The National LGPS Frameworks procurement initiative are celebrating being named 'Best Collaboration' at the prestigious LGC investment Awards.
The award comes amid increasing pressure on Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Funds to join forces in order to cut costs and pay down deficits.
"This project has delivered demonstrable savings, and will deliver future savings" said the LGC judges "It is so far ahead of the others."
The frameworks are already proving their worth in terms of procurement efficiency and buying power, with measured savings of £16 million so far.
"It's really encouraging so many funds are benefitting from this collaboration" said Nicola Mark, Chair of the National LGPS Framework group "With over half of the LGPS Funds engaging with the frameworks, they are rapidly becoming 'the norm' for procurement across the LGPS."
A ground-breaking collaboration between several LGPS Funds, the frameworks enable the LGPS to leverage its combined buying power while crucially still supporting local decision making and service requirements.
They allow all LGPS Funds in the UK quicker and more efficient access to high-quality pension fund services by removing the need to independently undertake a full European Union (OJEU) equivalent procurement.
All participating Funds benefit from pre-agreed Terms and Conditions and ceiling prices established under the frameworks, along with a collaborative rebate.
The initiative recently chalked up the 50th call-off from their procurement frameworks, with the London Borough of Brent appointing Northern Trust for Global Custody Services.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have recognised "there are clear advantages and savings to making use of the National LGPS Frameworks. Funds should give serious consideration to making greater use of these frameworks." The project continues to develop to support the Government's agenda for cost saving reform of LGPS investments.
Mark believes the National LGPS Frameworks have a strong role to play in any future solution "We are currently working on Passive Investment Services framework with the full agreement of the Government. This will quickly deliver real benefits in the short-term and could also form part of the longer term reform solution."
In addition to Global Custody Services, there are also National LGPS Frameworks available for Actuarial and Benefit Consultancy Services, Investment Consultancy Services and Legal Services.
The recently launched Legal Services framework is not only open for all LGPS Funds and employing authorities nationally, but for wider public section pension bodies too.
Funds can use the framework to procure legal services matched to their own specific requirements; from small; one-off pieces of work to longer-term, single supplier arrangements. There are separate Lots for 'Full Service', 'Investment' and 'Benefit Administration' split between England and Wales, and Scotland where required.
Accessing legal advice can be difficult for LGPS Funds, particularly those that don't regularly need these services and may be unfamiliar with the marketplace.
The National LGPS Framework for Legal Services offers an easy procurement route to a range of specialist, qualified legal providers, chosen for their specific pensions and investment expertise.
A further framework for Environmental Social Governance Stewardship Services is in the pipeline, with Third Party Administration Services also under consideration.
As the frameworks portfolio grows, so does the need for more resource. As a result Nigel Keogh has recently been appointed as Development and Operations Manager.
Nigel Joins from CIPFA with a wealth of LGPS knowledge and experience and will be a great asset to the team.
Commenting on his appointment, Nigel said: "I am delighted to be joining the team at this critical point in the development of the National LGPS Frameworks. Collaborative procurement will play an increasingly important role in the future delivery of the LGPS and I look forward to working with LGPS administering authorities across the country to ensure they can all benefit from what the Frameworks have to offer."