Aquila Heywood

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Aquila Heywood's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Aquila Heywood is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Simon Barker, CEO, Aquila
CLASS Annual Conference
2017, Manchester
UK perceptions about pensions are changing, thanks largely
to auto-enrolment and better education and awareness
in the private sector. Public sector pensions still have
some way to go, but amid the continuous flow of regulatory
requirements, efficiency demands and the need to deliver value
for money, there is a hive of activity happening right now.
Providing technology solutions for public sector pensions is a significant part of
Aquila Heywood’s business. This successful public–private partnership continues
strongly today, perhaps best evidenced by their work with the Local Government
Pension Scheme.
The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is the fifth-largest pension scheme
in the world in terms of assets under management and the largest occupational
pension scheme in the UK in terms of scheme membership.
Across 99 separate pension funds, the LGPS manages pension provisions for
15,000 employers and over five million members. Eighty-two of the 99 authorities
operate on Aquila Heywood software platforms.
Ever since the first computerised solutions were introduced to the LGPS in 1975,
Aquila Heywood has worked closely in partnership with the LGPS Administering
Authorities. Our focus on creating excellence in technology keeps the LGPS
at the forefront of efficient administration, employer interaction and member
»CEO, Aquila Heywood:
»Established in 1975
»Based in Redhill, Surrey
and Altrincham, Greater
»Services: Life, pension and
investment administration
software platforms
»No. of employees: 220
»82 of the 99 UK administering
authorities operate on Aquila
Heywood software solutions
Aquila Heywood
Our public sector pensions partnership
is driven through the CLASS Group, by
far the largest membership group of
local government, police and fire service
pension schemes in the UK. CLASS was
formed to allow public sector pension
schemes to work collaboratively with
private sector partners to manage
the challenge of change, to agree on
common requirements for improved
technology and to support innovation.
Better value for money across all public
services, digital member engagement
and regulatory and governance
regimes all require considerable
effort to implement. As a technology
provider, Aquila Heywood is well
placed to support public sector funds
in addressing these challenges through
better automation, smart workflow
and simple member self-service tools.
Strong public/private sector
»The challenge of data quality
There are numerous regulatory and
data governance challenges facing
public sector pensions. From auto-
enrolment, to Guaranteed Minimum
Pension reconciliation (GMP), through
to The Pensions Regulator (TPR)
setting new governance rules and
the introduction of General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018,
public sector schemes need excellent
quality data to meet these challenges.
The Data Governance business unit
introduced by Aquila Heywood in 2017
has already delivered some excellent
results for their LGPS partners, helping
them to comply with legislation and
regulation alongside continuing to
deliver business as usual. Shropshire
Pension Fund, for example, completed
almost four million data checks, saved
230 weeks of manual effort and can
now produce 100 per cent of its
benefits statements on time, while
Powys County Council was able to
automate the update of over 75 per
cent of its records in dealing with GMP
»The challenge of scalability
The local government employment
landscape has become increasingly
fragmented. A flood of schools have
left local authority control to become
independently managed academies,
various council functions are now
delivered by third parties and hundreds
of charitable associations are involved
in supporting local services. Staff in
these organisations can continue to be
members of the LGPS, so each LGPS
Administering Authority now has the
challenge of interacting directly with
several hundred employers ranging
from large councils to micro-sized
Aquila Heywood tackled this challenge,
working with our LGPS customers
to develop a new electronic trading
portal, ‘i-Connect’, which streamlines
and enhances the flow of information
between employer and the pension
funds. Invariably i-Connect is an
industry solution for an industry
problem, winning several pension
industry awards. Moreover, i-Connect
now links over 3,400 employers into
48 pension funds, processing well over
12 million data updates each year,
and delivering significant quantifiable
benefits as well.
workflow and
simple member
tools are key to
efficiency and
within public
sector pensions
Highlighting best practice
»The challenge of increasing efficiency
A government study of the LGPS noted
that with 99 separate pension funds,
each working locally to manage their
sections of the LGPS, there should
be potential for efficiency gains
through greater sharing and building
economies of scale.
The focus to date has been on pooling
assets to gain lower investment
costs, but some have taken this
further and created improved shared
administration capabilities. As key
partners, Aquila Heywood has worked
very closely with groups such as LPP
and Orbis on establishing a multi-
fund administration model, using
i-Connect for streamlined employer
processing, digital self-service to push
work to members and efficient work
management and data processing.
»The challenge of member engagement
A major issue across the UK population
is the lack of engagement and
understanding of long-term savings
towards retirement. To address this
problem the UK government and
the ABI established the Pensions
Dashboard Initiative. The objective
is to encourage consumers to fully
engage with their pensions by enabling
them to see all their pension savings
in a single place. A prototype was
developed in 2017 with work now
continuing to take the lessons from
that exercise and create a live UK-wide
pension dashboard.
As one of the technology partners in
this initiative, Aquila Heywood ensured
the dashboard design would satisfy
the needs of defined benefit pensions
and not just consider more recent
auto-enrolment defined contribution
During the prototype phase Aquila
Heywood demonstrated that our
pension scheme customers could
supply data to the dashboard with
little work, doing so quickly and easily
without putting confidential member
data at risk, a crucial consideration
considering the challenges many
schemes are facing in the attempt to
meet GDPR and TPR regulations.
Building our business success
on partnership principles
In an industry dealing with very long-
term financial products, we believe
technology relationships need to
last for the long term too. Crucial to
that is the ability for businesses to
work well together. A shared vision
is crucial, in-depth collaboration
essential, with shared reward a mark
of joint success.
Aquila Heywood operates across all
sectors of the pensions and retirement
markets, with life companies and
investment managers, private company
pension schemes and third-party
administrators all using our software
solutions. We are also uniquely placed
to transfer best practice experience
between the private sector and
the public sector, with both sides
benefiting from a wealth of market
experience in dealing with pension
industry issues.
The future for the pensions industry
remains challenging for all participants,
yet it is vital to the delivery of robust
retirement benefits for our population.
We see a vibrant market, eager to
embrace change and improve public
sector pension provision for all.
Heywood is
uniquely placed
to deliver
modern, robust
solutions that
meet the
challenges of
today’s pension
i-Connect streamlines
the flow of information
between employer and
pension fund

This article was sponsored by Aquila Heywood. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister