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FOI reference - FOI 2016-08-05(b)
Date - 05/08/2016

Request

  1. Please specify the pension fund and pension fund trustees of the Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company between 1975-1977, the time of takeover of British Shipbuilders.
  2. Please specify whether the National Insurance Record is a sufficient metric to identify the specific Pension Fund Record.
  3. Please specify the pension fund and pension fund trustees used by British Shipbuilders up until 1986.
  4. Please specify whether the National Insurance Record is a sufficient metric to identify the specific Pension Fund Record.
  5. Please specify the pension fund and pension fund trustees used after the Shipbuilding Industries Pension Scheme was closed in 2013.
  6. Please specify whether the National Insurance Record is a sufficient metric to identify the specific Pension Fund Record.

Response

Duty to confirm or deny whether TPR holds the information requested

Section 59 of the Pensions Act 2004 ("the Act") obliges us to compile and maintain a register of occupational pension schemes and personal pension schemes which are, or have been, registrable schemes.

This register started in 1991 when the registrar was the Occupational Pensions Board. The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (OPRA) became responsible for the register in 1997 and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) replaced OPRA on 6 April 2005. The information contained on the register does not pre-date 1991 and we therefore do not hold the information relating to your requests at points 1 and 3.

TPR also does not hold individual member data or information regarding the sufficient metrics needed to identify a specific pension fund record. We therefore do not hold the information relating to your requests at points 2, 4 and 6.

The information that we do hold on our register cannot be disclosed for the reason below.

Information we are not able to supply

Please specify the Pension Fund and Pension Fund Trustees used after the Shipbuilding Industries Pension Scheme was closed in 2013.

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 information held on our register is information we receive in the exercise of our statutory functions and is considered ‘restricted information’.

Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the Act 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 Act 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 Act prohibits disclosure and we are unable to disclose any information from the register. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.

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.

The information you have requested in respect of the pension schemes may be available directly from the scheme contact. Members of a pension scheme looking for contact details for that scheme may be able to find them through a free government service called the Pension Tracing Service.

The Pensions Advisory Service provides members of the public with free and impartial guidance about pensions. They may be able to assist you with your query in respect of whether a National Insurance Record is a sufficient metric with which to identify a pension scheme record.

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