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FOI reference - FOI 2016-10-14
Date - 14/10/2016

Request

I would like to learn that from the beginning of the transitional programme up to now, how many employers (and if possible employees) were planned to be automatically enrolled on a monthly basis, and how many employers (employees) were actually enrolled (again on a monthly basis)?

I am looking for this information for the following window: from the beginning of the programme (October 2012) until now.

Response

I can confirm that we hold information falling within scope of your request. However, we are unable to supply some of the information requested for the reasons set out below.

Information we are able to supply

We have interpreted the reference to ‘transitional programme’ to mean the ‘automatic enrolment programme’ and ‘employers...planned to be automatically enrolled’ to mean forecast or estimates of employers expected to be active by the staging dates. Our most recent published forecast for this can be found in our automatic enrolment commentary and analysis 2016 (PDF, 914kb, 45 pages).

This document contains our projections, from June 2015 onwards, as to how many employers we expect to still be active on reaching their respective staging dates set out on a quarterly basis. Projections on the number of employers before June 2015 can be found in our automatic enrolment commentary and analysis 2014 (PDF, 518kb, 39 pages).

However, please note our forecast does not take into account a number of factors:

  • Some employers bring their staging date forward and they are not obliged to give any notification prior to doing so; that is, although forecast to stage in one month they may actually stage in a different month and we would only know when employers actually bring their staging date forward.
  • Some employers participate in more than one PAYE scheme which may not always be clear from the PAYE data we use; and likewise multiple PAYE schemes may attach to a single employer.
  • Where an employer has multiple PAYE schemes, the scheme with the earliest staging date determines the staging date for the employer. Therefore, employers move up or down the staging profile.
  • The PAYE data that we use may include persons or organisations that do not have any automatic enrolment duties either because they do not, or no longer, employ any workers, or because they are sole director companies with no other staff.
  • There is no way to accurately predict (a) the extent to which any of the above factors happen or (b) the consequent churn in and out of the staging profile.

For this reason we have presented this data as a range based on a lower and upper estimate of how many employers are due to be active at their staging date.

We keep staging data - and the assumptions underpinning our forecasts - under regular review and we respond in a timely manner should any new information suggest that the forecast needs to change.

In relation to how many employers were ‘actually enrolled’, this we have interpreted as employers who have told us they have complied with their duties under the Pensions Act 2008 as required by law, please see the report linked below which shows the number of employers that have declared their compliance with TPR on a monthly basis.

Please note however that these volumes are not directly comparable to the volumes provided above for the following main reasons:

  1. The number of employers enrolled is a historic view of all employers that have declared their compliance with TPR, regardless of whether they have subsequently ceased to be an active employer.
  2. The report records declarations of compliance by reference to the month in which the declaration took place, rather than the month of the staging date. Employers must complete a declaration of compliance with TPR within five months from their staging date.

In relation to answering your questions at an employee level, the report linked above also includes the number of employees that have been automatically enrolled on a monthly basis. Again, this includes employees working for employers that may have subsequently ceased to be an active employer, and includes employees that may have subsequently ceased employment with that employer.

Information we are not able to supply

We are unable to provide information regarding a forecast number of employees working for employers forecast to be active by the time they reach their staging date. However, the Department for Work and Pensions has recently published analysis which includes a projection of the eligible target group for automatic enrolment.

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