About the NHS (Scotland) Pension Board

Pension boards for the schemes administered by SPPA were established in 2015. Each has an equal number of employer representatives and member representatives. They may also include independent experts.

A pension board member’s role is to assist the scheme manager in securing compliance with the scheme regulations and the requirements set by The Pension Regulator.

Board members must have knowledge and understanding of relevant pensions law and a working knowledge of scheme regulations and relevant documentation. They also have a duty to act in accordance with scheme regulations and other governing legislation and must satisfy SPPA that no conflicts of interest exist either before or during their board membership.

The board normally meets four times a year. The Board has one independent Chair, one independent Vice Chair, four employer-nominated representatives and four member-nominated representatives. SPPA’s Chief Executive (or a delegated representative) also attends board meetings in a reporting capacity.

The Scottish NHS Pension Scheme 2015 regulations reflect the Pension Board governance arrangements.

NHS (Scotland) Pension Board members

Brian Barbour, Independent Chair

Brian Barbour is an experienced Pension Trustee. He’s been a board member of the Standard Life Staff Pension Scheme for over eight years and is also a trustee of the Standard Life Excepted Life Group Assurance Scheme.

Brian has significant experience in technology and cyber security and was previously Chief Information Security Officer at Standard Life as well as holding roles in IT and group risk. He also spent 20 years with IBM in software and quality assurance roles and served as a member of the Scottish Police Authority from its inception until 2015 and chaired its Audit and Risk Committee for three years.

Mark Cook, Independent Vice Chair

Raised in the North East of Scotland Mark is a Biochemistry graduate of Aberdeen University with postgraduate MBA from Edinburgh Business School.

Mark has spent 25 years in roles within the health sector including biologicals/pharmaceuticals, medical technology and consultancy. His current role includes determining the direction in areas such as strategy, government relations policy plus working specifically on the implications of BREXIT for the UK and individually within the devolved nations, as well as issues surrounding regulation and trade.

Mark is currently Chair of a defined benefit pension scheme in the private sector and has been on the pension board for the past 7 years

In addition, Mark is active in industry trade bodies including ABHI, MedTech Europe, ADVAMED and has published on healthcare resource utilisation in areas such as diabetes, hypertension and heart failure.

In February 2018 Mark joined the Life Sciences Industrial Leadership Group in Scotland and continues to support decision making for non-medicine technologies through membership of the Scottish Health Technology Group.

Married with 3 adult children in his spare time Mark enjoys mountain biking, archery & travel.

Philip Coghill, member representative

Philip Coghill is a Senior Officer at the Royal College of Nursing. He’s also an experienced trade Union Officer with a strong working knowledge of the NHS Pensions scheme and also a keen awareness of its importance to scheme members. As well as governance experience in his working life, he’s also served as a trustee and chair within the UK charity sector.

James Ito, member representative

James Ito is a retired biomedical scientist having previously been Laboratory manager, Pathology at Yorkhill Hospital. He was also Quality Manager for a start-up project and managed seven combined laboratories at Yorkhill Hospital.

James was a member of the NHS Scottish Pensions Group (SPG) and the Scottish Technical Advisory Group (sub-committee of SPG). He is Branch Treasurer and Branch Webmaster for the Unite trade union. His previous posts with Unite and predecessor unions include Member of Staff Side, Whitley Council PTB/A; Chair of national negotiating committee; Chair of Scottish NHS Advisory Committee; Branch Secretary; and Branch Chair.

Gordon McKay, member representative

Gordon McKay is a Charge Nurse, and has been an elected member of UNISON's National Executive since 2009. He’s been a member of various NHS Strategic Partnership bodies in Scotland, such as Workforce and Governance Committee, Terms and Conditions Committee and Pensions Group.  He’s also involved in a number of local groups sits on various boards.

John White, employer representative

John is responsible for the executive leadership of the Board’s Human Resources, Organisational Development and Occupational Health and Safety functions.

With over 38 years’ experience in the health service, John joined the NHS as Trainee with Lothian Health Board in 1980.  John’s first substantive HR post was at St John’s Hospital, Livingston and joined NHS Lanarkshire in 2008 as Associate Director of HR within Acute Services.  In the 18 months prior to this appointment John has provided HR Director support to The State Hospital.  John has worked at Board, Trust and hospital level in a variety of HR positions.

Graham McKirdy, member representative

Graham is a General Dental Surgeon.  He has over 30 years of experience representing the profession and dentistry on government working groups, both in the UK and in Scotland.  He has been elected or appointed to a large number of positions, and has served as Chair or Vice-Chair in many of these.

Committees include the BDA Pensions Committee, which covers the NHS scheme and other areas of pensions, including private, university and armed forces, the BDA Remuneration Committee, the Scottish General Dental Practice Committee, the BDA Audit Committee, the West of Scotland Dental Ethics Committee, the Scottish Government's Primary Care Modernisation Group Reporting, the Standards in General Dental Practice Reporting Group, and Lanarkshire Health Board Dental Advisory Committee.  He has been elected to the BDA Scottish Council for twelve years and is currently Chair.  He is currently an appointee to the NHS Tribunal for Scotland, since 2010, and is a member of the General Dental Practice Advisory Committee.

Craig Black, employer representative

Craig has been employed within NHS Scotland since 2000 working in a payroll capacity throughout this period. His current role is as Payroll Manager for the Scottish Ambulance Service and Deputy Payroll Manager for NHS Lothian. During this time he has gained a wide ranging knowledge & experience of the NHS Scotland pension scheme on an operational day to day basis.
There are currently two vacancies on the NHS (Scotland) Pension Board for two employer representatives.

Further reading

NHS (Scotland) Pension Board Terms of Reference

Related documents

NHS Pension Board Annual Report 2017-18

NHS Pension Board Annual Report 2016-17

Please contact us if you wish to access previous reports.

Minutes and agendas

NHS Agenda 7 November 2019

NHS Minutes 7 November 2019

NHS Agenda 8 August 2019

NHS Minutes 8 August 2019

NHS Agenda 9 May 2019

NHS Minutes 9 May 2019

Please contact us if you wish to access previous years minutes.

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