In line with other UK public sector pension funds, the LGPS undergoes an actuarial valuation every three years. The last triennial valuation of the LGPS assets and liabilities (as at May 2020) was at 31st March 2019 (see below) and the next one will be as at 31st March 2022. The results will be made available on this website as soon as they are available.

2019 Actuarial Statement

In line with the LGPS regulations, the funds' actuarial positions are reviewed every three years. The triennial valuation results shown in the 2018/2019 Annual Report and Accounts were based on membership data and asset values as at 31st March 2016. These valuations set the employer contribution rates from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020, and were payable during the accounting period ended 31st March 2019.

2019 Actuarial Valuation

The 2019 valuation results are available and are included here for reference. The overall result of the 2019 valuation using LGPS fund data at 31st March 2019 with a comparison for 2016 is set out below. The 2016 valuation results were used to set contribution rates from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020. It is important to note that each fund will have used different assumptions, and whilst not directly comparable across funds, the aggregated total liabilities provides a prudent estimate for the scheme at the triennial valuation dates.

As at 31st March 2019, the total asset value of the Scheme was £290 billion, compared with £216 billion as at 31st March 2016. The liabilities totalled £296 billion in aggregate. The overall funding level was around 98%.

By way of comparison as at 31st March 2016, the funding level of the 5,450 direct benefit occupational pension schemes within the Pension Protection Fund index was 97.4% (on a insurance buyout basis, which is different from the LGPS actuarial valuation methodology). As at 31st March 2019 the University Superannuation Scheme funding level was 93%.

*See valuation 2010, 2013 and 2016 pages for fund values used in calculations


2019 LGPS funding level £ billion

Funding level*

2010 79%

2013 79%

2016 85%

2019 98%

Valuation chart image

£ billion




2010 141.6 178.5 36.9
2013 180.5 227.3 46.8
2016 216.4 253.6 37.2
2019 289.7 295.7 6.0

Development of LGPS funding position

Following the 2013 and 2016 valuation, the Board published two summary reports. A summary version outlined the key findings of the valuations and provided some brief background. A more detailed version gives a fuller overview of the 2016 valuations and provided some wider context as to a) how employer contribution rates are calculated during valuations, and b) how individual fund valuations relate to the Board cost management process which will first be undertaken following 2019 results.

The Board will be producing similar reports for 2019, and will be available on the Valuations pages in due course.

Aggregated information

We have the following aggregated information from the annual report and audited accounts of the LGPS funds as at 31st March 2019 showing the development of the LGPS. Importantly, this notes that active membership is maintained and contribution payments continue to exceed benefit payments which is consistent with the scheme remaining open to new entrants.









Number of actives (000) 1,957 2,010 1,964 1,899 1,905 1,819 1,728
Number of deferred (000) 2,214 2,159 2,078 1,859 1,834 1,723 1,621
Number of pensioners (000) 1,728 1,691 1,642 1,530 1,512 1,459 1,408
Total value of assets £291bn £275bn £263bn £217bn £217bn £192bn £180bn
Net return on Investment 6.2% 4.4% 19.4% 0.1% 12.1% 5.9% 12.5%
Total contributions paid £9.5bn £11.8bn £9.7bn £9.3bn £9.6bn £8.7bn £8.3bn
Total benefits paid £10.5bn £9.9bn £9.7bn £9.4bn £9.0bn £8.6bn £8.2bn
Inflation (CPI) (change over previous 12 months to September) 2.4% 3.0% 1.0% 0.0% 1.2% 2.7% 2.2%


Income and Expenditure
year to 31st March 2019

Cashflow chart image

Cashflow of the Scheme (£bns)



























Contributions 8.67   9.57   9.34   9.69   11.79   9.50   
Transfers in from other pension funds 0.55   3.02   0.43   1.17    1.35   1.13   
Other income 0.07   0.07   0.05   0.04   0.04   0.04   
Net Investment income 3.43   3.60   3.61   3.96   4.44   4.48   
Total income    12.72   16.27   13.43   14.87   17.62   15.15   
Benefits   8.55   9.03   9.39   9,69   9.94   10.54 
Payments to and on account of leavers   0.52   3.26   0.54   0.63    1.44  


Administration expenses (including oversight and governance)   0.14   0.11   0.18   0.19    0.18   0.20 
Investment management expenses   0.50   0.73   0.81   0.88    1.04   1.16 
Total expenditure      9.72   13.13   10.91   11.39   12.60   12.86 


Life Expectancy Index

Hymans Robertson and Club Vita have developed an LGPS Life Expectancy Index to support the work of the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board. This Index will help support the communication of changing life expectancy in the LGPS to its scheme members. The Index will also provide the Board with longevity related information, including early warning of upwards cost pressures to support its role in the cost management process.

The information on this page is not specific to the circumstances of any particular reader or organisation, does not constitute advice, nor should it be relied upon by third parties. Life Expectancy Indices may also be produced by other organisations and use other sources of data.

Changes in observed longevity

The chart below demonstrates the annual progression of the LGPS Life Expectancy Index between 1993 and 2018 for male and female E&W LGPS pensioners. It measures the number of years members are expected to live after reaching the age of 65.

Years in retirement from age 65 (1993 - 2018)

Life Expectancy Index

The average rate of increase in life expectancy is around 2 years per decade for males and around 1.5 years per decade for females, although it does not increase uniformly over the 24 year period, with the slower rate of increase since 2011 reducing the per decade average rate.

The beginning of a new trend?

Over the period to 2011 we have observed a significant and sustained increase in life expectancy. However, the period since 2011 has been characterised by more volatility and a general slowing in the rate of increase of life expectancy. Life expectancy is still improving, but not as quickly or as steadily as before.

Some of this volatility could be attributable to one-off events. During 2012/3 we experienced a harsh and sustained winter, during early 2015 it was found that the flu vaccine had not been as effective as expected and during the winter of 2017/18 we experienced the “beast from the east” and the arrival of “aussie flu” – a strain that is particularly dangerous for older people. All these events led to increased numbers of deaths, so slower increases in life expectancy.

In addition to these events, a higher level of deaths than those predicted back in 2011 have been seen, resulting in an apparent ‘levelling off’ of life expectancy over the period since 2011.  Overall, the typical period in retirement has only increased by around 0.6 years since 2011 for both males and females, whereas it increased by 2.5 years for males and 1.8 years for females over the previous decade.

Whilst this Life Expectancy Index focuses on the period up to 2018, it is important to be aware of the potential for longevity volatility in the near future. Overall, 2019 finished with record lows for UK mortality rates and significant improvements from 2018. All else being equal, this would lead to higher life expectancies and higher liabilities as a result.

While the first few weeks of 2020 continued on a similar trajectory of lighter mortality as seen in the earlier part of 2019, it is becoming clear that the world is in the grip of the most significant pandemic of our generation. As at the time of writing, it is too soon to fully understand the impact that COVID-19 is likely to have on UK life expectancies and pension scheme liabilities.

However, as time goes on and greater data volumes emerge, more can be done to assess the possible impact on pension schemes and their members – both to reflect the new ‘current’ longevity and to inform the assumptions they use to project how longevity will change in the future. Whilst the economic impact of this pandemic is currently at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the wider longevity impact is likely to depend on a range of factors specific to each scheme, such as:

  • Gender profile – male mortality rates appear to be much higher than for women
  • Age profile – deaths primarily impact at older ages
  • Health of pensioners – significant proportion of deaths had pre-existing medical conditions
  • Geography – if the Fund experiences a ‘pocket’ of COVID-19 infections where infection and death rates are much higher
  • Socio-economic profile – there is some emerging evidence that different socio-economic groups are impacted differently by COVID-19


As the relevant data emerges, Club Vita will undertake to publish regular analyses. This, and a wider range of relevant general longevity analytics, can be accessed on the Club Vita website.

Again, prior to taking into account the impact of COVID-19, longevity trends in general (in particular since 2011) have not affected all pensioners in the same way.  Club Vita has recently refreshed its research, carried out in conjunction with the PLSA, into how longevity trends are experienced in different socio-economic groups1. The latest summary results for males are included in the table below.


Males Annualised mortality improvement (age-standardised)    
  2001-2006 2006-2011 2011-2016
England & Wales (population data) 3.0% 2.8% 0.8%
Comfortable 2.0% 2.6% 1.7%
Making-Do 3.0% 2.9% 1.1%
Hard-Pressed 2.8% 3.1% 1.5%

1Source: PLSA and Club Vita (2017): Longevity trends – Does one size fit all?

Corresponding to the LGPS life expectancy index, the first two lines of the table show that mortality improvements have significantly decreased in the 2011-2016 period for the population as a whole.

The bottom three lines show mortality improvements for the “Comfortable”, “Making-Do” and “Hard-Pressed” sub-groups of the data. Essentially, these groups divide the Club Vita data into high, medium and low socio-economic groups, broadly equal in size. The highest socio-economic group seems to have been resilient to whatever is affecting the general population, with resilient levels of improvements from 2000 to 2016, though these are reduced in the period from 2011. On the other hand, the lower socio-economic groups have experienced a significant drop in improvements in the 2011-2016 period, having seen a higher rate of improvement in the decade to 2011.

What has caused this slowdown in life expectancy improvements? There are many theories, and the real answer will probably be a combination of many factors. Cause of death data indicates an increase in the number of deaths resulting from dementia (and related conditions) than would otherwise have been anticipated.  Another common suggestion, supported by the difference in experience between different socio-economic groups, is that the slowdown has been the indirect result of the period of austerity and an increasingly frail elderly population in the UK as a result of repeated harsh winter periods.

Consequences for LGPS Funds

What should LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) do about this as they undertake their next valuations? They will typically take a longer term view, seeking to base their funding assumptions for longevity on a broader view of how longevity has been changing rather than reacting to the most recent experience alone. Understanding the socio-economic profile of the Fund membership also becomes important, together with a view on whether drivers of mortality improvements will affect different groups in different ways. These will inform both the current rate of longevity improvement amongst Fund members and views on how that will change over the next 2 or 3 decades.

If nothing else, recent experience should serve as a reminder that LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) should continue to monitor longevity trends and seek to better understand the drivers of changes in life expectancy.


The LGPS Life Expectancy Index tracks the life expectancy of E&W LGPS pensioners. The methodology ensures the index results are objective and reflect the experience of E&W LGPS members.

The index is based on period life expectancy from age 65. For each year this is a measure of how long you expect to make pension payments to an average member based on death rates in that year.

This approach to measuring life expectancy uses only observable, verifiable data (with data on circa 2/3rds of E&W LGPS pensioners used by the index) and avoids any need for subjective assumptions about how life expectancies will change in the future.

The index allows changes in life expectancy from year to year, and trends in life expectancy emerging over a number of years, to be clearly identifiable.

Reliances and Limitations

  • The life expectancy values shown in this chart have been provided by Club Vita to the Advisory Board for inclusion in the Scheme Annual Report. Whilst they can be reproduced, they should not be relied upon or used for any other purpose without the written permission of Club Vita LLP and Hymans Robertson LLP.
  • Life expectancies are based on the experience of English and Welsh LGPS Funds that have provided data to Club Vita as at February 2019.
  • The life expectancy shown for a particular year is the period life expectancy measured at age 65 - this is based on the exposure and deaths occurring during that year, so do not make any allowance for changes in longevity before or after that year.
  • To be clear, the life expectancies shown have been calculated from the crude mortality rates of E&W LGPS pensioners.
  • The life expectancy of an individual LGPS pensioner will depend on many factors, including age, gender, health, wealth, future changes in mortality, etc. and the figures shown here are not intended to represent or predict the life expectancy of any one individual member.

Definition of Period Expectation of Life

Source: Office for National Statistics, “Life expectancy at age 65 by local areas in the United Kingdom, 2004-06 and 2008-10”, 19 October 2011

“Period expectation of life at a given age for an area in a given time period is an estimate of the average number of years a person of that age would survive if he or she experienced the particular area’s age-specific mortality rates for that period throughout the rest of his or her life. The figures reflect mortality among those living in an area in each time period, rather than mortality among those born in each area.” “Period life expectancy at age 65 in 2000 is worked out using the mortality rate for age 65 in 2000, for age 66 in 2000, for age 67 in 2000, and so on.” “Period life expectancies are a useful measure of mortality rates actually experienced over a given period, and for past years, provide an objective means of comparison of the trends in mortality over time, between areas of a country and between countries. Official life tables in the UK and other countries which relate to past years are generally period life tables for these reasons.”

Information on calculating a longevity index

The starting point for the LGPS Life Expectancy Index is the collection of a complete and reliable record of longevity experience data for the LGPS. Club Vita currently hold up to date experience data for c. two-thirds of E&W LGPS pensioners. This is more than sufficient to produce an initial E&W LGPS Life Expectancy Index. Funds that are not currently providing data are invited to contact Club Vita if they wish their data to be represented in the LGPS Life Expectancy Index.

Once data has been collected, the calculation steps involved in producing the LGPS Life Expectancy Index are broadly as follows:

  • For a reference period (eg calendar year 2011) and a reference population (eg E&W LPGS pensioners) where data has been collated, determine the observed (“crude”) death rate at each age (65, 66, 67, etc).
  • The crude death rate at each age is simply the number of deaths at that age divided by the number of people being observed at that age. So it is an observable (objective) quantity, measuring the proportion of people that died at each age.
  • The period life expectancy from 65 can be calculated directly from the crude death rates, and is the average length of time an individual aged 65 would live for, based on those observed death rates.