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FOI reference - FOI 2015-04-16
Date - 16/04/2015

Request

Could you please supply me with the figures for the accumulated declarations of compliance, the number of organisations investigated and the number of recorded breaches, ideally each quarter since staging began. If this frequency isn’t possible could you just provide me with the most frequent time horizon you have available?

On 20 March 2015 you clarified that by 'the number of recorded breaches' you were requesting those breaches where the regulator has taken formal action.

Response

Duty to confirm or deny whether TPR holds the information requested

I can confirm that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) holds the information you have requested.

Information we are able to supply

Accumulated declarations of compliance

The number of declarations of compliance made for employers due to declare, overall to date as at 7 April 2015, was 45,820.

A quarterly breakdown is published in our automatic enrolment declaration of compliance monthly reports.

Number of organisations investigated

The total number of organisations investigated (figure taken from number of cases closed) prior to the financial year 2014/15 is 700. TPR does not hold a quarterly breakdown of this figure.

For the financial year 2014/15, the number of organisations investigated is broken down quarterly as follows:

  • Q1 – 217
  • Q2 – 363
  • Q3 – 881

Please note that the figures for Q4 2014/15 will be reported and published in our automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin at the end of April 2015 (see 'information we are not able to supply').

TPR’s method of classifying investigations means that the number of organisations investigated as provided above includes cases closed where TPR:

  • has assisted employers with issues that have presented prior to their declaration of compliance deadline
  • has assisted smaller employers having issues bringing forward their staging date; and
  • has responded to whistleblowers

Number of recorded breaches

The total number of times TPR has used its powers and taken formal enforcement action prior to the financial year 2014/15 is 18 (please note that a single investigation can result in more than one exercise of powers). TPR does not hold a quarterly breakdown of this figure.

For the financial year 2014/15, the total number of times TPR has used its powers and taken formal enforcement action is broken down quarterly as follows:

  • Q1 – 5
  • Q2 – 177
  • Q3 – 1319

Please note that the figures for Q4 2014/15 will be reported and published in our automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin at the end of April 2015 (see 'information we are not able to supply').

Information we are not able to supply

Section 22(1)(a)

Regarding the information you have requested which is due for publication at the end of April 2015, section 22(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) provides that information is exempt information if:

  • the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not)

Section 22(1)(a) requires that TPR undertakes a public interest test to determine whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this present time.

Public interest in disclosure

TPR recognises the public interest in the promotion of transparency, accountability and the enhancement of understanding of our work.

This is why TPR already publishes certain information relating to automatic enrolment and is now considering what further information it can publish in relation to its enforcement of the automatic enrolment employer duties. TPR considers that it is not in the public interest to disclose this sort of information in a piecemeal fashion as that could lead to inadvertent errors and inconsistencies. TPR also considers that this information is in the wider public interest and has decided to review the information it holds with a view to proactively publishing information in this area.

We currently publish reports which reflect employers and intermediaries’ awareness. Our review of the information which we publish will ensure both clarity and consistency around the data published in this area, and provide a regular published data source for all interested parties.

Public interest in maintaining the exemption

TPR considers there would be little or no public interest served in publishing information relating to automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement with numerous caveats. Furthermore, publishing piecemeal information which is open to different interpretations could lead to giving inaccurate or misleading information which again is not in the public interest.

Whilst TPR recognises the benefit of disclosure of this type of information, it is of the view that in order to be beneficial, and given the ever-changing nature of the automatic enrolment landscape, the information it publishes must be provided in a consistent manner, on a regular basis and in context.

Having considered the public interest, TPR's decision is that the public interest in disclosing the sort of information requested ahead of its planned publication is outweighed by the public interest in publishing this sort of information in a coherent and consistent manner and therefore by the public interest in maintaining the exemption under section 22(1)(a) of the FoIA.

Duty to provide advice and assistance

I am mindful of the duty to provide advice and assistance to requesters, as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so. Therefore you may find the following automatic enrolment regular publications of interest:

The automatic enrolment declaration of compliance monthly reports is a rolling report, updated on the second Thursday of each month and containing the accumulated number of declarations of compliance TPR has received, broken down into relevant categories.

TPR's full list of current (and any future) research and analysis publications in respect of automatic enrolment can be found at research and analysis.

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