Schools

Teachers wrongly told they’d failed to make pension payments

One teacher said the bungle caused a 'great deal of upset and unnecessary worry'

One teacher said the bungle caused a 'great deal of upset and unnecessary worry'

File image showing a woman struggling with her workload

An IT bungle left thousands of teachers in Norfolk being told they had not contributed to the teacher pension scheme for more than a year. 

Staff in council-run schools received an automated email from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), managed by the outsourcing company Capita, warning them they had not received information from their employer since March 2022.

“We’ve assumed you’ve left teaching,” they were told. 

One teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said it caused a “great deal of upset and unnecessary worry”. Another said it was “confusing and terrifying”.

Two days later, staff received an email from Norfolk County Council stating the email was wrong.  

A council spokesperson apologised for “any distress or concern this may have caused” from the “automated” message, but said “no one will be disadvantaged”.

It was “not advised” TPS was sending the email out. 

The TPS introduced a “new method of reporting”, which alongside Norfolk’s switch to a new payroll system, presented “several challenges for us and local authority schools, therefore we moved back to the previous method of reporting”. 

Norfolk uses the finance and HR system MyOracle, which has been beset with problems. The Eastern Daily Press has reported staff have been paid late, incorrectly or not at all.

Schools Week also revealed how schools are still waiting for their budgets after Birmingham council, which last week effectively declared bankruptcy, splurged millions on the platform. 

Norfolk confirmed all funds taken from employees for their pensions have “been fully reconciled and paid over … each month since April 2022”.

They are working with the TPS to “ensure reporting of all members’ length of service operates smoothly in future and taking further action to avoid any risk of repeat.”

The Indian IT company Tata Consultancy Services will take over running the TPS from 2025. 

Schools Week revealed in 2020 that teachers’ pensions could be tens of thousands of pounds short because of administrative failures.

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