The statement following the 15th meeting between the University and College Union (UCU), Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) in relation to the recommendations of the Joint Expert Panel's (JEP) second report has been published.
The statement from chair of the JEP Joanne Segars, which can also be found on the JEP website, is as follows:
The Tripartite Group (TG) discussion continued to focus on improving the JNC’s effectiveness and re-building trust and confidence. The stakeholders then met again to discuss meeting the needs of members and developing the Strategic Discussion Forum.
The TG noted that the JNC Effectiveness Group (JNCEG) were continuing discussions over the “quick wins” that would improve the JNC’s operational effectiveness. The TG reviewed the draft and agreed that the actions identified by the JNCEG were sensible and would make important enhancements to the operation of the JNC. It was noted that the Chair of the JNC was supportive of these developments and would engage as considered appropriate by the JNCEG. The TG proposed some minor amendments to the draft “quick wins” and it was agreed that these would be fed back to the JNCEG. The final iteration of the “quick wins” was expected shortly.
The TG continued discussions on how to rebuild trust and confidence. Along with a recognition of the need for confidentiality, and the recognition of roles and responsibilities, communications had been identified as an issue that was undermining trust and confidence. In particular, it was felt it would help the stakeholders if the Trustee could more clearly articulate how and why it had reached particular decisions and rejected other options. It was agreed to develop a ‘straw person’ example of such a communication for further consideration by the TP Group at its next meeting. It was agreed that this could be helpful in building understanding of the basis of Trustee decisions, whilst acknowledging that others may disagree with the outcome of the decisions.
In their discussions on meeting the needs of members, the stakeholders shared concerns over the high level of opt outs in the Scheme, which was higher than the national average. It was agreed to request further information from USS to understand more fully who was opting out and why. The stakeholders also agreed to develop the Strategic Discussion Forum (SDF) the purpose of which is to consider some of the longer-term issues affecting the Scheme. It was agreed to continue these discussions.