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Request for information related to section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004

FOI reference - FOI-3964

Date - 18 July 2019

Request

  1. The number of requests for information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 that have been issued by The Pensions Regulator each year since the regulator was first established (or since the regulator's records began).
  2. The number of requests for extensions to the deadline for providing information to the regulator specified in a section 72 notice that have been requested each year and how many of these have been granted by The Pensions Regulator.
  3. The shortest, longest and the average time that have been given for recipients to respond to a section 72 notice.
  4. The number of times that the regulator has taken enforcement action where a recipient of a section 72 notice has failed to provide the relevant information in each year since the regulator was established. Please also provide a breakdown of the type of enforcement action that has been taken in each case.
  5. The total number and value of fines imposed by the regulator for failure to comply with a section 72 request for information since the regulator's inception or since records began (and year on year).

Response

I can confirm that we hold some of the information falling within scope of your request.

Section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04) is an information gathering power and is dealt with under a case by case basis. So, though the details of any extensions or responses would be recorded on the individual case, we not record this information as statistics and are therefore unable to answer points 2 and 3 of your request.

The table below sets out the answers to points 1 and 4 broken down by year.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of requests for information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 that have been issued by TPR 12 38 60 122 49 143 158 142 162 51
Number of times that the regulator has taken enforcement action where a recipient of a section 72 notice has failed to provide the relevant information 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 0

In relation to enforcement action, if a section 72 is not complied with it is an offence under PA04 and therefore we would bring a prosecution case against the recipient under section 77 legislation for neglecting or refusing to provide information or produce document required in information notice.

Any fines that are issued would be imposed by the courts and as a result we do not hold the stats for the number or value of these fines that you have requested in point 5.

For your reference, we recently published a report on our first criminal prosecutions for failing to provide information requested as part of ongoing investigations.

Further information added on 25 September 2019

Further to your request for information dated 24 June 2019 and dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, we’ve identified further information which offers a more complete response to your request. Please find details below:

  1. The number of requests for information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 that have been issued by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) each year since the regulator was first established (or since TPR's records began).
  2. The total number and value of fines imposed by the regulator for failure to comply with a section 72 request for information since TPR's inception or since records began (and year on year).

The table below sets out the answers to point 1 in relation to the original request, split into automatic enrolment (AE) and Levy. The first section 72 issued by TPR for AE was recorded in March 2014.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 *2019
AE number of requests for information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 that have been issued by TPR - - - - 17 40 169 222 358 153
Levy number of requests for information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 that have been issued by TPR 12 38 60 122 49 143 158 142 162 51

*to 30 June 2019

We hold some of the information you have requested in relation to the total number and value of fines imposed for failure to comply with a section 72 request for information. In AE, it is possible for non-compliance with a section 72 to be followed by a penalty. It does depend at what stage the employer is in the enforcement journey (eg - if the case is relatively new and no penalties have yet to be issued then a penalty may follow a section 72). However, if we have already issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or an Escalating Penalty Notice (EPN) and it’s a more complex case then a section 72 may well result directly in a prosecution.

The table below sets out the penalties issued under section 72 broken down by financial year (based on the penalty issued date) and the value of FPNs at £400 each. There were no instances of section 72 penalties prior to September 2014. We are not able to provide the value of EPNs as each would accrue at a daily rate which varies between £50 to £10,000 on a case by case basis.

2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 Apr to Jun 19
FPNs 3 7 15 25 36 10
EPNs 1 1 4 6 4 3
FPNs total value £1,200 £2,800 £6,000 £10,000 £14,400 £4,000