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Instructions to sheriff officers in Scotland

FOI reference - FOI-4239

Date - 7 November 2019

Request

1. The number of instructions issued by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to sheriff officers in Scotland in 2018;

2. The number of instructions issued by TPR to sheriff officers in Scotland in 2019;

3. A list of the instructions issued by TPR to sheriff officers in Scotland between 2018 and 2019;

4. The value of the instructions issued by TPR to sheriff officers in Scotland categorised separately by firm in 2018;

5. Please can you provide a breakdown of the instruction type sent by TPR to sheriff officers in Scotland since 2018;

6. Details of the process followed by TPR to allocate instructions to sheriff officers;

7. The number of instructions to sheriff officers since the commencement of the sheriff officer panel on 2 July 2018 (per quarter); and

8. Confirmation of TPR will accept another sheriff officer firm on their current process and details of the process involved.

Response

I can confirm that we hold 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

1. For the financial year 2018/2019, we issued 206 of instructions to sheriff officers in Scotland;

2. For the financial year 2019/2020 to date, we have issued 131 instructions to sheriff officers in Scotland;

4. The value of the instructions issued by TPR for the financial year 2018/19 was £527.000 of debt;

5. The issued instructions have all been to undertake enforcement action against debtors to recover debts accrued under a statutory penalty notice;

6. We allocate instructions to sheriff officers based on location of the debtor;

7. The financial year starts in April of each year. For 2018: Quarter 1: None; Quarter 2: 18 instructions; Quarter 3: None; and Quarter 4: 62 instructions. For 2019: Quarter 1: 45 instructions, and Quarter 2: 24 instructions;

8. We are not currently looking to add anymore sheriffs to our current listing. Should we wish to add any in the future this will be done via an expression of interest as we did in 2017.

Information we are not able to supply

3. We are unable to provide the names of individuals to whom we issued instructions using sheriff officers in Scotland between 2018 and 2019, or other specific details about individual instructions as personal information is exempt from disclosure under section 40 of the FoIA. This is because the information constitutes personal data as defined in the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Disclosing this would not comply with the data protection principles set out in the GDPR, in particular the requirement for processing to be fair, lawful and transparent (Article 5 (1)(a)), as well as to comply with one of the lawful bases for processing in Article 6.