Data quality

Data quality is core to good pension scheme administration.

NILGOSC collects and holds records on Scheme members in order to calculate and pay their pensions.  It is essential that these records are complete and accurate with timely receipt of data from employers otherwise NILGOSC may not be able to meet its legal obligations such as paying members the correct pensions or issuing annual benefit statements that are based on the correct information.  Keeping records up to date is an ongoing process with key responsibilities for both employers and NILGOSC.  The responsibilities and timescales are set out in NILGOSC’s Pension Administration Strategy and an Employer Guide is available to help employers understand the administration of the Scheme.  Data is supplied to the Scheme’s actuary for the triennial valuations that are used to determine the funding of the Scheme and to set the employers’ contribution rates.  Again it is important that the data is accurate to ensure the correct assessment of assets and liabilities and that appropriate contribution rates are set.

In 2019 The Pension Regulator set out a set of tests for pension funds to report on the quality of scheme data.  These tests calculate scores for common and scheme-specific data and the results are sent on an annual basis to the Pension Regulator.  Common data items that are specifically used to identify members e.g. National Insurance number, name, gender, date of birth etc.  Scheme specific items are those data items essential to calculate pension benefits e.g. pensionable pay, divorce details, transfers in, salary etc. Recent scores that NILGOSC has reported are below:

Data area2021 score2020 scoreAim
Common data99.4%99.1%100%
Scheme specific data98.7%98.5%100%

Some actions we are taking

Despite achieving high scores, NILGOSC strives to ensure that the data held is accurate and continually improving.  This is not an easy task as data accuracy changes on a daily basis however NILGOSC has a data improvement plan in place which is regularly reviewed.  We are also working with a third party, Target Professional Services, to validate and update missing address data held across all Scheme membership. 

It is really important that all Scheme employers provide accurate and timely data to NILGOSC and that effective working relationships are maintained.  NILGOSC works with all Scheme employers throughout the year to provide support and guidance to help ensure that the data is provided to the required standard.  We are transitioning on a phased basis from annual submission of payroll data to monthly to improve the data quality held for both NILGOSC and our members.