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Details of correspondence between TPR and Carillion in 2017

FOI reference - FOI 2018-04-05(a)
Date - 05/04/2018

Request

A. All correspondence between The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Carillion and Carillion pension scheme trustees in 2017.

B. Written documentation or formal reports from 2017 evaluating Carillion’s pension schemes, either financially, legally or in any other way.

C. Advice or communications to Carillion’s pension trustees or Carillion itself.

I am specifically requesting written reports and do not at this time require purely financial tables such as may have been provided by Carillion to the regulator.

Response

I can confirm that the information you have requested is held but, in line with section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), we are unable to provide discloser as the appropriate time limit will be exceeded.

Under section 12 of the FoIA, which you can see in appendix A (PDF, 11.5kb, 3 pages), public authorities are not obliged to comply with a request for information where the cost of complying would exceed the appropriate limit in the fees regulations. For TPR this set at £450. Staff costs are fixed at £25 per person per hour. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours in determining whether we hold the information, locating, retrieving and extracting it.

At present the estimated time required to complete your request, in its current state, exceeds the 18 hour limit.

Duty to provide advice and assistance

The request detailed above makes clear the type of documents which you would like but does not specify what information within said documents you require.

Should you wish to make a new Freedom of Information request, which we will assess on its own merits and without prejudice, it may be helpful to view the ‘documentation’ requested as parameters which can be searched. Specifying the type of information within the documentation you would like may help narrow the criteria and bring the request within the appropriate cost limit. It is still important to be aware of the limits imposed by section 44 of the FoIA which I outline below for your consideration.

We have been given strong powers to demand documents and other information from trustees, employers and others, those powers are also balanced by restrictions on how we disclose the information provided to us.

The information held on our register and within some documents is information we receive in the exercise of our statutory functions and is considered ‘restricted information’.

Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the Pension Act 2004 (PA04), which can be seen in appendix B (PDF, 11.5kb, 3 pages), as ‘information obtained by the Regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person’.

Under section 82(5) of the PA04 it is a criminal offence to disclose such information except as permitted under that Act. As such, the content of each document covered by your request would need to be reviewed to determine if it meets the definition above.

Whilst the FoIA is based on the presumption of releasing information, section 44 of the FoIA, which you can see in appendix C (PDF, 11.5kb, 3 pages), provides an absolute exemption to the requirement to disclose any information if its disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment. In this case, section 82 of the PA04 prohibits disclosure and we are unable to disclose the register, extracts from the register or confirm whether a specific pension scheme is listed on the register. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.

Finally, I would also like to let you know we have recently published two similar requests which can be accessed via the following links: