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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Proposed USS Changes

Update 3 December 2018

Please find attached Q and A document regarding the USS valuation.

Update 22 November 2018

USS have recently published information about concluding the 2017 valuation.

USS do not propose to make any changes to the cost-sharing arrangements and will now consult with UUK (on behalf of the employers) before they are finalised.

There will now be a new valuation of the scheme’s funding position – as at 31 March 2018, and USS will formally consult UUK (on behalf of employers) on updated funding assumptions over December and January.

USS plan to finalise the updated contribution rates based on this new valuation in early February and the Joint Negotiating Committee will then consider how to address the outcome.

Please click here for further information.

Update 20 November 2018

Universities UK (UUK) has published analysis which summarises the responses received to their consultation of employers on the recommendations of the Joint Expert Panel.

The responses, received from 127 employers, representing 94% of the scheme’s active membership, show that the vast majority of employers that responded are generally supportive of the JEP’s recommendations. However, a large number of employers – accounting for over half the scheme’s active membership – expressed important conditions and caveats to their support.

Please click here for further information.

Update 9 November 2018

Please find below our response to the UUK consultation on the JEP report which closed on 2 November 2018.

The University of Durham welcomes the JEP report, and are grateful to the panel for their careful, rigorous approach. We welcome the recognition by JEP of the need to find a long-term sustainable solution whilst also understanding how much USS members value a Defined Benefits scheme.

Q1. Would your institution support the JEP recommendations regarding the 2017 valuation, in overall terms, subject to acceptance of such a position from the USS Trustee (and TPR as appropriate)?

Responseyes Durham University would support this. However this would be on the condition that work would continue to identify a long term sustainable funding solution.

The University’s support is based on the acceptance of the recommendations by the USS Trustee, UCU and The Pensions Regulator.

Q2. What further Information would you need to provide a final view?

Response We would find it helpful if UUK could provide greater transparency about how this and other USS consultations will be considered by UUK. For example, how will they weight the responses of larger and smaller employers.

Q3. If the recommendations of the JEP are accepted in full by all parties the outcome would be that existing benefits, minus the employer match of 1%, could be provided at an indicative employer contribution of 20.1% of salary (with a member contribution of 9.1%). Would you accept employer contributions at this level? If not what balance of additional risk, higher contributions and/or benefit change would you prefer to see as an outcome?

Response yes we are willing to accept employer contributions at this level (employer contributions of 20.1% and an employee contribution rate of 9.1%), if necessary. As outlined in the response to Q1 the University would require assurance that work will continue to secure the long term sustainability of the scheme.


Update 14 September 2018

Joint Expert Panel report on USS valuation

The Joint Expert Panel (JEP) on the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which was commissioned by the University and College Union (UCU) and Universities UK (UUK), has published its report on the 2017 USS valuation. The report, along with a statement from the JEP, is available to download on the JEP website at:

The response by UCU can be found here

The response by UUK can be found here

The response by USS can be found here

Update 28 August 2018

Following the recent update in Dialogue Signposts (24 August 2018) we would like to ensure that members and prospective members of USS are aware of the proposed changes being consulted upon, for 60 days from 3 September until 5pm on 2 November 2018 .

Staff will shortly be receiving a consultation pack (with the majority being sent internally to Departments / Colleges to be distributed with the remainder of packs being sent to home addresses) that outlines the proposed changes. If you do not receive one by 3 September you can request another from the Pensions team on extn 46888.

USS has a dedicated website and from 31 August 2018 members will be able to access useful information including full details of the proposed changes, impacts upon take home pay, videos and regularly updated FAQs.

From 3 September 2018 you will also be able to provide your individual response to the consultation questions on this website.

Joint Expert Panel Updates 22 June - 9 July

Updates from the final three Joint Expert Panels can be found here:

22 June

28 June

9 July

Joint Expert Panel - update 7 June

Please see below update from the first meeting of the Joint Expert Panel which took place on 31 May.

This is available on both the UUK and UCU websites.

27 April Announcement

On Friday 27 April, representatives of UUK and UCU sitting on USS’s Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) agreed to revoke the benefit proposals it recommended to the trustee in January. It was agreed that a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) be set up to review the valuation, with a view to determining a way forward for USS that can be implemented on or close to 1 April 2019.

A new Q&A document for USS members has been published covering the latest development with USS, the Joint Expert panel and the valuation timetable.

April USS update for members.


Every three years the USS undertakes a valuation. The purpose of the valuation is:

  • To establish whether the assets held by the scheme are sufficient to cover the benefits promised to members.
  • To determine the level of contributions required from employers and members to meet future benefits and clear any past service deficit.
  • The actual valuation date was 31 March 2017, but there has and will continue to be a lot of activity following this date, including a consultation period with the sector on the future shape of the scheme.

USS: A guide to the 2017 valuation

UUK web pages