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Revised Determinations Panel and Case Team procedures published

Ref: PN13-06
Thursday 24 January 2013

Revisions to the current Determinations Panel procedure and a separate Case Team procedure have been determined and are published today following a period of consultation.

These procedures detail the processes used by the Panel and the regulator’s case teams in cases where the final decision rests with the Panel.

The Panel’s consultation looked at the existing procedure and whether greater clarity was needed in certain areas.

Revisions to the current Determinations Panel procedure include:

  • further clarity on the point at which cases are referred to the Panel by the regulator’s case teams who have responsibility for the management of a case at a particular point in time
  • a fuller explanation of the differences between the ‘standard procedure’ and ‘special procedure’
  • further clarity on the Panel’s ability to request and consider certain additional material.

John Scampion, chair of the Panel, said: “I am extremely grateful to all those who gave their time and their comments.  It was a very beneficial exercise and we have carefully considered all the comments received.”

“It is vital that we continue to evolve and improve the way that the Determinations Panel considers the evidence and representations on cases that are put to us.  We have learned a lot from the cases we have dealt with in the last six years and feel that these changes will give greater transparency for all involved on how the Panel works, helping to ensure fairness of treatment and consistently good practice for all parties.”

The Case Team procedure covers a range of matters, including issuing and the contents of a ‘warning notice’ inviting parties potentially subject to the regulator’s powers to respond to its case and subsequent steps culminating in a decision whether or not to put the case to the Panel to make a ‘determination’.

Revisions to the Case Team procedure which went out to consultation include:

  • how the regulator’s case teams will approach the disclosure of material to affected parties
  • further information on when and how the ‘special procedure’ will be used by the regulator’s case teams.

Executive director for DB regulation, Stephen Soper, said:  “Many of the responses were supportive of our aim to provide greater clarity and transparency in relation to the steps taken by our case teams.  We have carefully considered all the comments and responses received and have taken these into account in finalising the Case Team procedure.

We think this new procedure will assist case progress and give external parties a better understanding of the process.  This published procedure sets out what we expect of parties potentially subject to our powers, and what they can expect from us.” 

To view the procedures for cases.

Editor's notes

1. Revisions to the current Determinations Panel procedure and the separate Case Team procedure have been determined in accordance with s.93 of the Pensions Act 2004 and Article 88 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005. The regulator will be consulting separately on its procedures as determined under Article 88 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 to consider if further revisions are necessary.

2. The Determinations Panel procedures and the case team procedures are two separate documents, but have been published in parallel for a cohesive approach.

3. The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK.  We have objectives to: protect members’ benefits: reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund; and to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes. From 2012, the regulator has the additional objective of maximising employers’ compliance with their duty to automatically enrol staff into a qualifying pension scheme.

4. The Determinations Panel currently consists of seven members, in addition to the chair, and is responsible for making decisions relating to individual cases where the regulator seeks to use its reserved regulatory powers.

5. These decisions are called 'determinations' and the Panel has the power to make a determination where:

  • a problem has arisen in a scheme that the regulator considers can be put right with the use of one of its powers; or
  • the regulator seeks to sanction or prosecute a breach of pension law;
  • an application has been made by trustees, managers, members or employers of a scheme for the regulator to use one of its powers.

6. Members of the panel are separate to the regulator and are not involved in investigating cases. The panel members have a broad mix of relevant experience in areas such as law and finance. It also includes a number of individuals with a track-record of holding senior positions in both the private and public sectors.

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