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FOI reference - FOI 2016-03-16
Date - 16/03/2016

Request

I am currently conducting research on whistleblowing by workers to regulators and enforcement bodies. The research has two strands. The first strand (question 1 below) considers your general role as a prescribed regulator in handling whistleblowing concerns. The second strand (questions 2-7) is more specific and concerns your handling of whistleblowing concerns raised by migrant workers (the aim of this particular strand is to consider vulnerable migrant workers as whistleblowers).

  1. Please provide details of the number of workers who have contacted you in relation to your duties as a prescribed regulator between the years 2011-2016. Please include the following details:
    • whether each individual contacted you on an anonymous, confidential, or self identified basis
    • a brief summary of the types of concerns raised
    • if information was passed on to another regulator or local authority enforcement team please indicate this and specify whether the concern was monitored by you following referral
    • in respect of both points above, please identify (if appropriate) whether any subsequent action was taken

Information regarding the handling of whistleblowing concerns from vulnerable migrant workers:

  1. Please identify whether you have a policy/ policies for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
  2. If the answer to the above is yes, please disclose your policies / internal guidelines.
  3. Please identify whether you have specific procedures for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
  4. If the answer to the above is yes, please identify what these procedures are.
  5. Please identify whether you are able to receive whistleblowing concerns in languages other than English.
  6. If the answer is yes, please identify how your organisation would handle concerns raised in another language.

Response

Duty to confirm or deny whether TPR holds the information requested

I can confirm that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) holds information falling within scope of your request. However, we are unable to supply some of the information requested for the reasons set out below.

Also please note that all information supplied in response to your request is in the context of non-statutory whistleblowers, and also does not include whistleblower reports linked to existing cases.

Information we are able to supply

The information which we have been able to provide is set it out below:

  1. Please provide details of the number of workers who have contacted you in relation to your duties as a prescribed regulator between the years 2011-2016. Please include the following details:
    • whether each individual contacted you on an anonymous, confidential, or self identified basis
Anonymous Confidential Self identified Total %
2012* 6 22 176 204 2.9 
2013  24 71 1,361 1,456 1.6 
2014  51 110 1,665 1,826 2.8 
2015 97 146 2,065 2,308 4.2 
Total 178 349 5,267 5,794 3.1 

*whistleblowing service launched July 2012

    • a brief summary of the types of concerns raised
Top 10 reasons for concern Total %
cookieenabledcheck 1,467 25.3 
Pensions scam 1,273 22
Automatic enrolment 1,214 21
Governance 461 8
Guidance 373 6.4
Administration 358 6.2
Misappropriation of scheme assets 201 3.5
Intelligence referral – potential breach 82 1.4
Other Organisation 71 1.2
Trustee duties / responsibilities 67 1.2
Total 5,567 96.1
    • If information was passed on to another regulator or local authority enforcement team please indicate this and specify whether the concern was monitored by you following referral.

In the instance of whistleblowing cases being dealt with under the premise of pension scams or 'misappropriation of scheme' these are typically referred to Action Fraud Centre, the figures for such referrals are below.

Referred to Action Fraud Centre
2012 71 1.2% 
2013  634 10.9%
2014  129 2.2%
2015  86 1.5%
Total  920 15.9%

If the concerns fall under our remit, we will continually monitor the concern following referral.

    • In respect of both points above, please identify (if appropriate) whether any subsequent action was taken.
      We are unable to disclose whether any subsequent action was taken by the other regulators.

Information we are not able to supply

  1. Please identify whether you have a policy/ policies for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
    No such policies exist.
  2. If the answer to the above is yes, please disclose your policies / internal guidelines.
    No such policies exist.
  3. Please identify whether you have specific procedures for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
    No such policies exist.
  4. If the answer to the above is yes, please identify what these procedures are.
    No such policies exist.
  5. Please identify whether you are able to receive whistleblowing concerns in languages other than English.
    We have a translation provider which enables us to handle Whistleblower concerns in a language other than English.
  6. If the answer is yes, please identify how your organisation would handle concerns raised in another language.
    All calls made to TPR will be answered as standard in English, with English language menu options. However, we do employ the services of an external translation provider to support our customer support team. Any caller who has requested translation will be placed on hold while the adviser contacts an external operator to arrange a translator. A translator should then promptly be put on the line, whereupon a three way conference call between the caller, the customer support adviser and the translator will then be conducted. Where a translator is not immediately available then a call back will be arranged for a time that is convenient for the caller.
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