NIPSA's Civil Service Executive Committee have considered the current and ongoing Transformation of NICS ICT Services and have a range of concerns about the provision of ICT Services in the NICS and the impact of centralisation on Departments. Given the NICS Board had already approved this project at a high level NIPSA has sought to meet directly with the NICS Board to raise our concerns and objections. NIPSA has made it clear in a letter to the Head of the Civil Service that a halt to the project should take place so that a full and meaningful assessment can be made on the impact centralisation will have on Departments in the delivery of their business.
It is important branches and members are made aware that NIPSA have serious reservations over the direction of travel of this project and we have taken the unusual step of writing directly to the Head of the Civil Service given our concerns.
Please make your members aware of this circular. Members will be kept informed of developments via further Branch Secretary circulars.
Please find attached a consultation document covering two issues as follows:-
Consultation of Rectification of the Cost Cap Floor Breach
As part of the review of the NICS Pension Scheme as required as part of the 3 yearly valuation of the Scheme it has been identified that the 'floor' has been breached and this needs to be rectified to ensure it brings the scheme cost back to the target of 18.3%. NIPSA has had engagement via the NICS Pensions Forum and following that engagement and advice from the Scheme Advisory Board it is proposed to address this via two proposals as follows:-
(a) Increase the Death in Service Lump sum from twice final pensionable earnings to three times pensionable earnings; and
(b) Increase the accrual rate from 2.32% to 2.75%.
The remedy to increase the accrual rate for the cost cap will only apply to members of the alpha scheme, however it is proposed to extend the enhanced death in service provision to all members.
NIPSA's Civil Service Executive Committee have considered this proposal and are recommending to members that these proposals are accepted.
As members will be aware NIPSA had objected strongly to the situation which arose at the time of the payment of the 2017 pay award whereby members in AA, AO, DP and Grade 7 were adversely impacted as a result of the late payment award whereby they had to pay increased pension contributions as a result of moving into the higher bracket of pension contributions for the month of July. While NIPSA sought to have an ex-gratia payment made to those members - unfortunately we were not successful in those arguments. However NIPSA continued to pursue this on the basis that it should not happen again.
As a result of NIPSA's representations Civil Service Pensions have carried out a review in consultation with NIPSA and are proposing to address this anomaly as follows:-
(a) Introduce a process to exclude any arrears of pensionable pay from annualised calculation for setting contribution rates; and
(b) Align the employee pension contribution thresholds with NICS pay and grading structures. The effect of this is set out on page 13 of the consultation document along with some detailed examples in the consultation document.
This is a very positive outcome for members and is a direct result of this being an issue which NIPSA pursued with determination. The Civil Service Executive Committee are recommending that NIPSA responds positively to this consultation.
The consultation closes on 18 January 2019. Any branches with comments or queries should send them to me no later than 8 January 2019 so that they can be considered in advance of NIPSA submitting a response to the above consultations.
Branch Sec Circular GC 19-08
This circular sets out the procedures for making nominations for election to NIPSA's General Council for the 2019-2020 year i.e. the General Council takes office immediately after NIPSA's Annual Conference in June 2019. Branches need to take immediate action to ensure nominations comply with the deadline of 22 January 2019.
In January/February 2019 members of the General Council will be elected by an individual ballot of all ordinary members. The elections for President, Vice-President and Honorary Treasurer will be held at NIPSA's 2019 Annual Conference from among those elected to the General Council following the individual ballot.
A copy of the regulations for the election of the General Council is enclosed. Your Branch Committee should consider carefully these regulations and I would draw your attention to the following points:
(a) Nominations for the General Council can be made only by NIPSA Branches and at properly convened general meetings of your Branch.
(b) Nominations must be made on the enclosed nomination Form 2A which must be signed by the Branch Chairperson and another Officer of your Branch.
(c) Each candidate must signify his or her consent to his or her nomination. It is important that Branches obtain this signature as NIPSA Headquarters cannot follow up incomplete forms.
(d) For each candidate I should receive details on the nomination form of the nominee's name (forename in full), gender, address, grade, NIPSA Branch number and signature of consent to act if elected.
(e) Completed nomination forms must reach me by 2.00pm on 22 January 2019.
(f) An election address of up to 100 words may be submitted by candidates for election to the General Council. Election addresses must be submitted using Form 2B attached and can be sent along with the nomination form or be sent separately by the candidate.
(g) In order to assist Headquarters in compiling the election address booklet a facility has been set up to allow candidates to submit an election address electronically. Please see instructions attached. It is important to note if candidates avail of this facility they must also forward a signed copy.
(h) Completed election addresses must reach me by 2.00 pm on 22 January 2019.
The election will be supervised by an Independent Scrutineer (to be advised).
All information received will be treated in accordance with our Data Protection Policy. This and the Privacy Notice it contains can be accessed on our website at https://nipsa.org.uk/privacy-policy.
Please make immediate arrangements for your Branch to hold a meeting to decide on its nominations and in good time for your Branch and your candidates to have all the necessary papers with me by 2.00 pm on 22 January 2019.
The Planning Committee of Belfast City Council are meeting on Tuesday 11 December 2018 to consider the planning application by Benmore Octopus Healthcare Developments for a Healthcare Facility at the Kings Hall Complex.
NIPSA is opposed to this development and has sought speaking rights. A lobby will be held from 4.15 pm on Tuesday 11 December 2018 at the back entrance to the City Hall. Please support this lobby and put pressure on the Planning Committee not to approve this planning application.
The General Council has recently reviewed the payment of subsistence allowances. The current allowances are £4.25 and £9.30 respectively depending on whether a representative is away from their normal workplace for over 5 hours or over 10 hours. To date these rates have been paid without receipt. To ensure NIPSA applies all HMRC rules correctly it will be necessary for members/representatives to provide receipts for their lunch allowance in the future.
From the 1 January 2019 all representatives wishing to claim subsistence/lunch allowance will be required to provide receipts. The rates will remain the same but will be reimbursed on the basis of "receipted actuals". That is if a lunch costs £3.50 then on the provision of a receipt the £3.50 will be reimbursed. If the lunch costs £6.00, again on the provision of receipt, the maximum lunch allowance of £4.25 will be reimbursed. Without the provision of receipts the Finance Department staff will not be able to pay the allowance. Please assist in the swift payment of expenses by providing receipts.
Your co-operation is appreciated.
Unions Unite Against Possible Privatisation of New Leisure Centre
NIPSA, together with our sister trade unions, Unite and GMB, have been working closely with the Senior Management Team of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council for over a year on the future service delivery model for the new Leisure Centre