Updated Friday 23 June 2023

May 2023 Joint Negotiating Committee update

Following the May Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) meeting, UUK and UCU have issued a joint statement [pdf].

At the May meeting, the JNC approved a member consultation on the option of full restoration of pre-April 2022 benefits. Subject to the 2023 valuation process and consultations, this will include an accrual rate of 1/75, with no break in the inflation protection, and a salary threshold increased to pre-April 2022 levels.

2023 valuation

USS has begun its 2023 valuation, a process that is designed to assess how much money a pension scheme has and whether this is enough to pay the benefits that have been promised to its members. You can learn more about what a valuation involves on our explanatory page.

Alongside our partners, we will continue to strongly advocate for our staff throughout this process. As noted by the February 2023 joint statement from UCU and UUK, we are pleased that there are shared priorities between both parties and, according to initial suggestions, that the current status of the scheme is fairly positive. 

Conditional Indexation consultation

In June 2023 we responded to a UUK consultation on the Conditional Indexation model for USS. You can read our response [pdf], which was shaped by discussions with our USS Staff Working Group.

Governance review

Additionally, UUK have launched a review into the governance of the USS pension scheme. The review was one of the commitments made by UUK at the conclusion of the 2020 valuation, and it seeks to assess the structure and governance of the scheme in the long-term rather than specific changes to contributions or benefits, which will be reviewed as part of the 2023 valuation.

UUK have now published their proposed approach to this review [pdf]. The College was been asked to submit an initial response to this proposal, including its scope, terms of reference and structure. You can read our response [pdf], which was submitted in August 2022. 

Our position

The College understands the strength of feeling amongst members in relation to USS and how the 2020 valuation was managed. Whilst the early indications of the 2023 are more positive, we remain clear in terms of our long-term position on the scheme:

College's position

The USS pension scheme needs a more sustainable footing

Although the 2023 valuation may show that the scheme is in a stronger position than in 2020, there is a need for long-term scheme reform. This includes the aforementioned governance review, as well as the creation of a working party to explore the feasibility and promise of alternative approaches that will provide long-term stability and viability.

Maintaining a hybrid scheme is key

We will continue to strongly argue for both a Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution component. We also believe this should include a lower cost, more flexible alternative as part of USS to give members a more attractive, affordable, and sustainable option.