Felicity Callard Profile picture
Mar 12, 2018 114 tweets 85 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Over the weekend, I have been fixated on trying to understand all that happened in 2014 as key to the current (2018) university pensions crisis #ucustrike #ussstrike. An earlier thread is attached below. #ucustrike #ussstrikes
When I'm not on strike, I usually research by piecing together published, archival & grey literatures to build up a rich tapestry through which to get a grip on shifting phenomena. How do 'objects' & phenomena gain consistency & tractability? How do they change in form?
So here are some of the things (official lit, grey literatures, weblinks, newspaper/magazine articles etc.) that are currently in my "What happened around pensions, USS & UUK in 2014?" folder #ucustrike #ussstrikes
Feb 2014: Aon Hewitt "calls on UK government to concentrate on collective DC". An Aon Hewitt partner, said "the increase in cost [because of shift to single tier] might make the cost of DB unaffordable for the very few employers still offering the scheme" ipe.com/aon-hewitt-cal…
The Aon partner also "called on the government to provide certainty on the timetable for implementing [collective DC] CDC, in a bid to avoid employers having no alternative to pure DC." ipe.com/aon-hewitt-cal…
10 March 2014: UCEA ran its "Annual HE pensions schemes update." Programme available here:
31 March 2014: The date for the USS financial position. The USS report on this (with a document date of 20 November 2014) is available here: uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run…
April 2014 membership of USS Employers Pension Forum. employerspensionsforum.co.uk

(I can't actually locate where I downloaded this. The broader point is that EPF website provides little info on its committee processes. I have been able to find membership for only 2014 & 2017)
*** HIATUS ***
I need to go to the picket line. More later. Including some estimable documents from some universities in response to 2014 consultations.
4 June 2014: Queen's Speech. Private Pensions Bill (see p. 35 ff) which enables "‘Collective schemes’ that pool risk between members & potentially allow for greater stability around pension outcomes." gov.uk/government/upl…
16 July 2014 [creation date as listed in doc 'Properties'] "USS funding and benefits – consultation by Universities UK" ox.ac.uk/sites/files/ox… screen shot of part of the document [all text available through the link]
NB The start of the doc makes clear that this consultation follows "the Universities UK consultation on the scheme’s future funding which concluded in March 2014." I haven't located this yet. Does anyone know if details are available and, if so, where?
This doc also mentions UUK's "response to the previous consultation on behalf of the USS employers, which was submitted to USS in March 2014". I haven't located this yet. Is it available? Where? extract of the document referred to in previous tweets. No new information
Doc states: 'option of moving to a DC scale for all future accruals' was considered. A 'significant minority of institutions...supported a full move to DC in the earlier [UUK] consulation' but majority wanted to maintain 'core' DB element (p.5). Any more info available anywhere? Extract from p. 5 [from text mentioned in tweet]
16 July 2014 [from creation date in Doc properties]: USS "An Integrated Approach to Scheme Funding". UUK circulated this for comment along with their consultation doc I mentioned in previous tweets pensions.admin.cam.ac.uk/files/uss_inte…
28 July 2014 [date of creation of document I'm linking to]: "EPF briefing on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) - July 2014". Includes discussion of new section of USS that will provide DC benefits (see pp. 4-5) sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gatewa… The provision of a DC section enables greater risk to be shared between the employers and the employees, as the benefits payable from the DC pot are not guaranteed. By focusing the largest proportion of DC benefits on those USS members earning the most, the intention is to share the greatest risk with those who can afford to bear that risk while ensuring that all employees retain a minimum core DB pension.
29 July 2014: "A novel contribution - opinion piece by the EPF Chair", Anton Muscatelli (universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/?id=…) employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/novel…. Includes this extracted section. This is not a cost-reduction exercise. Employer contributions will not fall below their current level of 16 per cent and are likely to increase. Without such action, it will be more difficult for USS employers to manage their resources and to prevent job losses in response to rising pension costs.<br />
<br />
These Employers Pensions Forum proposals are the subject of an employer consultation on funding and benefits that runs u
For Science & Technology Studies (#sts) people, it's in September 2014 that things start getting particularly interesting. #ucustrike #USSstrikes
On 11 August 2014 [I'm also interested in the timing of all of this; August is right in the heart of academic research time], EPF put out a document called "Latest Q&As on the USS". That document is stored here: warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #ussstrike
Question 9 of this (original) warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… document of Q&As asked: "What are the issues with longevity and will they really impact on USS?" And here is the answer (as presented on 11 August 2014): Q9. What are the issues with longevity and will they really impact on USS?<br />
Yes, longevity issues do impact on USS. Current longevity patterns are significantly different to those<br />
when the scheme was set up in 1974. Then it was expected that a USS pensioner retiring at age 65<br />
would live for 6 to 8 years in retirement so the cost of the scheme and the contribution rates were set on<br />
this basis. By 2014 the anticipated l
9 September 2014: Jane Hutton, professor of statistics at U of Warwick, sends a letter to EPF to 'point out the gross errors in life expectancy' [as represented in EPF's response to Qu. 9] warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #USSstrikes
25 Sept 2014: @Dennis_Leech argues that @timeshighered's reports on USS 'tend to imply that statistics show a funding deficit as if the USS’ assets and liabilities are objective scientific truths when in fact they are based on theories' timeshighereducation.com/comment/letter…
Dennis Leech's (@Dennis_Leech's) blog, if you haven't yet read it, is a remarkable archive on what's happened in relation to USS pensions over the last few years blogs.warwick.ac.uk/dennisleech/ #ucustrike #USSstrikes
By 2 Oct 2014 (see Jane Hutton's account: (warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…):

EPF change their Q&A for 9, but do not change date that appears on the document (This still reads 11 August 2014, though the document name is epfqa2014oct2.pdf) warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #ussstrike
Compare the 2 Q&As for Question 9 (the first from 11 August 2014 warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…; the 2nd from October 2014 warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…, **though the doc still says 11 August 2014**) #ucustrike #ussstrikes Q9. What are the issues with longevity and will they really impact on USS?<br />
Yes, longevity issues do impact on USS as they do on all defined benefit pension schemes. This is one<br />
reason why the costs of defined benefits pensions schemes have been increasing.
But though the specific data (i.e. evidence) on life expectancy were gone, EPF did not change any of the conclusions presented in their Q&As. (Jane Hutton: 'The conclusions drawn remained, with no indication that a change had been made' warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…)
With contested evidence removed & no date change on the doc made, it's hard to be confident that EPF was following its own advice given 3 days earlier (29 Sept 2014):

On 9 October 2014, EPF released two documents.

The first was "Proposed Changes to USS – Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings".

The author listed in doc properties is Alistair Jarvis warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #ussstrikes Many of the comments and claims that have been made against the case for necessary reform are based on misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the facts. Here we address some of the more common myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings (Ms).
[Brief aside:

Factual, clear & concise ... myths, misconceptions & misunderstandings ...

Honestly, the #STS papers could almost write themselves]
The 2nd EPF document published on 9 October was "The Employers’ Proposals for Reform of USS: A Summary for USS members" [different author name in doc properties] The doc stresses the proposals are "not a cost cutting exercise." sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gatewa… #ucustrikes #USSstrikes
21 October 2014: EPF publishes "Proposed changes to USS – what the changes might mean for you", which provides "examples of possible outcomes for five different types of USS member" employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/… #ucustrike #ussstrikes Content of front page of the document linked to in the tweet
21 October 2014 is a busy day for UK pensions. Over in Parliament, there are a number of witnesses called for the Pension Scheme Bill (see also: ): publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cm… Pension Schemes Bill<br />
Further to consider the Bill<br />
Witnesses: Mark Boyle, Chair, and Stephen Soper, Interim Chief Executive, The Pensions Regulator (until no later than 9.30am); Alan Rubenstein, Chief Executive, Pension Protection Fund, David Geale, Director of Policy, and Christopher Woolard, Director of Policy, Risk and Research, and a member of the Executive Committee, Financial Conduct Authority (until no later th
... TBC, probably tomorrow morning; I need to go & eat. Meanwhile:

#ucustrike #ussstrikes
25 Oct 2014: @timeshighered published letter by leading UK academic actuarial scientists, which stated that EPF's "Proposed Changes to USS – Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" "contained misinformation & a mistake". timeshighereducation.com/comment/letter… #USSStrikes #ucustrike Excerpt of the letter referred to in the tweet above
.@timeshighered letter states 'the assumptions on mortality appear to be unchanged from the 2011 valuation, yet the EPF 'archly advances the statement that "members of the USS are living longer so the pensions scheme has to pay pensions in retirement for longer than planned"'
.@timeshighered letter focuses its criticisms on section M7 of the "Myths, misconceptions & misunderstandings" document written by Alistair Jarvis [that is name of author as listed in document properties]. This is attached below. pensions.admin.cam.ac.uk/files/changes_…. #USSstrikes #ucustrike M7: The assumptions used to value the fund have been chosen to artificially create a large deficit<br />
Valuing a pension scheme is an inexact science, as it is necessary to make predictions about future events, such as salary increases, life expectancy and investment returns. This is the job of the USS Trustees and, with the help of their professional advisors, they have modelled a wide range of possible outcomes, always
28 Oct 2014: Cambridge University reports on "The future of the Universities Superannuation Scheme". Chair of Pensions Working Grp notes 'inconvenient' timing of UUK/USS consultation & the 'rather inadequate information' provided admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2014-… #USSstrikes #ucustrike Against this background, USS and Universities UK launched a consultation exercise in July, an extremely inconvenient time of year and with too short a period before responses were required. Rather inadequate information was provided about the tests to be applied for financial stability, or about different possible structural benefit models. This was a consultation with employers, not employees; employees will be form
Late Oct/early Nov 2014: UUK sends out its consultation document on the USS actuarial calculation. Here's page 1 of UUK 2014 Consultation questions

(For confirmation of date: Warwick received its on 4 Nov 2017: see p.5 of pdf whatdotheyknow.com/request/440689…)
#USSstrikes #ucustrike Unfortunately original is not stored anywhere so I can't provide content of all the questions
Here's page 2 of UUK 2014 Consultation questions

(note that these are all extracted verbatim from King's College London's response to consultation, and so accuracy in relation to original UUK communication cannot be guaranteed; see whatdotheyknow.com/request/440680…
#ussstrikes #ucustrike Unfortunately original is not stored online anywhere, so I cannot provide content of the questions
Look closely at syntax of Qu. 14 in 2014 UUK consultation

On my reading [feel free to suggest other readings!], this implies that 'radical changes' (DC/DC-type benefits) are indeed planned (or at least anticipated) by UUK 'for a later date'
#ussstrikes #ucustrike 14. Would you prefer to focus primarily on extending CRB for all, leaving more radical changes for a later date
4 Nov 2014: UUK publishes "USS: Consultation on Technical Provisions and Recovery Plan" lancaster.ac.uk/hr/Payroll/fil…

NB Note how many of my links are not to UUK website, but to other sites; what are UUK's policies for storing documents on its own website?]
#ussstrikes #ucustrike
4 Nov 2014: This UUK doc is cover note accompanying formal consultation consultation document received on 30 Oct 2014 from USS. (Is this available anywhere?) Employers invited to submit their comments – via UUK – to consultation document by 28 Nov 2014. lancaster.ac.uk/hr/Payroll/fil…
4 Nov 2014: The UUK cover note contextualises the consultation, indicating how it draws on 'a number of exchanges of documents and conversations that have taken place to date, on the valuation process' (lancaster.ac.uk/hr/Payroll/fil… p.2) screen shot of point 4 of cover note document referred to in tweet
4 Nov 2014: The UUK cover note indicates that UUK asked Aon Hewitt to review consultation doc & that Aon Hewitt raised 3 principal areas of technical comment on trustee proposals, including on demographic assumptions (lancaster.ac.uk/hr/Payroll/fil… pp. 2–3) #ussstrikes #ucustrike screen shot of points 5&6 in document referred to in tweet
7 Nov 2014: Employers Pension Forum publishes expanded set of "Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings"; author listed in document properties in Alistair Jarvis warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #USSstrikes #ucustrike First paragraph of document referred to in the tweet
Again, I urge the #STS community to get cracking on how these documents, (& the letters commenting on them), employ terms such as facts, misunderstandings and myths
OK, we're now up to the 2nd week of November 2014.

Another **HIATUS** as the London march is soon to start uculondonregion.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/london…

More as soon as I can
#ussstrikes #ucustrike
Jane Hutton (warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…) argued that the expanded set of alleged "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" did not fulfil its 'stated aspiration "to include additional facts"' (see highlighted passages below) warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #usstrikes #ucustrike An expanded set of alleged Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings was published on 7 November 2014, which appears to include a mixture of the highly disingenuous, the unfortunately misleading and the downright erroneous, contrary to the stated aspiration 'to include additional facts'.
17 Nov 2014: Jane Hutton & Saul Jacka warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… ltr to Anton Muscatelli (at that point Chair of USS EPF) detailing what they argued was 'the highly disingenuous, the unfortunately misleading & the downright erroneous' #USSstrikes #ucustrike warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… First part of letter linked to in tweet above
17 Nov 2014: Hutton & Jacka ltr to Anton Muscatelli. Read whole letter. Phrases include: 'the [EPF] gloss is a
triumph of misdirection'. Note strong critique of M17 (on life expectancy; see earlier tweets) warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #ussstrikes warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… M17 The assumptions made about life expectancy are flawed.<br />
The gloss states “It was brought to the attention of the Employers Pensions Forum<br />
(EPF) that a Q&A relating to longevity contained information that required<br />
clarification.” This statement is incorrect. The fallacy is that the information required<br />
“clarification”. The “information” required correction because it was wrong!
Quick check: today (15 March 2018), it seems same document "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" [author in doc properties: Alistair Jarvis] critiqued by Hutton & Jacka still on EPF website (pls check that I haven't overlooked any changes EPF made) employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/…
The original EPF news item (11 November, 2014) linking to that "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" document (critiqued & Hutton & Jacka) is still there employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/brief…
But I can no longer find EPF news item of 20 May 2014 linked to in the EPF "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" document":

'The full set of Q&As can be accessed by everyone at employerspensionsforum.co.uk/en/EPF-News/ne…'

[Pls check; I might have missed it] #ucustrike #USSstrikes
10 November 2014: EPF publish news item on their website: "Latest Q&As on the USS". They include a Q&A on the "issues of longevity" employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/lates… Q9. What are the issues with longevity and will they really impact on USS?<br />
Yes, longevity issues do impact on USS as they do on all defined benefit pension schemes. This is one reason why the costs of defined benefits pensions schemes have been increasing.
Ah! Now located the EPF news item of 20 May 2014 "Latest Q&As; on the USS" web.archive.org/web/2014072904….

Thanks to @mpdavies pointing me to wonders of the internet archive Wayback Machine archive.org/web/

#ussstrikes #ucustrike
20 May 2014 EPF news item ("Latest Q&As") web.archive.org/web/2014072904… appears to be almost the same [someone, please check carefully!] as 10 Nov 2014 "Latest Q&As on the USS" employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/lates… #ucustrike #ussstrike
Actually, I'm wrong. The previous tweet is *not* correct. The 10 Nov Q&As are significantly longer than 20 May 2014 Q&As (which are no longer on EPF site), and there are some distinct changes in phrases, that I'll point to in the next tweet #ucustrike #ussstrikes
e.g. Change in how Question 5 is posed (the answer remanis the same):

Qu 5 in 20 May 2014 (i.e. in doc no longer on EPF website) web.archive.org/web/2014072904…) is:
"Is my pension safe?"

Qu 5 in 10 November 2014 as: employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/lates…
"Are accrued pension rights safe?" Q5 Is my pension safe?<br />
Yes. The pension rights you have already accrued are protected by law and backed by robust employers within the higher education sector; these accrued rights are safe. Any changes to USS will be implemented with the aim of addressing issues around the on-going sustainability of the scheme while also ensuring that it remains attractive and affordable for individual members. However, there may beQ5. Are accrued pension rights safe?<br />
Yes. The benefits a member has built up before the date that any changes are implemented will be protected and will be calculated based on their service and pensionable salary at the date of change. Furthermore, accrued benefits in the scheme are backed by robust employers within the higher education sector. Any changes to USS will be implemented with the aim of addressing issues
Tracing the history of USS EPF (Employers Pension Forum) employerspensionsforum.co.uk. Anyone else fancy checking web.archive.org/web/*/http://e… (thanks @mpdavies) for changes to the web pages? #USSStrikes #ucustrike #twitterstorians
11 November 2014: EPF publish news item announcing the "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" document [which, from doc properties, was created/modified on 7 November 2014] employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/brief… #ussstrikes #ucustrike
19 November 2014: Jane Hutton, in her uss section of her website warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… reports that Anton Muscatelli (then chair of USS EPF) sends an email to Jane Hutton & Saul Jacka, responding to their letter of 17 November 2014 #ussstrike #ucustrike Dear Professors Jacka and Hutton<br />
<br />
Thank you for your letter of 17 November regarding the document titled `Proposed Changes to USS: Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings'.<br />
<br />
I am pleased that you felt many of the headings and glosses were reasonable but I acknowledge you have concerns over a number of points and am therefore passing the letter to our advisers and to USS (although I recognise you have copied the C
Jane Hutton interprets Anton Muscatelli's email of 19 November 2014 as follows:

'In my opinion, this email seems to suggest that the errors come from the USS Trustee.' warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…
#ussstrike #ucustrike
18 November 2014 [sorry, slightly out of order]: Dennis Leech posts a piece to his Warwick University blog titled "The intellectual basis for the neoliberal regulatory regime for DB pensions" blogs.warwick.ac.uk/dennisleech/mo… #ussstrikes #ucustrike Screen shot of Nov 18 2014 blog by Dennis Leech referred to in tweet
The 2 papers Dennis Leech mentions blogs.warwick.ac.uk/dennisleech/mo… follow:

1. Exley, Mehta & Smith, 1997, The financial theory of defined benefit schemes, British Actuarial Jnl cambridge.org/core/journals/…

Also available here: actuaries.org.uk/research-and-r…

#ussstrikes #ucustrike screen shot of title and authors of paper referred to in the tweet
Here is an assessment of influence of the Exley, Mehta & Smith paper by Jonathan Stapleton in @ProfPensions in 2015:

"The financial theory of DB pension schemes - 18 yrs on from the paper that changed everything (in pensions)"


The second paper Dennis Leech mentions blogs.warwick.ac.uk/dennisleech/mo…:

2. Simon Carne, 2004, Being Actuarial With the Truth: A story of economic confusion over defined benefit pension schemes blogs.warwick.ac.uk/files/dennisle…

#ucustrike #USSstrikes
The account of Carne presenting "Being Actuarial With The Truth" to the Staple Inn Actuarial Society meeting on 31 August [unclear which year]: theactuary.com/archive/old-ar… screen shot of the website referred to in the tweet
20 November 2014: Warwick University "Report on USS Pension Valuation" from the "Working party on pension valuation" warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… Screen shot of first page of report referred to in the tweet
20 Nov 2014: Warwick Uni Report concludes: "Our analysis leads us to conclude that the valuation of the decit is potentially
flawed & that certainly further work is required to answer the points made in the executive summary." warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrikes #ussstrikes Recommendation section from p.5 of link in tweet
20 Nov 2014: Warwick Uni Report was initially for internal use only & prepared for Imperial College London. Membership of the working group (largely from mathematics dept) & distribution list attached. #ucustrike #ussstrikes warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… Section 3.1 & 3.2 of the document linked to in the tweet
27 Oct 2014: [end of 2014 is v busy; sorry re chronological order] UCU HEC report that employers submitted their proposals for a hybrid scheme to USS JNC at its meeting that week, & attach proposal.

It's worth reading in its entirety; plus see p.7. blogs.warwick.ac.uk/files/dennisle… It will be noted that in looking at their Tests, the Trustees take no account of any Defined Contribution benefits that are introduced. These pose no obligation risk on the employers – in effect, risk is borne fully be members. As such, the Trustees exhibit a marked preference for DC benefits over DB benefits. In coming up with the final package of benefit proposals, the bias towards DC has influenced the thinking of
22 November 2014 [date from doc properties]: Jane Hutton & colleagues write to Martin Harris, chair of the USS Trustee Board, 'to express serious concerns about the assumptions underpinning the estimation of the USS
pension fund deficit' warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike screen shot of start of letter linked to in tweet
21 Nov 2014: Dennis Leech blog: "Somebody has to pay for de-risking. The [USS] trustees want it be members. Arguably since the whole need for de-risking stems from the privatisation and marketisation agenda of David Willetts the government should pay ..." blogs.warwick.ac.uk/dennisleech/mo… Copy of entry of 21 November blog by Dennis Leech referred to in tweet
24 Nov 2014 [from doc properties]: U Warwick "Response to Consultation on Technical Provisions Assumptions Proposed by USS" [available through Neil Davies' FOI request]. Worth reading all their response. whatdotheyknow.com/request/440689… #ussstrikes #ucustrike excerpt from the document linked to in the tweet
U Warwick's response to FOI request is fascinating. As well as actual consultation response sent to UUK, they include report of sub-cttee of lay members of Finance & General Purposes Cttee & discuss need to avoid conflict of interest whatdotheyknow.com/request/440689… #ussstrikes #ucustrike Report to the U Warwick Council (doc included in the FOI request linked to in tweet)
The U Warwick Council USS Review ToR notes that the VC [Nigel Thrift, I assume?] requested that key issues be discussed by independent lay members of Council & Finance & General Purposes Cttee (because of COI issues) whatdotheyknow.com/request/440689… cc @gailfdavies #ussstrikes #ucustrike U of Warwick Council USS Review; Terms of Reference (within link in text)
Other responses to the FOI request re the 2014 UUK consultation on USS are rather more tightlipped. Here is one (v characteristic) page of the response from KCL #ucustrike #ussstrikes whatdotheyknow.com/request/440680… One page from the response by KCL to the FOI response (see weblink in tweet) -- it shows virtually everything redacted
Cardiff University 'no longer hold a
copy of the response' to the 2014 USS valuation consultation, but have however 'requested a copy from @UniversitiesUK which we will
forward once received'. Not sure how quickly they'll be able to get to that. whatdotheyknow.com/request/respon… Message from Cardiff saying they have requested a copy of the 2014 response from UUK (available via weblink in tweet)
Here is U Exeter's response (p. 1 of 2) to the 2014 UUK consultation on the USS valuation -- in letter form whatdotheyknow.com/request/440676… #ussstrikes #ucustrike Page 1 of letter from Exeter; available in the weblink embedded in tweet
Here is part of U Birmingham's response to the 2014 UUK consultation on the USS valuation signed by Provost & Vice-Principal Adam Tickell: the section on 'Key Features' whatdotheyknow.com/request/440691… #ussstrike #ucustrike Passage in letter (linked to in tweet) on key features which focuses on sector's need to hold reserve to fund capital programs required to support institutional development at a time of increasing competition in the market
The FOI response from U Leeds re their response to the 2014 UUK consultation on the USS valuation shows the structure of the UUK Web survey, designed & hosted by Aon Hewitt on behalf of the EPF #ucustrike #ussstrikes whatdotheyknow.com/request/440681… 1st page of the web survey included in the link in the tweet above; the specific link is this: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/440681/response/1074091/attach/2/USS%20Web%20Survey%20App%201.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1
U Leeds response to 2014 UUK web survey, showing 2 Q&As:
1. On extending CRB or – note that same phrase -– 'leaving more radical changes for a later date?'
2. On potential changes to future benefits if needed to keep contributions affordable whatdotheyknow.com/request/440681… #ussstrikes Questions 14 & 15 in the web survey linked to in the tweetQu 16 in survey linked to in tweet
U Bristol's response to FOI request re 2014 UUK consultation shows structure & questions posed in "Scheme funding within USS: an engagement with Universities UK | Appendix C - Complete list of engagement paper questions" #ussstrikes #ucustrike whatdotheyknow.com/request/440690… Screen shot of header of the
U Bristol's 2 responses to FOI request re 2014 UUK consultation (after a request made for transparency; see: whatdotheyknow.com/request/respon…) are interesting to compare.

Redacted whatdotheyknow.com/request/440690…
Unredacted whatdotheyknow.com/request/440690… response to question 8 #ucustrike #ussstrikes 8 Do you believe that a further review of the overall mutual funding approach within USS is necessary? SECTION REMOVEDDo you believe that a further review of the overall mutual funding approach within USS is necessary? [with the full response: it's available here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/440690/response/1091810/attach/3/2014%20Scheme%20Funding%20within%20USS%20Dec%202013%20Appendix%20C%20questions%20to%20complete%201%201.docx?cookie_passthrough=1
You can see which universities/colleages have & haven't responded to the FOI request re 2014 UUK consultation on USS valuation by going here: whatdotheyknow.com & searching under 2014 AND UUK AND USS #ucustrike #ussstrikes
26 Nov 2014: Dennis Leech reports that Imperial College publicly oppose the USS reform proposals (blogs.warwick.ac.uk/dennisleech/mo…)

The link provided no longer works; is this public opposition statement available elsewhere? workspace.imperial.ac.uk/college/Public…
#USStrikes #ucustrike Imperial College London have now publicly opposed the UUK proposals for changes to the USS. They say firmly:<br />
We are concerned that ... you risk recommending a major downgrading of one of our employees’ most important benefits based on numbers which are as likely to be modelling artefacts as a reflection of the underlying economic reality.
27 Nov 2014: "Response by the London School of Economics Pensions Advisory Group to USS Consultation on Technical Provisions and Recovery
Plan" warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #ussstrikes First 3 paragraphs of the response linked to in the tweet above
27 Nov 2014: Jane Hutton reports that she still has not received a reply to the letter she wrote to the USS EPF pointing out the gross errors in life expectancy on
9 September 2014 warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… #ucustrike #ussstrikes I wrote to EPF point out the gross errors in life expectancy on 9 September 2014. I have not received a reply to this letter as yet (27 Nov 2014). However, by 2 October 2014, the errors had been deleted, but the date of the document had not been changed.
28 November 2014: The USS EPF puts out a USS valuation webcast by its actuary, setting out "the principles and processes that drive USS's formal valuation" employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/uss-v…

The webcast link is now broken USS valuation webcast<br />
<br />
28 November 2014<br />
The USS actuary Ali Tayyebi, has recorded a short webcast in which he sets out the principles and processes that drive USS’s formal valuation. His presentation provides some basic information about how pension scheme funding works and the valuation process in general – it does not, however, refer to any scheme specifics.<br />
<br />
To view the video click here. [broken link]
I *think* that brings us to the end of November 2014. Maybe tomorrow I'll reach the end of the year 2014

#ucustrike #ussstrike

I forgot to embed important slides from AHUA [senior university managers] conference, where shift to the 'more radical solution' of DC/DC-type benefits is explicitly posed by USS & EPF.

#ucustrike #ussstrike
19 September 2014: AHUA conference (for senior university managers) happens with presentation from USS & JNC; see end of this thread where slides are also inserted not in chronological oder. Or here:
Late Oct/early Nov 2014: [OUT OF CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER]

I forgot to thread in p. 2 of UUK consultation questions [p.1 in correct chronological order]. Qu. 14 is: "Would you prefer to focus primarily on extending CRB for all, leaving more radical changes for a later date." Unfortunately this document is not available online anywhere. It is a series of survey questions.
OK back to where we were: i.e. start of December 2014.

2 Dec 2014 [from doc properties]: UCU submits a "Report to the USS paper: 2014 Actuarial Valuation" prepared by First Actuarial [date on doc says Nov 2014] #ucustrike #ussstrikes blogs.warwick.ac.uk/files/dennisle… First paragraph from First Actuarial report; can be found in link in the tweet
Reminder: The "Report to the USS paper: 2014 Actuarial Valuation" was responding to the USS 2014 Actuarial Valuation; A Consultation on the Proposed Assumptions for the Scheme's Technical Provisions & Recovery Plan" (Oct 2014) blogs.warwick.ac.uk/files/dennisle… #ucustrike #ussstrikes screen shot of first page of USS report [just shows title of report]
The First Actuarial report, in its response to the USS paper, stresses that the introduction of the 3 tests was made at a 'very late stage' – & see highlighted passages below (from p. 3) blogs.warwick.ac.uk/files/dennisle… #ussstrikes #ucustrike Section on chronology, see p. 3 of First Actuarial Report
First Actuarial report states: 'discussion is hampered by a lack of figures in the consultation document & a lack of any broader analysis' (p 4). Where there are 'additional data which would shed light on issues', it has raised questions – see Appendix A. blogs.warwick.ac.uk/files/dennisle… Screen shot of Appendix A (p. 36 of report)Screen shot of Appendix A -- p. 37
2 December 2014: UUK's "Response to the USS Consultation". UUK is 'prepared to work within the trustee’s risk framework & accompanying 3 tests', but is concerned about 'overall level of prudence' assumed in the valuation process. #ussstrikes #ucustrike employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/… First page (screen shot) of document linked to in tweet
2 Dec 2014: UUK's "Response to the USS Consultation" employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/… notes good response from consultation, 'with many institutions providing comprehensive responses'. 54 of the participating institutions responded. Cross-check some here: whatdotheyknow.com/search/UUK%20U… 1.5 We are pleased to report that our consultation with employers has drawn a substantial response, with many institutions providing comprehensive responses. Responses were received from 54 of the participating institutions, which together employ more than 75% of the active members in the USS.
2 Dec 2014: UUK's response to USS consultation states that 'sheer range of responses' to consultation – & previous consultations as part of valuation framework – means 'majority view will not satisfy all employers'. employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/… #USSstrikes #ucustrike 1.6 The sheer range of responses to this consultation – and previous consultation exercises as part of the valuation framework – means that the majority view will not satisfy all employers, and indeed some structural aspects of the USS (such as the exclusivity clause, and the lack of control over benefits and investment strategy at an individual institution level) are causing real concern for some.
2 Dec 2014: UUK's response to USS consultation employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/….
Whole document is an important read. It can, as mentioned, be read alongside those responses from individual universities/colleges available through FOI requests whatdotheyknow.com/search/UUK%20U…
#ucustrike #USSStrike
9 Dec 2014: Employers Pension Forum (EPF) announces "UUK Response to the USS consultation on Technical Provisions and Recovery Plan - 2 December 2014" employerspensionsforum.co.uk/epf-news/uuk-r… screen shot of the news item (available in the link in the tweet)
18 Dec 2014: [we're reaching holiday period; things winding down] Bill Galvin, Group CEO of USS writes to Jane Hutton & Saul Jacka warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… -- responding to the letter they had sent to Anton Muscatelli on 17 Nov 2014 warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…
#ussstrike #ucustrike Screen shot of page 1 of letter of 18 Dec [available in link above]
If you go back to Nov 2014 in this thread, you'll see that Hutton & Jacka's letter was framed as a strong critique of the "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" document (7 Nov 2014; author from doc properties is Alistair Jarvis) put out by EPF employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/…
For example, see Hutton & Jacka's critique of M14 in the "Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstandings" document, which they frame around the EPF's representation of the USS Trustees warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… Section on M14 from the letter linked to in the tweet
USS letter is long; read in its entirety. Note how questions of misunderstanding/fact circulate through all correspondence in this controversy. (This ltr includes 'factual', 'misunderstanding', 'not correct', 'supporting data', 'correctly observe'.) warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis…
USS letter warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… considers question of longevity improvements (screen shot 1), which Hutton & Jacka had raised in their letter to USS EPF warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… (screen shot 2) Paragraph from USS letter on longevity improvements. Original is in a pdf and so cannot easily be transcribed/copiedSection on M17 in letter from Hutton & Jacka
There ends my collection of things (official lit, grey literatures, weblinks, newspaper/magazine articles etc.) currently in my "What happened around pensions, USS & UUK in 2014?" folder. Many of the threads continue into 2015 (which will be new thread). #hurrah #ussstrikes
But a couple of provisos & reflections before I end.

1. A timeline, and the Twitter thread format, cannot but imply certain kinds of implied causality/linking between items. You (& I) should be wary of this. *More research is needed*.
2. There are obviously many things missing -- those I know about because they are referred to (but which I haven't yet located), those that provide much wider context for what was happening in 2014 (thanks for the discussions @WillViney), & those I don't yet know at all.
3. My research is on the 20th/21 century psy disciplines. I didn't really know anything about pensions before the strike started. So there are bound to be errors, misinterpretations, faulty assumptions. PLEASE LET ME KNOW so things can be corrected #ussstrike #ucustrike
4. I haven't really 'discovered' anything myself; rather I have spent a long time searching, gathering, collating sources & archival insights that many others have taken the care to keep (& also to write about in various places). This thread displays the labours of many others
5. It should go without saying that my own disciplinary backgrounds (#notallgeographers, #STS, #psychosocial studies, #histpsych) have inflected what and how I have presented things. #interdisciplinary #ucustrike #ussstrike
6. But my main aim was always to serve #ussstrike #ucustrike. i.e. bring together docs & possible connections that could be used, in multiple ways, by many of us, as we work out how we reached point of pensions (& university) crisis in 2018. #ucustrike #ussstrike END OF THREAD

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More from @felicitycallard

Oct 2, 2018
Given importance of HE sector "there may be a case for future governments to consider alternative options" (incl "state-backed guarantee" or "measures enabling more risk-taking"). Powerful piece from @JMariathasan on #USS DB debate post-#JEP ipe.com/analysis/blogs… #USSstrike 1/
Article argues that central problem lies in regulatory changes that transformed management of a DB pension scheme into "a risk management problem, not an investment one" 2/
Read 4 tweets
Sep 22, 2018
Thank you to @EricRoyalLybeck & all the other organisers in Exeter, as well as @ExeterUCU: Volunteer University Revisited was such a magical day. Gathering all of our energies for the months & years to come #YesVolUniCan 1/
Particularly magical to meet some people in the flesh for the first time -- incl. @thetroutpouts @lizmorrish @TheGraceK @sstroschein2 Mike Finn, Alison Wood, @ProfAlastair @ms_rhian @NoisyBits 2/
So many ideas for ways forward. So many kinds of expertise being bought to bear on what now, how, for universities as a community. Also so many testifying to violence, intimidation, threats to academic freedom – & of particular subjects being of course more exposed 3/3
Read 4 tweets
Sep 16, 2018
There's a bonanza of new FOI responses that give us a much better sense of the range of university responses to #UUK #USS consultations from Oct 2016 and Feb/March 2017. Picking through them it's fascinating to see which universities challenged the direction of travel 1/
e.g. Aberdeen: "Aon ... & UCU have indicated that it may be advantageous to consider other models. We are interested in the Trustees views as to whether there are alternative models that could result in a more considered outcome" whatdotheyknow.com/request/508696… cc @aberdeen_ucu 2/
e.g. LSE: "We note that the latest benefit changes were implemented less than 12 months ago. The School’s view is that it is too soon for further changes to be made." whatdotheyknow.com/request/509128… 3/
Read 6 tweets
Sep 16, 2018
So with the publication of the #JEP, the issue of UUK consultations with employer institutions is back big time. Both the famous Sept 2017 survey – and now the possibility, if JEP recommendations are taken up, of UUK reassessing employers' appetite for risk.

I'm worried. 1/
#JEP has emphasised the problems with how UUK framed the questions. What's really obvious if you look back Sept survey is that all the focus is on risk and on a *reduction to benefits*. And NOT on the potential to increase contributions. Or on amending the technical provisions 2/
You can see the structure of the questions here, in Nottingham's response (one of the institutions that wanted less risk): whatdotheyknow.com/request/440685… 3/
Read 18 tweets
Sep 15, 2018
2. #JEP has a lot to say about Test 1. Its sentence 'The view of the Panel is that Test 1 is not well understood outside of USS' is ... well ... certainly marvellously diplomatic.

Cf. and 6/
3. #JEP's discussion of #USS's & #UUK's 'differing perspectives' on the shift from Sept to Nov valuation shows just how murky the deliberations that resulted in this shift still are.

This remains a big issue, given #JEP proposal to reassess employers' atttude to risk (p. 45) 7/ Extract from p. 45 of JEP report
4. #JEP agrees w many of us that UUK's 'framing' of questions around risk in their consultations has serious consequences.

How can we be confident that any future assessment of employers' risk appetite by UUK shows an improvement in their use of social scientific methods? 🧐 8/
Read 13 tweets
Sep 15, 2018
After a few weeks away from Twitter, I'm back to think – alongside many others – about content & rhetoric of the #JEP.

And abt what we at @USSbriefs have been doing all summer w @OpenUPP2018 to encourage deliberations over #USS valuation to take place in public #USSstrike 1/
Many (incl. @NJSHardy @gailfdavies @DrJoGrady @etymologic @MikeOtsuka) have already provided cogent analyses of the #JEP report & its implications. So here I'll just going to pick out some of what has struck me most forcefully on a first read. #USSstrike 2/
1. There's a judicious use of rhetoric – particularly around 'confidence', '(mis)understanding' & 'communication'. This cleaves closely to that used by #UUK & Bill Galvin – whether that is deliberately so as to increase likelihood of acceptance by those parties, you can decide 3/
Read 5 tweets

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