COVID-19 dominated our capacity and productivity over the last year, leading to continuous re-planning and prioritisation to ensure we maximised the effectiveness of our delivery.
Our Corporate Services teams led our internal response to the pandemic to enable the business to keep running, providing IT and procurement support to enable home working while managing the evolving rules to allow those who needed it safe access to the office. This allowed us to keep providing an external response to support those schemes and employers affected throughout the year.
As our capacity levels fluctuated we stopped non-essential work and supported our staff’s wellbeing against a changing and challenging backdrop of lockdown, home working and home schooling. As a result, we were not able to deliver the full programme of activity we expected at the start of the year and have had to manage risks to delivery of our statutory objectives alongside capacity constraints in our IT, Policy and Enforcement teams and responded by adjusting activity to our capacity levels.
Our new Gateway and Operations and Portfolio Oversight (OPO) committees gave us the governance to prioritise, document and learn from these challenges. Through managing these risks and focusing on our priorities we have been able to celebrate plenty of successes across the organisation. Our extensive risk management framework and response to crystallising risks can be seen in the accountability report on pages 83-85.
In AE and Frontline Regulation, we eased the burden on schemes, employers and providers and increased engagement to provide support. We met our targets, maintained employer compliance (communicating directly with over 750,000 employers) and continued enforcement, resulting in several settlements with positive Determinations Panel outcomes. We also had our first European arrest warrant.
The Policy team delivered the Annual Funding Statement, the new Code of Practice consultation and work resulting from the Pension Schemes Act and kept pace with a changing risk profile to produce guidance for distressed employers. Our Strategy and Risk team led the analysis to ensure our profile of our regulated community informed prioritisation decisions and set the strategic priorities for our 2021-2022 planning cycle against a reduced budget. All of these initiatives and publications were supported in their development and then promoted by the Communications team, who made sure the right messages landed with the right audiences in a targeted and accessible way.
Our Change, IT and Data teams had a busy delivery year, with key progress made in our Systems to Support Regulatory Activity (SSRA) programme, the delivery of our Strategic Cloud Migration project, upgrades to our P2P system, and Reward projects. We also made progress with the changes needed as a result of the Capita AE contract ending and the completion of the Capita IT Transformation project.
We met most of our KPI targets with six green, and three amber, two of which just missed their targets. Two KPIs are red, which are due to the impact of the pandemic and deprioritisation within the Policy team (Administration Strategy), and challenges in meeting Government Service Standards in time for planned delivery phases (SSRA).
The change in approach for delivery of AE has meant that we’ve finished the year with 790 FTE against a budget of 837. Excluding a capital expenditure adjustment, we are £1.7m below the full year budget.
Our latest wellbeing result from the TPR annual survey in March showed our highest wellbeing score of the year, with 79% reporting feeling good/better compared with 57% at the start of the pandemic, providing strong evidence of the teams’ resilience to adapt and thrive in challenging working conditions. We saw changes in how we worked, took leave, changed our habits and supported colleagues who had to take time out for illness or family reasons. Our care for colleagues shows in our engagement scores which are 10ppts up on last year, at 72% against a target of 75%.
We have begun the new financial year by prioritising the wellbeing and resilience of our people, investing in our regulatory tools through SSRA and MS Teams, delivering the AE transformation project, assessing potential superfunds, delivering the changes needed from the new Pensions Act and working with our partners on the Pensions Dashboard Programme.
Our performance in 2020-2021