October messages and Quarterly Update
The Pensions Regulator has issued this month’s automatic enrolment messages and its latest quarterly update.
Lesley Titcombe, Chief Executive of The Pensions Regulator has stated in her quarterly update that work is continung on the ‘TPR Future’ programme to transform the way that TPR works and ensure that the way they regulate is fit for purpose for the next five to ten years. The second phase of the programme is now in full swing, which they expect to complete by next spring. The focus is on designing new regulatory approaches and includes;
- improving identity and engagement
- clarifying expectations
- improving regulatory oversight
- broadening regulatory intervention
- improving efficiency and effectiveness.
TPR has already started to be quicker and tougher in its regulatory interventions, otherwise known as enforcement. In recent months they have taken action against pension schemes whose trustees are failing to meet their basic duties, such as completing scheme returns or annual chair’s statement. They have been carrying out regional spot checks to ensure employers are complying with their pension duties in relation to automatic enrolment (as highlighted in earlier news items), and have taken action against those who have failed to do so. They have taken action against people for failing to provide them with information during investigations, and have banned trustees over their roles in schemes suspected of pension scams. They have also progressed some high profile cases such as BHS and British Steel.
So the focus is definitely moving from introducing Automatic Enrolment to ensuring the system works and regulating it as and when required.
Backing this up, the October messages follow on from the letter last month, written by Darren Ryder, TPR's Director of AE (from which we published an extract on 2 October), and concentrate on three themes they would like us to flag with our members – declaring compliance on time, new employer duties and ongoing duties. This is their suggested check list of things to look out for:
- Make sure your clients submit their Declaration of Compliance on time. Don’t let them risk a fine.
- Make sure your clients have completed their automatic enrolment duties before they go on holiday.
- Do you have clients that have recently employed their first member of staff? Do you know when their duties will start?
- Do you have clients that are thinking about starting a new business and taking on a member of staff? Make sure they’re aware they have automatic enrolment duties.
- Automatic enrolment is an ongoing process – it does not end on your clients’ staging date.
If you have clients for whom you process pensions then make sure that you are up to date with the current requirements.
Head of Technical Policy