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About this section

This section of our website is dedicated to STSS employers and contains information and links on all aspects of the scheme. We have tried to make navigation as simple as possible. Each section is aimed at dealing with a specific pension event.

SPPA: Aims, Objectives and Responsibilities

Key aims

  • To administer, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, the public service pension, premature retirement compensation and injury benefit schemes, for which Scottish Ministers have administrative responsibility, in order to provide an efficient and effective service for the benefit of those who use the schemes at an economic cost to the public purse.
  • To prepare in accordance with Government policy, the regulations governing these and other schemes, for which Scottish Ministers have regulatory responsibility.
  • To determine questions under the regulations, on which there is a right of appeal, to Scottish Ministers; and - to advise Scottish Ministers on occupational pensions policy generally.

Key objectives

  • To provide a timely, accurate and helpful service to members of the schemes and other employees who may be entitled to benefits.
  • To collect and pay, promptly and accurately, sums due under these schemes and to arrange for their proper accounting and budgeting.
  • To publish timely and accurate information about changes to scheme policies and regulations to Local Authorities and other bodies administering schemes regulated by SPPA.
  • To provide value for money in delivering cost effective service.
  • To reduce over time the ratio of running costs to case-load.
  • To provide appropriate policy advice to the Ministers and Departments of the Scottish Government on their pensions responsibilities and regulate and develop the schemes for which they are responsible in accordance with Government policies.

A more detailed description of the aims and objectives of SPPA can be found here.

Key Responsibilities

All Employers and Pension Scheme Administrators who provide an occupational pension scheme for employees have responsibilities under the Pensions Act 1995 and The Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 1996 (see www.opsi.gov.uk).

SPPA's operational responsibilities are to:

  • Maintain accurate and up to date records for scheme members and pensioners based on information provided by employers.
  • Determine the day to day operational policy for running the scheme.
  • Award timely and accurate benefits under the STSS and Compensation for Premature Retirement Scheme.
  • Ensure that Employing Authorities make timely and accurate payments of employers' and employees' contributions to the STSS and maintain and implement such information and other systems as may be necessary to fulfil these functions.
  • Preserve benefits for early leavers.
  • Provide estimates of benefits entitlement on a regular basis in line with Pensions Act 1995 and The Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 1996 and on request to scheme members.
  • Pay transfer values for members moving out of the scheme and receive payments for people transferring into the scheme.
  • Pay refunds of contributions in line with current regulations.
  • Process applications to purchase additional pension. Publicise the scheme and raise awareness of the benefits available.
  • To maintain a continually mutually beneficial working relationship with STSS employers and to assist them in their duties.
  • To adhere to agreed time limits.

About the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme

The Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme (STSS) is a statutory occupational pension scheme and was contracted out of the State Second Pension (previously referred to as SERPS) up to 5 April 2016. The scheme is a defined benefit scheme and is based on membership during STSS employment and transfer values into STSS.

The STSS was reformed in line with UK Pension Reforms, on 1st April 2007. Members who were in the STSS prior to 1st April 2007 have a Normal Pension Age (NPA) of 60.

Members joining the scheme for the first time on or after 1st April 2007 have a NPA of 65.

The STSS was reformed again on 1st April 2015, with the introduction of the Scottish Teachers Pension Scheme (STPS). This means all members joining the scheme for the first time on or after 1st April 2015 join this scheme and have a NPA equal to their State Pension Age. 

Members of the STSS scheme may have been protected from moving to the STPS scheme with protection depending on how close you were to retirement when the current scheme was introduced in 2015.

Normal Pension Age 60 members

  • NPA 60.
  • A retirement pension based on 1/80th of pensionable pay per year of service based on the best of the last 3 years pensionable pay before retirement.
  • Pension will be calculated on the basis of either the average of the best 3 consecutive year's pensionable pay out of the last 10 years before retirement or the last 365 days salary with the best option being used.
  • Normally, a tax free retirement lump sum of 3 x pension with the option to give up part of the pension for a lump sum up to 25% of pension value (Commutation). Commutation Calculator
  • Preserved benefits if leaving pensionable employment before age 60 without being entitled to an immediate pension and at least 2 years qualifying service has accrued.

Normal Pension Age 65 members

  • NPA 65.
  • A retirement pension based on 1/60th of pensionable pay per year of service.
  • Pension will be calculated on the basis of either the average of the best 3 consecutive year's pensionable pay out of the last 10 years before retirement or the last 365 days salary with the best option being used.
  • Preserved benefits if leaving pensionable employment before age 65 without being entitled to an immediate pension and if at least 2 years qualifying service is accrued.

Teachers 2015

  • NPA of State Pension age
  • A retirement pension based on 1/57th annual pensionable pay revalued and increased with CPI
  • Preserved benefits if leaving pensionable employment before SPA without being entitled to an immediate pension and if at least 2 years qualifying service is accrued.
  • Option to purchase faster accrual.

Benefits common to all

  • Death benefits of 3 years pensionable pay if still in superannuable employment at date of death.
  • Pension and allowances for a legal spouse, registered civil partner or surviving partner from the date of death. Dependant children's pensions are payable until age 23 or longer depending on certain circumstances.
  • Benefits if retiring because of permanent ill-health.
  • Benefits if retiring early Pensions and allowances are index linked.
  • Pension benefits can be transferred in to and out of the scheme.

Employer Responsibilities

All Employers and Pension Scheme Administrators who provide an occupational pension scheme for employees have responsibilities under the Pensions Act 1995 and The Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 1996.

The STSS is administered by SPPA on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. The Regulations, however, also place certain obligations on employers and specifically require employers to fulfill certain functions. A copy of the STSS Regulations can be found on SPPA website.

Main Employer responsibilities:

  • To maintain a continuing mutually beneficial working relationship with SPPA and to assist them in their duties
  • To assess and collect employer and employee pension contributions in an accurate manner
  • To make payment to SPPA of employer and employee pension contributions at the correct rate and in a timely manner
  • To maintain accurate employment records for all scheme members and submit these records to SPPA in a timely manner
  • To pay initial widows/widower's/partners pensions which are later reclaimed from SPPA
  • To forward applications and related documentation to SPPA within specified time scales
  • To provide a timely and accurate service to all employees in relation to scheme benefits by the provision of ongoing guidance and information
  • To comply with the requirements of the Contracts of Employment Act relating to Pensions
  • To adhere to agreed time limits

Additional Information for Employers

Employers should ensure that all employees administering the STSS are fully aware of their obligations.