Year one: Practitioner certificate on pensions

Introduction to pension schemes

  • Types of occupational pension schemes
  • Alternative/supplementary pension arrangements
  • Interaction with the state pension
  • HMRC legislation
  • Overview of various pension schemes

Pensions payroll

  • Data collection and input
  • Data processing and output
  • PAYE
  • Verification and controls

Working in a team

  • Communication
  • Effective co-ordination
  • Team structure and roles within the team
  • Setting, and meeting, objectives

Roles and responsibilities

  • Of the employer
  • Of the administering authority
  • Data protection and disclosure
  • Decision making and discretions
  • Communication and liaison

Accruing and improving benefits

  • Eligibility to join the pension scheme
  • Building up pension rights
  • Topping up pension rights
  • When circumstances change – impact on pension rights

Year two: Advanced practitioner certificate in pensions

Leading the team

  • Monitoring and controlling performance
  • Appraisals
  • Supervisory skills
  • Change management
  • Contracts of employment

Leaving the scheme early

  • Overview of benefit types
  • Pension entitlements
  • Refunding contributions
  • Deferred pensions
  • Transferring pension rights
  • Death awards and benefits

Leaving the scheme at retirement or death

  • ‘Normal’ retirement
  • Ill-health retirement
  • Employer driven retirement
  • Discretionary compensation
  • Death in service or deferment
  • Death on pension
  • Dependants’ benefits

Human resources and communications

  • Formation of an employment contract
  • Termination of employment
  • Dismissal and redundancy pay and pay off
  • Employment tribunals and courts
  • HR roles and responsibilities
  • Staff development
  • Communication

Define and manage, systems, security and risk

  • System requirements
  • Management information
  • Data storage
  • Data protection
  • Security and confidentiality
  • Fraud
  • Pension contingencies
  • Disruptions and risks to payroll
  • Employer obligations

Year three: Diploma in pensions administration and management

Work based project

  • Develop a research design and strategy
  • Work independently, self-critically and in an organised way on research tasks
  • Exercise critical judgement on concepts, theories and models appropriate to a work-based issue
  • Apply those concepts, theories and models to a work-based issue while sustaining a coherent and logical argument
  • Articulate and communicate the findings of a research project appropriately
  • Determine feasible opportunities for organisational development

Improving services and operations

  • Managing operations for services
  • Planning, obtaining and monitoring resources
  • Benchmarking quality issues
  • Planning and delivering projects
  • Customer service
  • Managing change and continuous improvement

Pensions strategy and policy (including overriding legislation/HMRC disclosure)

  • Fund management
  • Governance discretions
  • Role of the actuary
  • Appeals
  • Consultations and challenges (including pension reform and automatic enrolment)

Understanding customers and clients

  • Marketing skills and techniques
  • Negotiation skills and techniques
  • Verbal communication and body language
  • Managing time
  • Effective presentations
  • Decision making
  • Taking part in and chairing meetings
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity

Personal Effectiveness and Professional Development

  • Career planning/goal setting to fit with the ever changing world of work
  • Recognising and using opportunities for the transfer of own skills, especially work based skills
  • Consideration of evidence for accreditation of prior learning and experience
  • Application of learning which enables personal development leading to enrichment of skills, knowledge and best performance