Directorate of Finance
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About the Pensions Office
The Pension section of the Payroll & Pensions Office, administers the University's occupational pension schemes - Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), Keele Superannuation Scheme (KSS), and for those eligible to remain in membership depending on their category: Local Government (LGPS) - CURRENT KEELE EMPLOYEES EXISITING MEMBERS ONLY - NOW CLOSED TO NEW ENTRANTS and NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS).
NEST is also the default scheme for ALL casual workers - introduced in line with the University's Auto Enrolment obligations - effective from 1 August 2013.
The aim of the Pension section is to provide a comprehensive service on all aspects of pension benefits.
All Keele employees have access to a University operated pension scheme and membership criteria will be detailed in the employment documentation. More information is provided below.
Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is the main scheme for academic, academic related, non-academic, technical and manual staff and immediate entry into the Scheme is automatic upon commencement. For members who opt out of automatic USS pension membership, auto enrolment requirements will be applicable from August 2013 and every 3 years after.
USS became a hybrid pension arrangement effective 1 October 2016. The scheme offers a combination of defined benefits (defined benefits in the Retirement Income Builder section) and defined contributions (defined contributions in the Investment Builder section).
New members at Keele are provided with a link to the USS member’s handbook on the USS website which provides further information on the benefit structure of the Scheme.
New employees appointed in the medical school and, who were employed by the NHS immediately prior to their engagement by the University, may be eligible for continued active membership of the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS).
The NHSPS is a defined benefits scheme. There are three different ‘sections’ of the NHSPS – the 1995 Section, the 2008 Section and the 2015 Section.
The 1995 and 2008 Sections pay a final salary pension. The 2015 Section pays an income based on a member’s career average earnings. Some individuals who were members of the original 1995 or 2008 sections of the NHSPS were moved into the 2015 Section on 1 April 2015 and others qualified for ‘protection’ because they were close to the age at which they could claim their pension when the changes were introduced. Exact membership details will need to be clarified with the NHS Business Services Authority.
To be eligible for NHSPS membership employees must have been contributing to the NHSPS at some time during the 12 months immediately prior to joining the University and must complete a separate application form to join the NHSPS through Keele within 3 months of joining the University. Continued active membership is confined to those new employees who are appointed under NHSPS Direction rules within the Medical School.
National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is a national scheme, offered by the University to casual staff and who, under Auto Enrolment rules, are eligible for NEST. NEST was introduced at the University, to comply with our Auto Enrolment obligations, with effect from 1 August 2013. Casuals can opt in to NEST and should contact the Payroll & Pensions office if they wish to.
NEST is a defined contribution scheme. This means that members and the University pay a set percentage of contributions which are invested and the retirement pot which builds up is used to provide an income for members when they retire.
Once enrolled into NEST the member will receive a welcome pack and letter directly from NEST in the post. The pack provides details on how NEST works. The letter contains the member’s unique NEST ID and details of how to switch on their online account.
Keele Superannuation Scheme (KSS) is the University’s scheme for non-academic members of staff. The Scheme was closed to new entrants on 1 August 2011 and subsequently closed to future accrual form 1 January 2014. The Scheme is administered through the Payroll & Pensions office in conjunction with the Trustees, KPMG pension consultants and the University.
The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is operated for eligible members of the LGPS who were employed by Staffordshire County Council prior to being employed by the University. LGPS is a defined benefits scheme. From 1 April 2014 the LGPS became a CARE (Career Average Revalued Earnings) scheme. Benefits built up from this date are based on a CARE scheme calculation. Benefits accrued up to 31 March 2014 were protected under a final salary calculation.
The LGPS was closed to new entrants at Keele from April 2009.
Employees wishing to opt out of a pension scheme can do so providing they opt out following the correct process. A refund of a member’s contributions is possible providing it is within the time limits of each scheme (3 months USS*, 1 month NEST).
The University operates a pension salary sacrifice arrangement; Payflex+ for USS and new USS members are automatically entered into the arrangement. Participating in Payflex+ means that employees (and the University) can reduce the amount of National Insurance contributions paid. There are a few limited circumstances where participating in Payflex+ may be unfavourable for members and in these circumstances automatic inclusion will not apply.
*Refunds for a member’s contributions paid under a salary sacrifice arrangement are only permissible within 3 months of joining.
Payflex+ is an entirely voluntary arrangement; if members do not wish to participate they can chose to opt out by requesting an opt-out form from Human Resources.
More information on Payflex+ can be found here.
Any employee considering opting out of a pension scheme is asked to bear in mind the implications of foregoing benefits of the schemes (in particular bereavement and ill health benefits). The University will not contribute, on the member’s behalf, to a scheme other than the occupational pension scheme that the employee is eligible to join.
Legislation relating to workplace pensions requires that all employers automatically enrol specific groups of their workers into a pension scheme every 3 years, if they are not already in one. For Keele University the date from which we were required to implement auto enrolment was 1 August 2013. This means that we were required to re-enrol all eligible workers on 1 August 2016 and will be required to do so again on 1 August 2019 and so on.
Auto enrolment has no effect for employees who are already existing members of one of the University’s pension schemes.
For employees who are not paying into one of the University’s pension schemes, the University is required, by law, to automatically enrol eligible staff into a workplace pension if they are aged between 22 and State Pension age and have earnings above the statutory minimum amount of £833 per month (2018/19 figure).
Contacts & Where we are
The aim of this page is to provide University staff with contact details of the person able to help them with their enquiry and to provide general details of the University pension schemes.
Payroll & Pensions Manager – Ms Ann Allender has responsibility for the overall administration of the pension section. She is contactable on (7) 33773 or by email.
Pensions Administration Co-ordinator – Mrs Karen Brock is responsible for the day-to-day operation of each pension scheme and for the provision of general pension information to members including obtaining AVC and retirement quotations. She is contactable on (7) 33156 or by email .
Mrs Simone Worthington can also be contacted to on (7) 34167 or by email .
The Payroll & Pensions Office is based in Innovation Centre 2 on the Ground Floor - please ask at Reception for a member of the team.
For resolutions for pay please contact the member of staff, with responsibility for your category of staff, to arrange a mutually agreeable appointment time. For personal discussion regarding pensions please contact the designated pension administrator.