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Whistleblowing disclosures

Details of information provided to us by people with concerns about a workplace pension scheme.

As a public body The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is legally required to report on the whistleblowing disclosures we receive from certain workers. Whistleblowing is the term used when someone provides us with information concerning wrongdoing relating to their workplace pension. This is also known as a whistleblowing disclosure.

Under the Prescribed Persons (Reports on Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2017 we must report the following information every year:

  • the number of disclosures we received (which met certain criteria)
  • the number of those disclosures where we decided to take further action
  • a summary of the action we took in relation to the disclosures
  • a summary of how workers' disclosures have impacted our ability to perform our functions and meet our objectives
  • an explanation of our functions and objectives

Number of disclosures 2021 to 2022

We received 7,476 disclosures during the reporting period of 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 which fell within the remit of our statutory functions and objectives.

Number of disclosures and summary of actions

We took further action in relation to 332 of the 7,476 qualifying disclosures, with the majority of action taken as a result of disclosures reporting a suspected breach of, or failure to undertake, automatic enrolment duties or pay contributions.

In 96 of the instances where we took further action, we issued a warning notice, unpaid contribution notice, fixed penalty notice, escalating penalty notice or compliance notice. Other actions we took as a result of disclosures included referrals to professional bodies and working with employers to set up payment plans with their pension providers for repayment of outstanding contributions. Go to enforcement activity for more information on our work in this area.

The action we take is consistent with the principles set out in the Regulator’s Code. We are a risk-based regulator that must carry out our activities in a way which is proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted. In this context, whistleblowing disclosures help us to inform our intelligence and enforcement action and take action where we see it as appropriate.

In instances where we did not undertake enforcement action due to a disclosure not meeting the qualifying criteria, the information gathered was used to inform our strategic intelligence picture.

How disclosures impact on our objectives

All actions taken, either as a result of a disclosure or informed by a disclosure, contribute towards the achievement of our objectives.

Future reporting

TPR is undergoing an extensive review of its whistleblowing reporting policy. The new policy will more clearly define a 'whistleblower' from a TPR perspective. This will enable TPR to more effectively respond to those making reports who need handling with specific protections.

The new definition will remove those in the bracket of a 'complaint'. As a result, we expect to see a significant drop in the number of whistleblowers received in the next reporting year. The overall figures for reports received will likely remain high.

Figures for the previous reporting year remain valid, as the policy was not introduced for this period.