NHF provides an update on accounting for the Social Housing Pension Scheme

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03 Mar, 2017

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has published a document to provide an update to participating employers of the Social Housing Pension Scheme (SHPS) on developments that might lead to them changing the way that in which they account for the plan.

Under old UK GAAP, FRS 17 Retirement Benefits, participants to the SHPS qualified for the multi-employer exemption in FRS 17.9 (employer is unable to identify its share of the assets and liabilities on a consistent and reasonable basis), which facilitated defined contribution accounting in their separate financial statements. 

On transitioning to FRS 102 The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland a similar exemption in FRS 102.28.11 is available if sufficient information is not available to use defined benefit accounting for a multi-employer plan that is a defined benefit plan. 

Despite this exemption in FRS 102 a number of housing associations are considering approaching professional actuaries to estimate their proportionate share of the SHPS plan assets, obligations and costs.  Where there is sufficient information to use defined benefit accounting, FRS 102 requires each entity in the multi-employer plan to account for its proportionate share of the plan assets, obligations and costs, and provide disclosures in the same way as for any other defined benefit plan. 

The SORP Working Party understands that such housing associations are confident that, as a result of this process, they will have sufficient information to account for the SHPS as a defined benefit scheme for the financial year ending 31 March 2018 and beyond.  It has been suggested that if some housing associations are able to achieve defined benefit accounting for the SHPS then there might be sufficient information to enable other employers to do so. 

As a result of these developments, the SORP Working party has started work on developing a methodology to understand if necessary information could be determined that will enable all housing associations that are members of SHPS to account for their portion of the SHPS deficit as a defined benefit scheme. 

The press release and further information are available on the NHF website.

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