MakoData Single Public Service Pension Scheme
The Single Public Service Pension Scheme (SPSPS) is a career-average defined benefit pension scheme that was launched on 1st January 2013. If someone became employed in the public service after this date, and are working in a pensionable post, it is likely that they will be a contributing member of the scheme.
Since the beginning of the SPS scheme, by law all public service employers who operate the scheme, referred to as Relevant Authorities, must produce annual benefit statements for their current and past employees, as well as producing a set of fixed-format returns for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) each year. Generating these outputs can be labour intensive due to the complexity involved in accurately calculating the pension referable amounts for each member, along with providing all of the relevant periods of employment and associated pay and pension elements required for the DPER annual returns.
MakoData has designed a tailored solution to automate the process and to accelerate the generation, testing and production of the data required for operating the scheme. Our solution minimizes the time lost to production while also highlighting any data errors. Meaning your reporting needs are catered for in a timely and accurate manner!
Reporting Elements of SPS serviced by the MakoData Solution
Annual Benefit Statements
Each year employees should receive statements from their current and former employers, outlining their contributions and the associated pension and lump sum referable amounts they have accrued. These statements are a summary of scheme benefits, up until the end of that statement year.
The annual benefit statements for the previous year should be sent to all employees of the SPS before June 30th. It is the easiest way for scheme members to track their SPS pension contributions and entitlements.
These statements detail the following;
- The Gross Pensionable Renumeration (Pensionable Earnings) paid to the member in current and previous years.
- The amount of Contributions they have paid with that specific employer, as part of their SPS membership.
- The total amount of retirement benefits that the employee has earned in the Scheme, in all years they have been employed by that specific employer.
- Any Refunds of Contributions the member received during their SPS service.
- The actual Referable Amounts following adjustment for relevant CPI increases.
The MakoData “SPS Annual Benefit Statement” solution services these requirements and more. All relevant SPS rules and logic are included when calculating SPS elements in the MakoData solution and all outputs are completely automated for each employee
Benefit Statements – Output Sheet
The contents of these statements are displayed on the MakoData Output Sheet, which can be exported and synced with a Benefit Statement template to generate a statement for each member in the relevant year(s).
We have streamlined the process from beginning to end to ensure that every minute detail is considered, making the whole operation quicker, easier, and less time consuming for those involved in providing the single pension scheme outputs.
Each Relevant Authority is required to make yearly submissions to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER)’s Single Scheme Databank. The required contents of this submission are set out by DPER.
MakoData’s SPS Databank Output Sheet mirrors the DPER Databank template making the submission to the SPS portal seamless. The MakoData Databank solution applies all appropriate SPS rules when calculating each component included on the Databank submission.
If an SPS member had multiple periods of pensionable employment in a year, each period will be represented on a separate line in the submission. Making it easier to see and break down each period individually.
Databank – Output Sheet
A complete suite of checking sheets have been designed by MakoData and are included in our SPS solution. They are influenced by our past experience of producing SPS outputs for our customers.
These checking sheets allow the customer to easily analyse and validate their SPS data with important exceptions being highlighted to them upfront without them ever having to drill into the raw data.
These highlighted exceptions allow for easy and time-efficient checking. What’s more, these checks can be tailored and modified based on each customer’s specific needs, data and testing process.
Some more examples of scenarios highlighted during checking are.
- Where an employee joined after 1st January 2013 but was not put on the SPS Pension Scheme.
- Where an SPS member underpaid or overpaid Contributions.
- Where an employee’s Refund amount does not match the relevant Contribution amount.
- Where an employee has paid SPS Contributions but did not have an SPS Pension record.
- Where an employee worked a part period.
These checking sheets are fundamental for the Single Pension Scheme process. Pensions are key benefits for employees and must be treated with the highest level of care. By combining checking sheets with the other SPS outputs ensures that the data is correct for each employee.
Complexities of SPS Data production
Manually servicing the many reporting requirements relating to the Single Pension Scheme can be extremely time-consuming and resource-heavy. As the number of people joining the scheme continues to grow, it is more important than ever to have the right solutions in place to get the outputs out on time and with the right information.
MakoData’s automated solution applies the appropriate rules to each scenario which ensures that the correct figures are generated with no manual effort required from the report user.
Each individual member of the SPSPS has a unique set of contributions and variables. What’s more, the SPS scheme is subject to changing criteria each year (e.g. CSP rates, CPI increase etc), so the rules and logic involved are ever-changing. Meaning the calculations involved in making these outputs are getting more complex as time goes on.
But now with MakoData, you can generate all the outputs you need and do all the validation too. No more excel spreadsheets or manual calculations, MakoData does all that for you and so much more.
We also review all DPER circulars relating to SPS and will amend our solution’s logic when necessary. This includes yearly CPI and OAP/CSP changes which will automatically be updated as part of our ongoing support service.
Identifying Data Issues
Data accuracy and integrity is typically a concern for all organisations, and this is a particular concern with data that is integral to calculating a members pension referable amounts. But with the sheer volume of data, it can be hard for people to identify if there is something that needs to be remedied.
Due to our extensive experience with working with payroll, HR and pension data, MakoData has a comprehensive understanding of the types of scenarios that can lead to data issues. Our checking sheet makes it easy to spot any data errors and are included as standard as part of our SPS solution.
By highlighting these issues or exceptions, the user has instant access to any data issues and can act accordingly to remedy where necessary.
Support & Validation
The MakoData team will advise on how data can be changed in the source system if necessary. When data cannot be changed at source, we offer override functionality within MakoData to ensure the correct information shows on the output. We offer “how-to” support as standard to all our customers, if any customers need help with our solution and accessing data, we can help.
By engaging with MakoData to produce your Single Public Service Pension Scheme reporting requirements, your organisation can expect timely and accurate outputs that meet all specifications outlined.
The SPS production will continue to grow more complex as each year brings an increase in the membership of the scheme and ongoing changes to requirements. By introducing a solution like MakoData, you can expect a reduction in the amount of effort involved with servicing your SPS requirements.
For more information, please contact us here for a no-obligation conversation.
This blog post was written by MakoData Senior Consultant Michael Holland.