This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Employment team who advised Colas Limited on Local Government Pension Schemes. Colas operates throughout England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man from more than 20 offices and depots. They are at the forefront of developing new materials and techniques to make Britain's highways safer, more durable and sustainable.
Colas is a long standing client of the firm and we provide a range of commercial legal services to them.
A five year highways maintenance contract was won by Colas from Wirral Borough Council starting in April 2009, involving the transfer of around 60 employees who were members of the local government pension scheme (LGPS).
The government's Code of Practice on Workforce Matters in public sector contracting, decrees that employees should enjoy pension protection to the extent of transferring to a broadly comparable transferee employer scheme or continuing to remain members of LGPS in the latter case. The transferee employer must become admitted to the LGPS as a contributory employer body and pay into the scheme as if it were a public sector employer.
Colas chose this latter route, in preference to offering its own comparable pension scheme, to show its commitment to maintaining membership of the LGPS for the transferring public sector employees. Therefore there was a need to negotiate the terms of an admission agreement and security to protect the contributions to and costs of the scheme in the event of a premature termination of the public sector contracts.
The team was lead by Nick Hobden, Partner and Head of Employment who was supported by Chris Whittington, Partner and Head of Construction & Engineering and Ben Stepney, lawyer in the employment team. Together they analysed the requirements of the lengthy and complicated Local Government Pension Scheme (Administration) Regulations and negotiated with Wirral in relation to the terms of the admission agreement on an equitable basis and managed Wirral's expectations as regards the nature and extent of the bond security.
This matter concluded with the signing of an equitable admission agreement and bond in Autumn 2009.