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Consultation launched on the need for a basic automatic enrolment assessment tool

Ref: PN15-18
Wednesday 25 March 2015

The Pensions Regulator has launched a consultation on whether to provide a basic automatic enrolment assessment tool for employers who use HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tool.

Currently around 200,000 small and micro employers use HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tool (BPT). The BPT however does not provide the required functionality to allow employers to meet their automatic enrolment duties and so the regulator is now consulting on whether to provide a basic assessment tool to assist this group.

While using payroll software is not an automatic enrolment requirement, the regulator’s experience indicates that using appropriate payroll software helps employers to comply.

However, this runs alongside research that indicates half of employers with fewer than nine staff would be unwilling to pay to upgrade their software for automatic enrolment.

Employers who use BPT and advisers acting on their behalf have also demonstrated unwillingness to purchase or use free payroll software available in the market place.

The regulator is now seeking views, particularly from pension providers, payroll providers, business advisers, employer groups and users of HMRC’s BPT, on what support is available in the market place for employers who use BPT so that we can identify gaps and consider whether a basic assessment tool is necessary.

Executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said: "We are constantly working to identify and pre-empt risks to compliance and to ensure the support and information we provide is suitable for employers as we move through the staging profile.

"The regulator wants to ensure employers who use the BPT will have access to the payroll support they are likely to need to help them avoid the risk of non compliance."

Along with considering the necessity of a basic tool, the consultation also asks respondents to consider the following.

  • If respondents believe we should have a tool, what functions should it provide? It is important the functionality of a basic assessment tool strikes a balance between supporting BPT users while maintaining incentive for them to seek a better automatic enrolment solution from the market place.
  • How would a basic assessment tool affect the market place?
  • What more could be done to encourage BPT users to switch to a system that provides integrated support for their automatic enrolment?

To view the full consultation go to: helping users of HMRC's Basic PAYE Tools undertake automatic enrolment calculations.

It will be open until 19 May 2015 and the regulator intends to publish its response in the summer.

Editor's notes

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 (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; and to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties.

Press contacts

Ciara Bridge-Butler 01273 648018