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Automatic enrolment non-compliance

FOI reference - FOI 2018-01-31
Date - 31/01/2018

Request

I would like to request the following information please.

  • The number of statutory notices, plus the number and total monetary value of penalty notices, issued to recruitment and employment businesses in the calendar year 2017 (1 January to 31 December) for non-compliance with automatic enrolment.
  • The number of statutory notices, plus the number and total monetary value of penalty notices, issued to recruitment and employment businesses in the calendar year 2016 (1 January to 31 December) for non-compliance with automatic enrolment.
  • The number of statutory notices, plus the number and total monetary value of penalty notices, issued to recruitment and employment businesses in the calendar year 2015 (1 January to 31 December) for non-compliance with automatic enrolment.

Response

I can confirm that we hold information falling within the scope of your request. However, we are unable to supply the information requested for the reasons set out below.

Information we are not able to supply

Section 12 of the FoIA

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, which, for us, is 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.

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 not able to provide the information to you because this would take us approximately 2,400 hours to manually check, many thousands of records. This is in excess of the applicable time limit to retrieve and extract that information.

This exercise would also require the creation of a new data set and the FoIA provides that public authorities do not need to create new information in order to respond to requests.

Section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA

In addition we are unable to provide you with the full list of records to enable you to carry out this cross-referencing exercise yourself for the reasons set out below:

In recognition of our regulatory functions TPR has been given strong powers to demand documents and other information from trustees, employers and others. These powers are balanced by statutory restrictions on how we disclose the information provided to us.

The information you have requested relates to information we would receive in the exercise of our statutory functions and we consider that it falls within the definition of ‘restricted information’ as set out in the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04).

Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the PA04 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.

Whilst the FoIA is based on the presumption of releasing information, section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA provides an absolute exemption to the requirement to disclose information if the disclosure of that information is prohibited by or under any enactment. In this case, section 82 of the PA04 prohibits disclosure and we are unable to disclose the information you have requested. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.