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MyCSP: The story of mutuality from inside a mutual

Source: Public Sector Executive Nov/Dec 2012

Phil Bartlett, CEO of MyCSP (My Civil Service Pension), gives an insight into the scheme’s genesis and progress made so far.

Three years ago we had a problem. In fact we had a whole range of problems. We had 11 very different pension administration organisations, both public and private sector, administering the same pension scheme, each doing it differently. This meant that our 250+ employer customers and 1.5m scheme members received varying levels of service. And our ambition for better, lower cost service with great member, employer and employee experience was diffi cult to achieve.

To get to a solution we worked hard to understand the problem from all perspectives, scheme management, employer and employee experience, and delivery risks, like maintaining data quality and the accuracy of awards and payments. We also needed to future proof our business to respond quickly and effi ciently to scheme and legislative changes including Pension Reforms.

I have always been inspired by the story of Bah Abba of Northern Nigeria.

Bah Abba wanted to help keep food from spoiling quickly in the intense African heat and knew a refrigerator was out of the question for many people. Descended from a family of potters he began adapting traditional clay pots and hit upon something remarkable. When he placed one pot within another, fi lling the space with wet sand, the water in the sand evaporated toward the outer shell of the inner pot, cooling the food inside. Experimenting further he covered the pot with a damp cloth. African spinach was now edible for almost a week, improving the lives of thousands of people.

So we started to look at things differently and began to innovate. In May 2010 we launched MyCSP, the fi rst truly cross-government shared service bringing the 11 organisations together to form a single unifi ed organisation with plans to standardise and consolidate our business. From day one we reduced our costs by 10%.

We knew we needed to do more; like many organisations today we needed to move further faster, do more with less and generate more sustainable value. To achieve this we looked at different organisational models: a traditional outsource, a revised in-house government model and a partnership approach and matched them to our vision.

In May this year we launched MyCSP Ltd, the 1st mutual joint venture to spin out of central Government. MyCSP is a partnership between employee partners who own a 25% share of the business (held in an employee benefi t trust), our private sector partner and investor Paymaster, part of the Equiniti group, who own a 40% share and central government who own a 35% share. We have a dedicated mutual guardian who is part of the Executive Team and a 10-strong Employee Partnership Council elected to provide a great source of engagement, advice and support to the Board, the Executive Team and to Managers across the business.

The EPC has a seat on the Executive Team and employee partners have appointed a non executive director to the Board. This pioneering and innovative model combines deep public sector experience – MyCSP has 40 years experience of defined benefit scheme administration (we administer the UK’s 3rd largest DB scheme) and is expert in career average scheme administration – with industry and investment expertise from Equiniti.

Over the next few years Equiniti will help MyCSP transform its business and IT systems and processes, improving services to customers.

MyCSP is under contract to Cabinet Offi ce to administer the Civil Service Pension and Compensation schemes for the next 10 years.

The motivational and commercial value of employee ownership is well-documented and we are on track to halve our administration costs by the end of the contract. Naturally we experience the fears and uncertainties that come with any major transformation and run a comprehensive employee engagement and communication programme. After just six months trading we have improved service quality and launched our first new service: MyCSP Training and Employee Engagement Services, which aim to help employers and scheme members gain a better understanding of their pension (and the order book is fi lling up); we have 15 new pension administration contracts and have launched the MyInnovation Centre – a facility for learning, creativity and innovation.

Now that transformation of pension administration for the Civil Service Pension Scheme is well underway, we are keen to share our unique way of delivering pension administration with the wider public sector. The potential service improvements and cost effi ciencies are substantial.

In the words of our chairman, Lord Hutton: “MyCSP ltd builds a powerful partnership that will drive up standards and reduce costs.”

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