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FOI reference - FOI 2016-06-17
Date - 17/06/2016

Request

  • Could you please tell me the number of times since 2002 that any concerns have been raised, members complained or other individual issues raised with the BHS pension scheme in the same period?
  • On how many occasions in the past year has Sir Philip Green, or his advisors, contacted you with firm offers in respect of the deficit?

Response

In respect of point 1, on 24 June we had a telephone conversation in which you clarified that this request referred to whistleblower reports The Pensions Regulator (TPR) had received.

Duty to confirm or deny whether TPR holds the information requested

I can confirm that we hold information falling within scope of your request.

Information we are able to supply

1. Could you please tell me the number of times since 2002 that any concerns have been raised, members complained or other individual issues raised with the BHS pension scheme in the same period?

Please note that due to our data retention policy we do not hold records back to 2002. Documents relating to the types of information you have requested are retained for 10 years.

There are two different types of whistleblowing reports, statutory and non-statutory. Statutory whistleblowing is where there is a legal duty to report. This can apply to trustees of trust-based schemes, managers of schemes not established under trust and persons otherwise involved in the administration of a scheme. Non-statutory whistleblowing is usually where an individual reports a complaint to us about how a work-based pension scheme is being run.

Our records show three whistleblowing reports in relation to the schemes, all of which were non-statutory and all of which were received in 2016. However, please note that one of these three contacts was in respect of follow up correspondence relating to an earlier report, so there were actually two ‘individual issues’ raised, rather than three.

2. On how many occasions in the past year has Sir Philip Green, or his advisors, contacted you with firm offers in respect of the deficit.

We have interpreted 'firm offers' to mean offers made in writing.

As set out in our letter dated 20 May 2016 to Frank Field MP, Chairman of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, a firm offer was made to us once, during the past year, by Sir Philip Green, or his advisors.

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.

All publishable information relating to the ongoing BHS inquiry being carried out by the Work and Pensions and Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committees can be found on the parliament website.

A copy of TPR’s letter dated 20 May 2016 to Frank Field MP can also be found on the parliament website.

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