FOI reference - FOI 2017-11-22
Date - 22/11/2017
Please provide a copy of letters and emails sent by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) since 2014.
I can confirm that we hold information contained in the documents that you have requested.
However, we are unable to supply some of the information contained within the documents that you requested for the reasons set out below (see ‘information we are not able to supply’). Where we are unable to supply information, we have made appropriate redactions.
Where documents containing information that you have requested are saved together with documents containing information that is beyond the scope of your request (for example email chains, containing emails from the USS to TPR), we have redacted the documents that are out of scope in their entirety.
Information we are able to supply
Please find attached two pdf bundles containing the information we are able to supply.
Information we are not able to supply
Section 40(2) of the FoIA
Some of the information you have requested is exempt from disclosure and has been redacted under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA). This is because the information constitutes ‘personal data’ as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and disclosing it would not comply with the data protection principles set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the DPA, in particular the requirement in the first data protection principle for processing to be fair and lawful and to comply with one of the conditions of processing in Schedule 2.
Section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA
Some of the information in the documents you have requested is exempt from disclosure under section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA and has been redacted from the bundles provided. As TPR has been given strong powers to demand documents (or other information) from trustees, employers and others, those powers are balanced by restrictions on onward disclosure of information provided to TPR. Some of the information in the documents you have requested would be ‘restricted information’ within the meaning of section 82 of the Act. Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) as:
‘…information obtained by the Regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person’.
Some of the information in the documents you have requested is information that has been voluntarily provided to or requested / demanded by TPR in the exercise of its statutory functions, or is information held by TPR that contains this kind of information, or would reveal it if disclosed. Section 82(5) of the Act provides that it is a criminal offence to disclose such information except as permitted under that Act. There are no permitted gateways under the Act that would permit disclosure of restricted information in response to your FoIA request.
Section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA provides an exemption from disclosure if disclosure is prohibited by other legislation. TPR must rely on the section 44 exemption to withhold restricted information because its disclosure is prohibited under section 82 of the Act.
Because section 44 is an absolute exemption, no public interest assessment is required.