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FOI reference - FOI 2016-10-31
Date - 31/10/2016

Request

I request under the Freedom of Information Act that you advise:

  1. Whether you received the 1 March 1989 document from CH2M Hill or the Trustees or anyone else.
  2. Whether you received any of the other documents mentioned in the attached word file.
  3. If you did receive any of the documents the date that you received them, how you received them and who you received them from.
  4. The date of the Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (RAA).

Response

I can confirm that we hold some 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

In response to your first point I can confirm that we hold a copy of the ‘1 March 1989 document’ that you attached in your request. We hold a copy of this document as it was provided by you in a letter to us dated 9 October 2011.

To answer your fourth point, as outlined in the Halcrow Pension Scheme - Regulatory intervention report (PDF, 95kb, 13 pages) published in July 2016, our powers were used to approve the RAA on 28 May 2016. We haven’t been involved in implementing it. The trustees and employer would have implemented the RAA and therefore should be able to provide you with the date.

Information we are not able to supply

In respect to points two and three of your request, 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 type of information you have requested would be ‘restricted information’.

Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04) (see attached annex) as being any information obtained by the regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person. ‘Person’ means both individuals and legal persons such as companies. The legislation’s definition of restricted information greatly limits how much information we can legally disclose.

Some examples of restricted information are:

  • details of membership of a pension scheme
  • the information obtained via scheme return forms
  • information provided by members of the public or other third parties
  • details of potential breaches of the PA04 by a trustee or information relating to a corporate transaction received during the course of a clearance application
  • in the majority of occasions even confirming that a scheme is on our register

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 (see attached Annex) 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.

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