EPN579 – 2018/19 Annual Assurance Statements (AAS) exercise

Audience

  • Accounting officers
  • Chief executive officers
  • Finance directors
  • Finance managers
  • Pension leads

Summary­­

This EPN provides information about this year’s Annual Assurance Statement (AAS) process.

Action

1. Every participating Civil Service employer of the Civil Service pension scheme (including the PCSPS, alpha, and associated compensation arrangements) must ensure that they carry out their responsibilities in relation to the administration of the scheme. You can find these responsibilities in the Participation or Admission agreement that employers must sign.

2. Both Civil Service and New Fair Deal employers must complete the Annual Assurance Statement (AAS).

3. If you are a Civil Service employer, your organisation’s Accounting Officer (AO) is required to complete the AAS. If you are a New Fair Deal employer, your organisation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) must complete the AAS.

4. The AAS helps the Civil Service pension scheme’s AO to carry out their obligations to the Civil Service pension scheme (the Scheme), namely:

  • To ensure that the internal controls and operational processes of participating employers are robust and carried out in accordance with participation and admission agreements.
  • To confirm that your organisation’s AO (if you are a Civil Service employer) or CEO (if you are a New Fair Deal employer) has undertaken the following obligations to the Civil Service pension scheme wi­th appropriate care and due diligence:
    • to remind employers of their role and responsibilities in relation to the Scheme; and
    • to highlight areas of risk, where we would expect employers to focus their assurance­­­.

5. We do not intend for the AAS to neither provide a detailed assessment of process performance, nor duplicate reporting carried out elsewhere.

Completing and submitting the AAS

6. We will issue the 2018/19 AAS and guidance document to the person our record shows is responsible for completing your organisation’s AAS.

7. The steps below highlight how to complete the AAS.

Step 1

Read the guidance document that accompanies the AAS.

Step 2

Your organisation’s AO (if you are a Civil Service employer) or CEO (if you are a New Fair Deal employer) will need to complete the Declaration Section of the AAS.

Step 3

Print the ­Declaration section of the AAS, so your organisation’s AO or CEO can sign it.

Step 4

Scan and send the signed declaration electronically, along with the completed AAS to AOC2019@mycsp.co.uk by 12 July 2019.

When submitting your AAS, please note the following.

  • We will not accept an incomplete AAS.
  • We will not accept your AAS after 12 July 2019.
  • You must include your organisation’s name in the electronic filename of the AAS and separate declaration.

8. If you have not received your AAS by 07 June 2019, please contact us at AOC2019@mycsp.co.uk.

9. The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) is responsible for issuing and managing AAS returns to enable us to focus on analysing the results and related actions arising from the submission of assurances.

10. As in 2017/18, we will continue to delay the start of the 2018/19 AAS exercise to allow employers time to focus on the new end-of-year process resulting from changes to the Pension Input Period (PIP).

Changes to this year’s process  

11. As a result of feedback provided by employers, we have made the following improvements to this year’s AAS process.

  • We have reduced the file size of documents and included guidance on how to complete and return them.
  • We have revised the ‘routine assurance statement’ that employers make each year, that relate to their basic responsibilities under the agreements and scheme rules; including the maintenance of suitable processes; robust internal controls; and the correct calculation and payments of contributions.

12. Should you have any questions about this year’s AAS process, please email AOC2019@mycsp.co.uk.

Contacts

If you have a question about the distribution of EPNs 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 and should not be issued to scheme members.

If members have a question about their pension, they can find information on this website or by contacting the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP).

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