Hello PPMA colleagues and friends

Our blog post this week comes from new conference supporters AVC Wise and in it, they share the work they have been doing with Thames Valley Police to enhance the retirement pots and therefore security of it’s employees. They outline some of the methodology, as well as the results of the programme so far.

The organisation

Thames Valley Police has a total Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) workforce of 3711 employees. They launched their salary sacrifice Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contribution (Shared Cost AVC) scheme in September 2019, to support their LGPS members’ financial wellbeing by enabling them to make their money work harder for them.

Shared Cost AVCs give LGPS members the opportunity to grow a bigger retirement pot and therefore potentially retire early. Savings are made on National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and Income Tax on anything they put into their Shared Cost AVC pot.

Best of all, offering the valuable benefit of Shared Cost AVCs has helped this organisation to boost the financial security of their employees.

Initially, many of the LGPS employees at Thames Valley Police were unaware of how they could use Shared Cost AVCs to enhance their lives at retirement.

Since launching their scheme, the organisation has worked closely with AVC Wise to improve scheme engagement using a wealth of employee communications and educational materials from our retirement experts.


The implementation

As part of a Communications Plan outlined by AVC Wise, Thames Valley Police built participation in their scheme by offering employees access to educational materials on their Shared Cost AVC portal. These include a variety of bespoke digital items such as intranet posts and e-shots. In addition, their employees had access to a variety of expert led webinars hosted by AVC
Wise, covering topics such as: ‘The LGPS and Shared Cost AVCs’ and ‘How to retire early and with more money’.

To keep employees well-informed, webinars have been updated along the journey to stay on top of upcoming economic changes, for example: ‘End of tax year approaching… Act now!’ and ‘National Insurance: What you need to know in 2022’.

To further support their LGPS members, Thames Valley Police hosted a series of face-to-face seminars for employees within 5 years of retirement to discuss financial health and wellbeing. Following this, in December 2021 these employees were all invited to an AVC Wise hosted webinar ‘Maximising your Shared Cost AVC’, which gave more information about how LGPS members can make their money work harder during their remaining working years with Shared Cost AVCs.

Employees can also book Individual Meetings, which offer them the opportunity to meet on a 1
to 1 basis with AVC Wise retirement experts for further support. In addition to these options, employees have access to a range ‘Always On’ materials on the AVC Wise website, which include explainer videos, a savings calculator, and FAQs.