Pension Season Preparation
Pension certificates’ season will soon be upon us once again and, as many will have seen, PCSE can sometimes run into problems with processing the end of year certificates. What can be done to try and help the process run smoothly?
Partners and salaried GPs
Generally speaking, a partner or salaried GP without GP Solo earnings should not encounter too many issues. One key consideration here is whether or not previous year’s certificates have been processed. This year we have seen, on a number of occasions, PCSE being unable to process the current year certificate due to the prior year’s certificate not yet being resolved. The best way to check this is to access the most recent Total Rewards Statement. This can be obtained by going to https://www.totalrewardstatements.nhs.uk/ logging in and downloading a copy of the latest statement. Once downloaded we recommend that a copy should be provided to your accountant so they can review the pension record. This can be a useful exercise for a number of reasons: to ensure the record is up to date; to identify any potential errors or gaps in the record.
GP Solo forms
A common cause for issues in the processing of certificates arises due to GP Solo income and contributions. The reason that certificates are often rejected where there is a GP Solo income source is due to a discrepancy between the certificate that is submitted and the doctor’s respective Open Exeter record.
It is first necessary to make sure that the GP Solo form(s), that form the basis of what will be included on the certificate, is correct. The easiest way to check this is to confirm that the figure included in box I of the form (Total paid to member after deducting all employee contributions) is correct and agrees to what has actually been received. We recommend that this is done before signing and agreeing the form.
It is also important to ensure that any employee’s contributions (and potentially AVCs, Added Years or Additional Pension contributions) have been collected by the GP Solo provider, if appropriate. The next step is to check what is currently in the Open Exeter record. This can be confirmed by checking the 2019/20 superannuation statement which is available from Open Exeter and the practice manager should know how to find this for you. It is not uncommon for the Open Exeter record to show different figures to those on the GP Solo form. If the figures on the GP Solo form agree to those in Exeter, then there should be no issue. If there is a discrepancy, then the GP Solo provider needs to assist to discuss and amend this discrepancy and help to get the Exeter record updated.
A change in role?
If there has been a change of role from a salaried GP to a partner or vice versa then this can often cause issues with pension administration. There is a requirement to ensure that each practitioner is accurately recorded on the GP performer’s list. PCSE have recently made changes to their systems and changes to the performer’s list can be made online: https://pcse.england.nhs.uk/services/performers-lists/gp-performers-list-for-england/.
The next step is to ensure that the Open Exeter record is up to date and accurate. If roles have changed during the year (and the performer’s list has been updated accordingly), then there should be two separate local GP codes during the year. These should split out the pension contributions between the two roles.
We have seen on numerous occasions where all contributions are recorded on one code and have not been transferred to a new code as they should. An update to the performer’s list should trigger the opening of a new local GP code and the contributions should be moved to this. It is also important to note that an updated estimate of pensionable pay should be submitted by the practice to reflect the change in role and provide a new estimate on which the deductions are based . If the contributions have not been transferred, then PCSE should be contacted to ask them to update the record . It is also worth noting that a change in role will make the completion of the pension certificate more complicated, as both a Type 1 and Type 2 form will be needed. Each of the respective forms will rely on the other, so it is recommended that these are prepared at the same time.
As ever the regulatory requirements around the processing of pension certificates and the interaction with PCSE continues to be complex. We are here to help, so please do contact us.
If you are unsure about how the above may apply to you, then please get in touch with Chris Ellison, Healthcare Services Senior Accountant, or alternatively contact us here.