Hello PPMA and friends,

I write this basking in the “calm after the storm”, having weathered a thirteenth birthday sleepover and paintballing party!

That followed a busy week on PPMA matters. One of the main activities has been beginning the search for PPMA members who would like to contribute directly to the work of PPMA.  Like all voluntary organisations, PPMA relies on its active membership to support and contribute to the things that matter to us all.  If you are a PPMA member, we have a number of positions on our national Board which offer great opportunities to develop and extend your thinking and networks, benefiting yourself and your organisation. The roles carry important responsibilities and significant reward in equal measure-extending your knowledge, strategic thinking, leadership and influencing skills. Read more here.

One of these opportunities is our lead policy role on pensions-a subject that we will all need to be paying close attention to in the months ahead. It has all gone a little quiet since Lord Hutton’s report on Public Sector Pensions, but this is almost certainly “the calm before the storm”.  Last week we had reports that the National Association of Head teachers are to follow the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in balloting their members on industrial action over the proposals. Other public sector trade unions are likely to follow suit, and remember this is all before we hear what the government will do with Hutton’s proposals. An announcement is not expected until the autumn, following negotiations with the Trades Union Congress.

Now, pensions, dare I say it, is a subject that is inevitably regarded by many as a bit on the dry side! But it is about to get very interesting.  These issues will of course play out on the national stage, but it is at organisational level they will really impact. And that is why it is important for us all to be thinking about this now.  Pension schemes are full of complexities. Take just one of Lord Hutton’s proposals-to change from final salary to career average schemes across the range of public sector pension schemes. For many staff, though it’s a more complex equation, it’s not disadvantageous.  How good is your understanding of the implications of that-and other-proposed changes? To find out more you can follow this link to read the PPMA’s pensions briefing on the Hutton report. What are you doing to ensure your employees understand the proposals for change and how they might be affected?

Pensions are set to be a significant employee relations issue across the public sector in the months ahead. Like all employee relations, it will require close attention to staff communications and engagement. This needs to come directly from employers, not just the pension schemes. So, in this (relative) calm before the storm, make sure pensions are up there in your top ten!

Until next week,

Anne