FOI reference - FOI 2017-07-28
Date - 28/07/2017
I'd like to make a Freedom of Information request for all correspondence between The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Plumbing Pensions UK Ltd between July 2005 and to date regarding specifically the handling of section 75 employer debt in relation to the scheme they manage.
I can confirm that we hold information falling within scope of your request. However, we are unable to supply the information requested for the reasons set out below.
Information we are not able to supply
As we have been given strong powers to demand documents and other information from trustees, employers and others, those powers are also balanced by restrictions on how we disclose the information provided to us. The majority of the type of information you have requested would be ‘restricted information’. Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04) as 'information obtained by the Regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person’.
Under section 82(5) of the PA04 it is a criminal offence to disclose such information except as permitted under that act.
Whilst the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) is based on the presumption of releasing information, section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA provides an absolute exemption to the requirement to disclose any information if its disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment. In this case, section 82 of the PA04 prohibits disclosure and we are unable to disclose the requested information. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.
Much of the information you have requested is also exempt from disclosure under section 40 (personal information) of the FoIA. This is because the information constitutes personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and disclosing this would not comply with the data protection principles set out in the DPA, in particular the requirement for processing to be fair and lawful and to comply with one of the conditions of processing in schedule 2.