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Letter of the week - 17 March 2011

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Early movers on pensions will set the benchmarks

LGC will donate £20 to the Lewis Jeynes Fund or to a charity of the letter writer’s choice.

Much of what was announced in Lord Hutton’s final report on public sector pensions will also apply to local government pension schemes. Local authority chief executives and directors will have to implement rapid change and still deliver business as usual.

The focus on ensuring the overall sustainability of the LGPS is promising, but there are challenges. For example, there should be incentives for pension schemes to improve investment performance by working more closely together. Early movers on this will set benchmarks for good practice.

Another challenge will be to establish a clear, comprehensive and central database on both investment and funding. This will then put a spotlight on different approaches to funding and deficit recovery. There is clear encouragement to get more from the co-operative projects within the LGPS. Again, early movers will set benchmarks for extending such projects.

Local authorities need to think about the end game here - how closely can they co-operate? There may even be councils who are well placed to offer services to pension schemes elsewhere. I would advise local authority chiefs to be positive. If they drive the change, it will be the change they want.

Mark Packham, director, pension practice, PwC

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