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EPN505- Update on scheme data cleanse project and changes to the employer interface submission process

Audience

  • Pension Leads and HR Managers
  • Any staff involved with the sending of shared service or payroll provider interfaces to MyCSP

Actions

  • To note:
  • the progress of the data cleanse project;
  • the introduction of an interface submission schedule in August 2017; 
  • the introduction of the Enhanced Standard Interface in October 2017;
  • the requirement to correct interface errors and warnings; and
  • the support available to employers. 

Timing

  • Immediate

Detail

1. Progress of the data cleanse project

Good quality data is crucial to a well-run pension scheme, and a high quality member experience.  Unfortunately, the quality of the data in the Civil Service Pension scheme has been historically poor. In October 2016, we identified 3.7 million Data Validation Failures (DVFs) in our active members’ records. These DVFs meant that significant elements of member records were either wrong or possibly incorrect (reported as either ‘errors’ or ‘warnings’).

In December 2016 we started a first phase of data cleanse, reducing the number of DVFs to 1.2 million. This was achieved by working with employers and MyCSP to identify bulk fixes and refine the quality of our data assurance checks. 

In order to resolve the remaining 1.2 million DVFs, we have initiated an employer-led second phase of data cleanse that starts in October 2017. It will be part-funded by Cabinet Office and we have procured NTT Data (a global data analytics specialist) and ITM Limited (UK based Pensions Data Cleanse experts) to manage the cleanse using a secure online portal.

Whilst the second phase of data cleanse will address historic data issues, we also need to improve the quality of data coming into the scheme. If we do not do this, our efforts to correct historic data will be undermined. The rest of this EPN explains the steps that we are taking over the coming months to improve future data submissions.

2. The introduction of an interface submission schedule

We would like to formalise a data submission schedule to ensure consistent and timely submission of data. This schedule will help MyCSP to plan their resources each month, enabling them to work more efficiently and cost effectively. It is a requirement of participation in the scheme that employers send a monthly interface file. Also, the Pensions Regulator expects employers to be up to date with their data submissions and has asked us to report employers that are not.

Most employers submit their data on the same day each month. The schedule will simply formalise the submission dates that you already use. MyCSP will be in touch with your interface lead to discuss the most appropriate monthly date for you. We understand that some employers will need to work with their shared service or payroll providers to confirm the date. The schedule will be introduced in September 2017 for your August interface. We will contact those employers who do not meet their scheduled date in the future.

3. Our plans to support the introduction of the Enhanced Standard Interface in October 2017

From October 2017, employers who submit their data using the Standard Interface or Manual Interface will benefit from the introduction of the Enhanced Standard Interface (ESI). The way that employers who use the ESI to submit their interface will not change. However, if MyCSP identifies errors and warnings in the interface, they will now provide a pre-populated correction file, reducing the effort for employers. Once employers have submitted a correction file, MyCSP will be able to confirm its success. They will also be able to provide improved MI, enabling employers to identify and address any systemic issues and prevent errors and warnings in the future.

This is a major step forward for the scheme and will help us to meet our objective of significantly improving the quality of data submissions. On average, 2.6% of data sent to the scheme each month is incorrect (equivalent to 11,515 errors) and must be returned to the employer for correction. This breaks down by interface type as follows:

  • Standard interface – 1.7% error rate
  • Manual interface – 2.9% error rate
  • Full interface – 9.9% error rate

4. The requirement to correct errors and warnings

From October 2017 (September 2017 interface), we will ask all employers to provide a correction file, regardless of whether you submit your data using the Standard, Manual or Full interface. This should ideally be submitted prior to the next month’s interface submission. Employers who do not provide a correction file, or who provide an incomplete correction file, are continuing to contribute poor data quality to the scheme.

We will also run a three month pilot to test a monthly schedule for submitting complete correction files, addressing all errors, within the same month as the submission. In this way, all errors can be corrected before the next month’s interface submission. We will use the outcome of this pilot to determine the schedule that we will apply across the entire scheme from January 2018 (December 2017 interface). Employers to be included in the pilot have already been contacted.

5. The support available to employers

MyCSP will be contacting all employers who use the Standard or Manual interface in the coming months to arrange a briefing call to further advise you of what you can you expect with the introduction of the ESI. Additional support is planned, such as new guidance and training.

Thank you, in advance, for working with us to improve the quality of the scheme’s data. This will not only help MyCSP to work more efficiently but will also be fundamental in ensuring that members’ pension records are correct.

If you require further assistance on the content of this EPN please contact andrew.howard@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Contacts 

If you have a question about the distribution of EPNs please contact: employerpensionnotice@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

You can find electronic copies of the Employer Pension Guide, all current EPNs and forms on our website.

This notice is for employers only and should not be issued to scheme members.

If members have a question about their pension, they should visit the Civil Service Pensions website or contact the Scheme Administrator.