Social Housing Pension Scheme – new accounting method being developed

Rob Griffiths, CEO and Chief Financial Officer of Longhurst Group and Chair of the SORP Working Party, explains the new method being developed to help employers account for participation in the Social Housing Pension Scheme (SHPS) or the Scottish Housing Associations’ Pension Scheme (SHAPS).

12 December 2017

You may recall that there was an update in July this year regarding changes that were being considered to how organisations account for participation in the Social Housing Pension Scheme (SHPS) and the Scottish Housing Associations’ Pension Scheme (SHAPS). You can access a copy of the update on changes to accounting procedures here.

Over the past three months the SORP Working Party have been working closely with The Pensions Trust (TPT) Retirement Solutions to refine a method that could be used to provide ‘sufficient information’. This would require a change to the way in which you account for your obligations in SHPS and SHAPS as a defined benefit scheme.

Refining and implementing a method is a complicated and time consuming process and there remain a number of key processes which need to be completed before TPT is able to make sufficient information available to employers. TPT is in the process of identifying and testing changes to its administration and finance systems. Implementing a method will require fundamental changes in how TPT administers the schemes, including the data TPT collects, holds and can report on.

As part of the process to complete this work, TPT is discussing the requirements and scope with a third party audit firm that would need to be engaged to provide central assurance on the process in order to minimise the work required by each participating employer’s auditor and therefore keep costs down.

Based on current progress and the work we know still needs to be completed, no change will be required to accounting practice for the current financial year (the existing approach of including the present value of agreed future deficit contributions remains appropriate). The intention is for an announcement to be made in the first part of 2018 which will set out an implementation timetable (which we expect to be for financial years ending on or after 31 March 2019), alongside an update for employers of the estimated costs that will be involved.

If you have any queries on this issue in the meantime, you can get in touch with John Butler (020 7067 1177) at the Federation, or Andy O'Regan (0113 394 2724) or James Webster (0113 394 2678), both at TPT.