkshire Pensions Authority - Thursday, 9th February, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Oakwell House, 2 Beevor Court, Pontefract Road, Barnsley, S71 1HG

Contact: Gill Richards 


No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Applogies were noted as above.




Tribute was paid and a minute’s silence held for former Authority member Councillor Murphy who passed away recently.


The Director reported that at the LAPF awards held in December 2022, the Authority was successful in the “LGPS Fund of the Year over £2.5bn” category. It was also highly commended in two categories at the Pensions for Purpose awards for Impact Investing.


Chair thanked the Officers for their work in securing the awards.



Urgent Items pdf icon PDF 354 KB

To determine whether there are any additional items of business which by reason of special circumstances the Chair is of the opinion should be considered at the meeting; the reason(s) for such urgency to be stated.


Two members of the public, Mr Henshaw and Ms Cattell had submitted questions directly to the Authority. These were read out for Members and answered by the Director. A copy of the questions and the written responses are available in the appendixes of the minutes.


Items to be considered in the absence of the public and press

To identify where resolutions may be moved to exclude the public and press.  (For items marked * the public and press may be excluded from the meeting.)


RESOLVED – That item 12 ‘Border to Coast Strategic Plan’ be considered in the absence of the public and press.


Declarations of Interest




Section 41 Feedback from District Councils




Minutes of the meeting held on pdf icon PDF 160 KB


A discussion was held as to the level of detail to be included in agenda item 13.


The Director and Head of Governance will discuss this with the Local Pension Board Independent Advisor. No amendments requested at this time.


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 8th December 2022 be agreed as a true record.


Corporate Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 995 KB

Additional documents:


8a)      Feb 2023 Review of the Corporate Strategy 2022/25


The Director presented the 3-year Corporate Strategy update. There had been no substantive changes although there has been a degree of slippage, some of which is beyond the Authority’s control. The revised timeline for actions was shown in the report.


The staffing changes agreed at the Staffing Committee in October were designed in part to counter any future slippage of deadlines. Some positive benefits of the changes are already being seen.


Councillor Fisher asked about section 5.5 of the report. Is it expected that Fund Manager fees will reduce because of the updated investment strategy?


The Director responded that as more of the fund’s investments are moved into Alternatives, we will be subject to more performance fees. The high fees indicate the fund has been successful in providing a return.


Councillor Nevett asked about the intended increase of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees. Does the Authority have the resilience needed to move to 115 FTE from 94 FTE in the next financial year?


The Director replied the increase is designed to add resilience to the organisation. There may be some issues around the capacity to find suitable applicants for some roles. It will be a staggered recruitment process to ease the impact on HR and 3rd party recruitment agencies are also being engaged to help with the process.


Councillor Dimond sought confirmation that Net Zero was still the goal of the Responsible Investment strategy. The Director confirmed that it is.


Councillor Dimond then questioned the strategy to engage with companies that are currently high producers of CO2 and that in his opinion are not decarbonising quickly enough to reach Net Zero by 2030.


The Director replied, engagement has been the focus of the fund’s approach to dealing with this. A decision to commit to a dis-investment strategy is not one the Authority can make alone as its assets are held in pooled funds.


Councillor Dimond asked about staff appraisals. Concern that the information whether staff are receiving appraisals is not available given the importance of regular supervision.


The Assistant Director – Resources replied that currently it is not possible to produce the information in a format that would be useful to Members. The situation is monitored and reviewed and all staff do receive regular monthly meetings with Team Leaders and Managers, a half yearly review in addition to a full appraisal at year end.


Councillor Cox asked about the number of staff who currently Work from Home (WFH).


The Assistant Director – Resources replied that SYPA operates a hybrid working policy. This enables FTE staff to have 3 days per week WFH and 2 days in the office. Part Time staff can have 1 day per week WFH. Several people choose to do more than 2 days per week in the office.


Councillor Cox expressed concern around performance monitoring and data security for staff WFH.


The Assistant Director – Resources confirmed all monitoring standards around performance are maintained and regular  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Treasury Management Strategy 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 396 KB

Additional documents:


The Financial Services Manager presented the annual report. It has been updated to reflect the Cipfa 2021 code and Prudential 2021 code. The appendices a to c reflect the way the Authority operates comply with the code.


No material changes to previous years strategy. Continue to maintain a relatively liquid cash.


No questions or comments from Members.


Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 290 KB

Additional documents:


The Director presented a pro-forma report outlining the basis for setting remuneration amounts, particularly for Senior Managers. It also provides the required ratio of Senior Manager to Other staff’ level of pay.


It reflects the last pay award and will be updated when a new pay award is agreed and any amendments required from the pay and benefits review.


A revised statement will be brought back to members as and when required.


Councillor Sangar commented he felt significant progress has been made on the issue of pay in recent years. Do we now have the level of pay required to attract people to the various new posts?


The Director replied the evidence suggests in some technical areas; investment, finance and IT the pay scales are significantly behind the labour market. Two roles within the organisation currently receive market supplements as a result and the position is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


A challenge to recruitment in those areas comes from the job evaluation method. It does not always account for the value the market attaches to the skills and knowledge required for certain roles.


A number of the recommendations in the pay and benefits review could be adopted to mitigate this but is unlikely to resolve the issue entirely.


In response to a request from Councillor Nevett in respect of the data in table 14.1 Employee Pension Contributions, an explanation of the 50/50 scheme was given.


Resolved: Members approved the revised Pay Policy Statement at Appendix A.


Governance Update pdf icon PDF 391 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Governance delivered an update on the actions of the Governance Team since the last meeting and drew attention to the following areas


·         The beginning of work by external solicitors to comprehensively review the constitution.

·         The completion by all members of the required mandatory training.

·         The process to procure a contract for ongoing legal advice.

·         An update on a previously reported data breach where the Information Commissioner had indicated that they were content with the Authority’s response


Councillor Sangar stated it was very helpful to receive regular refresher training as the duties of members is very different to the work as a Councillor.


Resolved: Members a. Noted the current Authority governance position, including the outcome of the data breach previously reported to the ICO;

b. Welcomed the progress made on training and development of Authority and LPB members

c. Approved the 2023/24 Governance Calendar.


Border to Coast Strategic Plan


The Director presented a report setting out the Border to Coast operating company’s Strategic Plan and Budget for the coming year. Following discussion and debate members:


Resolved: Members a. Noted the Strategic Plan and Budget for the period 2023-2026 proposed by the Board of the Border to Coast operating company at Appendix B.

b. Authorise the casting of the Authority’s vote in favour of the shareholder

resolutions required to approve the Strategic Plan and Budget.


Chair concluded the meeting.