UK - Local authority pension schemes will miss out on a good governance opportunity if draft proposals from Communities and Local Government (CLG) are introduced, Mercer warns.
It said it was largely supportive of the proposals but believed the simplified self-assessment process could potentially mean local authorities would miss an opportunity to take a step back and have a broader view of what constitutes good governance.
Mercer principal and head of UK governance consulting Rachel Brougham said: "The guidance is distilled into a series of principles largely concerned with process and operational issues such as voting, representation, meetings, access and reporting."
She explained only the most "pro-active" authorities would be likely to respond to the suggestions and guidance on best practice within the report.
Brougham said: "While operational procedures are important, they are not sufficient for effective decision-making. Good scheme governance requires governing bodies to articulate their key priorities, which enables them to focus their limited time and resource on activities that support their priorities.
"It also allows them to identify and manage the associated key risks and supports clear accountabilities."
The consultant also welcomed the guidance principle on training plans, but warned that any such activity had to be "relevant, focused and timely".
Brougham added: "To be effective, training programmes need to be tied into the decision making process. For example, training trustees on investment issues should happen close to the time when decisions are taken so the theory can be put into practice straight away."
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