Joining and opting out of the pension scheme

For employments starting on and after 1 April 2014

New starters in the scheme

At the start of employment new employees, who are eligible for membership of the Scheme and who have a contract of employment of 3 months or more, should be made members of the main section of the LGPS 2014.

Employees with a contract of less than 3 months may choose to join the LGPS, and they must complete and send to their employer the Opt-In Form for action at the next available pay period. Election to join (pdf format, 180KB)

On or before the appointment – or after receiving an election to join - the employer should

  • introduce the LGPS to the member,
  • notify the member of the contribution rate,
  • advise when and under what circumstances that rate might change
  • inform the member who to contact in the event of a dispute about that rate,
  • tell members where they can find out more information about the scheme, and
  • supply a copy of that employer's pension policy statement.
  • Advise Oxfordshire Pension Fund (OPF) about the new member

There are template letters for employers to adapt and use to cover most of those points.

Employers must complete and send in the Monthly Administration Return Spreadsheet (MARS) with the CARE and Starter information to the OPF Pension Services about the new starter by the deadline.

Opting Out

The LGPS is not a compulsory scheme. A member may choose to leave at any time, however, an ‘opt-out’ election form may not be completed before the start of employment.

Where the member has more than one employment, the opt-out election must specify to which employment it will apply.  

The ‘opt-out’ form (pdf format, 490KB) is available for members from the Oxfordshire Pension Fund.

When you receive the completed ‘opt-out’ form, correctly signed and dated in all cases,

  • take the appropriate payroll action    
  • record the action you have taken in the space provided on the form and
  • send the original form to Pension Services at OPF.
  • No further employee or employer contributions will be due    

If the member has been in LGPS for less than 3 months, refund member contributions through the payroll. Employer contributions return to the employer.

If the member has been in LGPS for at least three months, after stopping contributions complete all details on the leaver tab of MARS (Monthly Administration Return Sheet) noting ‘OPTOUT’   


The LGPS ceased to be contracted out of the State Second Pension (S2P) from April 2016.

These reference numbers applied for this fund until the ending of contracting out:

  • The employer contracted-out number (ECON) for Oxfordshire County Council is: E3900002R
  • The scheme contracted-out number (SCON) for Oxfordshire County Council is: S2700165T