Flagship mutual beset by delays

The launch of the Cabinet Office’s flagship public sector mutual, My Civil Service Pension (MyCSP), has been repeatedly delayed and it will now have to spin out from the public sector in the next financial year, CSW has learned.

By Joshua.Chambers

28 Mar 2012

MyCSP was originally intended to become a mutual joint venture – with ownership split between its employees, the government and a large private sector firm – last July. Then, in an interview with CSW last year (p12, 1 July 2011), Phil Bartlett, the chief executive, said: “From September [2011], we will be trading as My Civil Service Pension Limited, as opposed to My Civil Service Pension, the business within government.”

Further delays put the launch back to February and it has now been delayed until April, adding to the costs and causing logistical difficulties. CSW understands that European state aid laws have formed one of the key stumbling blocks.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said that “every aspect of regulation must be considered in detail when pioneering a new business model for public services. European state laws are included in this.”

He added that the legal problems will not cause any “additional delays” to the timetable nor any problems for other mutual spin-offs. “There’s no question that mutuals can be set up within the law,” he said.

John Medhurst, PCS policy officer, said that pushing the launch into another financial year will cause additional problems because MyCSP’s contracts and facilities have been arranged on the basis that it will become a mutual during 2011-12.

The Cabinet Office said that the delay has caused “no significant implications for the cost of administering pensions,” adding: “Our priority is to get it right – it’s not a race.”

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